Artist: Spanky Wilson & the Quantic Soul Orchestra
Album: I’m Thankful
Genre: Deep Funk / Soul
Label: Tru Thoughts Rec.
Quality: FLAC (image+.cue)
I’m Thankful, Pt. 1 4:03
A Woman Like Me 3:37
Blood from a Stone 3:16
Don’t Joke with a Hungry Man, Pt. 2 3:28
Don’t Joke with a Hungry Man, Pt. 3 [instrumental] 3:26
That’s How It Was 4:13
Message to Tomorrow 3:03
Waiting for Your Touch 3:46
You Can’t Judge a Book by Its Cover 2:59
I’m Thankful, Pt. 2 [instrumental] 4:02
She’s been recording since 1967, but this fine new record by Spanky Wilson fits nicely with the best of funk revivalists like Sharon Jones, Antibalas, and the Poets of Rhythm.
Spanky Wilson is not new at this. She’s been recording since 1967, with a résumé that includes seven solo albums and stints with Marvin Gaye, Jimmy Smith, Sammy Davis, Jr., Willie Bobo and Lalo Schifrin, among others. Will “Quantic” Holland is young enough to be her son, but in just under a decade he’s already released and produced enough records for a whole career. The two have collaborated on a couple of Quantic tracks in the past, including the mighty “Don’t Joke With a Hungry Man”, which no less a funk authority than Keb Darge snagged for his Kings of Funk compilation with RZA a couple years ago.
Where Wilson previously figured as a guest of Holland, though, here she’s the main attraction and the result is a backbone-slipping, hip-shaking, heavy-grooving funk monster that feels old school but sounds modern. With Holland in the producer/arranger’s seat, the drums are crisp and deep in the pocket, the horns twist and stab, and Wilson gets a perfect environment for her direct, gritty vocals. She reportedly received the nickname Spanky from her father based on the frequency with which he had to discipline her. It’s not hard to imagine– judging by her voice, the woman has some serious sass in her.
They wisely reprise “Don’t Joke With a Hungry Man” in two parts, one vocal and one instrumental, and both new versions are wickedly danceable, with a sliding bass line, scratchy guitar, and insane drums that skitter along with a metronomic tambourine as grounding. Holland’s spy movie horns, played by a section that includes studio giant Phil Ranelin on trombone, get a chance to stretch out on the instrumental version. He bolsters the brass with spectral violins on the mid-tempo “A Woman Like Me” and goes with a more hip-hop beat for the Hurricane Katrina lament “That’s How it Was”, a nicely direct if occasionally heavy-handed remembrance and call for change.
by Joe Tangari