The New Orleans Suspects are impressive: the rhythm section alone is half Neville Brothers (“Mean” Willie Green, drums) and half Radiators (Reggie Scanlan, bass). Then there’s Jack Eckert’s stint as the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s guitarist, a sax man with extensive James Brown credits in Jeff Watkins, and one of the Meters’ (Leo’s) go-to pianists, C.R. Gruver. But what they mostly sound like is ’70s R&B, specifically, the kind the Meters used to do so well. This is why the Little Feat vibe of “Magadalena” picks up a good bit of Billy Preston flavor along the way, and the ghosts of Sea-Saint are all over “Get Back What You Given,” replete with “fee na nays.” The twin aces in the hole are Watkins’ brass section, which appears every time the band wants to drive a hook home, and Eckert’s own originals, which revel in that easy-going, yet moral, old-school soul spirit. And when they expand their world out, it gets better. The Santana wannabe “Pocketful of Grits” comes with even jazzier figures and some second-line coloring. Even “Hoodoos and Cunyans,” essentially six minutes of swamp guitar, is impressively atmospheric. There are even times, as on “Soothe Me” and “Things (In Your Mind),”.
Track listing: 1. Get Back What You Given 2. Cigarette Smile 3. Madgalena 4. Pocketful of Grits 5. Soothe Me 6. Things (In Your Mind) 7. Hoodoos and Cunyans 8. Carnivale 9. Walk of Shame 10. Yo Flambeaux!