Georgia Soul Council at The Goat Farm
Georgia Soul Council at The Goat Farm

I can still remember the goosebumps that came over me the first time I heard We’re Gonna Groove, the blistering opener from side one of Led Zeppelin’s Coda LP. I have never been able to locate the original Ben E. King version (co-written by James Albert Bethea), but I just received a damn hot alternative — a southern-fried funk version from the Georgia Soul Council. It’s modeled around the heavier aspects of the Zep cover, but with a lot more soul and some kick-ass guitar (much like the 60s stylings of Grant Green, George Benson, and Bugaloo Joe Jones) that would surely put a grin on Jimmy Page’s face.

Originally formed in 2010 as the backing band for Otis Redding III, GSC reconvened in 2011 with a shift towards the 70’s era breakbeat Soul-Jazz that is their real musical passion. Brian Didsbury (Bass), Jeff Jeswald (Rhodes, Organ), Johnny Halpin (lead Guitar), and Dan Jeswald (rhythm Guitar), were all veterans of the upstate New York Jazz-Funk scene before relocating to Atlanta in 2006. It was here that they met Rob Robinson (Drums), who was firmly entrenched in Atlanta’s thriving funk community. They shared the stage many times in various incarnations over the next few years, and finally got together on a more permanent basis in 2010.

Whether you like the chicken-plucking soul grooves of mid-60s James Brown, or the chunkier breakbeats of early-70s no frills funk, GSC is sure to please. But don’t jump to conclusions (even if it is good exercise), because GSC is not a retro band. They are working on their own modern sound, blending in some of the jazzier sounds of the jam band scene. On this debut offering you will hear hints of Medeski, Martin, and Wood avec John Scofield.

With a solid rhythm section, GSC could be content to tour the club and festival circuit on a meat and potatoes approach, but they take it up a notch, with layers of the most spectacular gravy your momma ever served ya. After all, a good groove is like a good sauce or a thick gumbo — something you add spice to a little bit at a time while it simmers all day. You can get a taste of their saucier side in Foot In It and Snaggletooth, but as we all know, there’s no better place to simmer a gumbo than a Dutch Oven, because that’s where all those subtle spices come together in an explosion of flavour.

Groove can take many shapes (soul, jazz, funk, blues) and GSC seems to want to explore them all and jam them out in style. 2012 has seen GSC bring their ultra-funky live performances to the people of Atlanta on the regular, and they have shared the stage with the likes of Papa Grows Funk and the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra. Their self-titled debut album, recorded during the summer of 2012, is available now at bandcamp.

Track listing:

  1. We’re Gonna Groove (written by James Albert Bethea and Ben E. King, arranged by Georgia Soul Council)
  2. Bounce This (written by Brian Didsbury)
  3. Soul Syrum (written by Johnny Halpin)
  4. Foot In It (written by Brian Didsbury)
  5. Snaggletooth (written by Jeff Jeswald)
  6. Dutch Oven (written by Georgia Soul Council)
  7. Effin Splendid (written by Georgia Soul Council)
  8. Lady Day (written by Gil Scott-Heron)

Recorded and produced by Georgia Soul Council on July 28th, 2012 in Atlanta, GA for The Dig? Records.

Special guest horns:
Jason Young – Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Jordan Shalhoup – Tenor Saxophone

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