Rhythm & Shoes
MJ O'Sullivan faithfully embraces the vintage sounds of decades past with a (mostly) new roster of songs that belong on the good times patio mixer playlist. This time with a backing band called The Flavor Kings, O'Sullivan cranks out a mosaic of cool stylings reminiscent of Motown, 60s R&B and classic pop. At once familiar and distinctive, Rhythm and Shoes delivers genuine sounding songs with a subtle underlying wit in most of the lyrics. In fact, if you're not listening carefully, you might miss the irony amidst the otherwise familiar sounding phrases. The album opens with the unassuming Hold On To Me, a fun little tune with a different spin on the old boyfriend-girlfriend theme. Then comes the upbeat Motown bass line and horn arrangements of Get To Work On Time, which is a happy sounding song about being stuck in traffic. Raining On The Boardwalk is one of those songs you just have to like and would probably have been the A-side on a 45 in times past. Other highlights include the funky Stevie Wonder style clavinet in Back On Track, the groovy 60s feel of You Are Still Mine, and the gritty reggae organ riffs in This Is No Good. In the 'don't miss the humor' department, there's Her Favorite Shoes, which sounds like sincere emotion but is really rather ridiculous -- and Just Like Cellophane, which is probably the first song to ever use the word cellophane in the lyrics. Almost closing out the album is the warm, meandering 'I'll Be Seeing You,' which has it's own little lyrical twist and leaves you feeling rather content about life. But finally, we have a 'three guys in a room' rendition of the classic Goodnight Sweetheart -- done very much in the style of a well-known movie scene where three men are trying to put a baby to sleep. All in all, Rhythm and Shoes is a fun record with some clever song writing, authentic performances, and a retro production style that you can't help but enjoy. -- Rhythm & Shoes by MJ O'Sullivan and The Flavor Kings (c) 2009 by Clever Dog Records and MJ O'Sullivan all songs written by MJ O'Sullivan except: 'This Is No Good' by MJ O'Sullivan and S. O'Sullivan 'Goodnight Sweetheart, It's Time To Go' by J. Hudson and C. Carter; published by ARC Music Corporation; used by permission. The Flavor Kings are: Frank Gambini - drums and percussion Vincent Cammareri - piano and organ Ronny Vitale - bass guitar Special appearances by: The Maraschino Horn Section - brass and woodwinds Steven O'Sullivan - electric guitar Sly Caruso - glockenspiel.