It is normally customary at this time of year for Real Gone to put together a brief round-up of the year’s high points, detailing our top ten releases of the previous twelve months and drawing attention to a few more great recordings that didn’t quite make the cut.
This year – 2016 – has been somewhat different. Somewhat challenging, to say the least. That’s not to say there hasn’t been good music, since there has been various gems to be discovered throughout the previous twelve months (and we shall be sharing our thoughts on such things with you in due course), but most of the positive feelings surrounding the year have been clouded by the spectre of death.
In an unexpected move on his 2015 release ‘Lights On’, Strange Majik – aka David Pattillo – cast aside the raw blues of his band The Dead Exs for a deep voyage into funk and soul textures. The results were the very definition of “mixed bag”; while the music was often great, the variety of vocalists – and, rather more specifically, the inclusion of rap elements – meant some tracks worked far better than others, and it didn’t always connect with his existing fans. Taking a musical sidestep on 2016’s ‘Raised On Rock ‘N’ Roll’, it seems Pattillo has taken a long hard look at his musical past and crafted a record from the best of his findings. In many ways, it is the missing link between The Dead Exs and the first Strange Majik project. The funky edge and some soul aspects from ‘Lights On’ are firmly present, but the rap is cast aside. The end results firmly grasp the Santana-ish and Funkadelic grooves from that LP, but fuse them with a little blues and rock along the way…and with Pattillo handling all vocal duties, everything sounds like the funked up cousin of The Dead Exs, with some hard grooves delivered by a crack selection of back-up musicians.