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Rapplesauce serves up funky goodness

Posted by Scott McLennan  April 2, 2013 02:17 PM

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Rapplesauce convenes Friday at the Middle East for a CD release show

The secret to great funk is its ability to make you stop thinking. Great funk simply makes you feel. I probably listened to Rapplesauce's "Good For You" a dozen times before I actually stopped to pick apart all the different ingredients going into the mix, so by that measure alone, this is funk done right.

And after talking with Rapplesauce ringleader Sam Ravenna, sounds like he didn't over think the process either.

"Every person I worked with is someone I really love as a player and as a person. I just let them do what they do, and that's where the record's sound comes from," Ravenna says. "There's really no other way to do it but organically."

And in that manner, these young players tapped into all of funk's history, drawing up the R&B influence of James Brown's funk, the jazz overtones of the Meters' funk, the soul of Parliament's funk, and hard edge of Funkadelic's funk.

Rapplesauce celebrates the release of "Good for You" Friday, April 5, at the Middle East in Cambridge. The show is upstairs in the Middle East, and doors open at 8 p.m. All Good Feel Good Collective and the Hornitz are also playing.


Exactly which incarnation of Rapplesauce materializes Friday remains to be seen. The band started out as a quartet about a year and a half ago when bassist and singer Ravenna was looking to cook up something after Roots of Creation, the reggae band he plays in, went on a touring hiatus. The endeavor was so nonchalant that Ravenna plucked the monicker for his funk project from a list of "aren't these cool band names" scribbled on the wall of an Allston apartment. Over time, more than 20 other musicians have joined Ravenna on stage and in the studio to make Rapplesauce.

A rich, layered sound remains a constant on the record. Two bass players, two guitars, a lot of horns, and keys keep the funk pretty fat here, which sort of plays into the title track's message of going overboard can sometimes be good for you.

The dreamy drawl of "I Want It" kicks off the album. Over the course of about an hour, Rapplesauce takes the groove into the slinky turf of "Never Too Much" and into the joyous bounce of "Put it on the One."

"Honesty" is another red-hot track, one where Ravenna sings about keeping it real. About halfway through the 5-minute song, he stops singing altogether, letting the organ wail, the drums bash, the basses thump, the guitars riff, and the horns blast. The message was just as clear.

Here's the title track for the new CD. If you can't make the show but still want to check out the new tunes visit the band's website here http://rapplesauce.com/


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About the author

Scott McLennan is a Boston Globe music correspondent and previously wrote a music and entertainment column for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette for 15 years. After seeing the band Boston in the Boston Garden as a teenager he never looked back and eventually figured out how to be a professional fan. Scott is very good at writing in the dark. This blog is an ongoing discussion about music happening in and around Boston. Scott will be leading the trek across genres looking for new releases and hot shows as well as just checking in with the people who make Boston such a great place to listen. More »
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