Gerald McClendon – Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now
Delta Roots Records
CD: 12 Songs, 45 Minutes
Styles: R&B, Horn Blues, Soul-Influenced Blues, All Original Songs
The more I think about our cultural obsession with novelty, the more I realize it’s a paradox. We want what’s new, we crave what’s new, yet deep down we yearn for the customary and comforting. What’s always popular at the movies? Remakes and sequels. How many Kinsey Millhone novels has Sue Grafton written? Twenty-five, from A to Y (she passed away before she could write the final book). Remember this principle of the Newly Familiar as you consider Gerald McClendon’s new CD, Can’t Nobody Stop Me Now. It features a dozen original songs as tasty as your favorite donuts. On an R&B album, what do you need? An ardent vocalist (McClendon is known as “The Soulkeeper”), a smooth horn section, and lyrics about love, loss, and life itself. Those expecting more should rediscover that old themes made new equal comfort.
Born and raised in Chicago, Gerald has loved music since the tender age of four and would sing along with the radio. His love for music embraces all genres, and he is prolific in many other forms such as rock, soul, blues and country as well as jazz standards. He has collaborated with numerous musical projects, such as the recording of the theme song for the theatrical play Ten Percent of Molly Snyder. He also sang “Pink” on Sweet Emotion: Songs of Aerosmith. He performed at a private end-of-season celebration for TV courtroom personality Judge Mathis, and in Las Vegas for Rock-and-Roll Fantasy Camp. He and his band have been a regular act at the club/restaurant Untitled in the Windy City.
Partnering with Gerald (vocals) are several thoroughly-talented musicians: Herb Walker, Joe Burba and Mark Wydra on guitars; Roosevelt Purifoy, Sumito “Aryio” Aryioshi and Brian James on keyboards; Skinny Williams on sax solos; John “Boom” Brumbach, an unknown trumpeter, and the Delta Roots Horns on horns; Twist Turner on strings and drums, and Art Love on bass.
The title track, jovial and pleasant, is a horn-infused pep talk for the worst workday mornings or weekend hangovers. However, it should have switched places with the dynamite second song. Talk about soul. Gerald shamelessly bares his: “Bags all around, suitcase by the door. She said she don’t want me around anymore. Where do we go from here? Wiping away the tears.” After being caught cheating, what other recourse is there but to accept the sad, sad consequences? Let Skinny William’s searing sax solo bear the brunt of the blow. “Groove On Tonight” features cheeky keyboards and a player’s party mood: “Gotta get my groove on tonight. I need somebody, somebody to love me right.” Speaking of consequences, though, don’t go “Running Wild.” Doing so might wreck the life and happy home you’ve tried so hard to build. “No more stormy weather,” McClendon insists, alluding to the fights he and his wayward partner have probably had. The real guilty pleasure number, however, is the penultimate one, “Cut You Once.” Ms. Wetnight does not advocate violence or revenge, but dang, is that chorus catchy!
When we buy shoes, we want our new pair to feel just like our old pair. That’s what Gerald McClendon’s latest offering does. It’s comfortable and classy as can be – newly familiar.