Vinyl Hampdin – Red | Album Review

Vinyl Hampdin – Red

Armored Records

11 songs time-51:54

Think Blood, Sweat And Tears re-imagined for current times fronted by a female vocalist. The similar horn driven sound is the main focus here aside from the lyrics and vocals. Vinyl Hampdin’s horn arrangements are reminiscent of Blood, Sweat And Tears. With five originals and six cover songs the approach and arrangements are all their own. This band is the vision of trombonist/composer-arranger Steve Wiest. His concept behind this aggregation is-“What would Chicago, Blood, Sweat And Tears and Tower Of Power sound like if they started out today?”. The four piece horn section is put to good use as they variously play in unison and/or with intertwining lines horn lines. Add a tight rhythm section, a forceful singer, creative guitarist, keyboards and inventive lyrics to the mix and you’e got a powerful musical force. Vocalist Lisa Dodd is a commanding presence set against the strong horn-driven attack.

Their version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” sticks pretty close to the original except that the riff is mainly supplied by the horn section. It serves as a good introduction to the throaty vocals of Lisa Dodd. “Gottaluvit” finds the horns trading off lines in fine fashion alongside the funky guitar of Ryan Davidson. A slow and deliberate horn intro kicks off “One Song” s it eventually picks up synth strings, acoustic guitar and Lisa’s plaintive vocal. It’s a moody piece. The atmospheric song gets pleasantly invaded by a noisy wah-wah guitar section.

Bonnie Raitt’s “The Road’s My Middle Name” is funked up as guitar rips through the powerful horns. The subject of “Pay For It” is summed up by the title-musicians getting paid for their music, not giving it away for free. The band gets to stretch out with some soloing on this one. The Statler Brothers’ sixties top forty hit “Flowers On the Wall” is reimagined as a harder, darker song with a new melody. The original had a lighter, frivolous vibe.

A positive message is urged against the current tumultuous state of the world in “Billions”. Synth strings vie for space alongside the horns, keys and guitars. Rare Earth’s “I Just Want To Celebrate” is tweaked a bit accenting the horns. A distorted guitar riff compliments the baseball references to love on “Diamonds”.

Two covers wrap things up. Paul McCartney’s “My Love” receives a heartfelt vocal from Lisa over the usual horn treatment. Bill Wither’s “Use Me” well suits Lisa’s commanding voice. That in concert with the creative horn arrangement make their version a sure fire winner.

An at once seemingly familiar yet fresh horn sound is the main thrust for this vibrant music. Steve Wiest has achieved his vision with the able assistance of a top notch assemblage of musicians. Do your record collection a favor.

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