Funky To The Bone marks the return of Colorado’s first grand master of Funk ‘n’ Roll, Freddi Gowdy, in this “Sam & Dave meets Tower of Power” type of collaboration with Chris Daniels. It’s the first studio album for the Kings in eight years and the first album for Freddi since the Freddi Henchi Band recorded at Caribou Ranch in the 1980s.Two master “soul men” soothe the spirit and invigorate the body with classic funk and blues. Singer, songwriter, guitarist Chris Daniels and singer Freddi Gowdy, the rightful heirs of Sam & Dave, deliver a musical tonic defying passive listening. Daniels has a “blue chip” resume including an atypical diploma from Berklee College of Music. He formed the Kings in 1984 in Boulder, Colorado, released a debut of jump blues in 1985 and has been grinding out exuberant R&B music with Gowdy since 2011.
Ten booty-bumping tracks on the Kings’ 16th album feature Randy Amen (drums, vocal), Kevin “Bro” Lege, (bass, vocal), Colin “Bones” Jones (lead guitar), Jim Waddell (tenor, alto saxes, vocal), Darryl “Doody” Abrahamson (trumpet, vocal) along with Billy Payne (piano, B3), Christian Teele (percussion), Darren Kramer (trombone), Bob Rebholz (tenor sax), Carlos Chavez (baritone sax), Hazel Miller, Coco Brown, Carl Carwell and Chris Kimmel (vocals).
The anthemic title track has Jones “skanking” stinky lines, Waddell honking like Maceo Parker and the mantra-like chorus of “Funky, funky, funky to the bone.” Chris Kenner’s classic “Something You Got” taken slow and sexy inflames Daniels’ and Gowdy’s gritty, sweat-drenched vocals. The hip “Don’t Let Your Mouth Write No Checks Your Booty Can’t Cash In” has Gowdy calling out.
The rousing R&B/gospel “Joy” boasts Waddell’s lyrical alto sax. Hot funk meets contemporary hip hop on “Cool Breeze” with Daniels’ smoldering lusty vocals. Watching the B-boys bust a move… “Dance, Dance, Dance” with Jones’ sassy wah guitar exhorts to get up and get down.
The “rhythm” Kings flaunt versatility on the swing blues “What a Day” while exulting, “Glory hallelujah I’ve been able to compete. Now that I won her, I’m gonna keep her, I just can’t be beat.” Stretching further, the Latin rhythms of “Nobody Knows” find Jones literally “singing” on his strings with Gowdy’s heated passionate lyrics. “Survivors” mashes tender, melodic pop with strutting funk to defiantly declaring lyrics punctuated by Waddell’s punchy alto sax. “Birthday Suit” closes with a swinging blues shuffle lending the right buoyancy to the sly lyrics. “
The deeply-rooted “old school” funk of Daniels and Gowdy is neither old nor academic. Instead, it breaks down arbitrary barriers with vital, life-affirming music guaranteed to chase away the “blues” while showcasing two extraordinary musicians.