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G. Love and Special Sauce Have Unusual and Unique Flavour
I remember the first time I saw the video for "Cold Beverage" on MTV.
Normally I listen to MTV with very skeptical ears not wanting to believe that everything the musical gatekeepers send my way is as good as they say it is. This unusual song was different and better though.
G. Love and Special Sauce played last Wednesday at the Lava Lounge, the dim but colorful all-ages club, giving Chico the chance to decide if they are a one-hit pop wonder or a legitimate, rising talent.
G. Love hails from South Street, a neighborhood in Philadelphia. He and Special Sauce have been making their way around the country spreading their unique brand of funk and supporting their first self-titled album.
G. Love's sound reflects the unusual mix of instruments he and his band mates use. Jeff "Houseman" Clemons' drum set looks like he bought it at Mel Torme's garage sale for $2.
The sound that comes out of it, however, would take a record producer all day to replicate on a computer.
Former punk rocker Jimmy "Marshmallow Man" Prescott is far from your average bass player. Prescott carved his powerful and deep bass lines from a stand-up bass that stood head and shoulders above him, something that simply isn't seen in popular music.
The final member of the trio is G. Love, who at first glance looks like he is primed for a guest appearance on one of next season's "Beverly Hills 90210" episodes.
"G. Love's walking around here," I heard one excited Lava Lounge patron say to a woman sitting at the table with him. He then described Love's hairstyle and dress in detail.
I was thinking I could be in for a long night, but I kept remembering the video I had seen and the groovy beat that accompanied it. The sound is a combination of the Rolling Stones, Dylan, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus and every hip-hop and jazz band one might want to throw into the mix.
When there are this many influences thrown in, the sound can justly be referred to as original.
When G. Love and Special Sauce took the stage they proved that all that really matters is the sound that comes out.
In addition to rapping and singing, Love plays guitar and harmonica on stage.
His guitar and harmonica were not as powerful as his singing, but still very effective.
Love played his instruments with a lot of emotion, mostly playing slow and loud.
There was no jamming, which was the perfect complement to his bubbly singing, the real lead instrument in this band.
I don't know if technically G. Love was really rapping or singing. He was probably doing a little bit of both, but the end result was a great groove.
Love's music was so easy-sounding that it seemed as if the band was simply standing on the stage and letting the groove flow out of them and into the crowd.
Towards the end of the set the crowd changed from an attentive, still audience to a jumping and lively dance crowd as the songs became more recognizable to many of the Lava Lounge patrons who obviously had invested in G. Love's first and self-titled CD.
Finally Love played his MTV hit "Cold Beverage" to close the set, and the Lava Lounge started flowing.
Wednesday's version of this song featured an impromptu rap about Chico which truly showcased Love's verbal talents.
As they left the stage, G. Love promised to come back to Chico, but if the second album is anything like the first, G. Love and Special Sauce will find the recipe for success and move on to bigger towns and venues.
by Michael Schneider of "The Orion", 1 Mar 95
G. Love and Special Sauce: "Coast to Coast Motel"
On his second disc, G. Love continues his devotion to the loose, unprocessed blues of old masters like Lightnin' Hopkins and John Lee Hooker. In a rock-and-roll world of velocity, volume, and mechanized beats, G. Love is bent on spreading the gospel of low-end acoustics. And there is something refreshing in the way his band rely on the rich tones of an ancient idiom and still manage to get heard on "alternative" radio.
Now if he'd only abandon his mission to come off as Dude from the (hip-hop) Delta, maybe the fun of the music could shine through more. On songs like "Nancy" or "Leaving the City," Special Sauce build up a funky swing that sounds pretty natural. On "Kiss and Tell," G. Love's affectations are easy to bear, since his band whip up such a relaxed, sweeping flow; on "Everybody," he lets his vocals ease into the gentle shuffle and doesn't try too hard to be something he's not. The disc's closing number, "Coming Home," proves that his singing can be genuinely wistful and touching. Against the strum of an acoustic guitar, he demonstrates the value of true simplicity.
by Amy Finch of the "Boston Pheonix", 10 Nov 95