Monday, August 16, 2010

Don Dixon Don Dixon Sings The Jeffords Brothers 2010

What an exciting title. Who are the Jeffords Brothers? Who is Don Dixon?

There are way too many people who might ask that second question, and for no good reason. Don Dixon has released a run of great solo records since 1985, and has produced many excellent records for others, not the least of which a string of overlooked gems by his wife Marti Jones, but also REM, Smithereens, Marshall Crenshaw, and many others.

He's the American Nick Lowe. Songwriter, singer, bass player, producer, and consistently excellent at all of it. Blessed with a soulful rasp of a voice, he's up to the task of singing these fine, newly written R&B gems. Dixon played all the instruments except drums, which he wisely left in long-time musical partner Jim Brock's rock-steady hands.

So who are the Jeffords? Just two brothers from Carolina who write these particularly great songs, that Dixon turns into white soul the likes of which has been missing since the glory days of Dan Penn writing for the Box Tops. These songs are excellent, and Dixon does them as well as he does his own, with reverence and interesting arrangements.

I've Had Enough starts the CD off with a slinky soul put-down. All I Can Say is a funny-sad tale of cat-got-the-tongue shyness. Long Road Gone is a richly-orchestrated ballad that Dixon sings the crap out of. Me And My Radio is an under the covers romance with Top 40 broadcasts that swings with a strong chorus. I'm In Love With A Woman That I Can't Stand is another funny-sad gem, and the horn charts add a nice touch. The sweet soul of Love In Motion is irresistible, and Surprised By My Surprise is loaded with both lyrical and melodic hooks.

It's not soul or R&B like you're used to hearing, unless you've been following Dixon's work for a while, in which case this CD seems the natural extension of all he does so well, while letting him off the hook for the songwriting.

Killer smooth soul-pop from a talented artist and dynamic writing duo. Try something old, something new, in one package. Have some fun for a change. Highly recommended.

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