Philadelphonic by G Love & Special Sauce (1999)

07Feb11

I’ve often described G Love as “the reason I never pursued music as a career”. Sounds like a bad thing to say about someone, but I mean it in a totally complementary way. This guy does exactly what I would want/try to do as a musician, and knocks it out of the park every time. He’s already done it, so why should I bother? Truth is, I never even learned how to play guitar, or for that matter never mastered the violin in my 9th grade orchestra rehearsals. But it’s nice to dream, and the vision of my bright illustrious career as a musician sounded just like Philadelphonic.

If you’re new to G Love, this album is a great place to start. In the future I’ll write about albums that came before and after this one, but Philadelphonic marks a pretty good midpoint of his career in terms of developing his sound and delivering fan-friendly concert jams in the form of a studio recording (not an easy task!). And I don’t mean that he’s just captured the “live sound” here…it’s a set of songs that stand alone as a good studio recording, and at live shows those songs can take on a life of their own. It’s like Fight Club…you can like the book, and you can like the movie, but you probably don’t like them for the same reasons. G Love’s musical style is hard to describe…he gives you a genuine blend of blues, rock, rap, country and maybe a slice of soul. I’m sure that you have heard other bands described that way, but listen to G Love for a minute and you’ll see that it’s a genuinely unique sound. He’s a true musical genius, and unafraid to push the boundaries of his style…the same ingredients that I had in my rock star fantasy!

‘Rodeo Clowns’ is a tune that Jack Johnson fans will recognize from another life. ‘Dreamin’ has beats that rap fans will enjoy, but the smooth guitar and sing-along lyrics cross this jam over for everyone. And if you want to charm your girlfriend, throw ‘Gimme Some Lovin’ on a mixtape. But this is not an album of “singles”…I think we need to go back to the album’s title to figure out what’s going on here. The only real disappointment on Philadelphonic is that you spend 45 minutes looking/waiting for Philly references without reward. Some of G’s other records blatantly shout out his hometown, but in this case I think he just saw Philadelphonic as a dedication to his roots. If you’ll listen closely you’ll hear the record chronologically span his career. A few tracks touch on the early days, like ‘ Do It For Free’ and especially ‘No Turning Back’, whose subject is a girl even though the story sounds autobiographical. Do your homework on G Love and you’ll like the guy even more…maybe you spat on him while he was playing guitar on a street corner many years ago! The record keeps it moving through his career onto the nights playing in the clubs on ‘Friday Night (Hundred Dollar Bill)’. But the most straightforward tracks on Philadelphonic are those that reflect and pay tribute to the help and inspiration he got along the way in ‘Honor & Harmony’, ‘Rock & Roll (Shouts Out Back to the Rappers)’ and ‘Around the World (Thank You)’. Overall it’s a cool record, easy to listen to, and as I said earlier it’s a good starting point for those wanting to bone up on their G Love. Honestly, it isn’t even close to being his best record, so continue to holler at ya boy the music turtle and I promise to tell you more about my favorite musician!

music turtle recommends: DOWNLOAD IT!

What do you think about this album? Comment below

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