Nathaniel Mayer wants your love. Specifically, ladies, he wants your love. And, um, this elder R&B statesman might want just a bit more, as evidenced by his prowling growl on songs such as “Why Don’t You Show Me?”, “Why Don’t You Give it to Me?”, and “Doin’ It”. Yes, fathers, lock up your daughters because, some 40 years after several chart-topping singles, Mayer is back—and he’s still desperate. Whereas his true comeback record and first release in a non-single format—2004’s I Just Want to Be Held—channeled Detroit’s soul side, these nine songs spend more time exploring Motor City’s garage sound. Why Don’t You Give it to Me?, the opening and title track offers a distinctive Black Keys riff from Dan Auerbach paired with a loose and dirty backbeat from the rhythm section (which features members of The Sights, Outrageous Cherry, and Dirtbombs). Then, placed high in the sonic mix, Mayer appears with his own loose and dirty snarl begging the question of the album’s title. During the garage-soul originals that follow, Mayer croons, howls, and whimpers through a varied sonic palette—the hand-clapping and jaunty “White Dress”, the shuffling slow-burn “I’m a Lonely Man”, and the psychedelics of the nine-minute “Doin’ It”. The album closes with a reggae calypso cover of Delroy Wilson’s “Dancing Mood”. By the end of these 40 minutes, you can almost smell the cigarette smoke, cheap scotch, cologne and sweat emanating from Mayer’s powder-blue polyester suit. C’mon, give the man some love.
// Notes from the Road
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