PopMatters is moving to WordPress in December. We will continue to publish on this site as we work on the move. We aim to make it a seamless experience for readers.


Jeff Golub: Do It Again

Maurice Bottomley

Jeff Golub

Do It Again

Label: GRP
US Release Date: 2002-03-26
UK Release Date: 2002-04-08

Although he is a mainstay of smooth jazz charts and radio schedules, Jeff Golub belongs to one of the genre's precursors rather than the fully formed beast itself. If you remember albums by the likes of Cornell Dupree or Eric Gale, session men occasionally let out of the shadows to do their thing, then the feel of this recording will be familiar. Which is to say that Do It Again mostly consists of highly competent instrumental versions of well-known tunes, all with a strong '60s/'70s funk-soul feel to them. The resultant sound is easy on the ear, a little unadventurous but beautifully crafted, with the distinct bonus of Golub's penchant for blues-drenched guitar licks.

Golub has a crisp, clean style that owes something to '60s blues-rock, something to Wes Montgomery and a lot to a long career as session man and sideman to various rock and soul acts. Before the SJ boom brought him fame in his own right, he was probably best known as Rod Stewart's guitarist of choice between 1988 and 1995. On the evidence here, Stewart's taste was better than his output in that period suggests. What is especially impressive is that while Golub is very much the dominant voice (his guitar is hardly ever silent), he manages to remain economical and understated. Other axe-men could profit greatly from his example. Producer Rick Braun and an excellent band add authority to what is, after a shaky start, a very solid set indeed.

That initial wobble comes firstly from a lackluster take on AWB's "Cut the Cake", no masterpiece in the original. That sub-JBs style, which everyone once thought so impressive, has not worn well and this flat reading does not help. Matters don't improve much with the saloon car cassette anthem "On the Beach" -- acceptable if you like the tune but a little redolent of the elevator or shopping mall. From then on, though, it's plain sailing as Golub dusts off the classics and settles into a tight and very tasty groove.

Whether in mellow or funky mode, Golub (with solid support, particularly from keyboardist Mitchel Foreman and drummer Steve Ferrone) exudes composure and clarity. Purposeful, well-executed and enviably assured, he strolls delightfully through Smokey's "Cruisin'" and then Stevie's "Jesus Children of America" -- bending notes and chopping block chords with enthusiasm and great aplomb. Phil Upchurch could hardly do better.

A brief vocal interlude follows thanks to a fine, if rather stiff-collared, "If I Ever Lose This Heaven" (sung by Sue Ann Carwell"). Then it's back to the groove. Eddie Harris' "Cold Duck Time" is a roadhouse boogie with real kick. Golub even manages to coax some gutsy blowing from Gerald Allbright as the two trade riffs and hooks with much gruff affection. Unashamedly retro but fresh and full of life.

I was worried when I saw "Turn Off the Lights" and "Mercy, Mercy Me" on the menu. Happily, Golub does both the Philly smoocher to end Philly smoochers and one of Marvin's finest moments proud. Thanks to his easy artistry, the former retains its status as sweet soul personified while the latter emerges as respectful but evocative in its own right. I'd like to hear Golub in the studio with some of today's better male vocalists. He could possibly do for Hollister or Jaheim what Wah-Wah Watson or Melvin Raglin did for their '70s counterparts.

A skin-tight "Cold Sweat" and a country-style "Crazy Love" complete proceedings. I don't think the world needs any more James Brown tributes, although this one is better than most. The Van Morrison tune is a revelation though. Rich and emotional, lazy but lush, Golub runs through all his bag of tricks without ever sounding showy or superficial. This track, like most of the album, just oozes warmth.

If you feel in the need of a guitar-led, smooth but not saccharine listening experience, then ignore recent offerings by Larry Carlton or Peter White and treat yourself to the tasteful and tasty sound of Jeff Golub. He is not pushing at any boundaries but he is a craftsman of the first order and his tone and technique are second to none.Do It Again is a pleasant surprise and one that holds up to repeat plays better than any equivalent endeavour this year.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology provider that we have until December to move off their service. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to fund the move and further development.





The Power of Restraint in Sophie Yanow, Paco Roca, and Elisa Macellari's New Graphic Novels

The magical quality that makes or breaks a graphic novel lies somewhere in that liminal space in which art and literature intersect.


'People of the City' Is an Unrelenting Critique of Colonial Ideology and Praxis

Cyprian Ekwensi's People of the City is a vivid tale of class struggle and identity reclamation in the shadows of colonialism's reign.


1979's 'This Heat' Remains a Lodestone for Avant-Rock Adventure

On their self-titled debut, available for the first time on digital formats, This Heat delivered an all-time classic stitched together from several years of experiments.


'The Edge of Democracy' and Parallels of Political Crises

Academy Award-nominated documentary The Edge of Democracy, now streaming on Netflix, lays bare the political parallels of the rise of Bolsonaro's Brazil with Trump's America.


The Pogues' 'The BBC Sessions 1984-1986' Honors Working-Class Heroes

The Pogues' BBC Sessions 1984-1986 is a welcome chapter in the musical story of these working-class heroes, who reminded listeners of the beauty and dignity of the strong, sooty backs upon which our industrialized world was built.


Mary Halvorson Creates Cacophony to Aestheticize on 'Artlessly Falling'

Mary Halvorson's Artlessly Falling is a challenging album with tracks comprised of improvisational fragments more than based on compositional theory. Halvorson uses the various elements to aestheticize the confusing world around her.


15 Overlooked and Underrated Albums of the 1990s

With every "Best of the '90s" retrospective comes a predictable list of entries. Here are 15 albums that are often overlooked as worthy of placing in these lists, and are too often underrated as some of the best records from the decade.


'A Peculiar Indifference' Takes on Violence in Black America

Pulitzer Prize finalist Elliott Currie's scrupulous investigation of the impacts of violence on Black Americans, A Peculiar Indifference, shows the damaging effect of widespread suffering and identifies an achievable solution.


20 Songs From the 1990s That Time Forgot

Rather than listening to Spotify's latest playlist, give the tunes from this reminiscence of lost '90s singles a spin.


Delightful 'Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day' Is Good Escapism

Now streaming on Amazon Prime, Bharat Nalluri's 2008 romantic comedy, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, provides pleasant respite in these times of doom and gloom.


The 10 Best Horror Movie Remakes

The horror genre has produced some remake junk. In the case of these ten treats, the update delivers something definitive.


Flirting with Demons at Home, or, When TV Movies Were Evil

Just in time for Halloween, a new Blu-ray from Kino Lorber presents sparkling 2K digital restorations of TV movies that have been missing for decades: Fear No Evil (1969) and its sequel, Ritual of Evil (1970).


Magick Mountain Are Having a Party But Is the Audience Invited?

Garage rockers Magick Mountain debut with Weird Feelings, an album big on fuzz but light on hooks.


Aalok Bala Revels in Nature and Contradiction on EP 'Sacred Mirror'

Electronic musician Aalok Bala knows the night is not a simple mirror, "silver and exact"; it phases and echoes back, alive, sacred.


Clipping Take a Stab at Horrorcore with the Fiery 'Visions of Bodies Being Burned'

Clipping's latest album, Visions of Bodies Being Burned, is a terrifying, razor-sharp sequel to their previous ode to the horror film genre.


Call Super's New LP Is a Digital Biosphere of Insectoid and Otherworldly Sounds

Call Super's Every Mouth Teeth Missing is like its own digital biosphere, rife with the sounds of the forest and the sounds of the studio alike.


Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.


15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.