Music

Scone Cash Players Get Organ-ized

Photo courtesy of the artist

Hammond organist Adam Scone and his Scone Cash Players tie various threads of organ soul/jazz together to create an album-length party, As the Screw Turns.

As the Screw Turns
Scone Cash Players

Flamingo Time/Mango Hill

21 June 2019

As the Screw Turns, the new album by Scone Cash Players, may not be the most musically significant album of 2019, but it is certainly among the most fun albums of the year, and we seriously need as much fun as we can get these days. In the process of creating this fun, Scone Cash Players tie together various threads of classic organ soul/jazz, a wildly entertaining subgenre of music heard most prominently during the last three decades in the instrumentals the Beastie Boys scattered through their 1990s albums like Check Your Head and Ill Communication.

Scone Cash Players are led by Hammond organist Adam Scone, who was inspired to form the group while touring with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Sugarman 3, and Charles Bradley and the Extraordinaires during a Daptone Records Soul Revue tour of Europe. Jones and Bradley have since passed on, but their spirits surely inform the soulful proceedings captured by Scone and his bandmates on As the Screw Turns.

But it is not just the vibe that Scone found during that tour since Scone Cash Players are comprised of several of the musicians Scone played during those European dates. As the Screw Turns opens in full-on party mode with the title track. Scone plays up a storm while sax player Ian Hendrickson-Smith channels some Junior Walker to further liven up the proceedings.

The party continues with "Bokum Hi". Though it's a vocal track, sung energetically by Jason Joshua (who sings on two additional tracks), it seems like the main purpose of the singing is to push the musicians into some turbo-charged playing. Again, to invoke Junior Walker, "Bokum Hi" feels like Walker's hit "Shotgun", which also has vocals while feeling like an instrumental.

The party mellows briefly with "My House Is Small (But I Dream Big)", a song about humble accommodations and big ambitions, sung beautifully by Naomi Shelton, whose group, the Gospel Queens, are another star on the Daptone roster. In addition to Shelton's singing and Scone's playing, "My House Is Small" also features an evocative trumpet solo by Dave Guy.

Jason Joshua returns to sing about "Canned Champagne" while the band chugs along behind him in a Sly Stone-ish groove. Oddly, "Canned Champagne" is followed by "They Say It's Christmas Time", which is indeed a full-on Christmas tune, sung by John Dokes, who describes Santa's journeys up and down the Brooklyn Queens Expressway and all over New York City. You might find yourself skipping "They Say It's Christmas Time" in March or June, but don't forget to add it to your holiday playlists.

A short instrumental, "Smoke and Nails" is a cool workout for the entire band and, believe it or not, features a rhythm guitar that might remind you of the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Runnin'".

Of the ten tunes on As the Screw Turns, it is the penultimate track, "Brass Tacks" that most embodies the spirit of Jimmy Smith, Brother Jack McDuff, and Richard 'Groove' Holmes, great organists who skillfully walked the musical tightrope between soul and jazz. With Smith, McDuff, and Holmes seemingly guiding Scone's fingers, it is no wonder that, on a fun album, "Brass Tacks" is the most fun of all.

7
Music


Books


Film


Television


Recent
Music

The 10 Best Experimental Albums of 2015

Music of all kinds are tending toward a consciously experimental direction. Maybe we’re finally getting through to them.

Books

John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, and Their Fellow Freedom Riders Are Celebrated in 'Breach of Peace'

John Lewis and C.T. Vivian were titans of the Civil Rights struggle, but they are far from alone in fighting for change. Eric Etheridge's masterful then-and-now project, Breach of Peace, tells the stories of many of the Freedom Riders.

Music

Unwed Sailor's Johnathon Ford Discusses Their New Album and 20 Years of Music

Johnathon Ford has overseen Unwed Sailor for more than 20 years. The veteran musician shows no sign of letting up with the latest opus, Look Alive.

Jedd Beaudoin
Music

Jazz Trombonist Nick Finzer Creates a 'Cast of Characters'

Jazz trombonist Nick Finzer shines with his compositions on this mainstream jazz sextet release, Cast of Characters.

Music

Datura4 Travel Blues-Rock Roads on 'West Coast Highway Cosmic'

Australian rockers Datura4 take inspiration from the never-ending coastal landscape of their home country to deliver a well-grounded album between blues, hard rock, and psychedelia.

Books

Murder Is Most Factorial in 'Eighth Detective'

Mathematician Alex Pavesi's debut novel, The Eighth Detective, posits mathematical rules defining 'detective fiction'.

Music

Eyedress Sets Emotions Against Shoegaze Backdrops on 'Let's Skip to the Wedding'

Eyedress' Let's Skip to the Wedding is a jaggedly dreamy assemblage of sounds that's both temporally compact and imaginatively expansive, all wrapped in vintage shoegaze ephemera.

Film

Of Purges and Prescience: On David France's LGBTQ Documentary, 'Welcome to Chechnya'

The ongoing persecution of LGBTQ individuals in Chechnya, or anywhere in the world, should come as no surprise, or "amazement". It's a motif undergirding the history of civil society that certain people will always be identified for extermination.

Television

Padma Lakshmi's 'Taste the Nation' Questions What, Exactly, Is American Food

Can food alone undo centuries of anti-immigrant policies that are ingrained in the fabric of the American nation? Padma Lakshmi's Taste the Nation certainly tries.

Film

Performing Race in James Whale's 'Show Boat'

There's a song performed in James Whale's musical, Show Boat, wherein race is revealed as a set of variegated and contradictory performances, signals to others, a manner of being seen and a manner of remaining hidden, and it isn't "Old Man River".

Music

The Greyboy Allstars Rise Up to Help America Come Together with 'Como De Allstars'

If America could come together as one nation under a groove, Karl Denson & the Greyboy Allstars would be leading candidates of musical unity with their funky new album, Como De Allstars.

Music

The Beatles' 'Help!' Redefined How Personal Popular Music Could Be 55 Years Ago

Help! is the record on which the Beatles really started to investigate just how much they could get away with. The album was released 55 years ago this week, and it's the kick-off to our new "All Things Reconsidered" series.

Music

Porridge Radio's Mercury Prize-Nominated 'Every Bad' Is a Wonderful Epistemological Nightmare

With Every Bad, Porridge Radio seduce us with the vulnerability and existential confusion of Dana Margolin's deathly beautiful lyricism interweaved with alluring pop melodies.

Music

​​Beyoncé's 'Black Is King' Builds Identity From Afrofuturism

Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.

Reading Pandemics

Colonial Pandemics and Indigenous Futurism in Louise Erdrich and Gerald Vizenor

From a non-Native perspective, COVID-19 may be experienced as an unexpected and unprecedented catastrophe. Yet from a Native perspective, this current catastrophe links to a longer history that is synonymous with European colonization.

Music

John Fullbright Salutes Leon Russell with "If the Shoe Fits" (premiere + interview)

John Fullbright and other Tulsa musicians decamped to Leon Russell's defunct studio for a four-day session that's a tribute to Dwight Twilley, Hoyt Axton, the Gap Band and more. Hear Fullbright's take on Russell's "If The Shoe Fits".

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews

Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

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