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Get Thy Bearings

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 25, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Robert Walter performs all his own stunts. For 20 years, the San Diego native has been pulling drawbars and pushing the limits of the Hammond B3 organ. As a founding member of the Greyboy Allstars, he helped usher in the funk-jazz renaissance of the early '90s and has continued to keep one hand comping chords in the instrument's funky past, while the other explores ever-new melodic terrain. On June 25, his long-standing project, Robert Walter's 20th Congress, returns with, Get Thy Bearings, via The Royal Potato Family. It was a recent move from New Orleans to Los Angeles that jump-started the 20th Congress who hadn't recorded a studio album in ten years. The nine-track effort presents Walter's organ, piano, Rhodes and synthesizer driving an all-star line-up rounded out by guitarist/bassist Elgin Park, drummer Aaron Redfield, sax players Karl Denson and Cochemea Gastelum, and percussionist Chuck Prada.

Get Thy Bearings is drenched in the vintage old school soul, funk and jazz vibe of Walter's heroes like Big John Patton, but it also reflects his recent work scoring films. There's a conceptual depth to the songwriting that draws on elements of narrative and character development, lending a cinematic color to the proceedings. The tracks range from the Sly Stone-style soul vamp of "Little Business" to the heavy gospel of "Crux." "Dog Party" might as well be the theme song to a cartoon of the same name, while "Don't Chin the Dog" shifts from delicate shuffle to horn-drenched boogaloo. Things get eerie on "Up From the Skies," a Jimi Hendrix cover rendered nearly unrecognizable in washes of electric Miles. Similarly, the album's title track is a shrewd reworking of the 1968 Donovan tune Walter first discovered on compilation of sample-friendly breakbeats, full of fuzz guitar and a mercurial organ solo.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 25, 2013)
  • Original Release Date: June 25, 2013
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: The Royal Potato Family
  • Run Time: 43 minutes
  • ASIN: B00CHR7EY4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #153,448 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Andre S. Grindle TOP 1000 REVIEWER on July 10, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Unbeknownst to myself keyboardist Robert Walter-expert on the organ,piano and electric pianos and found of Greyboy Allstars was one of the earliest purveyors of the 90's funk revival. Interesting enough,during this time the music became much closer associated with jazz as R&B/soul became more oriented around hip-hop. So the label of jazz became a safe haven for artists who wanted to take funk into exciting territory,through improvisation and other musical adventures. Greboy don't record as often as perhaps I'd like. Yet their latest album Inland Emperor was one that I didn't know came with a parallel project. So when I saw this,in particular with the presence of master horn players Cochemea Gastelum and Karl Denson I knew it would be something I'd want to hear.

"Hunk",with its Meters-like chocked guitar sound and in particular the densely percussive and flamboyantly thick rhythms of "Crux" are organ and electric piano extravaganza's-with Walter on the two instruments flowing so well between each other. "Little Business" has a strong Chicago/Ramsey Lewis soul/funk/jazz style to it-with a lot of blues and some very singable melodic exchanges as well. "Foxhunting" starts out with some think funk and winds out into these free form sax and flute solos from Gastelum and Denson. "Dog Party" and "Don't Chin The Dog" are thick,slamming funky soul all the way while "Inversion Layer" takes a harmonically challenging turn.

About that the two cover songs have the same effect. The Donovan penned title song,with it's dynamic settings for the big piano blocks and the amazing psychedelic fusion of Hendrix's "Up From The Skies" are as harmonically and melodically challenging as they come.
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Format: Vinyl Verified Purchase
It's funky. Like you want it to be. Robert Walter is consistently funky. Most of the Band are Greyboy Allstars Alumni!
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
The 20th Congress set the bar high with their previous album "Money Shot", but they keep up the groove nicely on this new album. Very rhythm-driven without being repetitive or derivative, the group keeps the compositions tight and focused. All this while maintaining a healthy dose of deep fried funk! This is an album that will easily stand up to many repeat listens.
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What can I say, this man is one of the best organists out there. Walter always brings it with Greyboy Allstars and this release is more his style -- keys oriented jazz-funk. Very great stuff, this coming from someone who has almost all of his solo work.
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Format: Audio CD
Get Thy Bearings marks the return of Robert Walter's band the 20th Congress after a decade apart, and they do not disappoint! I loved Walter's last solo album, Cure All, and his skills as a composer just keep getting better. This is great soul jazz with some heavy funk overtones. My only complaint is that it is not long enough.
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