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Country Ghetto

46 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 20, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Country Ghetto features 12 original JJ Grey compositions that come right out of the Southern musical and literary tradition. While his songwriting inspirations range from Bill Withers, Van Morrison, and Dan Penn, Grey's songs are always his own, oftentimes relating to the loss of his natural surroundings and the marginalization of the Southern culture he grew up in. From gritty funk to juke joint romps, from contemplative country soul to blistering rockers, JJ Grey & MOFRO occupy a unique space in the music world. And, like the best of the great Southern novelists, JJ Grey fills his stories and songs with details that are at once vivid and personal, political and universal. The songs and the music will make you smell the cypress trees, feel the hot breeze, taste the ho-cakes, and remind you that home is where the heart is.

Within the soul-drenched music of northern Florida's JJ Grey and band, the roots run as deep as the influences are indelible. "War" and "By My Side" sound like Southern-fried Sly and the Family Stone. "Turpentine" recalls the swamp funk of Tony Joe White. Both "A Woman" and "The Sun Is Shining Down" suggest long-lost Otis Redding sessions in Muscle Shoals, while "Mississippi" takes Stevie Wonder's "Superstition" on a trip down to the delta. From the harmonica-laced country blues of the title track to the gospel piano and choir of "On Palestine," Grey's music compensates with conviction for what it lacks in originality. --Don McLeese

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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
  1. War 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
  2. Circles 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
  3. Country Ghetto 4:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
  4. Tragic 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
  5. By My Side 4:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
  6. On Palastine 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
  7. Footsteps 2:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
  8. Turpentine 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
  9. A Woman 2:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
10. Mississippi 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
11. The Sun Is Shining Down 5:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
12. Goodbye 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 20, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alligator Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,907 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By K. Sullivan VINE VOICE on March 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Mofro has finally released their third recording. It feels long overdue (2 ½ years in the making). For those who have seen the guys touring over the past year or so, you will recognize a lot of the CD. Like "Lochloosa", this entry continues away from the funky informality that made "Blackwater" such a treat. It represents a greater mix of rock, soul, and R&B (not that the funk has disappeared, but it's not as prominent). This is not a complaint, just a matter of fact. Whereas I love "Blackwater", I like "Lochloosa" even better. And whereas "Lochloosa" would be difficult if not impossible to beat, these guys have put together another strong recording.

The title track, "Country Ghetto", is another southern anthem akin to "Dirtfloorcracker." J.J. captures so well a pride that comes from living the simple life. There is (or can be) a joy in just living, a joy represented in great soul music since its inception. A less polemic presentation of the same sentiment with a gospel slant is "The Sun is Shining Down." It also features the addition of strings to Mofro's sound. "On Palestine" recalls the intolerance and injustice previously remarked upon in "Santa Claus, True Love, and Freedom." After immortalizing their home state of Florida in song, "Mississippi" is next. It is reminiscent of Stevie Wonder's "Superstitious." "A Woman" is vintage soul. Certainly a stand out track for me is "Turpentine" and its introductory "Footsteps." Crank it up and get your groove on!

For those unfamiliar with the band, these guys represent the best in soul, funk, and blues out there today. They have a stripped down front porch soul sound (as they like to call it). Featured are guitars, organ, drums, and occasionally horns, harmonica, and tambourine.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By T.A. on February 22, 2007
Format: Audio CD
4.5 STARS.

I was introduced to this band a couple of years ago. A friend of mine who writes for a fishing magazine here in Florida knows Mofro's lead man, J Grey. "Lochloosa" had been out for a couple months, and me being a born-and-raised Floridian and musician, he thought I would enjoy their sound. What I heard was a moving musical masterpiece.

On all of Mofro's releases, the rock/blues/R&B influence is noticeable. Whereas "Lochloosa" was a bit more 'backwoods' with it's overall atmosphere, though, "Country Ghetto" is a little more 'radio-friendly.' Don't get me wrong--this is still vintage Mofro. JJG hasn't fallen into the "Some seek stardom but they forget Harlem" category; Mofro are still true to their sound as well as their station in modern music. The music has followed it's necessary evolution, however, and is a bit more readily accessible to the Mofro neophite or first-time listener. The electric guitar calls a bit more attention to itself; we hear a bit more piano; we hear a bit more backing vocals; we hear the occasional horn. Highlights in my opinion are "Footsteps" which leads nicely into "Turpentine," and also "By My Side" and "Country Ghetto." A refreshing addition to the mix is the 60's R-and-B influence throughout the album, especially on "Circles," "Goodbye" and "War," all of which are stand-out tracks.

What J and the band bring is a fresh take on old American sounds that every red-blooded American has loved at some point in their life--sounds that we have all grown to accept as the epoch of early American music. I will not overlap with other reviews here, so let me just say that Mofro take a fresh approach to funk, blues, gospel and southern rock, pulling elements from those genres at will.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By BDH on September 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Country Ghetto is the latest release from the swamp rock band previously known as MOFRO. Their first album on Alligator Records, as well as the first with JJ Grey fronting the band name, it's even more of a fusion of styles than their previous two efforts. It seems any direction MOFRO takes is a good one. Their first record, 2003's Blackwater, was steeped in funk and boogie. Much of it was like a melding of the styles of Sly Stone, Jon Spencer, Dave Matthews, and Prince, with a flavor of deep southern swamp rock and blues, an extremely original style for sure. 2004's Lochloosa was more funk and boogie, and, as some like to call it, "front-porch soul", along with an indication that the band was becoming more focused, and maybe just a tad more serious about music in general.

Country Ghetto is a continuation of all that and more, and probably their best record to-date. It takes the listener back to the steamy swamplands northeast of Jacksonville, Florida, where JJ Grey grew up. Though the dark and melancholy swamp rock sound is prevalent still, add in an air of political awareness and tales of the bleak adversity that wetland living is, and combine that with country rock dynamics and flagrant soul and R&B flavors. That's Country Ghetto. These are JJ Grey's stories, sang with an incredibly high level of passion.

A huge fan of Otis Redding, Grey often pours himself out in that poignant and intense manner. The song "A Woman" is about as soulful as a white boy can get, and incredibly similar to the renowned soul singer's potent wail. "The Sun Is Shining Down" continues down that soulful road, yet in more of a gospel direction. His Van Morrison influence also prevails in this one.
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