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Orange Blossoms

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Audio CD, August 26, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

With 2007's Country Ghetto, the fan base for JJ Grey & Mofro's gritty, funky Southern rock 'n' soul grew by leaps and bounds. The title posted a 50% increase in sales over their previous release (2004's Lochloosa), scanning over 30,000 units in less than 18 months. With Grey's new release, Orange Blossoms, he and Alligator are gearing up for another jump in sales. Orange Blossoms is a masterpiece of soul-shaking music, as JJ's deep Southern roots and skill as a storyteller shine through, whether he's rocking with gospel-tent fervor or slowly winding his raspy voice around a lyric of heartbreak and loss. It's an aggressively groove-driven record fueled by JJ's gritty, smoldering vocals and funk-infused guitar playing.

There are no shortage of retro-soul outfits, but few with the 70s-style swampy swagger of this rural Florida-based act. Orange Blossoms,’ title cut might remind some folks of Jerry Garcia's work with Merle Saunders; with its thick Booker T soul groove and jam band feel. Some of the album’s tracks bring to mind the Allman Brothers, Delanie and Bonny, Dr. John, or the Black Crowes. Grey and Mofro’s earnest songs seem to come from a pre-ironic era before digital production and ringtones. Orange Blossoms is what most bar bands in the world think they sound like; but don’t. It’s down home, in the best sense, performed flawlessly, with an admirable disregard for fashion. --Mike McGonigal

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

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Orange Blossoms 4:41FREE  Get MP3 
listen  2. The Devil You Know 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Everything Good Is Bad 3:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. She Don't Know 3:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. The Truth 4:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Wylf 4:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. On Fire 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Move It On 6:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Higher You Climb 4:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Dew Drops 3:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Ybor City 4:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. I Believe (In Everything) 6:09$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 26, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: January 1, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alligator Records
  • ASIN: B001BWQA5A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #49,453 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By T. Curtis on September 30, 2008
Format: Audio CD
In Mofro's previous three albums (Blackwater, Lochloosa, Country Ghetto) the songs have been a soulful gumbo of blues, funk, rock, and gospel. Slow rollers, mid-tempo groovers, juke house rockers, and soul-baring gospel (some of my favorites). Most songs represent poignant reflections of southern living, whose lyrics often transcend the normal bounds for blues ballads. Some of the best songs of the decade in my opinion. Their simplicity (in instrumentation, arrangement, and emotive delivery) is the key to their resonance with listeners.

Although Orange Blossoms includes some beautifully polished soul recordings, tight musicianship, and JJ's gutsy vocals, Mofro seems to have strayed from a winning formula a bit. Daryl Hance's slide guitar, always subtle, is mostly lost behind the horns and strings. The mid-tempo groovers dominate the record, making many of the songs sound basically the same (Devil You Know, WYLF, On Fire, Higher You Climb). The tempo goes from slow to slower on She Don't Know, The Truth, and Dew Drops. The more upbeat Ybor City is a straight-ahead blues shuffle that lacks the edge that usually makes Mofro stand out. Funky, yes. Dynamic, not so much. The lyrics just don't seem to resonate quite as well as in previous records, and the subject matter is much more typical of the genre (girls, relationships, etc.).

If you're a Mofro fan you'll still really like Orange Blossoms. It's just a little more over-produced than you're used to. If you're just getting to know these guys, check out Country Ghetto or Lochloosa first. I hope JJ and Mofro get a little more back to basics on their next release.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By julia ann chandler on August 30, 2008
Format: Audio CD
I'm a long time fan of Mofro (i have no problem with the name change, though i know many do...they changed labels -thats it) and i listened to this album at least 4 times through by now. each album is amazing, and this one is no different. but it is different! there are less references to florida and more mention of the seductive ladies...hmm...i hope the road isn't getting to them! however, that aside, i am blown away by jj's voice on this album. he goes from that smokey gritty swamp sound then to a smooth high tone on 'she don't know' and everywhere in between. they are continuing to evolve but maintaining their mofro sound. Mofro will be present in charlotte in october and i'm counting the days to hear this album live. right on!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By That Florida Feelin' on September 8, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Orange Blossoms is a great album, and if you like JJ Grey & MOFRO, you should like this album. Like all their music, Orange Blossoms effortlessly evokes feelings of coming of age, living, and loving in a Florida quickly consigning itself to the dustbin of history. That's a lot of emotion to pack into 12 songs, but JJ Grey's vocal abilities and MOFRO's musical prowess easily carry the load.

As a native Floridian straight out of the bayous of Northwestern Florida, I'll say there's good reason why the word "swamp" is often mentioned in the same breath with this group's name. After a childhood of nights on the porch, staring into the darkness of the bay trees and listening to the crickets chirp, I can tell you that the music playing in my head belonged to this band, I just didn't realize it then.

That being said, this album isn't as strong as Lochloosa or Country Ghetto. As I listened to the album for the first time, I felt a slight disappointment at the relatively subdued feeling of the first few songs. My final opinion of the whole album changed when I hit Track 11, however. "Ybor City" is, for me, the best song on the album by far. Its upbeat tempo, raucous lyrics, and musicianship really set it apart.

If the slower songs are more your predilection, as they sometimes are for me, several of these also stand out as particularly poignant. "I Believe (In Everything)" and "Dew Drops" hit the spot.

Other strong numbers on the album include "On Fire" and the title track, "Orange Blossoms," probably my second favorite song.

Bottom Line: If you like JJ Grey & MOFRO and enjoy the sounds of a Florida which has more culture and meaning than Disney World, Condos, and Tourists, then this album is a must have.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By R. C. Schmults on November 11, 2008
Format: Audio CD
These guys are a great band with a range of musical styles. One of the reasons I wasn't blown away by this outing is it is mostly a "blue-eyed soul"/R&B set, unlike their other stuff which is more wide ranging. I love the inspirations behind this sound: the late 60's early 70's sound that had a fat horn sound, background singers who step in to hit chorus with a wavering note, organ lead-ins, and funkified twangy guitar. But in a lot of places he moves past that period to something closer to the later 70's where it was losing its edge. Think of the difference between early Sly Stone, Dobie Grey, or Al Green and their later stuff -- it became over produced, the horns became trite vs insipired, the background vocals headed toward soft rock. On this dics you get the gamut. You have tunes that hit the mark like "Everything Good is Bad" (could be a great Sly Stone tune), "On Fire" (a raw funky number), and "I Believe" (which has the build of a classic R&B ballad). But others that don't seem up to J.J Grey's previous high standard like "Orange Blossoms" (seems like an attempt to craft the Gulf Coast answer to Seger's "Night Moves"), "The Truth" and "Dew Drops" (cheesy strings), and Move it On (intended to be a sexy groove, instead borders on Broadway). If you are a J.J. Grey fan, there's enough here to like to make it worth buying (or cherry pick the tunes you want via download). If you are new to J.J. Grey, go with the albumn Country Ghetto instead -- better introduction to the tremendous talent this guy has.
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