on September 30, 2011
Prince fans know that this is the group that brought you the ridiculously good " Family album" that had the best and original version of "Nothing compares to you".
Minneapolis Funk with Style . St. Paul, Susannah, Jellybean, and Eric Leeds serve up some Funky smooth jams, reminding you what music use too, and could be again !
Professional Musicianship with a funky smart attitude, that will make you melancholy that 26 years have passed between albums.
FDeluxe AKA " The Family" sound just as good as the Minneapolis funk Heyday of the 80's .
on November 3, 2011
The best compliment I can pay to FDeluxe (aka The Family) is that their new "Gaslight" album, the band's first in 26 yrs, is a stunning return to form and sounds exactly what you hope for & expect for The Family circa 2011. While retaining the best elements that made the "old" Family so great, FDeluxe expertly updates their Minneapolis funk formula with modern production - but the chemistry and the sheer musical talent/chops are still present in every track. I saw FDeluxe play a rare intimate live club date recently in LA to promote the new Gaslight CD, and it was truly a magical show - what was even more amazing is, while their past hits still sound great, it's a credit to the band and their quality current material, that even the new songs sounded terrific and fit perfectly into the Family oeuvre. St. Paul, Susannah, Eric, and Jellybean have crafted a solid album chock full of standout tracks that will satisfy Family fans and new admirers alike - buy your own copy to support The Band Formerly Known as The Fammily aka FDeluxe! Let's just hope it doesn't take another 26 yrs for the third CD!!
on October 14, 2011
Most Prince fans know of The Family's 1985 album as it was the first non-Prince album to be released on his label Paisley Park and was made up of the remaining members from The Time. Also, if you're a Prince, it's probably one of the most well liked Paisley Park albums (it's one of mine!). When I first heard The Family was getting back together I never expected an album... and when I heard they were making an album I doubted it would ever see the light of day, and when I heard it was being released I thought there was no way in hell it was going to be any good. That first album holds a special place with it's fans as it's a unique album and marks a major point in Prince's musical evolution - it was one of the first albums to include horns and it was the first album to contain backing by a full orchestra. Plus it incorporated many musical elements that Prince would bring into fruition on future albums such as Parade and Sign `O The Times. It's biggest compliment is it sounded like it's own thing and not another one of Prince's side projects... St. Paul and Susannah had chemistry when they harmonized, plus the album was classy yet funky, sparse yet layered, edgy yet polished. So how, without Prince's input, could a new album be nearly as good as their debut? I can't answer how, but I can tell you that they did it!
The Family's new album, Gaslight, picks up right where their debut left off. If this album were to come out a few years after their first one it would have not seemed out of place at all... but in 2011 it doesn't sound dated either. It avoids the pitfalls such as using any retro sounding synths or drum machines , and it doesn't try to sound modern by adding any guest rappers or clichés that exist with today's `top 40' music. Instead St. Paul and company keep the music organic utilizing Jellybean Johnson on drums through out (instead of a drum machine) - as well as other basic instruments - guitar (also played by Jellybean at times), bass (St. Paul), horns (Eric Leeds) and keyboards (St. Paul and Susannah). Plus there is also an orchestra on this one, with the arrangements by St. Paul. The result is an album that has all the uniqueness of the first one. The songs effortlessly flow between funk (Drummers and Healers, @8), ballads (Beautiful You), Jazz (the instrumental Leed Line) and everything in between (the gorgeous Over the Canyon). Throughout there's a consistency in sound that really pulls the album together. St. Paul and Susannah each take their turns on lead vocals and do a fair share of sharing vocal time, and they haven't lost a bit of that aforementioned chemistry. As one listens to this album it becomes apparent how much of Prince's late 80's sound Eric Leeds was responsible for. There are many moments on the album where the horns kick in that I thought it sounded like something from Lovesexy or one of Prince's many 80's outtakes, but at the same time it doesn't sound repetitive. The horns here adorn the songs, never overpowering them creating a mood that existed on the original album. I have to admit I was completely surprised with Gaslight as I really didn't think they could pull this off. I've been a fan of the "Minneapolis music scene" ever since it started in the 80's, and have continued to enjoy the music that came out since then, but over the last 15 to 20 years there hasn't been much coming from that scene that really did it any justice. This album does not disappoint. I've been listening to it for a few weeks now and I'm happy to say that I'm just as excited to listen to it now as I was when I first got it. If you're a Prince fan and enjoy the music that came out of Prince's camp in the 80's then I think you'll enjoy Gaslight. Easily one of the best releases from a Prince related artist in 20 years!
on October 22, 2011
There have been other more in depth reviews here already that cover the band's history and provide a track by track analysis etc.. So I will keep this review short and sweet.
I've been listening to this album off and on again for the past month and all I can say is almost all of the tracks on Gaslight are very strong. The production and instrumentation are spot on. Every musician plays their role/part very well, making this album and extremely enjoyable listen.
For what it's worth, my personal favorite tracks are Drummers and Healers, Gaslight, Beautiful You and Sanctified. Great job and congratulations to the band for seeing through this labor of love!!!!
on November 29, 2011
When I first heard from an "inside" source that PRINCE's old band "The Family" was going to release a new album, I was really excited,considering their first and only album was a masterpiece. But,when I heard that PRINCE wasn't going to be involved with the production,or that he wouldn't let the band use their original name, I was a little concerned about what the finished product was going to sound like. Not to mention that I also thought their new name;"fDELUXE" sounded a little odd. However,being the PRINCE aficionado that I am, thought that it would be worth at least listening to. "Gaslight", the album,does not disappoint! It should not be a surprise considering that cat PRINCE hand picked these performers and musicians for one of the best acts he had on the Paisley Park label. Sussanah Melvoin,St.Paul,Eric Leeds and Jellybean Johnson, now known as:"fDELUXE",delivers on one of the best albums to come out in many years! The music sounds:Inspired,Jazzy,Funky,Soulful,Romantic,Sophistacted,Sexy and classy. What makes this music so awesome is the fact that it's very well produced and the musicians are well seasoned veterans at playing their individual instruments. That cat St.Paul, never got the proper recognition as the true talent that he is. Here is a dude,that was hand picked right out of High School by "The Royal Purple Badness",to be in the band: "THE TIME". He plays the:Guitar,Bass(On all of the songs.)and Keyboards all very well. Sussanah's vocals are: sexy,soulful,funky and sassy. Eric's Horn playing and his arrangements are:well timed,jazzy,mature,sparse,stylish,soulful and of course, FUNKY as hell! I think that after this recording, and all of the other great projects that he has played with PRINCE in the past,that he is one of the best horn players ever, in the funky music genre. Jellybean Johnson's drumming is tight,and he always keeps the beats and grooves in the pocket and on time(He is also an exceptional rhythum guitarist as well). There are also plenty of great guest musicians and song writers that perform on this brilliant record as well, such as:Wendy and Lisa, Doyle Bramhall II and Rickey Peterson. This was definitely a "family affair". I think that the music on this album is exceptional,and it has the potential to please a very wide audience of all people and ages. St.Paul,really get's down on this album! His delivery is on time,and his vocals are; smooth,very funky,cool and mackin'! This cat hasn't missed a beat from what he learned jamming with one the funkiest bands of all-time. In my personal opinion,there isn't a white dude in the R&B scene today that can fade this cat! His arrangements,really brings back that familiar sound that they had back in the day,yet as a band they still have managed to update their sound and style. As a result of that,their new name is appropriate. My favorite tracks are:"Drummers and Healers","Gaslight","@8","The Vigil","Leeds Line","Lover","Sanctified" and "Last House on the Block". If you're a fan of the soulful,jazzy and FUNKY MPLS sound from back in the day,or just great music period,then you will love this record! An absolute masterpiece. LONG LIVE THE FUNK!!!
on December 8, 2011
Gaslight is not running out of fuel in my estimation. I love the cd. I was elated to hear that The Family (fDeluxe) was releasing a new cd. It's been decades since they recorded anything together and i am well pleased with the finished product. My favorites are Over The Canyon, Beautiful You, Leeds Line and Lover. The cd is wonderful and worth the purchase to me. Paul and Susannah still sound great. I give it 2 thumbs up!!!
on October 7, 2011
I ordered 2 cds. One thru the fdeluxe website, which was taking to long, so i got mine thru Amazon, which arrived within a couple of days. What i can say i'm impatient. Anyway, i got on the treadmill, closed my eyes, and imagined making out with Susannah on some remote beach. Her voice is amazing. Four songs stood out for me: Drummers and Healers, Over the Canyon, Lover(video please), and When you go. Great effort, kudos to the whole band. Hopefully, i'll see them live one day.
on October 7, 2011
I heard that the members of Prince's old side project, The Family, were getting back together and recording. Honestly, I had reserved optimism for this project as we all know The Family was basically a (great) Prince record with the singers masking his original vocals. I still play that album regularly...a great mix of pop, funk, jazz, r&b, mixed with those beautiful strings. The album should've been bigger than it was, and the group should've lasted longer than it did. Regardless, when this album showed up, with NO involvement from Prince, I wasn't sure they could pull it off. Well, they certainly pulled it off, and then some. I can't stop playing it! Drummers & Healers, Over the Canyon, @8, Leeds Line, and Lovers are the highlights imo, but honestly I dont dislike any of the songs. I especially like that Eric Leeds is all over this (he was the slammin sax player in the Revolution back in the day). Any fan of of that old Family album and Prince will dig this. But I really hope this catches on outside of the Prince universe as it deserves a wide audience.
on October 2, 2011
If you are a fan of Prince or the original Family album, I suggest you give this album a chance. I just got it today and I like it a lot!!! Paul and Susannah's voices sound great and Eric's sax sounds fantastic!!!
on March 17, 2012
The first time I played the disc,I didn't like it. I played it again a few weeks later and this cd gets better with each listen. Susannah's voice has improved with time and St. Paul's orchestrations are dreamy. The songs are tight, very funky, and like the Original 7ven[[ASIN:B005I4UM1K Condensate], they din't sacrifice their signature sound to try to fit in with today's popular bands, they simply enhanced their groove. I'm happy I bought this disc.I just hope they don't make everyone wait another 26 years for the next one now that we're hooked again.