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Half The City

4.7 out of 5 stars 321 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Vinyl LP pressing. 2014 debut from the highly-touted Birmingham, Alabama-based Soul sextet. St. Paul & the Broken Bones have already created a maelstrom of interest with their roof-raising live shows and self-released four-song 2012 EP. Produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes, and recorded and mixed in the storied R&B mecca of Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album harkens back to the region's classic Soul roots while extending the form with electrifying potency. Half the City vital, direct, emotionally affecting presents the same engaged, high- voltage, in-the-pocket sound that St. Paul and the Broken Bones produce at their live dates.
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Product Details

  • Vinyl (February 18, 2014)
  • Original Release Date: February 18, 2014
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Single Lock Records
  • ASIN: B00HNR3ZBE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (321 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,800 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Red on Black TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 12, 2014
Format: Audio CD
They say if you wait ages for a bus then two will come along, this maxim now appears to apply to American Soul Bands. The emergence last year of the Alabama Shakes and their mighty lead singer vocalist Brittany Howard a veritable force of nature brought real cheer to those who like their music soulfully stirred and infused with Muscle Shoals devout passion. The owners of Single Lock Records sit in this tradition including John Paul White of the now defunct Civil Wars and Ben Tanner of said Alabama Shakes. In signing St Paul & The Broken Bones it must have felt that Christmas came early.

The band hail from Alabama and its six members come fully formed and schooled in the best traditions of the music of Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, O V Wright and Al Green. The band however are not revivalists for like the Shakes they are regenerators breathing new life into a timeless tradition that should ever so frequently bang on our doors and demand substantial quality time on the stereo. The lead singer of the band is another surprise package. Indeed Paul Janeway might do for soul what Paul Potts did for opera. He is an unlikely frontman, looking like a mix of Huey Long and Bill Gates yet singing like his black soul heroes with a voice which he should insure for millions. He is a star in the making and once you have heard that voice you are going to return time after time. "Half the City" is the bands debut and in terms of consistency it tops "Boy and Girls" by the Alabama Shakes in terms of sheer joy de vivre and deep down desire.

Play this album to any musical acquaintance and the first astonished words uttered will be "Who the f*** are they"? Check out Janeway's vocal on "Like a Mighty River" with its superb horn backdrop and powerhouse chords and try not to be impressed.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I pre-ordered this album based on the great Youtube videos I watched. The music is at the same time original and reminiscent of the great Stax sound. "St. Paul has a unique and great sounding voice--and therein lies the problem. The problem--and it seems to be rampant throughout the music industry, is the overproducing and unbalance of many modern albums. The first song on the album, "I'm Torn Up", is a prime example of this. The band is tight; the song is great: and yet, the singer's voice is drowned out by the producer who chose to apparently drown out the singer's great voice with his "wall of sound". Where is the balance in the instruments and the voice? Turn the music down a tad and turn the singer's voice up a tad. Despite this glaring flaw, the album is full of great music.
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Classic R&B sound played it this morning while working from home. My roommate (who grew up in Chicago) thought this was from the 70s. Said it reminded him of classic Motown or Stax records he grew up listening to as a kid. Paul Janeway's vocals are classic to the soul roots of the Muscle Shoals heyday. They band is a talented and tight outfit. Solid in their own right I believe you expect to hear big things from this band in the next few years.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
After seeing these guys on the CBS Saturday morning show, I checked their schedule online. I very rarely go to concerts, but do enjoy the experience more at smaller venues. Unfortunately, they weren't scheduled to come here, so I ordered the CD. While the music is great, I have to say watching these guys perform, particularly the lead singer when he cuts loose with his fancy footwork, and as much the fact that you don't expect that voice, that rhythm, that soul from a white boy who looks like he'd work in a cubicle on a tech farm, well let's say seeing them perform is as entertaining as the music. If they ever do come here, I'll go see them. These guys need more TV appearances.
As an aside: I hope no one is offended by my calling this guy a "boy." It is in no way intended to be derogatory of him or anyone else. It just seems appropriate to this white woman old enough to be his mother.
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Format: Vinyl
Have you ever heard a band that made you genuinely interested in a particular state in the United States? I am not talking about band names, like Kansas, I mean the music the band creates.

Think about that question. I ask because, thanks to reddit, I was introduced to a band that did just that for me. It aroused a genuine interest to explore not only the music of the state, but to think what possibly could have been going on in that particular state that would result in the music I was listening to.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones is the band. Alabama is the state. Yes, I said Alabama.

I happened upon the full KEXP performance that St. Paul & The Broken Bones gave in Spring of 2014 (well-after that live performance, mind you), and I found myself thinking, "What the f*** is going on in Alabama that even gave these guys the idea to make music like this?!" I do not apologize for the language, my inner dialog has an understanding of context.

Seriously, though. I judged them by their appearance and had no idea before their first song began what the hell I was going to hear, especially after hearing Paul Janeway's (pretty common) Alabama accent introduce "Like a Mighty River." Whatever music I anticipated in those first few seconds, it did not match what I heard.

Janeway's voice is the first thing that hooks you when you hear St. Paul & The Broken Bones, and he really just blows you away. Not to sound mean, but his voice does not come close to matching his doughy, white appearance. After the initial shock of his voice subsides, you realize the instrumentalists are not only solid players, but they are pretty tight as a band. That said, the output of St.
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