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Nudge It Up A Notch

4.1 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 29, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Steve Cropper's guitar, production and songwriting embodied the sound and the spirit of STAX and the Southern Soul of the '60s. At the same time, in the Northeast, there was a band called The Rascals, whose sound was epitomized by the brilliant songs, B-3 organ and voice of Felix Cavaliere. These two R&B legends come together to Nudge It Up a Notch, a tour de force of 12 smokin' original tunes, guaranteed to satisfy your soul.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 29, 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Stax
  • ASIN: B001B2KUP6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,054 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
On paper it's a dream match made in soulsville: the iconic guitarist of Booker T and the MG's writing and recording with the legendary blue-eyed soul vocalist of The Young Rascals. On disc, forty years after their respective chart conquests, their chops are in superb shape, their songwriting talents intertwine smoothly and they sound remarkably fresh and energized. Cavaliere's vocals retain the summery emotion of his Young Rascals days, combining soulful phrasing with a horn-like edginess to his high notes, and Cropper's guitar - both as a lead and rhythm instrument - retains every bit of its defining Memphis identity. In addition to his voice, Cavaliere's organ gives a few tracks the old Rascals feeling, and the rhythm section of Shake Anderson and Chester Thompson is solid and surprisingly lyrical throughout.

The album's biggest payoff is the mid-tempo "If It Wasn't for Loving You," combining Cropper's instantly identifiable rhythm guitar licks (and a sweet solo) with a heartfelt vocal by Cavaliere, a hook-filled melody, and a clever a cappella coda. This would have been a huge AM hit in 1967, but might slip through the cracks of today's balkanized formats. Also winning are the contemporary soul-blues "To Make It Right" and "One of Those Days." The former finds Cavaliere failing to satisfy his mate's material and emotional desires, with Cropper's guitar neatly echoing the lyrical anxiety. The latter demonstrates the anguished aftermath of love gone wrong, with a bottom-heavy rhythm, call-and-response vocals and a guitar solo that's perfectly woven into the chugging beat.
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1 Comment 33 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
Sometimes, there is a new album that comes out that gives me the--somewhat naive--hope that simply "good music" will save the music business. And I am repeatedly pleased and amazed when the new good music comes from artists of my generation, defying expectations--I guess because of their age and the fact that they make rock music, not shlock music.

One of these is Nudge It Up a Notch, just released on July 29, 2008, by Steve Cropper, the 67-year old guitarist/composer/producer behind most of Otis Redding's records, Booker T. and the MGs, Sam and Dave, The Blues Brothers, and others, and Felix Cavaliere, the 64-year old vocalist/organist, formerly of the hit 60's group, The Rascals. I've listened to it all the way through three times already. If you like upbeat albums, good songs, a steady beat, great vocals and lyrics, and the interplay of a lead vocalist with background singers, you'll enjoy this one. It has heart and soul, a musical approach we need today in a world gone wrong.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, I am truly torn on this album. Such wonderful Musicianship, instrumental players, vocal prowess. So unfortunately rare these days.
Makes me WANT to love this album more than any other recent release.
Unfortunately the recording quality is so poor it is difficult for me to enjoy the listening experience. Whoever was at the controls of the board during the sessions and mastering needs an immediate hearing test, or at the least a eye exam, because most of the tracks are so horribly saturated. especially bad is the 3rd track "Without You" where the vocals are grainy, the bass is saturated, the sound of the drums makes one cringe. The background vocals are all recorded too hot, and the organ and Fender Rhodes, oh my. Then to make it much worse, the tracks are then so obviously compresssed so the distortion is made much more obvious.
I checked the mp3's on iTunes and they also suffer from the same ugliness (yeah, mp3's are supposed to sound ugly!) just to check if I received a bad pressing. No such luck.
Perhaps this was done as a production choice in an effort to make the track levels as high as possible for the iPod generation, but the results very nearly ruin the otherwise fantastic album.
What a disappointment!
4 Comments 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
You are a fan of both of these musicians. In fact you adore most of their work, right? So you'd think this would be a good match up and it is - at least with Felix, Steve and the rythym section. Felix is in great vocal shape and Cropper has plenty of his fine and tasty chops. It's what was done in the mastering job of this recording that makes it a 2 star not a 5. The cd's volume is the loudest I have every heard. Most songs are so "hot" that there is noticeable distortion. The upper mid range-treble on up is so jacked up that it is painful to listen to on a good hifi system.

Now - if you buy this - be sure to use a playback system where you can roll off the top end alot. "Notch" down your treble and volume controls from what you normaly listen at. In other words - you'll have to try and re-eq this cd to keep your ears from bleeding!

Too bad. The music is very good.

Why would both of these vetrans of the vinyl analog age approve such a digital butchering job of their beautiful music?

Funny that the cover of the cd has a record player. This is the least vinyl sounding cd I have ever heard.
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