Thanks to the 1970s and '80s soul jazz movement and its 21st century counterpart, acid jazz, the Hammond B-3 organ has shown a remarkable ability to survive and adapt to changing musical trends – all without changing its swirling, pulsing tone one little bit. The Hammond Street anthology from Acid Jazz mixes in tracks from a couple of veteran B-3 players like Jimmy McGriff and Reuben Wilson with tracks from newer combos, and even though these newer groups cover songs like Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," what is immediately obvious here is how much a B-3 sounds like a B-3 no matter what kind of clothes you drape over it. Highlights include the hard-charging "Itchy Feet" by the Past Present Organisation (which opens the disc), the ragged and energy-overloaded "Clubtown" by the Trashmonkeys, McGriff's "Ain't It Funky" (which indeed it is), and Wilson's "Sugar," a classic piece of soul jazz.
It does not take very long to realize that this is a nicely put together record. The singing is intense in somewhat of a Springsteen/David Eugene Edwards (Woven Hand) manner, but unique from them. The surrounding instrumentation weaves in and out in a folk rock manner at times and works as a full throttle rock band at others. The Singer-Songwriter category does not quite do justice to the songs. I would say rock fans will like this more than people wanting straight folk, but it has a good general appeal to both the crowds seeking lighter thoughtful material and those that want a good rock beat. The music is rather universal and what is truly interesting is that the California duo behind this band has historically done so much better in Europe than in the US. While I often can understand why some great European born music may not translate as well in the US (and vice versa), I have never understood why several great US bands (Wipers, 16 Horsepower) do so much better in Europe. Add this band to that list, as US listeners need to join in. I believe this album of eleven original songs comes with a bonus CD containing a full live set. (David Hintz)