CD REVIEW: NATHANIEL RATELIFF & the NIGHT SWEATS – self titled
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9 ½ /10
It only takes about thirty seconds into opening track I Need Never Get Old to understand why former folk troubadour Nathaniel Rateliff’s R&B outfit The Night Sweats are signed to the incomparable Stax Records: those horns, the impossible-not-to-sway-your-hips-to groove, and the unmistakeable feeling that if there was a little vinyl pop and crackle we might be listening to a wax platter from the mid-‘60s.
This isn’t to say Rateliff and his fifteen-piece outfit are a band out of time and place. We’d be more accurate suggesting that he and The Night Sweats have created a wonderfully organic contemporary album that pays homage to the vibe of olde time records he perhaps grew up with, courtesy of his parents’ record collection.
The irrepressible groove of this record is so visceral it practically pulsates through the speakers, none more so than on that throbbing opener, the wailing Trying So Hard Not To Know, the Otis Day & the Knights-oomph of raunchy first single S.O.B. and the low growl of Look It Here.
Rateliff may have turned in folky singer-songwriter performances on his two solo albums and folk-pop with his band The Wheel, but with The Night Sweats he is all soul-powered R&B’n’roll, and with the likes of Shake (think Bob & Earl’s original Harlem Shuffle) and the super-sparse and ultra-schmoove love song I’d Be Waiting, he has hit the nail on the head in a big way.
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