Gemini

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A new review just in from the Australia wide ‘Rhythms Music Magazine’. Australia’s largest and most respected roots music publication. Feb 13.

Matt ‘The Rumble’ Morrison – Gemini

RUMBLE RECORDS

Eli “Paperboy” Reed and his particular brand of retro soul has, in recent years, broken the stereo-typical mould of what it is to be a soul singer, not least the fallacy that it’s the domain of a particular ethnic persuasion. Well stand by Eli ‘cos you’ve got company, for in Matt ‘The Rumble’ Morrison we have a genuine home grown Australian soul man; ‘The Rumble’ is the real deal. Sydney based Morrison has honed his considerable craft over many years playing with the likes of the Bondi Cigars, Ray Beadle, and Robert Susz’s Continental Blues Party, to name but a few. Equally adept at wielding a guitar as he is sitting behind his drum kit, Morrison’s influences are firmly worn on his sleeve (and that’s not a criticism, I might add); it’s all about Stax and full blown Memphis Soul, it’s about the unimpeachable Link Wray (Matt’s sobriquet is, in fact, a direct Wray reference), it’s about heavy twangin’ surf guitar and ‘60s instrumentals, and it’s about the swirling Hammond B3 sounds of Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff.

The cream of Australia’s soul lend a hand on Gemini; Clayton Doley’s Hammond is all over the album, evoking the spirit of Booker T and the aforementioned Smith – he’s a mighty fine player; Rowan Lane’s bass is pure Funk Brothers; Snook’s La Vie blows harp and takes lead vocals on two glorious cuts – album standout ‘That’s How It Is’ (the gospel tinged Hammond, blazing horns and La Vie’s vocals all conjuring the spirit of Al Green) and the sublime tearjerker ‘Sinking’ (“who’s gonna catch me when I fall for you” – fantastic!). Interspersed between Morrison’s luscious slabs of Southern Soul are several instrumentals, where any doubts about which instrument he is best suited to are put to rest. ‘Polarised’ channels Booker T & The MG’s Memphis groove, then there’s the heavy twang intertwined with the stabbing Hammond on ‘Lear Jet’; you can almost hear the waves washing the shore on the languid, tremolo soaked ‘Space Walk’, whilst ‘The Undertaker’ allows La Vie the room for a blistering harp solo. Ironically, the only track on the album that really fails to fully ignite is a faithful take on Wray’s ‘Mustang’; despite the song’s pedigree, it just seems out of place amongst a pipeline of retro originals – go figure.

Music can take itself way too seriously sometimes, and that’s why I love the retro soul practitioners. They clearly take their music (and its roots) very seriously, but they do it, if not tongue-in-cheek, then with a very obvious smile on their faces. It’s not overproduced, and it has warmth that few other genres can match (possibly due to being recorded in ‘Tri-Phonic HiFi Analog Stereo’!). And even though you know where the origins of it all lies, this music won’t send you poring through the history books trying to identify ‘that’ riff, simply because what you’re hearing is damn fine music in its own right, and it’s damn good fun. Do yourself a favour (oops, sorry!), put on your soul shoes and check out Matt ‘The Rumble’ Morrison at a gig near you, or, better still, give Gemini a go – your feet will thank you for it.

By Trevor J. Leeden

 

DRUM MEDIA says: “Best local roots cd release 2011 and 20012″

“Matt “The Rumble” Morrison is not only an excellent singer and drummer but a stand out guitar player with a tough clean picking sound that’s straight out of the 1960′s. The album is an eclectic mix of Southern Style soul with some great Otis Clay style vocals from Adelaide’s Snooks La Vie and some hard-hitting no-frills instrumentals featuring Matt’s massive guitar sound and the keyboard talents of Clayton Doley. All told a most impressive package” – Chris Ruhle (Drum Media Swamp Shack)

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The Sydney Morning Herald says

In a world of overproduced music, Matt the Rumble’s Gemini is a rare pleasure, offering songs that come from the heart and have soul. This collection of retro tracks reaches out and takes us back to a time when groove was everything and musicians were masters of the songwriting craft.

Inspired by the often ignored, yet prolific creative margins of the soul era, Gemini is filled with vintage tones on tracks that were lovingly recorded, live to tape, during a weeklong session in the dying light of a cold Sydney autumn. A selection of Australia’s most talented soul players, including renowned Hammond organist and producer Clayton Doley, bassist Rowan Lane and sensational South Australian singer Snooks La Vie, came together to bring Matt the Rumbles’ rare collection of delights to life.

Gemini is aptly named. Matt leads a double life as one of Sydney’s finest roots drummers as well as being an exceptional blues guitarist. He draws inspiration from a wide range of last century’s finest and oddest practitioners, including Booker T, Link Wray and the Muscle Shoals’ recording sound. Matt shines on both instruments here, whether laying down his trademark shuffle or delivering evocatively melodic, bendy guitar.

Gemini’s duality flows through his songs in a pairing of lush Chess soul-style extravaganzas and stripped back, dreamy instrumentals. With decades of performing live behind him, the Rumble has recorded tracks that seek to explore the rich side roads of soul, rhythm and blues. Sit back, turn up the volume and let the warm sounds of Gemini surround you. You will be rewarded.

Daniel Fallon

Metro Editor – The Sydney Morning Herald