A conceptual album from the production duo that made Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman" so darn seductive, Basement Boys Presents Mudfoot Jones is a rousing nostalgia trip loosely based on a fictional blues drummer from Louisiana (accent on "loosely"). The Mudfoot character crops up in the intro and interludes, but it's really just an excuse for the producers to explore and twist early jazz, blues, and gospel into stylish, funky dancefloor numbers. "Everything's Gon' Be Alright" is an up-up-up-uptempo joyful noise with a vocal sample that sits a little off the beats, a device that crops up elsewhere and gives the album an organic edge instead of a too slick sheen. More filling is the jazz-driven "Jaybird," which combines live vibes and horns with the Basement Boys' backing track going from house to jungle. "Pray for Me," takes the listener to a Deep South church on Sunday. "That Jazz" takes you to an after-hours jam session in Cab Calloway's basement. Rangy, but those who know the Basement Boys work past "Gypsy Woman" know they're up to the task and smart enough to build a coherent album out of all this genre-blending. Put this somewhat near your copy of Moby's Play, but closer to any Herbert records you might own, then grab a tasteful, comfortable jacket and get ready for a finger-snapping good time.
by David Jeffries (All Music)
Teddy Douglas and Jay Steinhour have become famous as The Basement Boys. But since you're nobody until you have a handful of aliases to your credit, the duo have conjured up a heavy-footed, 74-year-old drummer from Louisiana named Mudfoot Jones to put them on their way to multiple-alias fame and fortune.
The fictional back-story says that Mudfoot Jones got his name because he was a little too heavy on the bass drum. Of course, as we've learned from hip-hop and all genres that have been influenced by it, there is no such thing as being too heavy on the bass drum. Basement Boys know this and whatever else they do, they hit the drums hard.
The instrumentation is prodigious throughout this album, but it's never the star simply because the percussion demands your attention. Piano and organ frequently join the rhythm section on tracks like "Everything's Gon' Be Alright" and "Pray for Me" with the effect of driving the songs' dance-ability factor through the roof. I dare you not to move to this record. Put it on and try standing absolutely still. You won't be able to manage it.
They dip into blues ("Hold On I'm Comin'") and latin ("Mamma's Spanish Joint"), but the album is mostly an incredibly upbeat jazz affair. Merge the music of the Harlem Renaissance with the rhythmic overdrive of a modern dancefloor and you have the overriding sensibility of Mudfoot Jones.
By C. W. Hall
THE STORY OF MUDFOOT JONES
Born Maurice Jones in the Bayou of Louisiana, he got the name he is most known for from being heavy on the bass drum, when he played the drums. He plays almost any instrument and sings a little too.
One day at BB King’s rehearsal, BB called out, “Hey Mudfoot! Can you turn it down some, son!”. And the name “Mudfoot” stuck to him like glue. Since then he has played various instruments with everybody from John Lee Hooker to Herbie Mann. Traveled the world many times over, as a legendary sideman with just about everybody who’s somebody.
Early last year on a flight to Japan, Teddy Douglas (a big Mudfoot fan) traveling to DJ Gigs in Japan, just happened to be seated next to Mudfoot (also headed to Japan for gigs). Fate was working it’s magic on that flight! It took 12 hours to convince Mudfoot to record an album with the Basement Boys. It would be his first time solo album. With writing and producing from the Basement Boys, the collaboration is a magical mix of Blues, Jazz, Gospel, and Latin Rhythms that created 14 tracks of down home, get up and get down music for everyone.
The core of the new Mudfoot Jones Band are 3 players who have toured extensively with George Clinton’s P-Funk Band. Greg Thomas, Bennie Cowan (1/2 the P-Funk horn section) and Bassist Jeff Bunn are all from the P-funk Band. Keyboardist Dawoud Said was musical director for Angela Bofill until here unfortunate stroke a few weeks ago. Drummer Benjamin Cowan and Turntablist/Producer Teddy Douglas round out the New Mudfoot Band. And of course, Mudfoot himself !
Mudfoot Jones- All Instruments and Vocals.
Marcell Russell- Vocals “Never Seen It Comin’”
Greg Thomas- Sax, Vocals
Bennie Cowan- Trumpet, Fluglehorn
Lafayette Gilcrest- Piano, Vibes, Piano Solos on “Mamma’s Spanish Joint” and
“Everything’s Gon’ Be Alright”
Wayne Cooper- Guitars
Woodrow Jones- Vocals and Backgrounds
Gary Hudgins- Piano and Hammond B3 Solo on “Pray for Me”
Teddy Douglas & Jay Steinhour- Drum Programming
Irvin Madden- Bass on “Hold On I’m Comin’”
Victor Williams- Percussion
Produced, Arranged, Engineered, and Mixed by Teddy Douglas & Jay Steinhour for Basement Boys Productions