From the original three members, The Marcus King Band has expanded to six with a horn section, and with Warren Haynes producing the album on his Evil Teen label they have released their sophomore album, the self-titled The Marcus King Band. To use the band’s own description this is a collection of “soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock” and that could not describe their sound any better.
Opening with the ’70s soul horns of “Aint’ Nothing Wrong With That” you can clearly hear Warren’s influence on them and they only get better from there. Marcus’ guitar and unique vocal stylings underpin the plaintive refrain of “Devil’s Land.” “Rita Is Gone” meanwhile uses the new horn and a funky bass line to full R&B effect for slow reminiscent jam. Derek Trucks makes an appearance on the jam band, jazz influenced, and slide dominated “Self- Hatred.”
“Jealous Man” is a stellar track that unfortunately just as the guitar is really starting to take off they wrap it but you can see where this will be a great extended jam when done live. Marcus’ slide guitar lends a strong counterpoint to his vocals on the Southern rock of “The Man You Didn’t Know.” Then the keyboards lay down a funky rhythm on the furiously paced “Plant Your Corn Early” where both horn players get nice solo breaks in the middle. You can almost picture Chicago with just a harder rock sound.
Starting with the drum opening of “Radio Soldier” the quality of the whole band becomes evident as you begin to realize the breadth of styles that this group can cover so effectively. “Guitar in My Hands” combines an acoustic guitar with a soaring slide for a quick jaunt into folk and southern country territory. The instrumental “Thespian Espionage” evokes a smoky jazz club with a running bass line, great horn work in the opening and especially when the flute solo courtesy of Kofi Burbridge of Tedeschi Trucks Band breaks out mid song. Warren Haynes makes an appearance playing slide guitar for “Virgina.” “Sorry About You Lover” is another acoustic dominated track where Marcus appears to pull double duty on a pedal steel guitar also. The closer just emphasizes the Jam Band aspect of the this band with the constant evolution of the short “The Mystery of Mr. Eads.”
Imagine a mash up of the Southern soul of Warren Haynes, the jam band sound of Tedeschi Trucks Band, with a little bit of Hendrix’s creativity thrown in for good measure and you have a group fronted by a young up and comer who’s here to put everyone on notice that he’s here. This is talented group that deserves a listen to by everyone.
The Review: 8.5/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Ain’t Nothing Wrong With That
– Jealous Man
– Rita Is Gone
– Plant Your Corn Early
The Big Hit
– Jealous Man
Review by Kevin O’Rourke