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Album Review

Australia’s Organ Donors, led by Hammond B-3 whiz Clayton Doley and joined by Jak Housden on guitar, James Haselwood on bass, and Dave Hibbard on drums, reproduce the funky groove sound of late-'60s instrumental R&B and soul-jazz, although nearly all of the group’s material consists of original compositions. It’s a neat trick, and recording with vintage equipment from the era in question, the Donors sound like nothing so much as a reconstituted Booker T. & the MG's on Tension!, their debut album. The rhythm section plays with the same crisp simplicity that made the MG's so universal, and that gives Doley and guitarist Housden a lot of room to expand the sonic architecture with their lead lines and riffs, which can range from spare and smoky to jazzily psychedelic and progressive by turns — although everything here sounds like it came out of the Stax studios 50 years ago. That isn’t a bad thing, by any means. Highlights include the leadoff track, “Booker Table” (dedicated, no doubt, to Booker T. Jones, who one could swear was playing on this cut); the rhythmic percussion richness of the title tune, “Tension”; the undeniably funky homage to organist Jack McDuff called “Up the McDuff”; and the mildly psychedelic “Mosquito,” which gives Housden room to stretch out on electric guitar. Soul is soul, even if it comes from Australia, and the Organ Donors understand the groove of it to a T — Booker T., that is.

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Tension!, Clayton Doley's Organ Donors
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