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Pure Cane Sugar

Sugarman 3

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Album Review

Picking up where their 7" singles left off, Sugarman Three provides 11 memorable, booty-shaking moments on this 2002 release. Although Sugarman Three has received many Jon Spencer comparisons from indie rock circles, Pure Cane Sugar is a slick and soulful slab of raw R&B that carries little of the screaming and noise of Spencer's outfit. Instead, they harness the sharp timing of funk and produce intensely groovy instrumentals with the occasional guest vocalist making an appearance. The best use of a singer is "Take It As It Comes," a James Brown-style number that uses a tight horn part to drive the song along while Sugarman Three jams away in all their funky glory. Other highlights include the mid-tempo groove of "Pure Cane," the Motown-esque "Modern Jive," and the saxophone extravaganza "Country Girl." The key to Sugarman Three's magic is the tension they manage to pull out of these songs, making each glorious breakdown seem like a genuine release. Soulful, swaggering, and fun, Pure Cane Sugar is a fantastic modern funk release that journeys into the complicated rhythms and basslines of the genre's heyday and comes back ready to dance.

Biography

Formed: 1997

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '90s, '00s

New York City retro-funk combo the Sugarman 3 were formed by saxophonist Neal Sugarman in the spring of 1996 following his return from New Orleans, where he backed artists including Eddie Henderson and Mike Longo. Teaming with organist Adam Scone (a one-time protégé of Ben Dixon) and longtime Brother Jack McDuff drummer Rudy Albin, the trio — inspired by the vintage jazz-funk sounds of the '60s — quickly emerged as a club favorite, and with guitarist Coleman Mellett, the Sugarman 3 recorded...
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Pure Cane Sugar, Sugarman 3
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