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Album Review

The title of G. Love & Special Sauce's fourth album illustrates their desire to play up their Philadelphia roots, emphasizing classic Philly soul along with their blues-rap melange. Philadelphonic isn't entirely unsuccessful on that front, either. The group's laid-back, groove-oriented sound benefits from the sophisticated, sultry sound of Philly soul, as the single "Rodeo Clowns" illustrates. The problem is, G. Love & Special Sauce still winds up sacrificing songs for groove and feel. That wouldn't be so bad if Philadelphonic was simply a series of jams, but they continue to write material that feels like songs but never gels. They turn out to be vehicles for jams and half-hearted, muttered raps, neither of which provide hooks or memorable turns of phrase. That doesn't mean Philadelphonic doesn't sound good, since the group does have a way with a groove — it just never really rises above the level of a groove-jam album.


Formed: 1992 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

G. Love & Special Sauce are a Philadelphia-based trio whose laid-back, sloppy blues sound is quite unique, as it encompasses the sound/production of classic R&B and recent rap artists (the Beastie Boys, in particular). The group -- G. Love (born Garrett Dutton) on guitar/vocals/harmonica, Jeff Clemens on drums, and Jim Prescott on upright bass -- released their self-titled debut in 1994 on OKeh/Epic. It received enthusiastic reviews and nearly went gold on the strength of the MTV-spun video for "Cold...
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Philadelphonic, G. Love & Special Sauce
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