A new Soul Nation is born

Maiko Watson and Ammoye Evans are heard on Rhythm Express’s new Soul Nation. Bill King photo. By Bill King
Maiko Watson and Ammoye Evans are heard on Rhythm Express’s new Soul Nation. Bill King photo.
By Bill King

After 14 months of covering the best and most unique ska and reggae – classics and lesser known soul songs – the Rhythm Express introduce their first original side built from the bottom up, Soul Nation.
Funk and soul music originated in the clubs, the places where people hibernate away from the madding crowd and express themselves through good times and dance. It’s party time, it’s socializing – it’s all about the beat – popping horns, pumping bass, the long vamp and long night out.
Soul Nation began a month back as a rhythm jam – keyboards, bass, guitar and drums – all with James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, and Parliament Funkadelics in mind.
After the rhythm parts were recorded, it was overdub time. Everton Paul on congas and tambourine, Shane ‘Shakey J’ Forrest on multiple rhythm guitar parts and Bill King on clavinet layered over piano. Jesse ‘Dubmatix’ King solo bass lines imposed over the basic bass patterns.
Second bit of order, scripting horn lines that reflect back on the rhythm bands that sat on the groove for long minutes at a time, keeping the parts honest and fresh. Bobby Hsu doubled up on alto and tenor saxophone and Alexander Brown trumpet with horn lines written by Bill King.
Next up, the group sang the words of Soul Nation: On Under One Vibration with Ammoye Evans, drummer Everton ‘Pablo’ Paul. Maiko Watson and Bill King filled in the hook lines. The final ingredients: the hard-core soul vocals of Michael Dunston and Watson – lyrics with a story.
Soul Nation sends a message, not one tied to politics or disparity but one of reverence for all the great funk and soul pioneers who came before.
Michael and Maiko’s words single out today’s action heroes; Bruno Mars and Kendrick Lamar and weave the past with the present: George Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, the Supremes, Sly & the Family Stone- James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Tammi Terrell and beyond.
The final result is a spirited homage to all that came before from players who where there in the day and young musicians with a foot in the past and big prints in the present and future.
Credits include: executive producer / drums / percussion, Everton ‘Pablo’ Paul; producer / arranger / keyboards, Bill King; engineer / guitar, Shane ‘Shaky J’ Forrest; graphic design / bass, Jesse ‘Dubmatix’ King; lead vocals Michael Dunston, Maiko Watson. BG’s Ammoye Evans, Everton Paul, Bill King, Maiko Watson; horns, Bobby Hsu, alto and tenor sax; Alexander Brown, trumpet.
Songwriters are Bill King, Everton Paul, Jesse King, Shane Forrest, Michael Dunston and Maiko Watson.
Pub: Night Passage Music; 7Arts/ Side Door Records.
For more, visit https://therhythmexpress.bandcamp.com/track/soul-nation-under-one-vibration