Singer, songwriter, bandleader and New York Blues Hall of Fame inductee Nikki Armstrong put together some of her favorite musicians from both the East & West Coast's R&B, rock & funk scenes to form the band Mama SpanX. The name came from legendary soul-jazz guitarist Melvin Sparks whom Nikki collaborated with for several years until his passing in 2011. Bands such as Tower of Power, Cold Blood, Sly & the Family Stone, Ike & Tina and especially James Brown inspired the songs, arrangements and grooves on "State of Groove."
Known for her diverse songwriting, unique voice, dynamic stage performance and her ability to build a "smokin'" band, Nikki plus the "Spankers"; seven virtuoso musicians, form Mama SpanX. The self-produced, nine-track, "old school" analog recording of "State of Groove," the band's first release, was recorded and engineered by Richard Robinson (Fleetwood Mac, Pinetop Perkins) with final mixes by Howie "The Doctor" Lindeman (Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway). The original material ranges from R&B to blues/rock to funk with some fun pieces, such as "Being Beautiful," and one cover, "Alligator Boogaloo," based on the 1967 Lou Donaldson soul jazz hit, with additional music and lyrics about being in love with an alligator.
Other songs are reminiscent of early 70's soul, inspired by artists such as Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sly and the Family Stone and Tower of Power. "State of Groove," the last track, is also the mission statement of Mama SpanX. It is about the joy of creating the groove as a band, each artist having their own unique voice while supporting each other to create a new "state" of excitement. So, put down that remote, the cell phone, get off the screens! Get into the groove and get ready to laugh, sing and dance your butt off with Mama SpanX's "State of Groove."
Marty's review: Aptly titled, this album is what it claims, a powerhouse of groove that hits you from the word go and never lets up. With funky rhythms, searing guitars, soul style keyboards and a shiny brass section, the production is top notch. Add to this the songwriting and vocal talents of the NY Blues Hall of Fame inductee Nikki Armstrong, and you have an album that showcases the talents of this fine group of musicians.
Official website: https://www.mamaspanx.com/