By Sean Jewell ::
Turn on your ears and shut your mouth for a second, goddamnit. American Standard Time is so proud to present to you the opening track from King James & The Special Men‘s forthcoming album Act Like You Know.
“Special Man Boogie” opens way down at the deep end of the piano, the bass burbles and a boogie riff bubbles up, birds caw, cats growl, lead man Jimmy Horn steps out from the edge of the jungle on to the beach, his surf guitar reverberating in concert with the waves. You are immediately transported to a New Orleans dive. Yo’ ass –once though to be dead– is already shakin’. Jimmy Horn groans “Call me the special man / Came to play in your town / Don’t like my style? / Ain’t gon’ hang around”. Horns blare as the band digs in “I believe I’ll buy me / graveyard of my own / I’m gonna bury everybody / dat have done me wrong” the tempo changes and the band boils over. Saxophone wails, have mercy! The Special Men have come to play in your town. Wherever that may be.
King James and the Special Men hail from New Orleans, and they’re not just synthesizing the sounds of yester-year, they’re dug in deep. This might be their debut album but they’re already woven into the well worn fabric of America’s greatest contribution to the history of the world: Rock ‘n’ roll. Having worked as buskers, and the great Ernie K-Doe, and learning entire songbooks of New Orleans music, (Jimmy Horn has been chasing the Cosimo Matassa sound since he was four years old) playing residencies for years at BJs Lounge and Sidney‘s, they’re now bayou famous, and hold down The Saturn Bar every Monday night. Playing rowdy enough to satisfy the local crowd, they caught the ear of musical luminaries like Elvis Costello, and Greg Dulli; it’s said when Sturgill Simpson and St Paul and The Broken Bones started borrowing their horn players, they knew they were on to something good.
Recorded in the 9th Ward at House Of 1000hz Studios and engineered by Andrew “Goat” Gilchrist, Act Like You Know is a rollicking thrill ride through New Orleans rock, funk, and jazz that pays homage to everyone from Little Richard to Dr. John with six orignal King James tracks. It’s crafted as only things in the delta can be, humid as hell, hot as the sun, crawlin, and full of funk after years in the fertile Louisiana mud. The full album is out July 21st .
*feature photo by Avery Leigh White