Who would have thought it would take a deal with Atlantic Records to uncover the raw live spirit of Louisiana singer/songwriter Marc Broussard? Broussard drew more than a few raves for his 2007 Vanguard issue S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, but it tried too hard to sound like an old-school soul record and contained only covers. This time out, all original material was recorded on two-inch analog tape. Broussard used his road band, and longtime collaborators Justin Tocket and Calvin Turner as co-producers; he knocks it out of the park. He employs a couple of Nash Vegas studio aces in keyboardist Tim Akers and guitarist Gary Burnette, the Nashville String Machine, and a seven-piece horn section to enhance the proceedings. LeAnn Rimes and Sara Bareilles sing on a track each. Keep Coming Back is a brash, very present recording rooted in Broussard's arrangements. Cut in 11 days, the singer claims eight songs were first takes. It's drenched in gritty Southern funk, blue-eyed soul, and swampy blues-rock. He has more in common with singers like Delbert McClinton, Delaney Bramlett, Joe South, and even Daryl Hall than the bizarre comparisons to Al Green and Donny Hathaway he got last time out. The set kicks off with gritty funk as Broussard comes strutting into his lyric in a relaxed but low-down backcountry seductive croon. One can feel the immediacy of the band's presence in the whomp of the snare drums, choppy guitars, and snaky keyboards winding themselves around the blanket of horns (can you say Muscle Shoals?) and a backing chorus that takes it all to party-ville.
"Hard Knocks" contains a Hendrix groove in the guitar sound, explosive bassline and staggered breaks. Broussard's voice soar's above a wall of brass. "Why Should We Wait," with Bareilles, is a catchy pop-soul tune--but it's far from the best thing here. The Rimes duet on "When It's Good" is a solid clue that she should sing in this vein more often. To be truthful, one has seldom heard her this up-front and fearless. Her emotional depth almost steals the show -- especially with the whining Dobro playing country blues in the background. But Broussard can emote in the slow ones too, and this duet recalls Delaney & Bonnie. "Another Night Alone" showcases his upper register and ability to croon as well as growl -- likewise for "Going Home," which is downright sexy. "Power's in the People" is a deft, anthemic political song, no matter your party preference. Musically, this track is the mythical place where War, the Staples, and Bobby Whitlock all meet. The references are merely that, and Broussard sounds like himself. Keep Coming Back is a conscious attempt at capturing immediacy for the listener rather than an attempt at retro revisionism. This album is full of crackling, funky Louisiana blue-eyed soul; it should should be heard by anyone with a pulse.