On their third official release, vocalist Greg Humphreys and his ultra funky creation, Hobex, enjoyably embrace the timeless appeal of 1970s Philly soul and the Motown legend via a spirited meld of earthy vocals, danceable grooves, tempered horn blasts, jazzy guitar solos, and slick arrangements. Produced by former Ben Folds Five bassist Robert Sledge and featuring members of Katherine Whalen's Jazz Squad Horns, along with salsa-neo-swing musicians Tim Lett and Bob Miller of Bio Ritmo, Hobex emerges as a dead ringer for War, Curtis Mayfield, Billy Paul, or Donny Hathaway in their polyester prime. Every cut is a history lesson in the canon of rhythm & blues. From the syncopated, fat backbeat on "So Far Away," peppered with falsetto vocals and odd time signature breaks, to the street-smart shuffle of "Baby's Gone Away," to the woeful, gospel-tinged ballad "Why Can't We Try," to the acid jazz riffing beneath "He Did Mention You," U Ready Man? is a veritable jukebox of vintage soul resurrected for a new generation. Bite your lip, get up, and dance.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Tom Semioli