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Basement Boys: Present Mudfoot Jones

You may not have heard of the production team called the Basement Boys, but you’ve likely heard their work if you turned on the radio in the past 16 years. They’ve remixed Paula Abdul, Michael Jackson, Erykah Badu and they co-wrote Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman.” (C’mon, everybody: “La da dee, la da da”). Considering the Basement Boys’ greatest successes came in the 1990s, it’s not surprising that the duo’s Mudfoot Jones project sounds like it’s comin’ straight outta 1991.

Built on the cringe-worthy premise of being a collaborative album with a “legendary” Louisiana blues musician, Mudfoot Jones could be considered a jazzy house-music companion to Moby’s 1999 album Play, which sampled gospel and blues tunes and singers to great effect. But where Play reveled in the hooks inherent in the styles it sampled, Mudfoot Jones is all about the repetitive dance-club beat-and repetitive it is repetitive it is repetitive it is….

Much of the CD features good ideas that are never developed. “Boomerang” is a simple modal number that hints at jazz but fades out before doing anything jazzlike. “Swingin'” is all build up for a Cab Calloway-like big-band number that never comes. “That Jazz” features a large quote from “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)”-and that’s pretty much it.

Still, this album would sound great playing at a party or thumping in a club. Then again, a lot of music sounds better when you don’t pay much attention to it.

Originally Published