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Larry Goldings/Bob Ward: Voodoo Dogs

Organist Larry Goldings and guitarist Bob Ward team for Voodoo Dogs (Palmetto PM2061; 47:49), an eclectic yet accessible mix of soulful world-beat rhythms, breathtaking improvisation and unique melodic layers that map an exciting, surprise-filled journey. From the lightly eerie “Vicoden,” to the swirling, Indian-toned “Spellbound,” the duo crafts vivid, unusual settings without sacrificing melody. Where “Uganda”‘s tribal melee is anchored by primal rhythms, slide guitar and well-placed wind and keyboard effects, “Keep a Thing Happening” pushes its retro-soul rhythms and doodling, funky-guitar melody through prickly changes evoking darkness and light. “Beatnik” builds parallel tracks of tenor sax and flute riffs (by the wonderful Tim Ries) over a lumbering bass-drag groove and menacing, whirling organ, while “The Crazy Man” is pure old-soul, with purring Hammond B-3 providing the foundation for Ries’ huge, sweaty horn hits. Even in lithe, inspirational mode on “People Unite,” Goldings and Ward smartly sidestep the sap, providing prickly, fuzzy melodic details that underscore their multifaceted outlook.

Originally Published