I think my only complaint with the album is that it is kind of front loaded. I usually don’t have quite this much trouble remembering what I just heard after the middle of the album when I listen to it straight through. The early tracks on the album are really, really incredibly good and the last half of the album is only really good but for some reason slightly less memorable.
Still, excellent listening for anyone who enjoys Second-Line Brass Bands or New Orleans style Brass Bands, whichever we are calling them this week, and actually a decent introduction to this style of music if you have any interest in finding out more. Mama Digdown’s has consistently been more easily progressive than some of the more adventurous bands like Rebirth Brass Band or Youngblood Brass Band. I think part of that is, as a friend put it after listening to Youngblood’s “Center. Level. Roar.”, that Mama Digdown’s is consistently more “tight” than many of the other bands doing relatively similar music. (Though, come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve asked him to give Mama Digdown’s a listen so I don’t know that he’d agree with this assessment.)
The “tight” component of this style of music I find to almost be related to how much hip-hop influence is present. The more hip-hop influence the less “tight”, or really loose I suppose, and when it really works the song sounds like an utterly beautiful accident. A sort of musical embodiment of serendipity. The problem is that when it doesn’t work the song can sound just plain sloppy. As much as I really enjoy hearing them and think they are a pretty decent local party band, Jack Brass Band can kind of epitomize the sometimes heard habit of letting the lack of talent be heard as that lack of being “tight” and really what keeps them from being really good. A hard line to walk some times and I think going for “tight” first and then working for the “loose” sound is a generally better plan.