2013-02-07 17:29:07 - Excerpt from Sales Brothers Kindle book by Stephanie Thorburn 'Incendiary Soul':
A review of the brothers’ lost archival solo album 'Hired Guns'.
Quintessential Soul Brothers.
The Sales Brothers are undoubtedly one of the music industry's most revered, dynamic rhythm sections, having enjoyed notable musical collaborations with the likes of Todd Rundgren and Iggy Pop, they are also founder members of David Bowie's irreverent Tin Machine. The brothers' solo album ‘Hired Guns' reveals a well- hidden facet of their achievements and is a quintessential soul and R& B recording, cut at the close of the 70's in a converted swimming pool in the Hollywood hills. In fact, the repertoire and musical textures explored in the songs convey an authenticity that captures a lost era of soul, reflecting the musical roots and penchants of the Sales Brothers in formidable form. The Hired Guns album is without a doubt a hidden archival treasure that was destined for obscurity, until Perseverance Records secured a final release date in 2008.
Following the completion of Hired Guns in 1979, plans were made for the Sales Brothers to replace the recently departed Blues Brothers on Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, tragedy struck at the eleventh hour when Tony Sales was sadly involved in a near fatal car accident, leaving him in a coma, taking many months to recover. Following his rehabilitation, tapes of the brothers' solo recordings were relegated to the closet and not given an airing until Tony retrieved the material almost thirty years later. The original tracks possess a remarkably raw, infectious quality, endearing the listener to some fundamentally sincere soul and R & B grooves, influenced by the Sales brothers’ love of Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Aretha Franklin and James
Brown. The obvious parallel to the Blues Brothers is actually quite unerring in respect to both the musical odyssey of the Sales Brothers and the narrative of their lives. Like Jake and Elwood in the Blues Brothers movie, Hunt and Tony convey themselves as traditional macho, lovable rogues on songs like ‘Lonely Too Long' and ‘Shady Lady'. Fuelled by youthful libidinal drives and an excess of good living, the music, madness and mayhem that surrounds the public personas of the Blues and Sales Brothers alike share some common threads, not least of all in respect to their rich human qualities and memorable musical collaborations with some of the greats of the entertainment industry!
Clearly the Sales Brothers engage with innate sibling telepathy when performing, a fact affirmed by some of the track highlights on the Hired Guns album. The material is well-pitched tempo wise, teasing and thrilling the listener through a moviesque drive through picture show of the brothers' everyday lives, spent in their native haunts in Detroit and New York City. The emotion in ‘Shiftin' Soul', Otis Redding style, is transcended by the brothers' lament to the macabre ‘Shady Lady' and then there are those ‘Goddam Payments', a timeless song penned by the brothers, which features them performing live at the Starwood in characteristically fine, indignant voice. In fact, Hunt and Tony sing pretty damn impressively throughout the entire 'Guns album in their characteristically piercing high harmonies and it is small wonder that David Bowie originally mistook the Sales Brothers for black roots artists. There are actually quite a few archetypal musical forms captured on this album, from shades of Stax soul, to Chicago blues, but the overall feel is definitely that of a curiously familiar soundtrack for a rock 'n' roll style road movie.
Hired Guns is a holistically balanced recording, augmented by Tony Sales' diverse, musical talents, demonstrating his affinity on both bass and rhythm guitar. The album affords a few notable moments of upbeat boogie-woogie and jump blues, gauging its impact wisely through the cryptic opening number, ‘Buzz In Your Hive'. All credit to the first-rate musicians who complement the brothers' talents, including the funky Blue Ray Orchestra on horns.
Throughout the album Hunt Sales' incendiary, yet unfaltering beat on drums is consistently set in close synchronicity to Tony's unerringly rhythmic walking bass, with their powerhouse rhythm section ultimately reaching a subtle pinnacle on the slow, savvy ‘You Really Know How (To Love.) Well, the Sales Brothers really know how to unleash their crafted, soulful vibes and ironically they recorded this album at a time when predominant musical forms included punk and heavy rock.
Hired Guns certainly confounds expectations, belying the Sales Brothers' own hard, grungier tendencies, through the expression of a still heart felt, yet softer, innately soulful core musical identity. The repertoire explored on the album does not disappoint and is nevertheless suffused with plenty of high-octane blue eyed soul and some cutting edge, rocking R & B!
Hired Guns Track Listing: -
1. Buzz In Your Hive.
2. Lonely Too Long.
3. You Really Know How (To Love).
4. Someone's Gonna Lose.
5. Let Me In.
6. My Baby.
7. Shiftin' Soul.
8. No Refusin'.
9. Shady Lady.
10. Starwood Radio Promo.
11. Goddam Payments (Live At The Starwood, 1979)
* This review is included in Stephanie Lynne Thorburn's biography of the Sales Brothers, 'Incendiary Soul: A Homage to the Sales Brothers'. The book is available in a Kindle edition, and is currently being updated with a 2013 resource guide and images.
See Amazon: www.amazon.com/Incendiary-Soul-Biographical-Brothers-ebook/dp/B0 ..
In early 2012, Hunt Sales released a series of new and authoritatively honed, potent rock ‘n’ roll solo recordings, reminiscent of archetypal Free/ Bad Company material. The tracks comprise, ‘Don’t Buy In Rough', ‘Take What I Want, (I Want You), ‘Peace of Mind' and ‘As I Sit Here- Rough'. The music is as fresh and raw as any records Hunt cut with Iggy or brother Tony. The current release acts as a reminder of the strength and sincerity of Hunt’s unpretentious gift as a musician, producer and songwriter. For more info on Hunt & Tony Sales and solo album ‘Hired Guns’ see their homepage: www.thesalesbrothers.com
For information on further publications and news, see author Stephanie Lynne Thorburn's homepage: www.stephaniethorburn.webs.com