CD Review: The Gig Is On


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You’ve probably heard of Hooked on Phonics, but have you heard of Lubriphonic? It’s a band that has shown up in Iowa City a couple times.

The group will play alongside Oh So Good and Amanda Miller and the Super Secrets at 8 p.m. Saturday at Gabe’s, 330 E. Washington St. Admission is $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Lubriphonic, a funk and soul band, features Ron Haynes on trumpet, Giles Corey on guitar and vocals, Norman Palm on trombone, Rick King on drums, Charles Prophet Jr. on saxophone, Pennal Johnson on bass, and Andrew Toombs on the keyboards.

Some of the guys have been or are studying music in college. The rest of the band members have been playing for many years, gaining experience with talented Grammy-winning artists such as Bo Diddley, Koko Taylor, and Chuck Berry.

Lubriphonic is touring the country, playing sold-out shows with tracks from its latest album, The Gig Is On.

Looking at a couple song titles on The Gig Is On, such as “Rhino,” “Pimp Limp,” and “Dope Man,” I am curious about what I am about to hear.

As soon as I hit the play button, I hear trumpets, saxophones, and a guitar tune that immediately reminds me of jazz. Then the vocals start up. A guy with a nice, easy-listening voice sings upbeat songs; even the slower songs still have a happy sound to them.

When listening to the lyrics, I discovered that “Rhino” is about being a rhino running down the track, metaphorically, through life. “Dope Man” tells the story of a man wanting to get high on drugs.

But “Pimp Limp” is filled with more instrumentals than a lot of lyrics.

Throughout the album, many of the songs lack a lot of lyrics, and the ones that do have lyrics don’t make the most sense. It seems that lyrics are secondary concern for the band — it puts more focus and feature on the instruments.

Listening to The Gig Is On makes me feel as if I should be sitting in a jazz club, coffeehouse, or listening to the band live at a restaurant on a casual night while getting something to eat.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to the songs featured on the album; it relaxed me. Would I pay for the CD? If I liked jazz a lot, then yes. But otherwise, probably not. I wouldn’t mind paying to see the band live while I eat, though.

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