I hadn’t heard of Atlanta-based band 68-75 until last week, when my friend Tony Conley very kindly pointed me in the band’s direction as something that might be up my alley, and woooo boy, was he ever right. I headed off to listen to one tune, just to get a feel for the band, and ended up spending a significant amount of time cruising through music from the band’s releases ‘Stay On The Ride’ and ‘Live In The UK’.
Thanks to the band, I then received an advance copy of their upcoming release ‘Consequences’ (coming soon!) and my carefully considered scientific opinion after all this research is: holy smokes, this is the good stuff!
Expertly wielding influences from older bands like Humble Pie, Free, Howlin’ Wolf, and Mountain, 68-75’s new album has a seductive and satisfying bluesy heft, an old-school rock and roll soul, and is powered up by the glorious whiskey-and-velvet vocals of Suzanne Sledge – coming at you with a voice that evokes singers like Janis Joplin and Sass Jordan.
If you know and like current bands like The Temperance Movement and Buck & Evans, you will LOVE 68-75. Beyond the excellent vocals by Sledge, there’s Andrew Cylar’s outstanding and inspired guitar work, and solid-gold drumming and bass from John Powney and Hal “Wolf” Mahan, respectively. This is a group of people who obviously know their craft, generating a sound that is sweaty, raw, and most of all alive: the kind of musical lightning-in-a-bottle that comes from exceptional vocal and musical performances.
The album is stellar throughout: there is simply not a weak track in the bunch. Standouts for me in include first track ‘Magnetic Head’, showcasing the fluid, loose, and jamming-on-stage vibe that permeates ‘Consequences’; the sassy, swaggering ‘Prodigal Son’, a tune chock-full of attitude, and sporting a groove about a mile deep; and the wistful, soulful ‘24 Lady Karen’, a beautiful track that shimmers and glows.
Ask me to pick a favourite track, and I will do so: ‘Eye On You’ is one of the best tunes I’ve heard this year, from any band in any genre. Just…wow. This tune is on fire, with riffs and vocals that just about rip a new hole in the sky as you’re listening. Spectacular stuff.
‘Consequences’ is required listening for anyone with a taste for soul- and blues-infused rock and roll. The band is opening for The Temperance Movement on Tuesday October 11th (this week): drop everything you have if you are in the area and go to that gig. 68-75 are also heading to the UK this fall for a string of gigs. Make sure you go see them if you can.
- Magnetic Head
- Eye On You
- Something In Mind
- Our Drunk History
- My Way Out
- Prodigal Son
- 24 Lady Karen
- Get It Right
- Bass: Hal ‘Wolf’ Mahan
- Drums: John Powney
- Vocal: Suzanne Sledge
- Guitar: Andrew Cylar
- Hammond Organ, Piano, Clavinet: Marty Kerns
- Harp: Jeff Baker
- Congas: Colin Agnew
- Recorded and mixed by Dan Dixon @ Chase Park Transduction (Athens, Georgia), 800 East Studios and The Factory Studio (Atlanta, Georgia).
- Mastered at Sing Mastering, Atlanta Georgia using Sing Technology (Patent Pending).
- Cover Design and inside cover photography by the Eryn March
- Front cover concept based on website design by Paul Clark