Nathaniel Rateliff's third album and first with his band the Nightsweats is pure joy, barnstorming soul but it's not steeped in any sort of nostalgic revival, it rises well above that. The introspective sentiment of his previous albums is still there but the impact is greater with the Nightsweats supplying the enthusiastic fervour to match Rateliff's soulful growl. You always want an album to make a statement of intent early on in the piece and the opener I Need Never Get Old is old fashioned southern soul sounding like the hey day of Stax, a restrained opening with bass, guitar and piano setting up a call and response intro, paving the way for the horns to give it some drive and pulse. Howling at Nothing sounds like a tent revival with Sam Cooke leading proceedings, it's jubilant and steeped in the heartwarming strains of gospel music.
Some were playing around
Some were dipping so low
It never seemed to matter as the night slipped away
Cause there was soul in the air.
Trying So Hard Not To Know is another soul burner Rateliff is in full roar I can imagine Sam And Dave singing this one. I've Been Falling takes things down a notch, it's a ruminative observation of not quite reaching the mark but still not losing hope,
Well I needed you and not just someone
I've been so long failing you dear
I said I'd care for all this darling
Yet I buried it all again.
S.O.B reaches into the depths of gospel for some redemption, battling demons of the bottle Rateliff hollers and testify's to the troubles being faced,
I'm gonna need someone to help me
I'm gonna need somebody's hand
I'm gonna need someone to hold me down
I'm gonna need someone to take care
I'm gonna writhe and shake my body
I'll start pulling out my hair
I'm going to cover myself with the ashes of you
And nobody's gonna give a damn.
Wasting Time is more restrained, an acoustic opening it has a gentle wistful lope but of course with a deeply embedded sense of soul. With a plaintive pedal steel meandering alongside Rateliff's relaxed vocal this tune has a late 60's country soul feel. Mellow Out is another country styled track about finding a better way against all the turmoil of life. Rateliff is one of those vocalists who doesn't need to over sing to get his message across, the feeling in his voice is undeniable. The Nightsweats are tight, bold and soulful when needed but also more relaxed and able to lock into that meditative groove that fits Rateliff's songs so well. Further more catch these guys live they are in Australia for bluesfest and a just announced side show in Melbourne at 170, I will be there.