Funk legend Maceo Parker has just released ‘Soul Food – Cooking with Maceo,‘ his first studio album in eight years, via Mascot Label Group’s new imprint, The Funk Garage. Described by American Songwriter as “ten sizzling selections that haul buckets of funk,”thealbum finds Parker’s signature punchy saxophone sound partnering with New Orleans funk royalty to cook up a fresh selection of soul and funk classics, as well as Parker originals. The album was recorded at New Orleans House of 1000hz with Andrew “Goat” Gilchrist and producer Eli Wolf (Norah Jones, Madlib, Al Green).
‘Soul Food – Cooking with Maceo’ blends raw, old school funk with the flavors of New Orleans, featuring collaborations with Ivan Neville, Nikki Glaspie, Tony Hall, and a host of local musicians. The funky flavor of the city weaves its way through the album, as Maceo and the band take on iconic songs from Mississippi masters like Dr. John (“Right Place, Wrong Time”) The Meters (“Just Kissed My Baby”) and Allen Toussaint (“Yes, We Can Can), as well as Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady,” Prince’s “The Other Side of the Pillow” and David “Fathead” Newman’s “Hard Times.” We also get funky workouts from Parker’s own back catalogue on ‘M A C E O’ and ‘Cross The Track,” the staple song of Giles Peterson’s iconic WAG Club in Soho, London in the 1980s.
It is almost impossible to separate which came first – Maceo or the Funk. He has played with each and every leader in the funk genre, starting with James Brown in the 1960s before jumping aboard the Mothership Connection with Parliament-Funkadelic, and later spending a decade collaborating with Prince.
Maceo’s career as a band leader began in 1970, and since embarking on a second solo career in 1990 he has released a catalogue of stunningly evocative releases from Maceo and All The King’s Men ‘Doing Their Own Thing’ (1972) all the way to 2012s ‘Soul Classics.’ This is not to mention working with titans of the music world such as Keith Richards, Bryan Ferry, Living Color, Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction and De La Soul. He has also been sampled by hip hop icons including the Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac and Busta Rhymes.
In the 1994 documentary ‘My First Name is Maceo,’ George Clinton said, ”You just transcend things and just be energy and beautiful, that’s where Maceo can play and sing, to me, that’s where I really enjoy Maceo the most.”
“One of the things that I have enjoyed about being an artist is that sooner or later it’s time to record new material. Somehow, this time around, we decided to cover some tunes. So, that’s what this album is all about. In the studio, you have the luxury of recording songs by groups that you have enjoyed throughout the years.
Once you become a recording artist, there’s a satisfaction that you are now part of the collective group of artists that you admire.
Maceo & All the King’s Men was the first band I formed after leaving James Brown’s group. There is a sense of pride when, as a musician, you reach a level where your own material is in stores and being played on the air. It’s almost like graduating from local musician to world-renown artist. So it was fun to revisit two songs from that period.
I’ve always been inspired by everyone, simply everyone who has worked with Ray Charles, including the Raelettes and Hank Crawford, so it’s especially nice to have included a David “Fathead” Newman tune on the album. I’ve worked with the Meters, with Dr John and Aretha Franklin over the course my rather long career, so it’s a pleasure to include some of their songs.
More than anything I miss Prince. He was a genius, so it was special to re-record a song he and I had once toyed with idea of releasing and give it that special New Orleans feel while also referencing the person I most admired growing up, the Genius Mr Ray Charles.” – Maceo Parker
1. Cross The Track
2. Just Kissed My Baby
3. Yes We Can Can
4. M A C E O
5. Hard Times
6. Rock Steady
7. Compared To What
8. Right Place Wrong Time
9. Other Side of the Pillow
10. Grazing In The Grass