Here's a triple threat for ya: spicy soul-funk-jazz that'll put taste buds on your eardrums. Hobex are a constantly-in-flux soul outfit outta North Carolina led by an artistic Svengali named Greg Humphreys. What they've laid down here is an hour of untainted music-from-the-heart that owes as much to improvisation and intuition as it does to technique and calculation, which is to say it has soul, baby. Glide away on the sweet keys, oozing horns and downtrodden vox of "Maybe It's Me." Dig the up-tempo jazz-funk and extended instrumental breaks of "Baby's Gone Away." Get all the way down with the sassy exhortations of April Howell on the (live) country-funk of "Soul Food." The playing is tight but never uptight and the song set is sweeeeeet. You might not find U Ready, Man? sitting atop the charts but that just proves yet again that great music and smart business don't always manage to rendezvous in the same restaurant. One of the very best potential sleeper albums of 2002.
(October 22, 2002)