Friday, July 2, 2010

Leroy (2001)

(As published in the Illinois Entertainer ... )


Leroy is pretty fly for a white guy. Not only does he sing like Lenny Kravitz, but he uses what sounds like a gospel choir at the end of the slyly (and the family stonefully) funky “Good Time,” the title of which gives props both to Chic and that ’70’s ghetto-com starring Jimmy Walker. Dyn-o-mite!

Actually, with lyrics like “I got shot down in southern California / All along you never loved me / ’til the day that you shot me,” “Good Time” might be the story of Robert Blake and Bonnie Lee, two old lovers with nothing better to be, a saga that seems rather un-African-American until you recall that no less a soul bro’ than O.J. has been advising Blake and that in his Little Rascal days Blake himself was once tight with Buckwheat.

But back to His Leroyal Badness: in “Devil’s Daughter” he sings in a fake-soul falsetto; in “Be My Lover” he follows more falsetto with a Sly Stone riff. In “New World” he raps; in “Trans Am” he raps and gets approached by a “hoochie woman.” In “The Way We Carry On” he raps and mentions racism. In “Don’t Look Back” he mentions Superfly. Through it all runs an Isley-Hendrix-Stax-Volt fuzztone courtesy of Leroy’s own bad axe. Lay down the boogie and play that funky music till you die!

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