ALBUM REVIEW: Bobby Deitch Band Releases ‘Grateful,’ feat. Adam Deitch, George Porter Jr., Eric Krasno, more (B.Getz on L4LM)
With great anticipation, we have waited for the long-brewing Grateful, the debut album by Bobby Deitch Band. Bobby Deitch may be previously best known in music circles for fathering Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch, sitting in with the band on percussion, and inspiring the gluttonous funk of “Lett Bobby.” However, the elder Deitch is reintroducing himself to music fans the globe over with his new crew and a phenomenal bag of contemporary Funk ‘n’ B tricks. The drummer, keyboardist, and singer-songwriter recruited a slew of standouts from his Nyack, NY scene (members of Forever Ray & Mr. Breakdown), and augmented them with some of his son’s groove guardians and Bobby’s own era’s greats, coming together to create the joyous Grateful.
“It was just about one year ago that my son Adam Deitch strongly suggested I start a new band, step out front, and perform the songs he grew up listening to me write. I took his advice, assembled four incredible musicians (Dave Reiss, Eddy Bishai, Joe “Mamma” Carpentieri and Scott Reeves), and began rehearsals last August. We began recording the week before Thanksgiving, and in March, the album was completed. When we perform live we are grateful to be joined by my incredible wife Denise Deitch on percussion/vocals and Natasha May on vocals, and we often add a stellar horn section.” — Bobby Deitch
Grateful comes out of the gates swingin’ with a swaggering shuffle in the defiant “Start Livin’ Your Life.” It’s clear that the song is from an artist/philosopher experiencing a life renaissance. With a big Billy Joel bridge and undeniable chorus, the made-in-heaven combo of son Adam Deitch and The Meters’ bassist George Porter Jr., handclaps from Reggie “Redman” Noble, plus choice piano boogie from NOLA jewel Jon Cleary, “Start Livin’ Your Life” starts off Grateful with a creative confidence that is shot out of a cannon. “Don’t Start, Don’t Stop” finds Bobby shedding wisdom on long-term relationships over a Kool and the Gang-inspired beat courtesy of The Nth Power’s Nikki Glaspie. The heat is clearly on from the very beginning of this record, and Bobby pilots an adventure well worth settling in for.
This writer’s favorite jam is the Off the Wall/Thriller vibe on “I Got You Covered,” which features the sultry crooning from bandleader Bobby, smooth-ass grooves and handclaps on the chorus, and the fantastic keyboard stylings and production of one Nigel Hall. Bobby’s ad-lib to his other son is absolutely priceless. Nige has got the Deitchs’ backs, and that’s a fact, with an appropriate analog ballet as the slithery and sizzlin’ beat goes on. The next tune “Lotto of Love” is also a delectable slab of smooth. Mining the vinyl grooves of the Reverend Al Greenand Deniece Williams, Bobby really nails the vintage vibe with yet another brilliant chorus, bringing forth a sentiment we all can easily connect within a language everybody is bound to understand.
“Along with our band and the help and expertise of Adam, Nigel Hall, George Porter Jr., Jon Cleary, Adam Smirnoff, Eric Krasno, Chris Pinset and many other talented musicians, the dream has become a reality.” — Bobby Deitch
Late in the record, Bobby cuts loose on an ode to his one and only, “Niecie Please Don’t Tease Me,” harkening back to Martha and the Vandellas and really nailing a Motown Supremes jam. within his own register and with familial flavors plus a blazing sax from Baron Raymonde of the original Blues Brothers band. Title track, “Grateful” is an emotional and poignant sentiment delivered straight from Mr. Deitch’s heart—a love letter to the world and an impactful message alike. Eric Krasno blesses up a tasteful solo, but it’s Nigel’s quiet storm guitars and Adam Deitch’s head-bob beats that inform the vibe most behind Bobby’s humble lament.
In a nod to the family’s favorite squad, Bobby forwards “Lovetrain,” the eleventh and final track on the album, constituting a blueprint for a better way to live and the best kind of groove. The younger Deitch’s patented hi-hat flair is this funk groove’s calling card; this is Team Deitch showing appropriate reverence to forefathers in funk Earth Wind & Fire and an homage to the dearly departed founder, Maurice White. “Lovetrain” includes a masterful guitar solo by Lettuce guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff. The song, album, and message are all par for the course for one Bobby Deitch, a man who’s life has been of the culture(s), equal parts music and human. Bobby Deitch Band’s Grateful is nothing short of a Royal Family affair, and it will be an absolutely fantastic voyage to hear these super-groovy tunes fleshed out live and direct!
“Grateful was debuted live at the Blue Note, NYC, and now all of you will have the opportunity to hear us as we begin our journey to bring you the music starting on June 3rd at the Cutting Room, NYC. I’m Grateful to everyone for your support of this incredible project. Much love, y’all!” — Bobby Deitch