Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
What a breath of fresh air. Just beautiful music that never goes out of style. People still like real singing and instrument playing. There is no substitute for that, yet. Real singing is what you get, and even more. In fact, you will get The Whole Shebang. Way to work that title in, huh? But in addition to getting some world class vocals, you get some really fine playing. The drumming and percussion really stand out to me.
This is a fun album. It hearkens back to the days when songs would instantly take one back to a specific time and date. For instance, every time I hear Born To Run by The Boss, it takes me back to Wildwood, NJ in the summer of 1980. That is the kind of music that Charlie Faye & The Fayettes bring to the table. I can say these are the types of songs that transcend generations.
I love that 70s soul vibe. Talk about taking me back. I mean this song takes me to Saturday afternoon at 5:00 PM. That’s when Soul Train would be on and I tried not to miss it. I watched it for the music, scout’s honor. I digress. Night People (Track 6) would have been a perfect song for Soul Train during the disco era. I can see all the bell bottom polyester pants flapping in the breeze as the dancers do pirouettes to Night People. This song has some great disco string solos.
I am definitely an optimist, most of the time. I really do believe that the glass is half full. When I heard Baby, We’ll Be Ok (Track 7), I felt like that song was written for me. I have heard a lot of breakup songs, especially in the Ameripolitan/Americana genres. It’s nice every once in a while to hear a song about relationship optimism, even if it is only a fib. Most relationship songs are about cheating, unrequited love, or separation but not this one! The song’s intro and outro are very strong and beg for repeat. This is my fourth listen as of this writing.
Any fan of doo-wop and the girl bands out of Detroit will immediately feel at home while listening to I Don’t Need No Baby (Track 2). The lead and backing vocals are perfection. This is the only breakup song on the album. It is actually a pre break up song. Charlie Faye is telling a potential suitor that now is not the right time to start a relationship. This song is about complete transparency and making your feelings known early before there are any serious misunderstandings. Sage advice from the trio.
Timing is everything and Charlie Faye & The Fayettes’ timing is impeccable. During these times of uncertainty, people want authenticity and integrity in their art. The Whole Shebang delivers. Expert playing and singing coupled with music that is fun is a winning formula.