The Lee Boys : Testify

Lee Boys_Testify

When you‘re truly creating and performing for the Highest Power, man can’t help but dissolve in ecstasy listening. The Lee Boys’ talents were honed in the spirit-lifting musical traditions of the churches led by their father and grandfather. Brothers Alvin(guitar and vocals), Derrick (vocals), and Keith Lee (vocals) along with nephews Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy, Jr. (7-string bass), and Earl Walker(drums)are bringing the excitement on the waves and in the aisles with their 2012 Sacred Steel release Testify.

The ensemble fuses their incredible funk, jazz, blues, hip-hop, rock, country rhythms and drives the sound into sometimes smooth R&B, other times mind-blowing, heart-pounding gospel thumping with the African beats sounding from Roosevelt’s steel guitar.  Testify features 11 new songs and popular live show favorites and concludes powerfully with an Andre Crouch cover “We Need to Hear From You.” Members of this group, spectacular and well-sought after as guest artists themselves, have amplified their genius on this CD with guests such as Warren Haynes, Jimmy Herring, Gia Wyre, Matt Slocum, Nate Worth and producer Matt Grondin.

The CD opens with spirit-lifting lyrics written by Alvin Cordy.  Then, listeners are brought to their feet and lost in the Spirit as track two, “Going to Glory,” sweeps the soul up and leaves the body controlled by that bass guitar and steel pedal.  Haynes carries the CD on his label Evil Teen and contributes his voice and guitar to “I’m Not Tired’ and “Praise You.”  “So Much to Live For” opens with the horn section – Mark Mullins on trombone, Barney Floyd and Brian Graber on trumpets, and Jason Mingledoff on tenor saxophone – and transitions into one long signature funky groove jam.  Herring lends his guitar excellence to “Always By My Side.”

The title track highlights everyone in the group and gives testimony to Alvin Lee’s songwriting talents.  “Sinnerman,” another funk-inspired call to self-reckoning is followed by the one most different from the rest, a reading of “Wade Into the Water,” featuring Gia Wyre on vocals. Jonathan Walker, Glenesa Lee and LaTonya Bethune also add their vocal sounds.

Testify is a wonderfully crafted mix of smooth soulful R&B, funky heart pumps, and moving-the-soul (and the body) gospel. It’s a remarkable experience you don’t want to miss.

Testify is out  now on Evil Teen Records.