(4 / 5)
This bunch of talented mother funkers (note to self: must check spelling carefully!) drop their fifth album, after a two years of graft in their UK studio.
The Haggis Horns are a seven-piece funk outfit, with a horn section who Mark Ronson hails as “the best in the world.” As a Tower of Power fan since the 70s, I could challenge that claim, but not here!
Formed in 1999, they first appeared on the album “Keb Darge Presents The New Mastersounds” in 2000. Forming a full band in 2004 and creating four acclaimed albums. “Hot Damn!”, their 2006 debut , “Keep On Movin”, “What Comes To Mind” and “One Of These Days”.
They released five singles and two of their albums on First Word Records, before setting up their own label in 2015.
Leeds-based, they deliver a northern funk sound combining break-beats, afrobeat, soul and hip-hop. The members of The Haggis Horns have performed and recorded with the likes of Jamiroquai, John Legend & The Roots, Amy Winehouse, Mark Ronson and Adele, to name but a few.
Three years after their last album, the boys are back with “Stand Up For Love”, which includes “Suzi Traffic”, their current single, and first single “Haggis Express”.
John McCallum, the band’s original singer, takes lead vocals on all seven vocal tracks. A member of Corinne Bailey Rae’s band since day one, as singer and guitarist. A very under-rated vocalist.
Original percussionist and conga player Sam Bell is back in the line-up, and adds some Latin spice. Erroll Rollins is on drums, Kenny Higgins on bass, Ben Barker on guitar, (the very skilful) George Cooper on keyboards, Malcolm Strachan on trumpet (check out his superb new solo album “About Time”), Rob Mitchell on alto/baritone sax and Atholl Ransome on tenor sax and flute.
Nine tracks, produced by Ben, Atholl and Malcolm – two instrumentals. A solid and classy funk and soul offering, nodding to their influences such as The Meters, The Blackbyrds, The JBs, Sly and the Family Stone et al, but very much their own sound.
If we do end up getting some sort of a summer, indoors or out, this is an early addition to the perfect sunshine soundtrack…
By Simon Redley
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’