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Slim Moore & The Mar Kays - Introducing Slim Moore & The Mar-Kays

Reviewed By: Michael Elves

September 14 2011

Thibeaux Toussaint – a memorable name and a name to remember. That’s because, though the title introduces you to Slim Moore & The Mar-Kays, Toussaint’s fingerprints are all over this album. Producer, sleeve designer, co-writer (twelve of the record’s thirteen songs), multi-instrumentalist – he should be called a ‘run-assaince’ man for multiple lanes he’s racing in.

But as the title suggests, the main bill goes to Slim Moore and his incredible baritone. Without him these would just be some solid instrumentals, but his Pentecostal-practiced vocals are the epitome of soul – from a whisper to a scream, the man can deliver a melody.

Opener “Cityscape” (“Slim’s Theme” is just a teaser and a table-setter) stretches Moore’s vocal chords with its plaintive wails and its breakneck pace (set by the super-tight Mar-Kay rhythm section). The song sets a high bar that Moore and co. continue to clear again and again on the record.

Syl Johnson has been getting some deserved recognition thanks to the folks at Numero Group and hopefully folks who haven’t heard of Johnson or the label will seek their sweet box set out after hearing Moore’s epic cover of “Is It Because I’m Black.” Helping set it apart, the cover features an instrumental passage that highlights the horns, and Moore wrings a more muted tone than Johnson’s anguished original.

Speaking of original – the Johnson track is the only cover and all of the newly-minted material holds up along that stone cold classic quite nicely. Kudos to Moore, Toussaint and crew – after this introduction, everyone will want to get to know them better.