23.5.05

All the reviews from the HAMMONDBEAT forum!

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Hammondbeat is a name synonymous with excellence in its niche genre, they nurture and present the cream of the crop in the Hammond music scene from around the world. So with that said it's always a real pleasure to hear what they issue. The Link Quartet is not a disappointment, its almost as if The Brand New Heavies never happened and the spirit of acid Jazz had remained pure. If you were like me and wanted more of that wailing RnB Jazz and pounding Hammond madness and less candy floss then you'll love this!The Link Quartet produce the kind of organ madness that you'd expect to find more in a compilation of Library music dug up by Luke Vibert or Barry - 7, it transcends the normal mod purist sound that so many of their peers strive to perfect, a track 'Milwaukee Hunter' is more hip hop than even John Murtaugh's 'Slinky', but having said that there are some top notch straight ahead floor fillers here such as 'Rubber Monkey' which I can see being spun in every decent freakbeat room around the world.Featuring Eddie Roberts from the UK's The New Mastersounds and Doug Roberson from The Diplomats Of Solid Sound, there are some killer funk moments which will get some of the pre 66 obsessive folk skipping a track here and there and the more open minded of us turning the volume up, not your usual all-the-same-pace Hammond LP this one has more up and downs than a ride on John Holmes lap, there's a whole spectrum of sound and emotion from blistering 'The Champ' on acid freak outs to cheeky mod jazz pop to heavy guitar soaked grooves. Eddie Roberts's sitar on 'Spider Baby' will get the mod jet set, young and old, wetting themselves when they hear it. An essential soundtrack for very groovy times indeed.
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Reviewer: Phil Hunt
The Link Quartet are back with more of their spacey instrumentals and psychedelic organ jams. This time they get kind of crazy with the Moog for great effect. They even squeeze some cool French vocals, and some sexy femme fatale vocals in the mix on a couple of songs. At first the album comes across as a party record, with upbeat instrumentals dominating. As the record progresses things get a little more consistently complex and different, but it's still interesting and fun. The Link Quartet are at their best when they play up their European, hi-fi-obsessed, bachelor sophisticate style and start to go almost over the top, as the songs that really get the goosebumps rising have a Montenegro/Mancini-styled dramatic spy movie flavor, and conjure fantasies of late night partying with ice cold cocktails and maybe some hallucinogenics, saunas with a lady friend, private planes, fast cars or getaways at your private ski cabin in the Swiss alps. Still, it never quite approaches that ridiculous level You can tell by the absolute perfection in performance that they're really quite serious. They project a certain erudition that I really like.
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Reviewer: Garage and Beat
This is music to eat pizza in your snazziest smoking jacket to. Or maybe that's just my limited imagination coming to the fore in response to the provocative title. This is one of the premiere bands recording for a label devoted to the super cool sounds of the Hammond organ in a retro setting. If you like Booker T & the MGs, "Shades of..." era Deep Purple and/or Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited, you will appreciate where this group is coming from. There are a couple of vocal tracks, but the majority of the material is made up of swinging, whacked out instrumental cuts. The covers include works by the Beatles, Santa Barbara Machine Head and four others. Eight of the fourteen tracks are band originals and shine just as brightly.
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Reviewer: Paul Martin for Shindig Magazine
Groovy Italian 60s mod Hammond instro unit The Link Quartet come up trumps with their Italian Playboys album. Full-on instro-hipster sounds abound kicking off with a cover of Alan Hawkshaw's 'Move Move Move'. The pace is maintained throughout with a variety of covers and originals. Great titles as befits an instrumental album 'Glass Onion', 'Lady Shave', 'Spider Baby' etc. All good mod-tastic party fun and highly authentic sounding. A big thumb's up on this one.
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Reviewer: Mr Blue Boogie
My friends & family know that I’m a dedicated music lover & that I treasure my album collection. Music is my daily food and I do love many styles & tunes. But it’s really an understatement when I say this album swings as no other in my collection. I have to say it’s very long time since I have heard something like this and it’s really a great find. The music is mixture of soul, lounge and jazz, served with topics of sixties beat & served chilling fresh on this excellent album. Although this could be simply called acid jazz, I don’t think the label fits this album very well. “Move, Move, Move”, the first track is a classic soul, swing tune that incredibly works out well in this revived version. Is starts working on my dancing muscles and it won’t stop for the rest of the cd. Fourteen tracks long this is what you feel. Other great tunes are “Briar Patch “(Original by Jack Mcduff) or “Spider Baby” with a very spacy Eddie Robberts (from The New Mastersounds) on sitar. The Link quartet is doing mostly instrumental tunes, but if you think that’s all there is, you’re dead wrong. Great quality is proven here with the cover of the Gus Gus song “Lady shave” feat. DJ Ninfa, or the equal excellent “Janine”. To tell you more would be spoiling you and that isn’t the game here. This album is a fourteen tracks long orgasm of boogaloo like music an organ grinding tunes and I assure you it’s worth the effort to seek this one out.
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Reviewer: 20th Century Guitar - Robert Silverstein
The whole lounge and exotica movement of the mid ‘90s gave way to a number of retro-flavored musical trends. Influenced by the organ-based sound of Booker T. & The MGs and swinging the ‘60s, Italy’s great instrumental rock group The Link Quartet inject great style and panache into the musical mix on their 2004 CD Italian Playboys. A stellar tribute to the ‘60s Stax R&B and Hammond organ sound crafted by Booker T. Jones and guitarist Steve Cropper, The Link Quartet bridge musical generations with their magnificent Italian Playboys CD. With a modern yet retro sound, the band—including keyboardist Paolo “Apollo” Negri and guitarist Giulio “Link” Cardini—hits hard and fast. Overall, the CD is a fine spin for fans of ‘60s soundtracks and the funkadelic soul revolution of the mid ‘70s, and there’s even a cool Booker T. inspired cover of the The Beatles classic “Glass Onion”.
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Reviewer: Mario Bove (for The Italian Newspaper)
If there was a sound that described Austin Powers in Roma or Starsky & Hutch in Napoli, it would be The Link Quartet. The Link Quartet plays 1960's Beat music like it's never been played before. It's energetic, it's frantic, and it's about to become the next big sensation in America. Italy's The Link Quartet has been making their funky music for over a decade. Relatively unknown outside of their native country, The Link Quartet is slowly building a following in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where the Swing music revival of the 1990's was born. The Link Quartet is lead by the driving sound of the Hammond organ, which creates the fat full-bodied sound so common in most 1960's pop. The organ is backed up by a fuzzed out electric guitar which is equal parts psychedelic 1960's and funked-out 1970's. Filling out The Link Quartet is the spy theme influenced bass guitar and hard rocking drumming. Together, they create the sonic equivalent of a car chase. "Italian Playboys", the latest release by The Link Quartet is a great introduction to the band as well as the revived 1960's Beat scene. This is not listening music, though. The Link Quartet is party music; it's driving music; it's high energy excitement set to a funky rhythm. "Portofino Vespa Rider" is the quintessential song from The Link Quartet. Its easy flowing 1960's beat conjures images of a scooter ride through the streets of Los Angeles. To the funky rhythm of "Portofino Vespa Rider", you could imagine cruising past outdoor cafes, palm trees, and a lot of sunshine. If you are looking for Frank Sinatra or Andrea Bocelli, look elsewhere. But if you own a small restaurant/bar or are planning a wild house party, The Link Quartet may be right for you. Their unique sound and retro feel could make them the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy of the Beat scene.
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Reviewer: David Walker for Modculture
This is the third Link Quartet album to be reviewed at modculture, with the previous two receiving glowing praise as a fine mix of new and old tunes from an increasingly impressive Hammond combo. So I was looking forward to reviewing this album and wondering if the usual formula could stretch to a third album. Well, it is the same formula to a point, but writing it off as more of the same would be doing a disservice to the band - because this album has a lot more depth (and range) of sound than previous releases and is far funkier - helped I'm sure by the assistance of Doug Roberson (Diplomats Of Solid Sound) and Eddie Roberts (New Mastersounds). There are still covers, but carried off well. Alan Hawkshaw's "Move Move Move"‚ is given new life "Rubber Monkey"has real power and Jack McDuf'‚s "Briar Patch"does justice to the man and the song. Only The Beatles "Glass Onion" fails to make it for me - but most Beatles‚ covers in 2004 sound a little tired. However, unlike many of today's Hammond acts, the band don't need to rely on covers and its pleasing to hear so many self-penned tunes on the album. The title track "Italian Playboys" sounds like it should do - Saturday night in a steaming cellar bar, Hammond screaming away, backed up by a damn funky rhythm section.The oddly titled "Deliquesced By Devonshire" and "Greased On Delta Street" are in a similar vein, not a million miles from early JTQ, while "The Monster Of Milwaukee" is a moody bit of slow funk that wouldn't be out of place soundtracking a 70s spy flick. "After And Once Again" would also sit nicely in a film setting, but probably from a decade earlier. "Janine" takes us in another direction, in this case catchy pop. And the single "Lady Shave" is different again - fronted by the sultry vocal of DJ Ninfa, it's another example of how the band can mix it up and really rock out, excellent stuff! "Spider Baby" is a great tune - think "Indian Vibes" meets club jazz meets Air - you‚ll not be far off! And the album closer, "Take Four", is another cracker, like something from the Dirty Harry soundtrack - a slice of jazzy funk with a hint of menace. Overall an album I have greatly enjoyed and an example to other similar bands of how you can take a very 60s sound and make it relevant 40 years later. Well recommended.
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Reviewer: Massimo del Pozzo for Misty Lane
Wow, another monster album by Italys fave Hammond-driven groovers, the Link Quartet! One of those records you actually have trouble reviewing, because you can't stop dancing while you're trying to write! From the opening cover of Move, Move, Move and the title track Italian Playboys it's a deep flashback to the best soundtrack funky beat you've first loved in the late 60's and 70's obscure flicks, radio spots, commercials. Those full of gorgeous girls, nice looking hangouts, cool drinks, fast cars running, pigs (ooops, cops), and a good dose of drugs in as well. It's an all-instro mania all the way...driven by the fine Hammond solos of Paolo Apollo Negri and the hot skills by Tony Face Bacciocchi one of Italy's long time Mods who has been playing nothing but cool music in the past 20 years. Some chill-out piano and moog moods? Yeah, hear Milwaukee Hunter, you got it. Ask for some groovy distorted guitar at times, then Rubber Monkey it's for ya. Greased On Delta Street is more the kind of average cool stuff these guys have been digging for so long, although it's easy to hear some harder approach to certain themes, and the wha-wha solos are always interesting, never boring. All instro we said well, until to get to Janine, a nice French tune sung by Arnaldo Dodici featuring a fine Moog job. Also interesting the ultra-reverberated voice of Ninfa on LadyShave, definitely a sexy-psych adventure. Now, would you have expected these guys covering the Fab 4 Glass Onion, well maybe? Here it is! And it features a splendid electric piano job too. Briar Patch: more sleazy B-Movies soundtrack coolness I hear you say. After and Once Again sounds like the guys have been thinking about rewriting the soundtrack for Vampiros Lesbos. Closing the album you get another personal fave cut Spider Baby a sitar-driven popsike gem. Well these guys have surely been listening to the right music for years and now that's the obvious result. Take Four definitely close the album with a fine mix of jazz club atmosphere, Moog and Hammond intricate solos for a classy Psychedelic trip. Too Much. What's next guys? A complete soundtrack for a real movie maybe? We'll see, but in the meantime be sure to get this excellent release and support the band. They're often on tour (also in USA) so don't miss the Link Quartet. Cool, gifted and Italian all the way.
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Reviewer: Roberto Lupercio (Rock Evolucion Radio Show)
We broadcasted a couple of tracks from the excellent "Italian Playboys" by the Link Quartet. I am really impressed by the quality of their music. As a lover of Jazz and Fusion and the Hammond Organ being one of my favorite instruments of all time, I was immediately captured by the dynamic music of The Link Quartet.
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Reviewer: John from Windsor
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! Awesome CD from stern to bow. Their sound has developed more since Beat.It - and I say strictly in a good way. Playboys has all the substance of the former CD with more sophistication. This is the kind of CD that makes you feel COOL when you listen to it (even if your not).
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Reviewer: Joshua Crabtree"
Italian Playboys" is a very progressive compilation compared with earlier “Beat It” and “Episode 1.” The candy-pop of the Hammond has been fine tuned and added harmoniously with deep, edgy guitar riffs, making this disk more jazz/rock than previous albums. This dark blending can be seen perfectly in “Milwaukee Hunter” and “After and Once Again.” Contrasting this fantastic formula are several great Hammond Jazz tracks, including “Greased on Delta Street” and “Deliquesced By Devonshire”, both delivering classic vintage sounds not to disappoint the dutiful base. The two vocal tracks in the second act add a very nice "soundtrack" break. Concluding the collection is the relaxing “Spider Baby” emulating the trend of borrowed cultural music seen in the late 60’s early 70’s. This is a very solid album that moves fast (perhaps a little too fast), and nevertheless has combined the mod-pop with moody-jazz in a perfect blend and leaves the listener craving more.
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Reviewer: Mark - The Rock and Roll Report
If you always wanted to spend some time with Italian Playboys then this is your chance. The Link Quartet emits a great, Hammond-fueled rock and roll buzz that is as universal as rock and roll itself. Really great stuff. Can you imagine listening to these guys in some cool, sweaty Italian rock and roll club!
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Reviewer: Nick Churchill - Daily Echo [UK]
SIMPLY stunning set of retro grooves from Italy's swingingest Hammond groove machine. Spider Baby adds a wigged out sitar to the mix and Gus Gus' Ladyshave gets a horny retread.
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Reviewer: pipndale
Incredible craftsmanship! Hot! If you like the sound of the Hammond B3 as much as I do then this album is a must. My favourites on the cd are Move Move Move and Take Four. Don't forget to check out their other cd Beat It!
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Reviewer: Mohair Sweets
A new release of fantastically smokin' Hammond-led chargers by the Link Quartet! But one trick ponies these Italian hep-cats ain't. They aren't at all afraid to dive head-first into some crafty intense guitar/organ interplay or to mix other dynamics, keyboards or studio effects in alongside their (largely) 60s-based sound. In fact track number four ("Milwaukee Hunter") would seem to owe plenty to things like the Sweeney soundtrack music. Division one stuff all the way and highly recommended.
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Reviewer: Sean Cassidy (for Scoot! Quarterly)
Ah yes, an all-new stew of bombastic boogaloo from one of Italy's most delicious acts. Starting off with the tasty "Move, Move, Move" The Link Quartet sizzle thru some great tracks of rocking Hammond groove. There is an excellent cover of the bluesy "Rubber Monkey" originally done by Santa Barbara Machine Head, a group that featured a post Birds Ron Wood, and a pre Purple Jon Lord. Also on the menu is "Milwaukee Hunter" a slower track that really simmers. It's mellow, and kind of ambient, with a spacey synth floating throughout it. The spicy "Spider Baby" moves right along with an Indian flavor provided by the sound of the sitar. While the disc is heavy on instrumentals, there is the tempting "Janine" which is Zombies style pop that is sung in French, and well as the super sweet "Ladyshave" that is served up with some sexy whispered female vocals. By adding a dash of funk with cuts like "Greased on Delta St." and some rich robust jazz on "Portofino Vespa Rider" the Link Quartet have certainly cooked up quite a feast! Manga!!
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Reviewer: Alan Oakley
Yowzzer ! Just received the Link Quartets long awaited platter – Italian Playboys. It's wonderful! I liked the previous album “Beat it” with it's feel good 6Ts vibe and happy groove lines, but this is a much sleazier offering. The 6Ts vibe is still there, but this time round sees the Italian foursome also leaning healthily toward those moody library scores of the early 7Ts– and I've got to say - I like it! Songs I'd easily associate with the Link Quartet, are included on the album such as Italian Playboys , Deliquesced By Devonshire and Portofino Vespa Rider (To name but a few.) The Hammond is fast and the groove goes straight to the feet, But - it's the Darker experiment they've got going on with vintage library sounds that gives this album it's special sleaze factor... After & Once Again, Spider Baby, Milwaulkee Hunter and Take 4 would all sit proudly with the best that any Library studio could offer in the early 7Ts . Spider Baby is a particular favourite of mine with it's moody mixture of Hammond, Sitar, and Synth (who'd of thought that would work ! ) The clues were there on the first album that the Link Quartet had a darker side but it's certainly become manifest on this album. There's always a worry that a band is gonna screw up when they start messing with the formula that made people take notice in the first place , but there's no danger of that here. By taking their inspiration from classic vintage grooves it's impossible for the Link Quartet to disappoint anybody who has an ounce of Groove in their bones.
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