The rather curiously titled Grafenberg Disciples is a new band from California made up by bassist, songwriter and producer Bob Madsen and the singer Hans Eberbach who comes from a soul and funk background. Some of you may already know Madsen as the co-founder of the American progressive rock bands 41Point9 (with Brian Cline) and Operation: Paperclip (with Tony Carey) but I’m guessing most will be like me and all of these are new names. If the bass is your instrument of choice then listen to his playing as Madsen quite simply operates on a different level to just about any other bass player on the planet! Hans Eberbach is a time served soul singer with a sound and style very similar to the quite wonderful Terry Callier which is special praise indeed and the mixing of a singer well versed in funk and r&b with a prog musician is not one that you come across every day.
Johnny On The Spot is their debut album of soft, slow and reflective soulful prog which is built upon a solid platform of jazz, soul and rock which has a hint of Steely Dan on a very, very laid back day, the sheer cleverness of 10CC in their pomp, Alan Parsons at his most grandiose with Seal waiting on the sidelines to infuse a soulful and upbeat tempo. Eberbach and Madsen have brought in a most talented team to bring their vision to life with Chad Quist on guitar, Jerry Merrill on keyboards and the amazing Gregg Bissonnette on drums and they lay down some serious grooves which allow Hans Eberbach to amaze with his smooth as silk voice.
The music on Johnny On The Spot is truly genre crossing as there is something here for everyone including a little prog that adds real spice to the proceedings but the album really comes alive at the end of a stressful day when you kick off your shoes, sit back with the beverage of your choice, dim the lights and float away on some of the most exquisite and enthralling music you have ever heard. This is one of those rare albums that fits all genres as it is a truly unique work that should appeal to any fan of music regardless of personal preferences. Mention must be made of the 8-minute track No Words which is a homage to the late, great Neil Peart and we are all richer for having had him in our world and the world is much smaller now that he has left us. It has been released as a single with all profits being donated to the Cedar Sinai Special Research Program For Glioblastoma which was the brain cancer that tragically claimed his life last year; a truly worthwhile cause and one to be supported. There is also a video that features a variety of Peart stills whilst the musicians hold up albums and personal mementoes of him and Rush, please check it out but be warned as it reduced me to tears.
This is soul filled rock of the sort that the early Chicago used to make but the musicians on this album have the added benefit of a further 50 years of music influences to draw upon and if you approach it will anything close to an open mind then it is going to blow you away. Genius is a word we all use far too often but when you hear musicians of this quality and the life-affirming music that they make then you are humbled in their presence.
Johnny On The Spot track list
- Dying To Live (4:05)
- The Man Who Would Be King (6:09)
- No Words (8:26)
- She Lay Sleeping (6:30)
- A Madman’s Lullaby (4:38)
- The Girl With The Broken Smile (8:49)
- In A Moment (4:44)
- Fields Of Sky-Blue Pink (6:04)
- Music On The Wind (For S.O.B.) (4:09)