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Volume One

by: Johnny Neel & The Criminal Element

Album Artwork

(Breakin’ Records)

Johnny Neel is one funky white boy. He pours the funk on heavy with the opening track, “Toasted.” It’s Tower of Power meets Edgar Winter’s White Trash, with a little George Clinton tossed in for good measure. The band is amazing. Guitarist Randy Boen blazes across the fret board, and Curt Redding on drums and Russell Wright on bass provide one tight rhythm section. Add in Johnny’s whiskey-soaked blues-rock vocals and keyboard skills, and you’ve got yourself a party.

Heck, “I Can’t Believe” kicks it up another notch. It’s like Zappa doing seventies soul, with some smoking hot B-3, and “What Am I Gonna Do” is an r&b art work about breakup, with Neel pouring his heart out.

“Damn Right” brings to mind classic Billy Preston instrumentals like “Space Race” and “Outta Space,” heavy on keyboards, but also featuring some mighty tasty lead guitar work.

The album has elements of seventies soul, Todd Rundgren (“Find My Way”), Frank Zappa, Billy Preston, Motown, Jerry LaCroix, and Stevie Wonder all blended into one mighty fine gumbo of heart and soul.

Johnny Neel is one of the most creative artists and producers working today, and this album is living, breathing proof that the creativity of this former Allman Brother cannot and will not be denied.

-Michael Buffalo Smith

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