Motown Revival – A Review of Raphael Saadiq’s Stone Rollin’

72928057 mick jagger Motown Revival   A Review of Raphael Saadiqs Stone RollinThanks to my father, I grew up in a strict Motown and soul household, regularly listening to Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, The Temptations, and Marvin Gaye. To this day this is the music I return to again and again, and I’m always happy to discover current artists who take those influences somewhere new.

When I found Raphael Saadiq’s forthcoming album Stone Rollin’ streaming in its entirety on NPR’s First Listen, I broke out dancing. It wasn’t a celebratory, yes-the-Lions-just-scored-a-touchdown kind of dance. No, the dancing began with the opening tambourine on the opening track of Stone Rollin’, and it did not stop until the album was over.

After falling in love with The Way I See It, Saadiq’s 2008 Grammy-nominated album, Stone Rollin’ does not disappoint. The Motown sound is alive and well on Stone Rollin’—even that opening tambourine is reminiscent of Motown session player and percussionist Bobby Hall.

Overall, there is a real 1960s feel to the album. The opening track “Heart Attack,” with its stomping beat, high energy, and backing vocals, could have been recorded by Sly and the Family Stone in 1968. Sly’s influence can also be heard on the title track, though “Stone Rollin’” is also reminiscent of the Rolling Stones’ 1960s covers of old R&B songs, which suggests the title of the song (and the album) is no coincidence. [Those unfamiliar with Saadiq may recognize him from performing with Mick Jagger at this year’s Grammy Awards.]