Reviews for UNDER THE INFLUENCE
“Following a two-year sabbatical from 2010, Vancouver’s Mojo Stars augmented their line-up and sold out New Westminster BC’s Columbia venue to make their return to live action. Six performances from that same venue provide the bulk of Under The Influence with five studio tracks completing a clean, precise, and gently funky collection.
Without ever getting dirty and gritty, Under The Influence displays the Stars’ diversity in a blue, soulful way. From ‘Why Can’t I Be True?’ an infectious shuffle with a pop feel, to the pleading but melodious ‘Why Didn’t You Know?’ featuring a splendid yearning Randy Clarke vocal and Leo Oliphant’s understated virtuoso bass, it’s obvious from the crowd reaction that BC is delighted to witness their return to action.
Other delights see Tom Gould’s Jr Walker-ish sax add piquancy to the Latin-tinged wiry anti-hero funk of a lengthy live ‘26 Banks’, and his Stax brass attack on ‘Stay A Little Longer’, a song tied to a tasteful pop-soul melody and a floor-filler chorus. ‘No Use In Crying’, is a personal favourite, though, a country soul show-stopper with rasping brass prompts and testifying gospel harmonies.”
“…with the sax of Tom Gould and Hammond grooves of Kenny Boychuck, No Use In Crying offers us a great soul song…I truly enjoyed the soulful ballads, and the live recordings are perfectly mixed.”
“Western Canada’s pre-eminent white boys with the blues rock it up one more time to light up the night and provide power to keep those generators going through long, cold nights. Sounding like the well tested road warriors they are, this is real music for people that just want to do some fist pumping and kick out the jams as air guitars rage. Fun stuff from pros that know the moves but pepper then with that something extra.”
“The album opens with the title track ‘Under The Influence’. The song has a heavy groove and Hammond virtuoso Kenny Boychuck clearly comes alive behind his piano and B3. Guitarist Mark Rankin treats us to a blistering guitar solo in this great song.
…The live ballad “Why Did not You Know?” is one of the best songs on ‘Under The Influence’. The more than six-minute soulful ballad is sung with much feeling by Randy and and saxophonist Tom Gould, who managed to make this song shine. Still, guitarist Mark Rankin draws attention to himself with much dexterity and soulful string work. Drummer Shawn Soucy and bassist Rob Marr ensure the steamy groove in the swinging rocker “I Is not Feeling As Good As I Look.”
“Lock The Door Mama” and “You Do not Know Me And I Wish You Would” are such awesome, swinging rockers that must provide endless thrills for a dancing crowd during a Mojo Stars concert. ‘Under The Influence’ is a strong and varied album. The Mojo Stars is a band that creates atmosphere and know their numbers to choose well. (8/10)”
“Under The Influence is feel good blues, a lively mixture of 5 studio and 6 live cuts, and the energy of the performances is infectious… The band is tight, the performances are solid and occasionally inspirational. Under The Influence is capable of heavy lifting if you’re feeling down and your soul needs a boost… what could be better than that?”
GONZO ONLINE/THE ROCK DOCTOR
“Their music is adorned with a powerful and effective combination of dynamic rock, funk, soul and blues, and such fusion guarantees above all a great and inspired musical story.”
“…Back in the studio we get a real smorgasbord of sounds on “Love What Have You Done” with jazzy sax, accordion, hand percussion and soaring Santana-esque lead guitar and organ swirls. On another live cut Randy invites his intended romantic partner to “Lock The Door Mama” on a swinging rocker and the album closes with a short studio track with a long title – “You Don’t Know Me And I Wish You Would” – which turns out to be a nice bit of rock n’roll with pumping piano and a catchy chorus.
Overall this is a solid CD with plenty of good tunes. All original, varied, well played and sung – plenty to enjoy.”
…”You will find in each track all the brightness, coolness and essence of their music, they build up over powerful guitar riffs, Stax grooves and excellent soulful vocals and sax solos, that contribute to round up a more than recommendable recording for every music lover. VERY GOOD.”
…A lovely varied album from a number of technically talented musicians, who know how to connect soul, funk, rock, pop and blues to each other, revealing that live and studio recordings can match very well.
COOL QUOTES FROM FUNKY FOLKS
“You guys have really got it going on! Y’all could be the next big band to come out of Canada!”
“…the vocals are impressively huge…good playing; strong guitar and the band is tight and energized. There is a lot of potential here”
Bruce Iglauer – Alligator Records and Artist Management Inc.
“With a voice as clear as a Rocky Mountain stream and as strong as a gale force wind, Randy Clarke has no problem at all getting his message concerning the blues, across to his audience. With guitar extraordinaire Mark Rankin by his side, this team makes up one of the most mesmerizing blues aficionado’s, the Canadian West Coast Music Scene has seen in a while, and to prove that point they put out a non-stop Bluesfest of an album titled, The Mojo Stars “Devil’s Advocate”. With what looks like a vintage Electro-Voice Mic in hand, Randy has no problem at all belting out the tunes and if that wasn’t enough he also has a mean talent with the Harmonica, as well. “Devil’s Advocate” consists of 10 Tracks, all originals, which were all audience favorites before recording them and which quickly became my favorites after listening to the Album. “Devil’s Advocate” is a great introduction to anyone who loves the blues, sung straight up, without the clutter and a great intro to a mighty fine band