MOFRO's second release Lochloosa is on Swampland Records, which pretty much says it all. All songs are written by JJ Grey, the bluesy voice and frontman of MOFRO, who also plays keys, harmonica, and guitar. Joining him is longtime friend Daryl Hance on guitar and dobro. The good ol' boy friendship between Grey and Hance goes back over ten years, and the two formed the basis of MOFRO back in 1998.

MOFRO's music could best be described with their self-proclaimed "swamp funk," or "front porch soul," with slide guitars, organ, and harmonicas. Listening to Lochloosa, you can picture Grey and Hance sitting in their canoe fishing the bayou. Thoroughly swayable if not downright danceable, this Northern Florida band and its funky stew of soul, country, and blues is gaining fans all over the country.

The title track "Lochloosa" is a sorrowful blues number about the demise of the natural beauty of Grey's home state and in particular his beloved Lake Lochlooosa. Grey's vocals are earnest and soulful, like they're coming from a working man, whether he's singing about the loss of his native wilderness, reminiscing about the good old days, or discussing problems between men and women ("That Boy", is a catchy warning to women about being with the wrong guy). Some of the tunes are slightly repetitive in style, with lots of ballads found inside, but most are filled with catchy hooks and refrains. An up-tempo rocker, "How Junior Got His Head Put Out," with the Bo Diddly-esque backbeat, and the sweet lament of "Fireflies," fill out the album. A fine second effort by MOFRO, and a definite find for fans of "cheap-ass funk," (to quote a description by Grey himself), done swamp style.

Susan J. Weiand
JamBase | California
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[Published on: 8/18/04]

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