Uh Oh! – Danny Merriman (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

When life throws lemons at you, make lemonade, isn’t that what they say? So, when life throws funky lemons, make funky lemonade! And if the last year has been even more difficult for Danny Merriman beyond the usual Covid related shenanigans, it is the turning of those funky fruit into the funkiest of albums that has been the result.

Being a four-stringer, a bassman no less, it is groove and rhythm that runs through his veins, not to mention his strings, and if there is a genre in which the bass excels it is funk. But Danny is smart enough to understand that funk, like most genres, is an attitude, an approach, a state of mind, rather than a style full of rules and regulations. And so the funky lemonade found here is full of myriad flavours and necessary nuance and pushes into all manner of genres from reggae to rock from soul to pop and everything in between.

And if the opening, title track sees us in urgent and upbeat ska mood, a sound perhaps fairly closely associated with him via his past albums, here he gets to sonically stretch out, relax and explore.

So Thrilled With You mixes a sort of West-Coast, jazz-rock vibe running on poised, purposeful and pretty on-the-nose bass grooves, or perhaps the sound of a band like Steely Dan embracing some long lost Island vibe. I’m So In Love With You is a boisterous, funked up, new wave, post-punk sound with the perfect balance between energy and euphoria and Danny’s wonderfully understated vocals and J-Type Funk is an ultra-cool, of the moment, yet ultimately timeless dancefloor filler.

I wouldn’t go as far as to erroneously paraphrase the late, great Eric Blair when I say four-strings good, six-strings bad, but it does make you wonder when people like Danny Merriman are capable of creating so much great music with the bass as the guiding light, why people even need a six-string guitar at all. I guess if they were as deft, dexterous, imaginative, inventive and genre-hopping as he is, they wouldn’t!

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