The Mitchell & Dewbury Band - Beyond The Rains
It's easy to lose track of time and season being a CD Times contributor, one's only hint that summer is around the corner being when discs like this begin dropping through the letterbox. Beyond The Rains is a soul-jazz-funk-Latin Odyssey, the kind of record that can only be entertained once the sun starts shining, girls' outfits get skimpy and thoughts turn to lazing on a foreign beach.
The title track sets the tone with a rampaging Latin rhythm, calypso calls, jazz flute (courtesy of one Lawrence Jones) and Billie Godfrey's soulful voice. Rapping With The Gods, a big, infectious dose of brassy jazz married to funk, follows immediately, before the vibe becomes more chilled. Love Is Flowing To Love, for example, is smooth soul, and eventually we end up at Kaleidoscope, laidback cocktail jazz replete with xylophone. Tying this first half of the album together are some nice female vocals, the exception being the seemingly ubiquitous - and unmistakably male - Terry Callier on Darker Than A Shadow.
Unfortunately, the second half is less endearing. Witness scat (singing, that is!), lousy funk (Globetrotter) and a couple of jazz numbers which don’t quite hold the interest. Grafted on to the end is a drum 'n' bass remix of the title track.
The Mitchell & Dewbury Band appear to run through every permutation of soul-jazz-funk-Latin here. Yes, it's all very Gilles Peterson and occasionally like Senor Coconut without the irony. (My Words even includes the sounds of waves crashing and seagulls for those incapabale of using their imagination.) At other times, the images of bikini clad chicks, cocktails and all day sun the album conjurs up are so strong you can forgive (or is that embrace?) the cheesier elements and some uneventful meanderings.