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Stone Rollin'

Stone Rollin'

4.0 2
by Raphael Saadiq

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Stone Rollin', Raphael Saadiq's second Columbia album, cuts straight to the chase. It begins with a tambourine-accented pounding groove à la Sly & the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music," adding grinding rhythm guitar and making a plea of a different kind: one of co-dependent desperation, served up


Stone Rollin', Raphael Saadiq's second Columbia album, cuts straight to the chase. It begins with a tambourine-accented pounding groove à la Sly & the Family Stone's "Dance to the Music," adding grinding rhythm guitar and making a plea of a different kind: one of co-dependent desperation, served up Holland-Dozier-Holland style. Indeed, Stone Rollin' is a little less clean-cut than 2008's The Way I See It, tending to veer from pure mid-'60s Motown for a more expansive approach that incorporates a number of late-'60s and early-'70s sounds, including Holland-Dozier-Holland's grittier post-Motown work and early Philly soul, not to mention an apparent nod to Ray Charles on "Day Dreams." Like The Way I See It, this is a big production. Saadiq plays the majority of the drums, guitars, and keyboards, but he is joined by dozens of string and horn players and a handful of crucial collaborators, including past associates and session legends Jack Ashford (percussion) and Paul Riser (string arrangements), as well as Earth, Wind & Fire's Larry Dunn and Little Dragon's Yukimi Nagano. These songs are tied together by the Mellotron, a vintage keyboard -- commonly associated with psychedelic and progressive rock recordings, but not foreign to soul -- that evokes diseased flutes and wheezing strings. Saadiq tends to use the instrument for shading, but it is central to the drama of "Go to Hell" (where it is played by Amp Fiddler), and it adds a melancholic tint to the otherwise happy-go-lucky "Movin' Down the Line." The songs that do not leave an immediate and lasting impression make moves on a subconscious level. "Good Man," the most compelling song on the album, works both ways. A mini-epic of trouble-man soul, somewhere along the lines of Ohio Players' "Our Love Has Died" and a missing cut off David Porter's Victim of the Joke?, its elegant misery is instantly striking, enhanced by Taura Stinson's pouty guest vocal. After a few listens, that point where Saadiq reaches a falsetto, at the end of "So much better now, without you" -- just as the horns punch in -- raises the goose pimples and does so with successive plays. The album does not merely transcend period-piece status. It's the high point of Saadiq's career, his exceptional output with Tony! Toni! Toné! included.

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Raphael Saadiq   Primary Artist,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Tambourine,Vocals,Clavinet,Mellotron
Darrell Mansfield   Harmonica
Elizabeth Wilson   Violin
Robert Brosseau   Violin
Mark Cargill   Violin
Assa Drori   Violin
Jeff Driskill   Saxophone,Woodwind
Larry Dunn   Piano
Maurice Grants   Cello
Dan Higgins   Saxophone
Harry Kim   Trumpet
Gina Kronstadt   Violin
Miguel Martinez   Celli
Joe Meyer   Horn
Dennis Molchan   Violin
Jorge Moraga   Viola
Paul Riser   Conductor
Anatoly Rosinsky   Violin
Robin Ross   Viola
Harry Shirinian   Viola
Haim Shtrum   Violin
John Wittenberg   Violin
Shari Zippert   Violin,Viola
Gayle Levant   Harp
Jean Marinelli   Horn
Lesa Terry   Violin
Wa Wa Watson   Guitar
JoAnn Tominaga   Concert Master
Amp Fiddler   Mellotron
Johana Krejci   Violin
Paul Klintworth   Horn
Brian Benning   Violin
Kathleen Robertson   Violin
Robert Randolph   Steel Guitar
Samuel Formicola   Viola
Erika Duke   Cello
Alex Budman   Woodwind
Calvin Turner   Bass,Snare Drums
Stephanie O'Keefe   Horn
Charles Evertt   Violin
Rodney Wirtz   Viola
Karen Elaine   Viola
Mark Adams   Horn
Robert Schaer   Trumpet
Miguel Gandelman   Tenor Saxophone
Little Dragon   Vocals
B.J. Kemp   Snare Drums
Johannes Joergensen   Guitar
Todd French   Cello
Jon Lewis   Trumpet
Raymond Monteiro   Trumpet
Dan Foreno   Trumpet
Monet Owens   Background Vocals
Rob Bacon   Guitar
Taura Stinson   Background Vocals
Sarah Bach   Horn
Garrett Ellis   Alto Saxophone
Carl Lemar Carter   Drums,Snare Drums
Alex Gorlovsky   Violin
Vahe Karykian   Celli
Taqura Stinson   Vocals
Karolina Kaziemiec   Viola
Jorge Wittenberg   Viola
Giovanna Clayton   Celli

Technical Credits

Paul Riser   Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,Orchestral Arrangements
Raphael Saadiq   Composer,Producer,Horn Arrangements
Mathieu Bitton   Art Direction
Gerry "The Gov" Brown   Engineer
Michelle Holme   Art Direction
Calvin Turner   Horn Arrangements
Chuck Brungardt   Producer,Engineer
Marlon Marcel   Engineer
Taura Stinson   Composer
Alex Nakanishi   Personal Assistant

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Stone Rollin' 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
poughkeepsiejohn More than 1 year ago
This is only Raphael Saadiq's second album. Yet, the 45-year-old musician is no fly-by-night talent. He was one of the founding members of Toni! Toni! Tone! and later joined one of the finest hip-hop groups of the 90's, A Tribe Called Quest. He also garnished a name for himself as a great composer and producer for singers like Mary J. Blige, John Legend, Joss Stone and TLC. Raadiq is also very proficient, musically. He can play a myriad of instruments like Prince and Lenny Kravitz, thanks to multi-track recording. And he also has a keen eye and ear on the great music of the past. Now, Raadiq has given his own stamp to that music and upgraded it on "Stone Rollin'". This album has throwback written all over it, right down to the cover photo of the nerdy 60's kids watching Saadiq, continental suit and all. However, what really draws you into this is the music. The lead-off track, "Heart Attack", with its thumping bass and charging guitars, sounds like an updated version of Sly Stone's "Dance To The Music". Meanwhile, "Radio" could have beebn a Smokey Robinson tune circa 1966 while "Movin' Down The Line" is the kind of melody that Junior Walker could've sung if he got his hands on a synth or programmer in 1968. He even throws in a little cocktail jazz in "Day Dreams" while "Over You" sounds like a Lenny Kravitz song with all its layered mellotrons. But the most surprising tune here is the title track, with its rumbling bass line and its sobering undercurrent, this sounds like an outtake from Bobby Bland's classic album, "Two Steps From The Blues". With performers like Janealle Monae giving more of a positive voice to "neo-soul", Raphael Saadiq is up there in a big way. This is only his second solo album but it's one of the finest records to be heard this year. Saadiq deserves to be a star and when you hear "Stone Rollin'", you'll understand why he should be one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago