Detroit Energy Asylum - ReCreation
Long-running Detroit collective returns with a provocative set of songs from the 1965-1972 era
Drawn from a time of extraordinary creative change in popular music, years many would call their childhood, ReCreation features inspired remakes of David Crosby's "Everybody's Been Burned," originally recorded by the Byrds, along with imaginative renderings of soul classics originally recorded by the Four Tops ("Reach Out I'll Be There"), Gloria Jones ("Tainted Love"), the Marvelettes ("The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game") and the Spinners ("I'll Be Around").
Attempting to do justice to such well-known songs, even with deftly skilled musicians, was destined to be a formidable challenge. For this undertaking, producer Freddie Brooks assembled a murderer's row of heavy hitting associates including long-time collaborators keyboardist Luis Resto, saxophonist Dave McMurray, indomitable vocalist Carolyn Striho and guitarist Joe Mazzola.
The solid rhythm section of bassist Darrell "Peanut" Smith and drummer Ron Otis provide a pulsing bottom anchoring most songs. Harmony vocalist Herschel Boone, a sextet of additional guitarists (including Randy Jacobs, Jackson Smith, Bobby East, Duminie Deporres and more) and various other musicians added spice to individual tracks, with a surprising special guest appearance by Patti Smith on two songs.
(Knowledgeable Detroit music aficionados will recall the Energy Asylum serving as the backing band in Smith's 1995 re-emergence, performing at a handful of performances at venues between Detroit and Toronto.)
An unusual yet uniquely Detroit record, ReCreation is a contemporary aural kaleidoscope notable for its skillful restraint. Having made it a priority to go beyond any generic "speed up, rock out" cover trap, some songs have been reimagined entirely, others remain close to their original arrangements but with renewed flair. The end result is an expansive collection of exceptional songs, a spirited musical joyride clearly worthy of its title.
Firmly established as a fierce live band, the Detroit Energy Asylum has also been a prolific recording enterprise over the past three decades. Having quietly amassed a sizable catalogue of unreleased studio material, ReCreation is the first glimpse into that recorded reserve. The work speaks for itself, future releases will further document and cement the collective's illustrious legacy. -