Dumpstaphunk, “Dirty Word” (Louisiana Red Hot Records)
The New Orleans funk is steep and the let’s-all-get-along unity groove is deep on Dirty Word, the second full-length recording from a band that’s steadily evolved since its informal start a decade ago at Jazz Fest, as an all-star collective led by keyboardist Ivan Neville. Once something of a loosely organized outfit heavily informed by the Meters and the Neville Brothers—Ivan is Aaron’s son, guitarist Ian is Art’s son, and practically the entire band has worked with Nevilles bands old or new—Dumpstaphunk now is more focused and song-oriented. And influences like P-Funk and Sly and the Family Stone make their presence known on Dirty Word.
Drummer-singer Nikki Glaspie, a relatively new addition, helps recast the sound and feel of the band, locking in from the get-go with twin bass guitarists Hall and Nick Daniels III, and sharing lead vocals on opener “Dancin to the Truth.” That tune and the title track launch the disc with hard-slamming rhythm figures and multicolor keys and guitars, the kind of sonic gumbo that typically keeps fans moving nonstop during the group’s raucous shows.
Like the band’s hometown concerts, the CD is party-packed with musical guests, starting with Ani DiFranco, who sings on “Dirty Word,” and saxophonist Skerik and Troy Andrews, a.k.a. Trombone Shorty, who provide tangy blasts on “I Wish You Would.” The biggest bash comes with “Raise the House,” its Meters/Neville groove bolstered by the playing and singing of keyboardist Art Neville, Trombone Shorty and the Rebirth Brass Band. Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, makes it a triple-bass showdown on the heavy funk-rock crunch of “If I’m in Luck,” a ’70s Betty Davis track here benefiting from Glaspie’s soulful blues belting and Ian Neville’s acid-washed solo. And a three-part horn section enhances the percolating funk of “I Know You Know” and Larry Graham’s “Water.”