gullbuy music review

Bobby Hughes Combination


Nhu Golden Era


Stereo Deluxe


Bobby Hughes Combination CD coverNhu Golden Era is the long awaited followup to the Bobby Hughes Experience album Fusa Riot, and Espen Horne of Bergen, Norway has definitely topped that album, with a name change to the Bobby Hughes Combination and a more varied jazz-infused extravaganza.

Released in 2002, the Bobby Hughes sound hasn't changed tremendously - it still includes that live funky jazz sound with a liberal dose of sampling that never impedes on the song structures. It is still the brand of funky jazz inspired sounds which brewed on Scandinavian jazz records from the seventies. Nhu Golden Era mixes a collection of fine instrumentals with a cellar groove, along with funkified vocal tracks and dreamy fusionesque vocals, all of which permeates to the root of the arrangements. You can tell that Espen Horne has put everything he's got into Nhu Golden Era to make it a killer album.

Favorite tracks include Clive The Runner which has a tremendous groove and a soulful sampled lead vocal. Karins Kerma includes a stellar performance by the spine tingling Norwegian jazz-singer Karin Krog. I have been reading her name on various recordings, and checked her out online, and have since fallen in love with her sound. Brass Interruption sounds like it is sampled right off a Peddlers' record (hey! I thought of that, don't steal my idea!) and is a superfine groove reminiscent of that fine jazz trio with an added Afrogroove which sends it skyward as it progresses. McArthurs Break is a playful number which combines a child's voice and male vocal in a wordless tribute which would not feel out of place on Sesame Street or in the hands of the Dave Pell Singers. Microneseren could be a soundtrack recording from any number of 1970s thrillers, with it's John Barry styled drums, but the Bobby Hughes Combination don't keep things so one dimensional, as they throw in multiple percussives and stand-up bass.

I think that's what makes this album rise above Fusa Riot. Time only adds to the variety in this case. There is more variety in the percussives, more elaborate constructions to the overall textures and flow - an updating to modern times. All of the while the Bobby Hughes Combination stays true to their vision of retro funk jazz. An amazing album.

---Patrick, May 6, 2003