Soul Slide

By Lady K.
June 2016

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JEFF PLANKENHORN

SOUL SLIDE

Lounge Side Records, 2016

Jeff Plankenhorn, also known as “The Plank” is out of Austin, Texas. In addition to his vocal abilities and his guitar expertise, he has invented a stand-up lap steel guitar, also known as “The Plank”, which will be going into mass production soon.

The band on Soul Slide is: Plankenhorn (lead and background vocals, ‘The Plank’ slide guitar, electric, acoustic, baritone and square-neck resonator guitars, Wurlitzer); Yoggie (bass); Brannen Temple (drums); and Dave Scher (guitar, keyboards). The CD also includes a long list of guest players and vocalists: Miles Zuniga (guitars, piano, background vocals); John Chipman (drums); Rami Jaffe (keyboards); Peter Adams (keyboards), Tim Pierce (guitars); Ross Hogarth (percussion); Josh Steube, Clark Hamilton (soul claps); Scrappy Jud Newcomb (guitars), Bruce Hughes (bass, background vocals); John Chipman (drums), and, last but not least: Ruthie Foster and Malford Milligan (both providing lead and background vocals).

Plankenhorn’s blend of blues, soul and rock includes lots of original tunes, and some covers, such as a duet (The Plank and Malford Milligan) that offers listeners a terrific version of Sam and Dave’s hit tune, “You Got Me Hummin’” (Isaac Hayes, David Porter). Additional covers include: “Vagabond Moonlight” (Miles Zuniga); “Mockingbird Blues” (Willis Alan Ramsey); “Headstrong” (Ryan Krebs); and “Waking in the Sun” (Jeff Barry).

Twang Alert: Plankenhorn is out of Texas, so I guess it should be expected that there’d be some twangy guitar on a track or two (but it’s minimal.) Lady K decided to ignore it, and that worked out just fine.

Among Plankenhorn’s original tunes is the up-tempo “Lose My Mind”, which is one of Lady K’s favorites because it includes insane screaming guitars. He wants to lose his mind, in a good way: ‘I want to talk to the flowers / sing to the trees / What I’m lookin’ to find – I want to lose my mind.” “Trouble Find Me” is one of those tracks mentioned above – it has some twang.

Ruthie Foster gets to absolutely soul-shine (along with multiple great, crazy guitars) in “Like Flowers.” It’s an up-tempo number about learning life’s lessons and coming to love your fellow man because in the end you meet “St. Peter at the Pearly Gates / He say what have you learned at last? / (she says) all the people look like flowers at last.” Now that’s something to look forward to – and Ruthie will make you want to see it (it would be nice if the people/flower thing could happen before we get to the Pearly Gates.)

It’s time to get up and boogie, when you hear track 5. “Dirty Floor” is up-tempo and it has Ruthie backing up Plankenhorn, who also wants to get up and boogie: “I know there’s more to you than this act you’re putting on / Glide right through the door and go dancin’ on the dirty floor / Get down on the dirty floor.”

Then there’s an attention-grabbing track called “Kansas City Nocturne.” It’s an instrumental with ‘just’ steel and piano doing some crazy wonderful things together. It’s only a minute and a half long, but I promise you, you’ll miss it when it ends, and you’ll be hitting ‘replay’.

“Born to Win” is an up-tempo morale booster (basically suggesting that he get his shit together or else): “Your fair-weather friends have all disappeared / everybody says that you born to win / but you won’t if you don’t even try.”

Give Soul Slide a listen (or five.) It’s chock full of bluesy-soul (or soulful-blues, depending on the track) and you get to listen to The Plank, playing The Plank -which is just kinda fun to say.

www.theplank.net

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