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Sonny Emory: Rock Hard Cachet

When the funk hits the fan.

Former Earth Wind & Fire drummer Sonny Emory has a mind-blowing technique whereby he can carry two or three rhythms simultaneously with subtle delicacy rather than percussive power.

Unfortunately, it’s so subtle that only another drummer can appreciate it. To the rest of us, it just sounds like he’s not keeping time properly. He keeps his dexterity under control for this funky R&B solo excursion that regularly doffs its cap to Sly & The Family Stone, sometimes more blatantly than others.

He’s written most of the tracks in tandem with his equally funkified session players, although he takes a wild swing at Edgar Winter’s Frankenstein and a more reverential take on Mother’s Finest’s Truth’ll Set U Free that features a concise solo from Eric Clapton. As a workout it’s impressive, although by the end you’re yearning for a bit more groove and a little less technique.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.