Music » CD Reviews

Amp Fiddler

Waltz of a Ghetto Fly (Genuine/PIAS America)

by

comment
Detroit musician Amp Fiddler's Waltz of a Ghetto Fly sounds like an homage to Sly and the Family Stone's There's a Riot Goin' On without the drowsy, cocaine-induced lows, or D'Angelo's Voodoo without the love-affair-as-blood-soaked-ritual motif. In other words, it's all about impassioned extemporizing, R&B as an end unto itself, and achieving ecstasy through long jams with little to distinguish them beyond a strong hook and a chorus.

Thanks to stints of work with everyone from Jay Dee to Prince, Amp Fiddler's performances are top-notch, and soul aficionados will probably get off on the funky arrangements he unspools from his keyboard. Still, one wonders how fly he would be if he tethered his numbers to great songs instead of high-end post-production techniques. "Eye to Eye," the lone standout, provides a clue: "I can talk a gang o' shit to you but/Everybody needs someone/To be real, yeah," he drops over a blurry melody that whines like a theremin. The lyrics are no Stevie Wonder product, but the compelling verse-chorus structure he creates here draws attention to the expert musicianship; elsewhere the equation is flipped, with somewhat frustrating results.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.