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Sonnyboy: The Barfly Theory

ArtSoul Entertainment

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It isn't the prettiest voice you've ever heard, but it certainly is among the funkiest. Kaleidoscopic in its musical interests, the Louisiana-born, Minnesota-bred multi-instrumentalist Sonnyboy follows Prince's example on his 13-track exploration of nearly every possible genre of black music - sometimes in the same cut. As the personification of alternative soul, Sonnyboy's ADD productions are perfectly executed. But the strength of this accessible project lies in musical daring and poetic socio-philosophical musings. Though the weakness of Sonnyboy's slightly eerie tone and intermittent vocal skills does distract - mostly on the ballads - he benefits from following the path of predecessors ranging from Sly Stone to Cee Lo. Sonnyboy's postmodern project is more performance art than straight-up soul and too hip-hop-influenced to be retro, but still a must-have for '70s funk fans. (3 out of 5 stars)

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