This is what current rhythm-and-blues music and hip-hop should want to sound like if they ever grow up.
It's got the smooth, sexy vibe coaxed from that period of music when Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield dominated the soul and pop charts with their music from a couple of films you may have heard about, just before it all exploded mid-decade into a ribald party with Parliament Funkadelic and the Ohio Players.
It's Dig In from Louisville's Big Diggity, where old school rhythm-and-blues reaches out its hand to hip-hop, where Superfly meets Shaft in New Jack City. It is a luscious treat full of clean rhythms, lots of organ and wah-wah pedal guitar and sensual, layered vocals.
Consisting of Mauriece Hamilton, Jake Englert, Nathan and Sherman Buschmeyer, Lamont Connor and the singular-named Woody and Mr. Theo, The Big Diggity infuses their groove with adult lyrics. Not "adult" as in XXX theater, peep-show, or Penthouse Forum (though there are a couple of steamy tracks on the CD), but "adult" as in dealing with daily life: the many small crises, crummy relationships, regrets, children, dreams, work and, yes, coming completely unstitched and getting down deeper than the soil.
We get to hear the agony of a man whose daughter is being kept from him in "My Child," another who abandoned his family years ago in "Fly Away." In "Keep Livin'" we listen to a spiritual tribute to late mentors and fathers and in "Breeve" we hear the narrative of a wasted life of weed, cruising and of the violent end to it.
But it isn't all heavy-handed reality. Dig In also contains some steamy, sensual tracks like "Family Tree," "Nasty," "Ride" and "Tonight," along with an obligatory party anthem "People Get Up."
While the funk-soul party sound of The Big Diggity acts as a lure for you to consider some serious issues, Dig In isn't a complete downer. It's not preachy or heavy-handed, but it does sweeten its message with music that keeps you shaking the junk in your trunk.
Get down and dig in at www.bigdiggity.com.