Unless you're a Southern soul fetishist with a trust fund to burn, the name Wiley and the Checkmates will be unknown and the group's classic recordings unattainable. At least this was the case until recently, when Herbert Wiley, after a 25-year hiatus, reformed the band to record two albums of greasy, griddle-fried funk that sound less like purist commemorations of long-gone glory days and more like in-the-moment dance-floor killers. In the day, Wiley, a bone-shaking bassist, backed everyone from Gatemouth Brown to Otis Clay, but now leads a young band of soul renegades through a dizzying range of rhythms and the blues, from funk workouts and suave ballads to badass Blaxploitation trips. Fans of Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings and Charles Walker should not miss Wiley's revue.
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