Party Down

Party Down

As the in-house session guitarist for Henry Stone’s Miami-based Alston and TK labels, Little Beaver coaxed sounds out of his instrument that effortlessly evoked the muggy decadence of the Miami nightlife of the early ‘70s. His work with artists such as Betty Wright and Clarence Reid possesses an immediately recognizable flavor that blends down-home Southern leads with swampy wah-wah effects and proto-disco flourishes. His first solo album, Party Down, is arguably his finest recording. Though the lyrics rarely go beyond the incantatory repetition of phrases like “get into the party life,” Little Beaver’s evocative playing, and the slow-burning accompaniment of Henry Stone’s house band speak volumes. Beaver plays his hollow-bodied Gibson with the sort of head nodding, behind-the-beat phrasing that recalls Freddie Stone at his most relaxed, and though he's eager to display his virtuosity he also knows when to give the band room to stretch out over the tight, minimal grooves that are the foundation of the Miami sound. Party Down successfully captures the sound of Miami Soul at a thrilling pre-disco peak.

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