York Street Hustle - Cruelty CD EP
The York Street Hustle is a 10-piece band – complete with horn section and three vocalists – who are named after the famed South Philly thoroughfare and devoted to faithfully recreating ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s soul sounds using period techniques and equipment. Started in a former South Philly funeral home as a rare-groove cover band, the group has pivoted to performing classic soul covers, and has spent years honing their craft at small clubs and events.
Alongside the legends of the classic soul era like Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin and the Four Tops, the group gives new life to compositions by lesser-known artists including Donny Hathaway, Arthur Conley and Betty Everett, with grit, sweat and attention to detail. The group’s first-ever physical release is a combination of original material coupled with a lost soul rarity, and represents both a significant change and a return to form. The group remains rooted in the traditions of classic soul, funk, and breaks, identifiable to fans of soul revival outfits like Daptone, Big Crown and Colemine Records.
The centerpiece of the new release is title track “Cruelty,” an original and supremely catchy heart-aching soul ballad with modern sensibility reminiscent of artists like Durand Jones and Leon Bridges. “All Beak” is an uptempo dancefloor mover chock full of top-level guitar / keyboard interplay and superfunk drums, iced with some “open” breaks just for DJs with doubles.
Finally, the EP includes a cover of The Magic Tones’ “There Is Nothing Better Than Love,” originally released in 1968. A rare masterpiece of crossover soul coveted by collectors worldwide, the roundabout vocals are a perfect showcase for the harmonies of the group’s vocalists. The release also includes a stripped-down instrumental version of the song, which puts the band’s rhythm section front-and-center.
Produced by Brewerytown Beats Records owner P. Maxwell Ochester, co-produced Aaron Levinson (Spanish Harlem Orchestra, The Philadelphia Experiment) and engineered by York Street Hustle bassist Brendan McGeehan, the EP is available on Valentine’s Day – Friday, February 14th – on CD and wherever fine music is purchased or streamed. A limited vinyl single of “There’s Nothing Better Than Love” and the song’s instrumental on the b-side will be released in the coming months.