State of Groove
Ideal Scene Music
Mama Spanx is a seven piece soul, rock and funk band. They derive their inspiration from the old school soul and funk of Gladys Knight, Tina Turner, James Brown and Tower of Power.
The band is led by New York Blues Hall of Fame vocalist and songwriter Nikki Armstrong. Armstrong, who is originally from Riverhead, Long Island, studied voice with Hal Schaefer most famous for his work with Marilyn Monroe. On March 5, 2004 Armstrong played the big room at B. B. Kings Blues Club in NYC with her then band “Whole Lotta Blues”. Armstrong also worked with jazz and soul blues guitarist Melvin Sparks and together they conceived the concept for this project. Unfortunately Sparks passed in 2011. In 2015 Armstrong, who now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, began surrounding herself with personnel in order to realize and complete this project.
The first musician to join Armstrong was drummer, composer and arranger Ben Beckley whose credits include working with Billy Vera. Next Armstrong recruited Dixie Frog recording artist guitarist Steve Johnson and his friend Latin Jazz saxophonist Julie Sax. Soon saxophonist Steve Sadd and organist Harlan Spector joined. Armstrong states she sought a strong bassist and found fretless bassist David Abercrombie.
All of the songs were written or co-written by Armstrong. Highlights include “Being Beautiful” and “Anywhere You Are” composed with musical director Beckley. “Wild Emotion” and “Crawl” were written with her good friend Dave Fields. Lou Donaldson’s “Alligator Boogaloo” is the only cover but additional music and lyrics have been added by Armstrong and A.J. Hagar.
The album was produced by Beckley, Armstrong, and Howard Lindeman; and recorded at Kingsize Sound Labs in Eagle Rock, California.
The band is nicknamed The Spankers and Armstong states they “keep it in the groove”. Best to check this one out.
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