It has been over a decade since funk legend George Porter Jr. gathered his Runnin’ Pardners for a full-length studio album and their return, Crying For Hope, is a rock-solid showing of the funk which has been the basis of Porter’s sound for over half a century.
The record opens with the topical title song dealing with the frustrating current cultural climate lyrically with its musically slinky funk. The track calls for action/change and is an excellent introduction of the Runnin’ Pardners who this time around are Terrence Houston on drums, Michael Lemmler on keyboards and Chris Adkins on guitar
One of the foundations of funk, Porter’s past Meter’s offerings can be heard drifting through all of the tunes but the Pardners strongly speak to each other with their own voice. The jazz spiced interplay led by Houston’s drumming during “Porter 13A”, “Just Start Groovin’” gorgeous guitar work from Adkins and the deep funk of “Get Back Up”, all deliver juicy instrumental goodness.
“I’m Barely” is a cool meld of ‘50’s R&B and modern-day funk while the metallic “Wanna Get Funky” brings in Funkadelic flair. The most exciting tune of them all might just be the spaced-out swirling “Spanish Moss” which amps up the energy around Lemmier’s keyboards.
The pristine-sounding full length has minimal detractions. “Cloud Funk” is a touch repetitive and “A Taste of Truth” would benefit from some lyrics, however, the top-notch production and playing remain high throughout. The record wraps up on a positive vibe via “You Just Got Tired” as Adkins works his bright sliding riffs along with Porter’s warm vocals and bass. George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners Crying For Hope is a stout top to bottom return as the New Orleans outfit delivers the funky goods.