After listening to Electric Shave a few times, I’m wondering if it isn’t a response to critics of Black Joe Lewis who have dissed him for being “old school.” I’ve thought that this is what made him special, funk with a strong blues/R&B influence. This album is raw funk, with none of the tone of James Brown or Howlin’ Wolf present. It took over two years to produce, so I wonder if Joe is trying to be something he isn’t.
The energy is there, but it seems forced. Joe has a natural intensity that usually stands out, but here lacks his enthusiasm and doesn’t seem to be having fun. The great humor is gone. No song stands out on this album, it’s repetitious and boring. Joe turned me on to funk. I didn’t care much for it over the years, but he showed me how creative it can be. This album just reminds me of the stuff that made me stay away.
This is clearly not for blues fans. If you like funk, it’s nothing special. Joe needs to return to his unique, inspired, “old school” groove. Hopefully this was just an experiment, and the real Black Joe Lewis will be back in his usual style soon.