Arlen Roth & Jerry Jemmott

Super Soul Session
Arlen Roth & Jerry Jemmott

Roth is well-known for his “Hot Licks” instructional videos and method books. But his career is far from academic, having toured and recorded with Bob Dylan, Duane Eddy, and John Sebastian, devoted albums to the music of Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, and the Rolling Stones, and reeled in the likes of Steve Cropper, Albert Lee, and Brad Paisley to play on his solo albums.

Here, however, the additional star power is fellow Bronx native Jemmott, one of the true soul, R&B, and blues bass greats, having backed heavyweights like King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, and Wilson Pickett. Roth handles soul classics like “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “Dancing In The Street” as masterfully as country twang or acoustic folk, with pedal steel-esque bends on the latter. Jemmott easily earns his “Groovemaster” nickname on “Memphis Soul Stew” and “Chain Of Fools.”

Half the tunes are done instrumentally, half featuring vocalists Joe Louis Walker (“Shake,” “Thrill Is Gone”) and Mukamuri, who shows the blurred line between soul and country on “Drift Away” and “Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues,” featuring Roth’s tasteful bends. The album closes with a slide treatment of “America The Beautiful” that’s super soulful indeed.

This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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