One could hardly wish for a more uplifting number than “Got Your Back, Yes Indeed,” which opens bassist Grayson Brockamp and the New Orleans Wildlife Band’s album, A Dream or a Nightmare. The tune, which finds its roots in gospel music, has everything, starting with the soulful lead vocals by Bailey Hinton backed up by Gio Blackmon. “Got Your Back” is rhythmically progressed by Brockamp’s bass, the drums of Simon Lott and the superb piano riffs by Shea Pierre. Saxophonist Ricardo Pascal, a New Orleans transplant, moves the tune into some strong hard-boppin’ before Pierre intuitively jumps in. There you go—foot-stompin’, hand-clapping gospel, deep soul and gutsy jazz.
The tune is revisited on “Part II,” which is one of several cuts, or more descriptively interludes, on which Brockamp raps. They tend to feel disruptive in this setting that also includes a few rather overly romantic songs. Significantly, they don’t take advantage of the hugely talented members of the band.
The title cut, “A Dream or a Nightmare,” stands apart as a ballad that relies on its simplicity and the quality of the musicians. Lotts’ drums sing along with the vocalist.
A Dream or a Nightmare begins with great hope on the solid, spiritual and wonderfully unassuming ground of gospel music and its cousins soul and jazz. Rap interjects as do the sometimes overly complex lyrics that move the music away from its promised intentions.