If the album subtitle—“Can’t Give it Away”—is modest, the starring cast is anything but. With backing by local staples sax man Eric Traub, guitarist Cranston Clemens and Jim Markway on bass, and with keyboardist and singer Marc Adams in the director’s chair, Grooves for Sale promises some heat.
It doesn’t waste any time delivering. The opening track, an instrumental blues, finds the pocket and grooves there. The band’s sound is fat and ebullient, and Traub’s overdriven sax lines add a crisp sizzle. This is the kind of energy you hope for from a Marc Adams effort.
The only stumbling blocks are a couple of slower, more sincere tunes that feature Adams’ vocals. He sings in a Randy Newman-esque style that seems a little out of place on songs as subtle as these. The problem is particularly noticeable on the ballad “Something Happened,” which calls for a smoothness that he doesn’t bring.
Those songs aside, the album is fast and fun, with the added bonus of being remarkably varied. “Boogaloo” brings the blues to a second-line beat, while “If I Were You” is a rude strut. From swing to funk to dance tunes, the dynamic musicianship of everyone in the band means that there are few dull moments, and those are simply opportunities to catch one’s breath.