Night Owls – You Got To Be A Man

It’s seems that I get asked “what new music should I be on the lookout for” more now than ever and my answer usually consists of anything from independent labels and bands who have really kept great music going especially during the pandemic.  Let’s be very honest, independents are at the height of releasing the best records the same as they were during the 1960’s and 70’s before the majors came knocking on their doors to sign them and we always try to hip our readers before the masses jump on the bandwagon.

Funk, Soul, Jazz and Reggae are always in the daily rotation and one band who seamlessly combines genres and adding a Reggae twist is the Los Angeles based, Night Owls. Following up on their previous releases on F-Spot records, the band continues to recreate cover versions of some of our favorite records and giving them new life and new spins. Their upcoming release, “You Got To Be A Man” b/w “Gimme Little Sign” gives us more of the good stuff and shows exactly how they properly reinterpret music while keeping it authentic and timeless.

Side A features Sy Smith, a staple and cultivator of L.A’s nu-soul scene, covering Miami First Lady of Soul Helene Smith’s “You Got To Be A Man”. Smith’s gritty performance and soulful tone match the energy of the original and with Night Owls’ funky groove bubbling up behind her it’s a cut that could easily be mistaken for a lost gem from the 1960’s.

Side B Night Owls recruit longtime friend Chris Dowd of L.A. soul-ska kingpins Fishbone to take the lead on the Brenton Wood hit “Gimme Little Sign.” A classic that’s been covered a few times over the years, Dowd’s take along with Night Owls’ unique and upbeat twist is surely a fresh approach and one you’ll spin over and over again.