Mayer Hawthorne – A Strange Arrangement

January 01, 1970

(Stones Throw)


One cannot deny Mayer
Hawthorne’s talents as a soul singer or his pedigree as a scholar of the
classic R&B sound. The man grew up just within shouting distance of Detroit in nearby Ann
Arbor, for crying out loud, and was raised on the
sounds of the Motown, PIR and Curtom labels that emanated from his old man’s
car stereo. It’s an upbringing that certainly lent itself to Hawthorne’s incredible
sonic facsimiles on his Stone Throw debut, A
Strange Arrangement
, which helped earn him a prolific fanbase with the
likes of Justin Timberlake and Roots drummer ?uestlove among its ranks.


Yet the recreations of
such indelible influences as The Miracles on “One Track Mind”, the songwriting
of Lamont Dozier on “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’ Nothin'” and the Curtis
Mayfield-esque propulsion of “The Ills” are a little too accurate; so
much, in fact, that it might very well inspire its listener to eschew A Strange Arrangement altogether in
favor of the dusty originals. Yes, it is impressive to totally recreate the
sound of an era, which Mayer Hawthorne has done here so convincingly that it
even stumped soul savant DJ Mark Ronson as to what era he was from. But adding
your own little unique twist to it can go a long, long way, and hopefully Hawthorne will realize
that for his next album. Hey, did Madlib’s contact information come with that
Stones Throw recording contract?


Standout Tracks:   “Just
Ain’t Gonna Work Out”, “Your Easy Lovin’ Ain’t Pleasin’
Nothin'”, “The Ills” RON HART




Leave a Reply