Track By Track: Scone Cash Players, “As the Screw Turns”

Soul/funk group Scone Cash Players, led by Hammond organist Adam Scone, released their new album As the Screw Turns on June 21 via Miami label Flamingo/Time Hill Records. The new LP was conceptualized by Scone while on the road with Sharon Jones and Sugarman 3 on the Daptone Super Soul Revue of Europe, and it features a guest appearance from legendary gospel/soul vocalist Naomi Shelton as well as several Daptone family musicians.

For our newest “Track By Track” feature, we asked Adam Scone to take us through each of the tracks on As the Screw Turns, to better understand the inspiration behind each song and some of the work that went into the making of the album.

“As the Screw Turns”

When they put the screws on you, you have to dig deep. The dictionary definition is “to put pressure on in order to defeat or get somebody to do what you want.” Life can be like that. My Hammond Organ gets into it here on this epic journey of dreams, love, loss, happiness, and hardships. The world twists tight and turns, but we still have to believe. We believe that this world can be a better place.

“Bokum Hi” (feat. Jason Joshua)

I have long been fascinated with lyrics that have either a secret meaning or no meaning.  Think “Louis Louis”, “Tutti Frutti”, “Da Do Ron Ron”, or “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da.” What is “Bokum Hi”?  We think it is the theme song to the best party of your life. “I want your love, I want your lust. I wanna get high, to the sky… BOKUM HI!”  Trumpeter Dave Guy is the star here on the trumpet and Jason Joshua is bringing the party on the vocals.

“My House Is Small (But I Dream Big)” (feat. Naomi Shelton)

I remember exactly where I was when the idea for this song came across my mind. It was a cold winter night at the regular Thursday DJ gig at Harefield Road in Brooklyn. DJ Mikey Post was spinning the soul classics. Daptone Records co-founder Gabel Roth and I were deep in conversation. He was working on a new Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens album. He asked me if I had any songs for Naomi. I immediately took out my notebook and jotted down this title. “My House is Small (But I Dream Big).” By the time I was done writing, Naomi’s record was already recorded. However, I knew it was the perfect track for this album. The challenges I faced seemed insurmountable. My house was small. I was dreaming big. I wanted the world to be a better place. The legend Naomi Shelton delivers a classic vocal here and gives us all hope. “Keep On Dreaming.”

“Dr. Red Teeth”

It’s about the end of the night. It’s time to unwind. Sit back and relax. Have a glass of red wine. Don’t tell the dentist you skipped the nightly routine. That’s our secret, ok?

“The Opportunist” (feat. Jason Joshua)

Sometimes art gets ahead of life. When I wrote these chords, I thought I had it all figured out. In the course of the next year, my life fell apart. Subconsciously, the music I had written was aware of that reality. I slowly put together the lyrics and it revealed the honest truth of my circumstances. “Time to look into the future, for new opportunities.”

“Canned Champagne” (feat. Jason Joshua)

We threw a real Miami backyard party for this summer party anthem. A few years back I found myself waylaid in Florida with no end in sight. I made the best of it. One night, I happened to witness the force of nature Jason Joshua singing – and the rest was history. I knew we had to make music together. He brings the heat here in a way that no one else can. “Feel it running through your veins.”

“They Say It’s Christmas Time (Christmas Time in Brooklyn)” (feat. John Dokes)

There is something magical about Christmas time in New York City. I pounded pavement here and there and I kept singing this melody in my head. The weather grew cold. Snow fell on Prospect Park. John Dokes brings to life the classic spirit of Christmas on this track. “Santa takes the B.Q.E.”

“Smoke and Nails”

When the smoke clears and the dust settles, there is only one place to start. You have to rebuild from the bottom. We start there and nail it all back together. This record is so special to me because of the incredible rhythm section playing on it. Drummer Caito Sanchez and Guitarist Alex Chakour really make it all happen on these tracks. We spent 3 weeks traveling together with the Daptone Super Soul Revue on the Charles Bradley tour bus. I listened to them play music every night of that tour and started to put together the ideas for this album.

“Brass Tacks”

We are getting down to the Brass Tacks. We are getting down to the essentials. I’m sure I learned this percussive organ style from the master Dr. Lonnie Smith. There is a way you can hit the organ just right and make it sound like a conga drum. This song is dedicated to Neal Sugarman. In the early days of making music with The Sugarman Three, I remember going down to Neals’s Clinton Street loft on the lower east side of Manhattan. He would put on these soulful records by organist Billy Larkin & The Delegates. I had never heard these recordings before. They sounded so good. They are a major influence on this track as well as the entirety of “As the Screw Turns.”

“The Crown Divide”

Sometimes unspoken things happen. I stopped the band mid-track and started organ riffing. I left a lot of space. Saxophonist Ian Hendrickson-Smith is in an element here that is a remark of many years of collaboration. It is a conversation between the saxophone and the organ. Ian also mixed this record and I am forever grateful for the multiple collaborations of making music together with him over the years. Divide the crown, let’s spread the wealth around.

For more information on Scone Cash Players and their new album, click here.

Featured photo courtesy of Philip Avello.

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