Nu Shooz | Bagtown

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Urban/R&B: R&B Pop Crossover Urban/R&B: Funk Moods: Mood: Party Music
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by Nu Shooz

“Bagtown” turns back the clock to an earlier era of funk, the Mid-70's sounds of Philly Soul, Steely Dan, and jazzy vocal groups like Manhattan Transfer. The result is a fun, swinging set of technicolor tunes aimed straight at the dance floor.
Genre: Urban/R&B: R&B Pop Crossover
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Bagtown
4:28 $0.99
2. Soul Cushion
4:22 $0.99
3. Your Perfect Day
3:44 $0.99
4. Real Thing
6:38 $0.99
5. Tell Me a Lie
3:44 $0.99
6. Way Outside
4:26 $0.99
7. Crazy Thing
3:57 $0.99
8. Party's Not Over
5:58 $0.99
9. The Rail I Ride
3:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Nu Shooz, one of the legendary bands to come out of the early-80's Portland scene, has released their 7th studio album, BAGTOWN. It's their first set of new material since 1989, and the first featuring the reunited live band. The 'Shooz came back together in 2013 with a glowing set at that year's Oregon Music Hall of Fame Awards. The nine members were all drawn from various incarnations of the group.

By the end of 2014 Nu Shooz was as tight as it had ever been. It was obvious to everyone involved that it was time to make an album. Work began that October as the winter monsoon settled in over the Pacific Northwest.

Songwriter John Smith went out to the 'Shooz home studio, EVOLUTIONLab, with no clear object in mind. The first music to emerge was a pair of symphonic pieces, followed by a long foray into '60's Psychedelia. Neither direction fit the bill. The new music had to be fun to play live, and it had to be funky!

On a whim, Smith started making hand puppets out of discarded lunch bags. Then a cardboard city grew up around them. As the bag city slowly took over the studio, the music came into focus.

"The bags were having a party. We listened to them, and what we heard sounded like Nu Shooz."

BAGTOWN turns back the clock to an earlier version of the band, before the Emulator sounds of "I Can't Wait" ruled the dance floors of the world. In 1980, the line-up went from four members to twelve; they added four horns and three backup singers and pursued the big-band funk of late-70's groups like Tower of Power and Earth Wind & Fire.

The new album digs deep into that tradition, horn-heavy and vocally sophisticated. "This turned out to be the 'vocal arranging' record. We listened to a lot of Take 6 and Manhattan Transfer, as well as the O'Jays." And speaking of the O'Jays, Philly Soul producers Gamble and Huff were a major inspiration for the sound of Bagtown.

What came out in the end was pure Soul and pure fun. Singer Valerie Day says, "This is the most fun we ever had making a record."

Produced by John Smith

Musicians: Valerie Day, Gary Fountaine, Tracey Harris, Sean Holmes, Haley Horsfall, Mike Horsfall, Tim Jensen, Margaret Linn, Paul Mazzio, Johnny Riley, John Smith, Dave Captein.

Recorded: 10.28.14 to 3.20.16 at EVOLUTIONLab, Portland, Oregon
Mixed by Gregg Williams at The TRENCH, Portland, Oregon
Mastered by: Gus Elg at Sky Onion Mastering
Cover Art: Malcolm Smith

All songs by John R. Smith © 2016 Nu Shooz Orchestra LLC, BMI

Thanks: Bailey Dee, Casey Phelps, Justin Huggins, Spirit Music Group

What a strange/beautiful trip it's been.
We want to say thank you to all our fellow travelers.
Too bad there's not something like The NATIONAL DEBT CLOCK to ring up all the notes played, the reams of music paper, the miles traversed, all the SOULS who contributed to this body of work.
One songwriter sitting alone in a room couldn't make something like NU SHOOZ.
It takes a Grand Army; (more than a Company, but less than a Division,) to take on the LONG MARCH to turn these ideas into MUSIC, and to turn that Music into EMOTION.
Our life-long gratitude goes out to you all.
You know who you are.
We dedicate this record to ALL SHOOZ PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE, and to YOU, who hold the results of our loving labor in your hands.



to write a review

Andrew Baird

Amazing Fresh New Music
I absolutely love this new album from New Shooz. It sounds so fresh and funky. I love the organic mixes and awesome variety. The title track really hooked me but after listening to the whole album I'm currently hooked on the song Tell Me a Lie. They're all great selections.

Boyd Martin

Funky sophistication
I've followed and enjoyed NuShooz' music since I heard of them in 1988. The band's perky pop sensibilities had just enough "quirk" to them to grab attention and set the listener tapping hands and feet. With this newest release, John Smith and Valerie Day have fully realized a funky sophistication that is a dream come true to us funk-soul / acid jazz aficionados: slick production without over-producing, heavenly choruses of vocals from Valerie Day that are pure and transcendent, rock solid funk beats that beg you to crank it up, and completely engaging arrangements that pull you in and make you love them. I put "Bagtown" in rotation with George Duke, Steely Dan, Earth Wind & Fire, Tower of Power; and for more modern fare, mix this in with Down to the Bone, Groove Collective, Alpine and the Ting Tings. You'll be dancing long after the music stops. A super well done to John and Valerie and the stellar lineup of talent that makes this album a true gift to the world.


Bagtown is a feel good funky R&B album. It’s filled with soul and is ever so charming.