TVD Premiere:
The City Champs,
“Thinking of You”

PHOTO: JAMIE HARMON | An instrumental cover of Tony! Toni! Toné!’s 1990s R&B hit “Thinking of You” is probably not the first song you think of coming from Memphis organ trio The City Champs after a ten-year hiatus. But the trio, known in the early 2000s as a soul combo rooted in Memphis grooves and influenced by the classic Blue Note organ sound, are stretching into new sonic territory on their forthcoming album, Luna 68.

According to guitarist Joe Restivo, the pairing of the band and the cover isn’t as unlikely as it seems on first glance. He said, “We went through a bunch of (ideas for cover) songs and settled on the 1996 Tony! Toni! Toné! single, “Thinking Of You,” which is a song I had played many times in Memphis clubs and sounds like it could have been written for Al Green at the height of his Hi Records years.”

Though the band was on hiatus for ten years, none of the members have been idle. Restivo worked with soul legends Don Bryant and Percy Wiggins as well as on the soundtrack to the Netflix/Eddie Murphy film Dolemite Is My Name. Organist Al Gamble worked with St. Paul & The Broken Bones and the Hold Steady, and drummer George Sluppick toured and recorded with the Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

Bruce Watson (of Fat Possum) produced Luna ’68 at his Delta-Sonic Sound studio in North Memphis. The full album comes out March 19 in all formats via Big Legal Mess.

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