Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest


Tuesday, 06 October 2015 19:27 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

m1The archive and reissue labels do a great service to serious record collectors and over the years, FANTASTIC VOYAGE has released some real corkers but their latest 3CD collection. 'MOTOR CITY... THE MOTOWN VOCAL GROUP SOUND' is probably their best.

The set collects together a massive 89 tracks from the early catalogue of Motown and other associated labels like Anna and Tri-Phi and as the title suggests the focus is the sound of the male vocal group and in Motown's garlanded history there's none bigger than the Temptations. The Tempts are represented by five tracks, two from their spell at Miracle and three of their early Gordy outings. You also get the Pirates with 'I'll Love You Till I Die'. Motown collectors, of course, know that "The Pirates" were actually the Temptations, trying to score a hit under an alias! And speaking of the Temptations, one of the most sought after tunes here is 'I'm In Love' - a 1961 Anna release from a certain David Ruffin. The sultry ballad isn't a million miles from the early sound of the Temptations and you can almost hear Ruffin struggling to find his own sonic signature. Here, he's also featured on three cuts by Ty Hunter and the Voice Masters who also featured C P Spencer, Freddie Gorman and Lamont Dozier!

Other featured groups include The Miracles, The Satintones, The Valadiers, The Contours and the Spinners whose contributions are from their Tri-Phi days with some of the tracks featuring their mentor and label owner, Harvey Fuqua.

Fuqua's not the only backroom boy to get a look in. The album begins with a real rarity... 'Whisper' from Marv Johnson and the Rayber Voices. The Rayber Voices were none other than Raynoma Gordy and her then husband, Berry! The single was the very first outing on Tamla (Tamla 101 and also leased to United Artists) and one of the few Motown records to feature the voice of the boss... and it's just one of the oddities that this excellent compilation throws up


Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 October 2015 19:36



Tuesday, 06 October 2015 15:38 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Billy_Cobham_Photo_by_Bob_GruenAs a sideman, he's played jazz with Horace Silver, Stanley Turrentine and Freddie Hubbard, fusion with Miles Davis, George Duke and Stanley Clarke, funk with James Brown, soul with Roberta Flack and even rock with Peter Gabriel, Carly Simon and The Grateful Dead. Add to that already impressive CV Billy Cobham's own work as a leader - with an album discography that to date numbers almost fifty solo projects - and you'll begin to appreciate that he's an artist and musician of real substance and stature.

After gaining world renown playing behind a mountainous drum kit as a founder member of high-decibel jazz-rock pioneers, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, alongside Brit guitarist John McLaughlin between 1971 and 1973, the Panama-born/New York-reared drummer inked a solo deal with Atlantic Records that got off to an auspicious start with the album, 'Spectrum,' now considered a jazz-rock/fusion classic. Cobham spent five productive years with Atlantic, releasing seven albums in all for the company, which are now available all together in a superb 8-CD box set retrospective, 'The Atlantic Years 1973-1978.' With 67 tracks and a running time of almost six hours, it represents a cornucopia of riches for jazz-rock fans in general and Cobham aficionados in particular.

The 71-year-old drummer, now living in Switzerland and still going strong, recently talked to SJF's Charles Waring about his Atlantic tenure and reflected deeply on his long and illustrious career...




Monday, 05 October 2015 18:04 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

al_abAL ABRAMS – Motown's first full-time employee and early publicist died on Saturday October 3rd at home in Findlay, Ohio. He was aged 74 and had been diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

With a mix of guile and gumption, the 18 year old Abrams landed himself a job with Berry Gordy's fledgling empire back in May 1959. He convinced the ex-boxer and burgeoning songwriter that he was just the man to promote his labels ... and as history shows, he was!

In his Motown memoir, 'Hype And Soul' Abrams wrote, "I still believe I was the luckiest kid in all of Detroit that May of 1959. That's how it felt to me walking into a virtual wonderland of music at Berry Gordy's flat 1719 Gladstone in Detroit's inner city. I was an 18 year old white Jewish kid in an all black company where people my age were making music and history. For that I got $15 a week and all the chilli I could eat."

Abrams stayed with Motown till 1967 when he launched his own PR company ... amongst his clients were Stax! He went on to create a stage musical about Motown and he wrote 11 books including the aforementioned 'Hype And Soul' –which is stuffed with fascinating facsimiles of many of Abrams' early press releases along with endorsements from Lamont Dozier, Mary Wilson and his first boss, Berry Gordy. It's an essential volume for Motown collectors.

Last Updated on Monday, 05 October 2015 18:10



Friday, 02 October 2015 19:00 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

gf2GEORGIE FAME'S been at the top of his game for over fifty years, and to celebrate, Universal Music is about to release a remarkable 5 CD box set which focuses on his early years.... 1963-1966. The collection, entitled THE WHOLE WORLD'S SHAKING, offers Georgie's first four albums – including his breakthrough live set with his Blue Flames, 'Rhythm And Blues at The Flamingo' and the acclaimed and in-demand 'Sweet Thing', named for Georgie's exceptional version of the Spinner's Motown song. The box set is out later this month and next month Mr F will be releasing an album of brand new recordings. SJF recently caught up with the Leigh, Lancashire-born jazz man to discuss his wonderfully garlanded career but the first thing we wanted to know was how on earth he kept going and what's the secret of his longevity in the business...

Hard to say but I'm guessing it's a combination of diversity, dedication and lots and lots luck.

OK – so how does a young lad does from Leigh get interested in music... who or what inspired you?

First it was family entertainment with the piano in the front room and then Chapel every Sunday. That gave me harmonic education. Then there was the wireless.... stations like AFN (American Forces Network) and then the advent of Rock N Roll on the radio... people like Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and Little Richard. I also saw a film called 'Sanders Of The River' with Paul Robeson. I remember the song he sang, 'The Canoe Song' with the phrase 'I E I KO'. It stayed with me and I used it later in my version of Sir Van's 'Moondance'.

Last Updated on Sunday, 04 October 2015 16:13



Friday, 02 October 2015 18:57 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

bingBack in the 70s soul man J B BINGHAM quit his gig as lead singer with FIVE FLIGHTS UP to strike out on a solo career. Working with H B Barnum and Steve Binder, he cut seven songs which were offered to United Artists... and two singles were eventually released. The best-known is soul connoisseurs' favourite, 'All Alone By The Telephone'.

Because only two 45s were ever issued, three Bingham songs were left in soul limbo – till 2013 when UK soul specialist label, SOUL JUNCTION released two of 'em , 'People On An Ego Trip' and 'She's On Strike'.

That left just one elusive Bingham cut.... and guess what? Right first time, Soul Junction have just released it. Tune in question is a beefy, pacey slab of soul advice called 'Fellas, Don't Let The Girls Take Over'. Lyrically it's a bit of a side swipe at women's' lib but musically you'll be reminded of the sound of Hot Wax/Invictus. I kind of hear as a re-make of 'Want Ads'... but that's not a bad reference point is it?

The single is out now on limited edition 45 and as a bonus, the B side is the wonderful 'All Alone By The Telephone'. Grab a listen and you'll understand why it's a proper modern soul anthem.

Find out more @

Last Updated on Saturday, 03 October 2015 13:43




My Account

To comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.


Sign up to our syndication feed to keep up to date with the latest news and reviews.