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Wednesday, 17 April 2019 21:09 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altCRACK OF DAWN are Canada's number one old school soul band with a mighty 40 year pedigree! Oddly they've yet to break out of Canada but maybe their latest single might do the trick.... and the title couldn't be more appropriate.... 'Ol' Skool'!

The cut is a joyous throwback to the great days of the 80s weekenders. Lead singer Michael Dunston has a great old school voice; the beats are tight; the bass line rumbles and the brass parts offer bags of optimism while the lyrics proffer a litany of soul's great names.

'Ol' Skool' is the lead track from Crack Of Dawn's upcoming long player.... 'Spotlight'; review here very soon.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 21:16



Wednesday, 17 April 2019 21:04 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLAURA ZAKIAN is a London-based jazz singer with four albums to her name. Her most recent being 'Songs for Modern Lovers' - inspired by the iconic Frank Sinatra album 'Songs for Swinging Lovers'. Next month Laura will release her latest project - an EP, 'Minor Moments'. The set was created in collaboration with composer Martin Pyne.

Ms Zakian says that the mini album is an intensely personal suite of songs, drawing on her own experience of melancholic depression. However she adds that "Though always minor in feel if not strictly in a minor key, the material is not unrelievedly downbeat"

Laura will preview the new material ahead of release, alongside some favourites from her previous four albums at Soho's Pizza Express Jazz Club on 12th May. The gig is a Sunday lunch time affair with doors at noon. More details from the venue.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 21:17



Wednesday, 17 April 2019 19:41 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altAll proper soul fans know and revere trumpeter WAYNE JACKSON. One of the architects of the Stax sound, after that label's heyday he formed the Memphis Horns – a tight horn section which freelanced on countless hits across all sorts of genres. Amongst the sessions they played on was Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer' and it was at that time (1984) that Jackson felt it would be a good idea to try something a little different... a Wayne Jackson vocal album.

Working with Nashville engineer, guitarist, keyboardist, and bassist Frank Green a new "Memphis Horns" band was put together which included old colleague Andrew Love. Ten tracks were recorded in Nashville with some of that city's top sessioneers but the finished album was never released ... till now.

In July 2017 Jackson's wife Amy received an unexpected email from Frank Green, saying that the lost album had been found and with her co-operation (Wayne passed away in 2016; Andrew Love in 2012) the 'Lost Nashville Sessions' has just been released.

The ten tracker is obviously brass heavy but as Wayne wished it's a vocal collection. The soundscape is varied with some of the cuts maybe a touch too rocky for soul sensibilities. Those soul sensibilities though will be satisfied by the southern soul flavoured 'Choose Your Own Poison', 'Take These Chains' and the lovely roller that is 'Abandoned Heart'. Amongst other interesting tracks is 'Sweet Medicine' which features an ever changing lead vocal in the manner of Norman Whitfield era Temptations.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 19:49



Wednesday, 17 April 2019 19:37 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altUS soul media is reporting the death at age 88 of soul entrepreneur, singer and writer KENT HARRIS. His passing was announced by his daughter Karime Harris who said her father died on April 9th at his Southern California home. She added that he'd been suffering with cancer.

To European soul cognoscenti, Kent Harris is probably best remembered for his Romark label which he set up in Los Angeles in 1963. He had however begun his musical odyssey as a singer in the 50s. Working as Boogaloo And His Gallant Crew, his Crest single 'Cops And Robbers' was a top ten hit and was also successfully covered by Bo Diddley. Kent then moved into talent spotting, writing and production – amongst his achievements was his "discovery" of Brenda Holloway and Walter and Wally Scott who went on to form The Whispers. In 1963 he decided to form his own label – Romark ... named after his son. Amongst the artists on Romark was his wife, Ty Karim. The label lasted until '73 when Harris moved away from music. But in 1978 Kent was back with a new label – Sheridan House (named after another son). That label's output was sporadic to say the least but it did release plenty of great soul – much now, of course, hugely collectable. Later and on into the  2000s he ran his record shops and stalls.

UK reissue specialists Ace/Kent have documented his career with a series of albums – 'Kent Harris' R&B Family' and 'Romark Records; Kent Harris' Soul Sides'. There is also a solo Ty Karim collection – 'The Complete Ty Karim'.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 April 2019 19:50



Sunday, 14 April 2019 18:21 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altOne of last year's best selling soul albums was the Disco Soul Gold compilation and the good news is that there's a second volume on its way very soon. We're told that Volume 2 will be "launched" at a very special soul cruise along the Thames on Sunday April 28th (see our recent news item).

The album's first single has just been released as a taster and the song's a corker... 'Clouds In My Mirror' from FRANCISCA THOMAS – also known as Mrs Kenny Thomas!

Mrs T is a South African by birth and sang from an early age. In 2003 she was a finalist in Pop Idol in South Africa and went onto signing a deal with EMI records. She met Kenny on a visit to the UK in 2007 and true love took its inevitable course! Family commitments and a degree course meant Francisca put her music career on hold (though she did write a few songs for Kenny and others!) but now she's back with the simple but effective 'Clouds In My Mirror'. The tune is on the poppier end of the soul spectrum but none the worse for that. Produced by the ubiquitous Nigel Lowis, it augers well for the news DSG LP!




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