Interviews

BLACK DYLAN? ALL IS REVEALED!

Monday, 01 August 2016 15:01 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

1bbdBLACK DYLAN is a new soul duo who hail from Denmark. They are singer/songwriter WAFANDE (a well known music personality in his homeland) and NUPLEX (Mikkel Thomsen), another Great Dane, with a penchant for soul and hip-hop. Though they've been friends for many years they've never worked together till recently when they decided to cut an album. The set's called 'Hey Stranger' and it's out on August 26th. It's already creating a buzz so we needed to know more – especially why that odd name. First though we asked about their respective musical backgrounds and their influences...

Nuplex: I started listening to hip-hop when I was younger and quickly found out that in hip-hop, a lot of soul samples are used. So I began looking up all these samples and getting deeper into the soul genre and it just expanded from there.

Wafande: I was practically raised on soul. My father used to sing soul, so the house was always filled a lot of soul music. It's a very natural part of me. As for some of our heroes, we are very much inspired by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Curtis Mayfield, Quincy Jones and Billie Holiday, to name a few.

And is there any kind of soul scene in Denmark?

The soul scene in Denmark is very limited, especially commercially. There's us of course and a few others. Also some cover bands, but it's a very small scene indeed.

Now tell us how you came to work together:

We met through hip-hop, actually. Wafande came to the studio to record a song with another artist and how that's we met, in the studio. We quickly formed a friendship through the love of hip-hop and we just went from there basically. It seemed very natural for us to collaborate on Black Dylan.

Last Updated on Monday, 01 August 2016 15:08

 

TALKIN' THE BLUES - SHAD HARRIS SPEAKS!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:25 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

slims2Multi-instrumentalist, SHAD HARRIS - who these days mostly sings while playing a 'keytar' (a portable keyboard)  - is well-known in California for leading a group called The Groovenators, a quartet that dates back to 2007 and plays a funky brand of old school blues. Now sixty-six, Harris's CV includes some impressive names - among them Horace Silver, Etta James, Eddie Harris, Hank Mobley, Charlie Musselwhite, and Tommy Castro - and recently he found time to speak about his life and music to SJF's US correspondent, John Wisniewski...

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 13:36

 

STILL CUTTING IT - Legendary US singer, PP ARNOLD, talks ahead of this autumn's Maximum Rhythm N' Blues tour

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 10:21 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

PP_faceShe was a little girl with a big voice who took London by storm in the mid-60s. Barely twenty, she was undoubtedly a stranger in a strange land, but was surprised by how the British took to her - and even more taken aback that as an unknown American background singer, she was able to launch a solo career and have hit records in a country where racial segregation didn't exist. We're talking about PP ARNOLD (pictured left by Gered Mankowitz) who, when she first set foot on English soil, was known as Pat Cole, and was working as an 'Ikette' on Ike & Tina Turner's soul revue. Taken under the wing of Rolling Stones main man, Mick Jagger, and his manager and Immediate Records' label boss,  Andrew Loog Oldham, the singer adopted the stage name PP Arnold, and scored UK hits in the shape of the immortal 'The First Cut Is The Deepest,' 'The Time Has Come,' '(If You Think You're) Groovy,' and 'Angel Of The Morning.'

She recorded with Bee Gee Barry Gibb in the late '60s and early '70s for Polydor before moving into stage musicals (Jesus Christ Superstar and later Starlight Express) and session work (her credits during this period included Humble Pie, Nick Drake, Dr John, and Eric Clapton). In the late '80s she scored a Top 20 UK hit fronting the song 'Burn It Up' for The Beatmasters and in the '90s she worked with The KLF, ex-Pink Floyd man, Roger Waters, and the UK rock bands, Primal Scream, and Ocean Colour Scene.

No approaching her seventieth birthday, PP is still in fine voice and can be seen and heard alongside Manfred Man spinoff band, The Manfreds (featuring singers Paul Jones and Mike d'Abo)  and UK R&B legend, Zoot Money on the upcoming Maximum Rhythm N' Blues Tour, which crisscrosses the British Isles this coming October, November and December.

SJF's Charles Waring recently caught up with PP to talk about the tour and her career....

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2016 10:50

 

MARVIN, MILES ... AND JOHNNY!

Sunday, 24 July 2016 14:57 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

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One of this year's most intriguing albums has been 'Marvin Meets Miles' by Louisville-born Johnny Britt.... a singer, songwriter, producer, trumpeter, arranger and composer who's maybe previously best known for his work with the duo Impromp2. 'Marvin Meets Miles' though is set to take Johnny to a new level. The album is winning plenty of airplay and causing intrigue as Johnny re-interprets a selection of Marvin Gaye classics in a way that Mile Davis might have done! Jazz purists are in deep debate while the soul congregation are delighted to have new and imaginative readings of tunes they cherish. So, surely, time to find out a little more about Johnny's big idea.... but first some personal background.....

I was raised in Cleveland, Ohio. I was really introduced to music at my uncle's church THE HOUSE OF GOD. It was the there that I became the lead singer of the choir at age 4 and noticed my vocal gift. I chose the trumpet at age 12 because when I saw it, it only had 3 values and I figured that it couldn't be that hard to play. Cleveland had a heavy R&B scene with singing groups and bands actually Eddie Levert of the O'Jays lived right down the street from me. I then studied trumpet just outside of Paris, France at The Conservatory Of Versailles with Roger Delmotte principle trumpet for the Paris Opera. My musical influences are R&B, Jazz, Gospel and Classical. My heroes are Marvin Gaye, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Clifford Brown, Aretha Franklin and of course many more.

I guess the first time most folks came across you was with Impromp2... but you'd been in the business long before that hadn't you?

Oh yes very much so. I was a studio singer in Paris and Chicago before moving to Los Angeles. I was discovered by Otis Williams of The Temptations. I wrote songs for the Temps and then Otis hired me as their musical director I tour around the world with them. That led to becoming the co music producer and vocal coach for the Emmy Award Winning Mini Series Movie 'THE TEMPTATIONS.'

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 July 2016 15:26

 

TODAY GLASTONBURY, TOMORROW THE WORLD! ST. PAUL OF THE BROKEN BONES SPEAKS!

Thursday, 14 July 2016 14:57 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF


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With their gritty and soulful brand of old school rhythm and blues, the Alabama seven-piece, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, are a band that sound like they've been teleported through time from the 1960s or 1970s to the present day. Seemingly channeling the music of Stax Records, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke,  they've been dubbed the doyens of retro-soul by some commentators but the group's charismatic front man, Paul Janeway (dubbed  'St. Paul' by the rest of the band due to his saintly nature and lack of personal vices) is eager to prevent the group from being typecast as one-dimensional, stuck-in-the-past soul revivalists. Their forthcoming second album - which is also their debut for Columbia Records and due to be released in September - is called 'Sea Of Noise' and sees The Broken Bones evolving musically from their debut LP, 2014's acclaimed indie release, 'Half The City.'

"I think for us, the whole kind of thing was to expand our musical palette on this new album a little bit so that you are not so trapped in the retro-soul thing," explains Janeway, who proves to be a personable young man who's blessed with a wry sense of humour and whose high-pitched, slightly maniacal laughter, which frequently punctuates our conversation, sounds almost Hyena-like. "If that's what you do, that's what you do," he says, acknowledging his group's soulful core sound. "There's nothing wrong with that but that's not fully us. I love that music and it's very influential but that's not fully us."

Indeed, a cursory listen to 'Sea Of Noise' would indicate the truth of Janeway's words. Certainly, there's enough of a faux vintage soulfulness in it to satisfy their existing followers but they are developing their sound with funk, country, folk and gospel elements and the presence of orchestral strings on some tracks takes their music to another dimension. And then there are Janeway's lyrics and his song's themes. The music might sound retro-steeped but the super-talented, gospel-reared Janeway brings a 21st century sensibility to bear on his material, proving that the band live in the present day rather than the past. One song in particular, the striking 'I'll Be Your Woman,' is a gender-reversal soul ballad that singers like Otis and Wilson Pickett would have probably objected to performing because it goes against the macho stereotype that they and others like them projected.

"It's just challenging the standard gender role thing, the 'I'm your man' and 'you're my man' kind of thing," says Janeway explaining the thinking behind 'I'm You Woman.' "In my experience, the woman's always been the strong person and is always the one who is the foundation. So it's a love song twisting it on its head and trying to challenge that a little bit."

The band, who've opened for the Rolling Stones in the States, were recently in the UK on tour and when SJF's Charles Waring spoke to Paul Janeway, they were preparing to get their wellies on and brave the mud of the legendary Glastonbury festival...

 

Last Updated on Friday, 15 July 2016 07:09

 

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