Friday, 16 November 2018 14:31 BIll B E-mailPrintPDF

altAfter several years releasing her music via the Shanachie label, MAYSA is issuing her latest single on the Blue Velvet imprint. The chosen song for the debut is a typical Maysa ballad, 'You Are Not Alone'. Like much of Ms Leak's work the song is a subtle builder that allows one of soul's most recognizable voices to flourish.

Maysa tells us the song was inspired by the help she received during the premature birth of her child, Jazz. In essence the song is a moving message of love from a parent to a child - a story of unconditional love and encouragement and Maysa delivers it all perfectly. Out today.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2018 14:39



Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:32 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altYou don't need us to tell you that Christmas is on its way.... it's creeping up on us right now. And of course along with Slade on repeat in your favourite shops and said shops groaning with all kinds of Christmas treats and tat, the record companies are lining up plenty of Christmas "goodies".

Here we present three offerings that might tempt you to get into the Yule mood. First up there's a ten tracker from ALOE BLACC... 'Christmas Funk'. In truth it's not the kind of funk that JB or George C would recognize but the whole thing is a cut above your usual Christmas fare.... actually, 'Tell Your Mama' does get a little tough and funky. Most of the tunes are Blacc originals but a cover of Wham's 'Last Christmas' is, shall we say, rather interesting. Equally intriguing is the rap saga of how 'The Mrs Saved Christmas'.

altMore traditional, maybe, is 'A Legendary Christmas' from, you guessed it... JOHN LEGEND. Every major artist, sometime or other, feels the need to cut a Christmas long player and Mr L clearly feels his time is now. His album is a 14 tracker and has been produced and arranged by Raphael Saadiq. The repertoire is a mix of well known Christmas fare and new tunes like the poignant 'Waiting For Christmas'. Amongst the familiar songs are versions of Marvin Gaye's 'Purple Snowflakes', Charles Brown's 'Please Come Home For Christmas', Stevie's 'What Christmas Means To Me' (with Stevie on harmonica) and 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' which is a gorgeously lush duet with Esperanza Spalding.

alt... and speaking of that great song, Canadian singer CHERRILL RAE (whose version of the Temptations' 'Since I Lost My Baby' we recently recommended) has just released a very traditional version of it as her Christmas single. The B side is a straight take on 'O Holy Night'... both perfect for traditionalists.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:47



Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:28 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe last time we heard from the lovely LYNNE FIDDMONT was a few years back when she was promoting her version of Lou Rawls' 'Groovy People'. Well, St Louis born Lynne is now back with another great single... 'Daylight'. It's a steady mid-tempo beater on the cusp of soul and pop but the lady's soulful presentation proves why she is one of THE top session singers Stateside. There are few big soul names who haven't benefited from having Lynne doing backups whether in the studio or onstage. We're told there's a Lynne Fiddmont LP on the way but in the meantime we recommend 'Daylight'.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:50



Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:22 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'Age Of Blame' is the latest album from Boston-born singer/songwriter JEN KEARNEY. Her people say that the music on the concise 8 tracker is an amalgam of musical styles but when you pop it into I-tunes it comes up as "contemporary pop"... and that's a good description.

The title track, for instance, is a rocky power ballad while 'Sanctuary In Sabotage' is another rocky meander. But there are other flavours too. 'Better' for example mines a salsa vibe and on tunes like 'What If' and 'Too Far' there is a soul/funk undertow.

Jen's current band by the way are The Lost Onion and consist Peter MacLean on drums, Aaron Bellamy on bass, Amy Bellamy on clavinet and B3 organ, Jason Yost on guitar, Mark Mullins on trumpet and flugelhorn, Jared Sims on saxophone, and Yahuba on percussion.

Ms Kearney says: "'Age of Blame' offers deeply personal and hopeful perspective on a myriad of subjects—the main theme being the importance of maintaining balance and love in an ever-evolving world where blame, fear, self-sabotage and deflection are all too easy to succumb to as human contact has receded". Investigation will allow you to see if you agree... the album's out now.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:51



Thursday, 15 November 2018 11:56 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altOver the last few years genial Scouser CRAIG CHARLES has reinvented himself! From soap and comedy actor, our man is now a hugely respected soul and funk DJ – regularly filling clubs up and down the land and hosting his own always intriguing radio shows. As part of this new career trajectory CC has curated and complied an excellent series of albums for Freestyle Records... and, hard to believe, he's just launched volume 6 in the series!

Like the previous five, this new 19 tracker is stuffed with classy, quality indie soul and funk.... jazz too, though the album titling.... 'The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club' ... omits the jazz tag. Is the label frightened that "jazz" might put people off? Whatever, there are plenty of jazz grooves here – like the Lewis Express' homage to the golden age of soul-jazz. Their 'Brother Move On' recalls the spirit of Ramsey Lewis and Young-Holt. We recommended their album when it was released this summer. Amongst the other jazz grooves are the cool 'Rebel No. 23' from Chip Wickham and Courtney Pine's Omar-vocalised 'Rules'. Latin flavours are represented by Orquesta Akokan's 'Mambito Rapidito' and Grupo Magnetico's fiery take on 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone'.

Soul highlight is the Bamboos' 'Golden Ticket' and speaking of the Bamboos, their main man, Lance Ferguson is featured with his brand new take on the Googie Rene classic 'Smokey Joes La La'

Not all the music is new ... rare grooves are represented by The Mighty Ryeders' 'Evil Vibrations' from '78 (the building block, you'll remember for De La Soul's 'A Roller Skating Jam Named 'Saturday's') and Brian Auger's 1975 outing 'Foolish Girl'

Craig reckons that this new album is his best yet – well he would say that wouldn't he? However, I'm not going to argue; there's plenty of everything here - something for all soul, funk and, yes, jazz fans.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2018 12:04


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