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TIME FOR TIMMION...

Monday, 25 March 2019 16:54 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFinland's Timmion Records is making a real name for itself on the real soul scene. The independent music enterprise is run by Sami Kantelinen and Jukka Sarapää; and they're also the music muscle behind The Soul Investigators as well as Cold Diamond & Mink. The Investigators are Timmion's current house band while Diamond and Mink are the song writing/production team behind most of the label's output. Surprisingly the label has been in business for over fifteen years and its operation has grown to include one main record label and various sub labels, an analogue 8-track recording studio as well as a world renowned facility for cutting vinyl masters.

The Timmion vinyl catalogue now has over 50 different singles and albums releases in it and right now they're busy promoting four new (ish) releases. First up there's Gerald McCauley's "low-rider" soul sound, 'Wondering' which we featured recently in our news pages... check the archive.

Then there's 'This Is What Love Looks Like' from New York soul man Carlton Jumel Smith. This is a classic old school, soul dancer with sweet horns and some gritty 'Tighten Up' style guitar. Third new Timmion goodie is a busy, bustling dance groove from Jonny Benavidez – more hints of 'Tighten Up' ... hardly surprising, Jonny, like Archie Bell, is also a Texan. Deeper soul balladry is on offer on 'Don't Believe You Like That' from Emilia Sisco. This fourth new promotion shows that Timmion can do the deep stuff too.

Find out more about these releases and everything Timmion has to offer @ www.timmion.com

Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2019 18:49

 

THAT WAS THE YEAR THAT WAS....

Monday, 25 March 2019 16:50 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altA year so so back Ace Records started to chronicle the 60s year by year. The impetus was a hefty socio-musical history tome by sociologist/musicologist Jon Savage. In his book, Savage dissected 1966 by focusing on what he saw as key singles issued that year across all kinds of genres. The 650 page book was both provocative and intriguing and it made more sense after Ace Records contracted the writer to compile an album of the songs he singled out! '66 was soon followed by Savage/Ace compilations on 1965 and '67 and now they've launched an investigation into 1968, a year Savage says when "The world burned".

Savage explains that it was a year of political unrest, assassinations, and strikes and, of course, the ongoing brutality/futility of the Vietnam War. He argues that the turmoil had a real impact on music and thus he offers, across 2 CDs, 48 tracks which he says sums up the mood of 1968.

The album boasts plenty of big name soul – Martha and the Vandellas, Eddie Floyd, Archie Bell, Al Wilson, Dionne Warwick, Otis Redding, James Carr, Aretha, 4 Tops and many more. Perhaps the best soul cuts that tie in with the album's theme are Sly's 'Dance to the Music (which comes in the usual format and as 'Danse a La Musique' from The French Fries) and the Temptations' 'Cloud Nine' - Norman Whitfield and Motown's attempt to forge a new direction.

Naturally there's plenty of pop and rock cuts – which you may or may not relate to, though Jon will argue about their significance... so amongst the names to enjoy are Buffalo Springfield, The Pretty Things, The Beau Brummels, The Move, Jethro Tull, Steppenwolf and Arthur Brown whose 'Fire' really did set 1968 alight!

1968 THE YEAR THE WORLD BURNED is out now on Ace Records.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2019 18:51

 

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?

Monday, 25 March 2019 16:34 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFLEVANS (Nigel Evans to his mum and dad) is a new age music multi tasker with a penchant for electro soul, breakbeat and downtempo grooves. Based in Brighton, young Nige has just launched his fifth solo album – the 11 tracker that is 'Part Time Millionaire'.

Being a skilled player (bass, guitar and keys) there are some tight and tasty instrumental grooves here.... like the insistent title track but this album's big attraction is in the calibre of the guest vocalists. Featured here are people like Elliott Cole, Sarah Scott and Izo Fitzroy. Ms F shows her gospel roots on the soul meander that is 'Some Day' while Laura Vane also shines on one of the LP's other big ballads 'Ex Factor'. 'It Just Goes' is the album's funk quotient while the 'Who's Got Me' (Laura Vane again) is the big dance tune.

And the album title? Flevans explains... "The title "Part Time Millionaire" is a reflection of where I'm at right now. I've jugged writing this album with trying being the best dad I can to my two young kids – both of those things make me incredibly happy, but it's a difficult balance. I guess the title reflects how little time we have to do all the things we want but also how many positive things we can achieve!"

FLEVANS PART TIME MILLIONAIRE - out now on Jalapeño Records.

Last Updated on Monday, 25 March 2019 18:54

 

SOLAR POWER!

Friday, 22 March 2019 14:45 BILL B E-mailPrintPDF

altMost soul heads know that SOLAR RADIO is one of soul's premier radio outlets and it has been for many years (and many to come!) However, I'm guessing that not too many know that the station also issues its own albums – in fairness not that often. In fact their last release was way back in 2001 when Solar switched to the Sky media platform!

To prove that quality always trumps quantity, Solar have just issued a second compilation album. The 15 tracker is imaginatively called 'Solar Soul' and it's made up of tunes that have been popular on the station's famed Sweet Rhythms Chart.

In the mix there are oldies, some new cuts and a smattering of well-chosen remixes and interestingly, almost everything is sourced from the UK proving that, soul-wise, we can easily match what our US cousins can do!

Most of the inclusions have been featured in the hallowed pages of SOULANDJAZZANDFUNK in the last year or so and amongst the highlights is a tune from Soulutions. The Newcastle duo have really taken the UK soul scene by storm and here their 'I Got To Party' is well worth its inclusion. The veteran side of the scene is represented by people like Reel People, Ray Hayden, Keni Stevens, Joey Negro and his Sunburst Band and Georgie B who always delivers with his Groove Association. His inclusion is the ultra optimistic 'Feeling Happy'. One of the few US offerings comes from Randy Muller. His 'Beautiful Feeling' kicks this album off and here he sculpts a very different sound from his Brass Construction heyday.

SOLAR SOUL is out now and you can learn more @ www.solarradio.com

Last Updated on Friday, 22 March 2019 14:52

 

STILL SEARCHING...

Friday, 22 March 2019 12:31 BILL B E-mailPrintPDF

altLiverpool beat group THE SEARCHERS have been in existence for an incredible 60s years. Named for the wonderful John Wayne cowboy movie, the foursome (with a few personnel changes, of course) have worked constantly since the late 50s but this year they've decided to call it a day. Yes, after their current sell-out, nationwide tour, the Searchers will be hanging up their famous 12 string Rickenbackers! To commemorate this auspicious event two new box sets of the best of the band's output have just been released and as souvenirs of a great British music institution both come highly recommended.

First up there's a magnificent 6 CD box set from Grapefruit/Cherry Red Records....'When You Walk In The Room'. This one collects together everything the Searchers recorded for Pye Records in their 60s heyday. The box has the band's five Pye LPs – offered in both mono and stereo mixes and resplendent with the original sleeve art work - and a bonus CD with all the non LP cuts alongside a selection of rarities. All the band's big hits are here, including their classic readings of the Jackie De Shannon songs 'Needles And Pins' and 'When You Walk In The Room'. And it was this ability to find great songs to cover that was part of the Searchers' early success. Though the band boasted a song writing team, drummer Chris Curtis was a big 60s soul fan and he discovered all kinds of great songs for the band to cover. Here you can enjoy wonderful 60s Mersyebeat renditions of songs originally recorded by people like The Drifters, The Orlons, Jimmy Hughes, Barbara Lewis, The Coasters, Ben E King, The Crystals, The Isley Brothers, Lou Johnson and many more. Indeed, with hand on heart I'd suggest that the Searchers' cover of Burt Bacharach's 'This Empty Place' is easily the best version of the song... ever!

The 'When You Walk In The Room' collection also allows you trace the evolution of the band – from hard rockers to harmonic popsters with a distinctive 12 string jangling guitar sound that did so much to influence US icons like The Byrds and Tom Petty.

altThe second "new" Searchers box comes courtesy of BMG Records and is called 'The Farewell Album ... Greatest Hits And More' – and that about sums it up. The 2 CD, 50 track collection offers al the big hits, key album cuts and a selection of newer songs that are mainstays of the group's live performances – like the big ballad, 'Somebody Told Me You Were Crying'.

The Searchers have come a long, long way since they held court at Liverpool's famous Iron Door Club (just down the road from the Cavern where another band were resident!) but as a tribute to them and their art both these collections are wonderful.... both are available now.

 

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