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SHAKE IT UP BABY!

Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:24 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altBlasting out from good old Leeds, some 20 years ago, the prolific NEW MASTERSOUNDS are celebrating 20 years in the music business and to commemorate the event they've just released a new long player – 'Shake It'.

For the album – and to offer a subtly different musical hue – the majority of the tracks are fronted by a vocalist - Lamar Williams Jr. (son of late Allman Brothers bassist Lamar Williams). He gave just the right amount of old soul credibility to the LP's first single, 'Kings And Queens'. The next single should (he advises) be the gorgeous 'Lovely Daze' – a mid tempo roller that reminds me of 60s Stax group The Astors. It features some blistering trumpet from guest musician Mike Olmos. Think 'Candy'.

There are also plenty of old style Mastersounds instrumental jams – like the funky 'Layin' Low', the bonkers 'Live Life Free' and the brassy 'Permission To Land' – one of the band's regular homages to their heroes... the Average White Band. Then there's the Stax flavoured 'On The Top' .

Pre orders for the album begin 8/16/2019.

Last Updated on Sunday, 11 August 2019 18:45

 

IT ONLY TAKES A MOMENT....

Saturday, 10 August 2019 15:57 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'Moment Of Your Time' is the latest album from husband and wife team BUTCH and RHONDA COLEMAN. Mr C plays bass and adds vocals while Mrs C takes the lion's share of the singing whilst also playing keys. Their sound is a catchy mix of smooth jazz and sophisticated soul and they enjoy a decent fan base in the States, especially in their home state of Maryland. Over here we know them from odd tracks released on various Expansion compilations – and that should give you a clue to the quality of the music they craft. Ralph Tee (Mr Expansion) has no truck with the second best and almost any of the cuts on the 10 tracker that is 'Moment Of Your Time' could sit on any new Expansion compilation.

The album opens with a feisty instrumental 'Bean's Groove' – a chance for the band to stretch out but it's the vocals that throw up the album highlights, especially the ballads. 'Empty' is particularly moving while the duet 'I Can't Believe' offers a heavier sound. Sound wise, the album reminds me of gospel couple Billy and Sara Gaines though at times, especially on the Rhonda fronted tracks, I'm hearing a cross between Anita Baker and Phyllis Hyman. Yes, 'Moment Of Your Time' is a good, contemporary soul album and deserves investigation. It's out now.

 

MOTOWN MOVIE....

Saturday, 10 August 2019 15:52 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe long awaited 'Hitsville: The Making Of Motown' movie was premiered last night (9th August) in Los Angeles. The film, produced by Showtime, looks at Motown during the period beginning with the birth of Motown in Detroit in 1958 until its relocation to Los Angeles in the early 1970s.

Directed by British directors - brothers Benjamin and Gabe Turner - this feature-length film is being billed as the definite article. The film includes previously unseen footage from the label archives and Berry Gordy's personal collection. Universal Music Group involvement means that the films makers have had access to the label's vast catalogue of songs by all the Motown stars.

A US TV screening is planned for 24 August with a very limited UK release in September.

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 August 2019 16:04

 

OMAR ALL THE WAY!

Friday, 09 August 2019 18:14 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThough he's been in the biz for more years than he can care to remember, OMAR hasn't yet had a proper career spanning compilation retrospective. His current label, Freestyle are about to correct that omission with 'Omar - The Anthology' coming very, very soon.

Freestyle are heralding the album with proper tasty double A sided single. One of the tunes is brand new and on 'Pass It On' Mr Lye-Fook teams up with the lovely Terri Walker to craft a sweet, soothing mid-tempo groove riddled with nifty brass work. The two are clearly on the same musical wavelength!

Making the release even more memorable is the "other side" – a version of William DeVaughn's 'Be Thankful' that sees the Big O duet with someone called Erykah Badu. We need say no more!

 

MEMORIES OF MAURICE...

Friday, 09 August 2019 15:34 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altMAURICE WHITE (who died in 2016) is a soul icon. A giant of the genre, he played in the classic Chess studio band, collaborated with Ramsey Lewis on his ground breaking recordings and, of course, went on to found and lead a little band called Earth Wind And Fire!

What's not too well known though is that for over 30 years Maurice enjoyed a close and fruitful relationship with soul entrepreneur Preston Glass and in downtime from his own work he often recorded with Glass. In fact we're told that the duo laid down something like 40 songs that have remained unissued and unheard – till now.

In partnership with SoulMusic Records' David Nathan and with the full co-operation of White's Kalimba productions, Preston has made 12 of those recordings available on a very special 'Manifestation' album.

Now we're not claiming that this "new" music is up there with the best of EWF but it sure shows a different side to Maurice. The music on the LP veers from sweet baladeering (like 'True Love Is Forever') through to quasi chill (like 'Laid Back Aphrodisiac') and on to hard funk (like 'Panic Button'). Here and there you hear echoes of EWF – it might be a chord change, a riff, a melody line and certainly THAT distinctive voice and it all adds up to a must have for serious soul collectors.

Last Updated on Friday, 09 August 2019 15:42

 

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