Friday, 17 March 2017 10:30 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altBlues harmonica player, JAMES COTTON died yesterday, Thursday 17th March. He was 81 and passed away at David's Medical Centre in Austin, Texas. A spokesperson gave cause of death as pneumonia.

James Henry Cotton was born on a cotton plantation in 1935 in Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.A. and as a young boy taught himself harmonica. Hooking up first with Sonny Boy Williamson II, then Howlin' Wolf, James signed for Sun Records in 1953, and debuted with a single called 'Straighten up Baby'. Cotton then joined Muddy Waters' band where he stayed till 1966, subsequently forming his own group... the James Cotton Blues Band.

From then he worked solidly – both with his own group and as a guest player with countless artists whose own music had its roots in the blues... people like the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton (pictured with Cotton, below), Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, even the Grateful Dead.

In 1996 James Cotton won his first Grammy which sat alongside his six Living Blues Awards and 10 Blues Music Awards. A tribute concert was held in his honour at the New York Lincoln Centre in 2010 and in 2015 the Montreal International Jazz Festival gave him its B.B. King Award for contributions to the blues.

Cotton, nicknamed "Mr Superharp", said in a 2013 interview; "I guess I was born with the blues, and I don't know nothing else but the blues." He is survived by wife Jacklyn, daughters Teresa and Marshall Ann, son James, and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.


Last Updated on Friday, 17 March 2017 10:36



Thursday, 16 March 2017 20:04 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altASHANTI MUNIR is an indie soul singer who hails from Brockton, Massachusetts. She debuted in 2008 with an album called 'Balance'. The set was one of that year's best indie soul outings. Her sophomore set – was even better received. 'Soul Of A Woman' was a great little collection featuring amongst many fine soul sides a nifty modern soul gem, 'So Smooth'. That tune ran and ran – also coming in three remixes from French R&B producer Wadz on one of his famed compilations

Since then Ashanti's released more fine singles and the 'Lady Munir' long player but it seems that 'So Smooth' is the song that will define her. No wonder... it has all the key ingredients that define the very best modern soul dancers while her vocal is a throwback to the great songstresses of the Golden Era. ... no pyrotechnics, no over the tops... just solid soul commitment!

Now... guess what? Yes... 'So Smooth' has just been remixed and once again it's that man Colin Watson at the controls. Mr W's timed the release of his new tweak perfectly – March 17th, which happens to be Lady Munir's birthday! Wonderful.... let's hope it helps take one of indie soul's finest out into the mainstream.

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 20:10



Thursday, 16 March 2017 20:00 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSoul-wise, 2017's gotten off to a great start with a plethora of wonderful modern soul tunes winning the hearts and feet of the savvy soul connoisseurs. And the equally savvy labels and artists have maintained the momentum with clever and classy remixes of their new anthems. Latest 2017 gems to get the remix treatment are MARC STAGGERS' fab 'Keep Those Fires Burning' and PETER SYMPHORIEN'S equally wonderful 'State Of Mind'.

Marc Staggers' 'Keep Those Fires Burning' has rightly dominated the soul charts since release and if you want more, then there's a new remix on the way at the end of March. Nigel Lowis is at the controls for the aptly titled "Inferno" mix which retains all the excellence of the original while adding just a little extra sparkle. Staggers' vocal remains a thing of beauty!


altPeter Symphorien's rise to fame has been quite remarkable. From an unknown pub and club singer he's quickly scaled all the credible charts with his Philly-flavoured 'State Of Mind'. The original was lauded by all and sundry and a recent remix, "Grandmaster Mix part 3", didn't disappoint... seven minutes of modern soul excellence! Now we're told there's a J-Ski edit of The Nigel Lowis mixes on the way. That one will come on a limited 7 inch single through Sundae Soul records in around 3 weeks time!

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 20:11



Wednesday, 15 March 2017 20:20 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThough it's only March, some soul jocks and commentators are calling the wonderful 'Because You Love Me' from ERROL HENRY'S SOUND PRINCIPLE "The finest British soul production in 2017". The song, of course, was first recorded by Shirley Jones but for this new take Errol turns up the beats big time and hands the vocal to a fab and feisty Phillippia Williams. The Miami born, Atlanta based vocalist nails it.... yes, it's a good 'un... a bloody good 'un!

If you want more of the cut it's just become available into two new mixes that take things into the soulful house arena. The 'Joyful' mix is a particular boomer, but it will grow on you while the 'On Lock' mix is a little more subtle.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 March 2017 20:29



Wednesday, 15 March 2017 20:18 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altNIK WEST is one of America's most in-demand bassists. Fronting her own eponymous band, Ms W has just released her latest album,'Say Somethin''. From it she's just unleashed the lead single, 'My Relationship'. We use the word "unleashed" deliberately. The cut is a blistering slice of pop/ rock rather than soul or even funk. The cut's USP is the presence of guitar star, Orianthi, who, anoraks will know, was the last guitarist to work with Michael Jackson before he died. Her guitar dominates the track and I wasn't surprised when my I-tunes classified the track as "rock".

Last Updated on Thursday, 16 March 2017 19:04


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