Wednesday, 05 June 2019 10:27 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLatest offering from UK soul duo NEWLANDS AND MATHER is a 6 track EP optimistically called 'Heat'. Three of the tunes have been released as singles – 'I Love IT 2', 'If The Sun Don't Rise' and 'Good Times' which features some proper tasty sax from Alan Hook. All three were UK soul chart riders and good to have 'em cheek by jowl here.

The three new tunes are the mid-tempo 'Take Time', the up-tempo 'Heat' and the gentle ballad 'It's Your Move'. Put' em all together and you have a well-balanced mini album that the duo themselves will admit is not ground breaking or revolutionary.... it's not meant to be. It's what it is – pleasing, melodic Brit soul brimming with optimism and perfect for lazy summer parties and chilling.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2019 10:36



Tuesday, 04 June 2019 13:03 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                          altOn July 11th, Strut Records are set to release a 15-track PATRICE RUSHEN retrospective called 'Remind Me: The Classic Elektra Recordings 1978-1984.'

A jazz pianist and singer originally from Los Angeles, California, Rushen recorded three LPs for Prestige Records in her twenties between 1974 and 1976 before landing at Elektra Records in 1978. During the next six years, she would patent her own jazz-infused take on R&B, which resulted in some svelte dance grooves and silky ballads. Strut's Elektra anthology selects the choicest cuts from Rushen's Elektra tenure, which includes  her signature tune, the much-sampled  'Forget Me Nots'  - the 7-minute-long 12-inch version is featured - alongside other gems such as  'Haven't You Heard,'  'When I Found You,' 'Number One,' and 'Remind Me.'  

Remastered from the original tapes at The Carvery, the album is available on CD and also as a 3-LP set. The liner notes include a new interview with Patrice, who says “The idea was to create music that was good for commercial radio/R&B. We were all making sophisticated dance music, essentially.”

 Read SJF's interviews with Patrice here:


'Remind Me: The Classic Elektra Recordings 1978-1984' is available via Strut on July 11th

Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2019 10:35



Monday, 03 June 2019 17:52 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThough he had several successful albums behind him, we first got to know and love Missouri soul man BRIAN OWENS via his remarkable 'Soul Of Ferguson' album. It was followed in 2017 with what on the face of it was an oddity – Brian's homage to country legend Johnny Cash. On it, the singer nailed the connection between country music and soul – notably via his own song, 'Soul In My Country'.

The good news is that Mr O is putting the finishing touches to a new long player – 'Love Came Down' which was recorded down in the famous Royal Studios in Memphis under the auspices of Boo Mitchell and producer Brian Michel Bacchus.

Though there is no definite date for the release, Brian has just released a double A sided single as a taster. One of the songs is a lazy, jazzy meander 'Cool Water' - it clocks in at a remarkable ten minutes plus and the feel and atmospheric will add weight to soul commentators who have already likened Brian Owens' whole music approach to Marvin Gaye's. And, as if by coincidence, the single's second song is a cover of a Gaye tune – 'Sparrow', a song that first appeared on Gaye's 'Here My Dear'. Both songs feature jazz trumpet virtuoso Keyon Harrold, percussionist Daniel Sadownick and a star Memphis rhythm section comprised of Peter Martin, Jon Cowherd, Steve Potts, Sherrod Barnes and Stephan Crump.... "The Royal Five." Both tracks available now.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 June 2019 18:06



Sunday, 02 June 2019 18:57 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altJIMMY'S COUSIN is the musical alter ego of Irish singer/songwriter Ian Dodson. In typical Irish fashion Ian explains that while he was gowning up he was forever in the shadow of his big brother, Paul and so became known as "Paul's brother". Then, in the 1990 he moved to America where he lived with his cousin Jimmy... you've guessed it – he now became "Jimmy's cousin" and so when he was all set to launch his debut album 'Waxwings' earlier this year, what better name to go out under. He was, after all, "Jimmy's Cousin" and that's about it!

The music on 'Waxwing' though isn't Jimmy's! It's uniquely Ian Dodson's – very particular, unusual and different. The soundscape? Well, there are elements of jazz, pop, blue eyed soul and folk – all delivered with the deep emotions that you associate with Irish troubadours. And that last point will draw inevitable comparison with a certain Van Morrison. And yes, there are flavours of Morrison throughout 'Waxwings' – both men write and perform with an Irish heartbeat, but Jimmy's voice is mellower... the voice of a crooner rather than the voice of blue-eyed soul man.

Lyrically, like Morrison, the songs on 'Waxwings' have a real depth and many are fiercely introspective. There are plenty that tackle break up and the accompanying grief – like 'Love Is Only For The Fools' and 'I'll Never Love Again'. They're amongst the album highlights alongside the semi-autobiographical opener, 'Astor and 8th' – a tale of the singer's first encounters with New York – and the gorgeous, melodic 'Look At Me Now'. There's a whiff of Jimmy Webb and/or Richard Hawley on some of these!

The album has been produced by guitarist Dave Keary who's worked with people like Taj Mahal, Bobby Womack ,Gregory Porter and ...yes, Van Morrison- he's a key and valued member of Van's band. He and the other players (including a superb and subtle brass ensemble) craft a wonderfully sympathetic background for the 10 songs. Of especial note is the chromatic harmonica of Mick Kinsella who helps bring just the right amount of melancholy to proceedings.

Jimmy's Cousin/Ian Dodson's been making music off and on for something like 30 years...but 'Waxwings' is the official debut album. Maybe it will make him one of those famous "overnight successes"... recommended!


Last Updated on Wednesday, 05 June 2019 10:34



Sunday, 02 June 2019 16:19 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altTribute bands and artists are everywhere these days; and it's not just the legendary and established musicians who have spawned "tribute" acts... even fly by night performers and optimistic wannabees have their own "tributes" out there. The newest tribute act to come to our notice is the BB KING BLUES BAND – no prizes for guessing their provenance! But – and this is a BIG BUT – the BB King Blues band is a whole lot different to any other tribute act out there. You see the players in this outfit all worked with the iconic BB and for their latest long player, 'The Soul Of The King', the core musicians are joined by some big names people like Taj Mahal, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Michael Lee who impressed audiences via his US 'The Voice' performances.

Essentially the BB King Blues Band is Michael Lee (Lead Vocals. Lead Guitar), James "Boogaloo" Bolden (Trumpet). Russell Jackson (Bass and Vocals), Herman Jackson (Drums) , Eric Demmer (Saxophone), Wilbert Crosby (Guitar and Vocals), Lamar Boulet (Trumpet), Darrell Lavigne (Keyboards), and Walter King (Saxophone) and between them they have over 100 years of playing the blues!

The material on the 16 tracker (3 cuts are spoken explanations) is a mix of BB King covers and original material. Manager Terry Harvey says, "This record is a representation of B.B.'s musical styles and influences, to those who never got to hear or see him live." A cover of the Blues Boy's biggest hit 'The Thrill Is Gone' takes pride of place but other winners include the Taj Mahal/Mary Grifffin duet on 'Payin' The Cost To The Boss' and the lovely Steely Dan/Tower of Power flavoured 'Hey There Pretty Woman' (penned and performed by trumpeter James "Boogaloo" Bolden.)

For the past few weeks 'The Soul Of The King' (released on Ruf Records) has sat atop the Billboard Blues Chart – and rightly so!

Last Updated on Sunday, 02 June 2019 19:11


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