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V.V. LIGHT TRAVELLER

Sunday, 19 July 2009 06:43 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

V.V. LIGHT TRAVELLER

Readers of the heavier media can't help have noticed the column inches devoted to newcomer V V BROWN. Since the turn of the year she's been touted as "the next big thing" and now the claim will be put to the test with the release of her debut album - 'Travelling Like The Light'. Fans of the AMY WINEHOUSE/DUFFY school of retro pop/soul will be delighted with the 12 tracker. It seems that the Northampton-born singer and her team have been trying hard to create another 'Rehab' or 'Mercy' as the beats boom out on tracks like 'L.O.V.E.' and 'Everybody'. Elsewhere there are big girl group flavours and catchy pop breezes. Soul purists needn't delay too long… though some might enjoy the killer ballad 'I Love You'.

 

REISSUE BONANZA ...

Tuesday, 14 July 2009 14:08 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

REISSUE BONANZA ...

The UK's two most important reissue and archive labels have unleashed a slew of goodies to see us through the high days of summer. Soul wise, the Cherry Red group leads with a RANDY BROWN twofer on its Shout imprint. Their pairing of BROWN'S 'Midnight Desire' and 'Welcome To My Room' is already being hailed as one of the reissues of the year. The Broadside logo sees a welcome return of two of the POINTER SISTERS' 1981 albums - 'Priority' and 'Black And White' while collectors of 60s ephemera will delight to see CDs on beat groups the APPLEJACKS, the MOJOS and LULU. All three releases are stuffed with memory jerking covers of 60s soul and blues classics. The flavour of the UK in the early sixties as it really was … while a twofer on STARBUCK offers a snapshot of the 70s … not soul, of course, but a melodic, soul feel to a lot of the music. Also upcoming from Cherry Red are releases on TED TAYLOR, GWEN and GEORGE McCRAE and a collection that explores the roots of soul - and for those who like to do their music exploring with books, Cherry Red Books have just published 'Tamla Motown: The Stories Behind The UK Singles' by TERRY WILSON - a fabulous reference source.
Ever-dependable Ace Records go into summer with four big compilations. Their latest 'Land Of 1,000 Dances' album focuses on the Twist and features twist-based cuts from HANK BALLARD, the ISLEY BROTHERS, the MARCELS and the MARVELETTES. The label's Songwriter Series turns the spotlight onto CHIP TAYLOR. The hits he penned include 'Wild Thing', 'I Can't Let Go', 'Angel Of The Morning' and 'I Can't Wait To See My Baby's Face' and the featured artists include BILLY VERA, JUDY CLAY, DUSTY SPRINGFIELD, LITTLE EVA, WALTER JACKSON and ARETHA. Ace's Chartbusters Series offers a timely 'Sunshine' edition … lots of pop, of course, but great summer soul too from ROBERT JOHN, 5th. DIMENSION and the FRIENDS OF DISTINCTION. Totally-soulful is 'London Street Soul' on BGP - the first of three albums which will celebrate the 21st birthday of Acid Jazz Records. This opener boasts 18 cuts including D'INFLUENCE'S 'I'm The One' and the in-demand MICA PARIS-vocalised 'One Million Smiles.' Don't forget, either, that Ace's 'Take Me To The River - A Southern Soul Story' won Best Compilation of 2009 at the recent MOJO Awards… congrats all round…

 

PHILLY ON FILM

Thursday, 09 July 2009 13:51 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

PHILLY ON FILM

After 'Standing In The Shadows Of Motown' and the Stax movie, 'Respect Yourself', it's time for Philadelphia to come into the movie spotlight. 'Am I Black Enough For You' - directed by GORAN OLSSON - is set to hit screens (probably art house ones - but check local press) at the end of July. The 91 minute documentary features BILLY PAUL and tells his story via the song that was chosen as the follow-up to his multi-million selling 'Me And Mrs. Jones.' The song, of course, was far too political for the crossover audience which had espoused his 'Mrs. Jones' and PAUL'S career went on a downward trajectory till he was rediscovered in the 1990s. BILLY features throughout and there's a telling interview with KENNY GAMBLE.Critics who've seen the movie tell us that not only does it tease out the nuances of a great singer's career, but that it also offers a warts and all portrait of Philadelphia and the racial tensions that bedevilled the city in the 1970s.

 

BUILDING BRIDGES ...

Thursday, 09 July 2009 09:45 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

BUILDING BRIDGES ...

It seems that retro soul just won't go away. The latest artist to plough the groove is newcomer MELANIE FIONA. MELANIE, protégé of KANYE WEST, releases her debut album 'The Bridge' at the end of July and it's stuffed with big, beefy retro soul sounds. The lady herself, though, doesn't want to be pigeon-holed. She says she's a singer/songwriter whose music "reveals a sweet push-and-pull between countless elements of herself", adding that "it crosses the barriers between ethnicities, genres, age groups and genders. It can't be defined as just one thing". A quick listen to the sampler, though, reveals a huge retro soul feel… most obvious on the brash 'Please Don't Go (Cry Baby)' which samples MARTHA AND THE VANDELLAS' 'Jimmy Mack' to absolute death. The guitar on 'Ay Yo' echoes the sound of the STAPLE SINGERS, while 'Bang Bang' is clearly a conscious effort to recreate the retro sound perfected by AMY W and DUFFY. The album's lead single is 'Give It To Me Right' which is solidly built on the chassis of the ZOMBIES' 'Time Of The Season'. Like the rest of the album, it's immediately infectious and you can catch a full review on www.soulandjazzandfunk.com very soon.

 

SOMETHING JUST A LITTLE DIFFERENT ...

Friday, 03 July 2009 10:57 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

SOMETHING JUST A LITTLE DIFFERENT ...

Seekers of the more esoteric forms of soul, jazz and funk will already know about German label LEMONGRASSMUSIC. The label, helmed by ROLAND VOSS, has an enviable reputation amongst discerning European clubbers and tracks from the label's albums have become staples in the Ibizan chill-out zones. LEMONGRASSMUSIC is just becoming known in the UK and the USA via three new releases which between them show the range of the music which the label makes.
First up is 'Palm Beach' from WEATHERTUNES. It's the perfect summer, jazz chillout album - languid and lazy yet still vibrant. It has echoes of BURT BACHARACH'S 'At This Time' -though it's more varied. Highlights are the delightful electro-Brazilian tune 'Sugar Loaf' and the soporific 'Sex Is The Place'. With KAY DEE on vocal, the song's not as raunchy as the title suggests - more like ASTRUD GILBERTO for the 21st. century.
Different again is 'Groovy' from GLAM SAM AND HIS COMBO. GLAM SAM is the alter ego of Swedish muso MATS SAMUELSSON and his 15 tracker is a fun album that combines elements of dance, lounge, jazz and funk. In places it will remind you of Aussie combo COOKIN' ON THREE BURNERS but elsewhere it's totally different. Tracks like 'The Concept Of Being Hip' and 'Dig The New Breed' will delight broad-minded jazzers, while 'Mind, Body And Soul' is a tremendous mid-tempo modern soul jam that should set sophisticated feet tapping.
Third album in the new LEMONGRASS trio is 'On The Road' from FIVE SEASONS… essentially the solo project of DANIEL VOSS, brother of label boss ROLAND. The 13 tracker is warm and atmospheric and garnished with Latin flavourings. Tracks from the LP (notably 'In Your Town') have already been featured on Sony's series of lounge and chill out collections.
For more details on these albums and more go to www.lemongrassmusic.de

 

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