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IT MUST BE LOVE!

Friday, 06 March 2020 19:08 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altBack in 2018 Londoner/Barbadian WHITFIELD BATSON released a catchy single 'It Must Be Love'. It had its moment in the spotlight and that seemed to be that. However, the tune has now resurfaced in soulful house fashion on Quantize Recordings.

The label's head boy, DJ Spen, it seems, liked the song and so commissioned John Khan to remix it with his usual energy. Spen then jumped in and created a mix with Khan that accentuates the bass without sacrificing anything of the Batson vocal quality. There are two other options available ... a dub mix and an instrumental... you pays your money etc. Out now

Last Updated on Friday, 06 March 2020 19:31

 

MORE ROMANCE...

Thursday, 05 March 2020 19:13 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altAt the back end of last year the sophisticated soul crowd were thrilled with a new EP from smooth soul maestro WILL DOWNING. 'Romantique part 1' offered Will's distinctive take on a clutch of soul and jazz standards like Dionne Warwick's Isaac Hayes penned 'Déjà Vu' and Lou Rawls' 'You'll Never Find Another Love like Mine' alongside his own 'If She Knew'. The tag line "part 1" indicated there was more to come – and , lo and behold, here it is 'Romantique part 2'... a 6 tracker that, like episode 1, mixes the well known with some Downing originals.

Of the well-known, the chief focus is a treatment of Tony Joe White's 'Rainy Night In Georgia'. I've lost count of how many versions there are of this, but Will's new look comes close to matching the melancholy beauty of Brook Benton's classic reading ... there's even a mournful harmonica in there!

The two other cuts that perfectly match the 'Romantique' billing are Will's versions of Larry Graham's 'One In A Million' and Jon Lucien's 'Lady Love'. Elsewhere, there's a strutting version of Barry White's 'Ecstasy' (not quite Quiet Strom) and a crisp beating 'Close To You' and a catchy 'Ready, Willing And Able' which was the EP heralding single.

WILL DOWNING; Romantique part 2 out now on Will's own Sophisticated Soul label

Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2020 20:01

 

HEAVEN’S ABOVE...

Wednesday, 04 March 2020 19:41 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altPRIVATPROJEKT (yes, their spelling) is a German (Hamburg to be precise) music collective led by MICHEL RECKHARD (he plays synthesizers, keyboards, drums, and percussion) and you may remember their recent 'Welcome' taster album which featured some sweet vocals from Bonny Ferrer.

Right now though the band are promoting a new, non-album single... 'Only Heaven Knows' which features a new female lead voice... Stefanie S, a veteran of Hamburg's leading gospel choir – and it shows in her controlled, soulful delivery. Sonically, this 'Only Heaven Knows' has a classic Brand New Heavies sound with some jazzy keys from Herr Reckhard. It's out now!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 March 2020 19:51

 

STANDING TOGETHER!

Monday, 02 March 2020 18:51 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLondon twins BOBBY and STEVE are bona fide UK soul and dance icons. The East Enders have been making and presenting their kind of music (their heritage is the music of people like Teddy Pendergrass, Loose Ends, Leroy Burgess, Barry White, McFadden & Whitehead and Thelma Houston) since the mid 80s and they've played out everywhere that is anywhere! They made their vinyl debut in 1992 when 'Love's Got A Hold On Me' was signed to Simon Dunmore's Cooltempo label and the duo were also behind the long running Kiss FM radio show Zoo Experience where their eclectic musical collection won them huge audience figures.

Now the boys return to the dance fray with a new album that's stuffed with their signature soulful house sound. 'LET'S STAND TOGETHER', they say, "offers a glimpse into our hearts and minds, offering a musical journey that will lift your spirits, fill your hearts and move your feet." Well, it will certainly do the latter... each of the 14 cuts is carefully and lovingly crafted to fill floors. Helping B&S deliver is a slew of big genre names.... people like Byron Stingily, Barbara Tucker, Duane Harden, Stephanie Cooke, Jean Carne and Leroy Burgess to name just a few.

Some of the tunes will be familiar –like the LP's title cut – a huge, sweeping take on the McFadden & Whitehead classic, fronted here by Michelle John & Lifford. Most familiar tune though has to be Jean Carne's 'Was That All It Was'. Not sure whether this is the original lead vocals but the brothers give the track a sweeping makeover aided and abetted by Nigel Lowis who knows more than a thing or two about the Philly sound!

And speaking of Mr Lowis he's also at hand on the set's lead single...a re-working of the boy's 2001 outing 'You Will Survive' featuring Johnnie Fiori on vocals. Originally released on vinyl only, way back in 2001 on their Zoo Groove Stereo label, this Philadelphia inspired production (check the lovely strings!) is sample free and has been replayed by Nigel Lowis who, as ever, captures the vibe... no wonder the mix is dubbed "the Philly Vibe" mix.

Both the single and the album are available now on Groove Odyssey Records via Traxsource.

Last Updated on Monday, 02 March 2020 18:58

 

TAKE A MESSAGE....

Sunday, 01 March 2020 16:08 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe UK SOUL MESSENGERS are either an offshoot of or the precursor to the wonderful SouLutions... not sure which, but they're the creation of Steve Lee -one half of the Geordie band. Steve alongside John Anderson, Anthony Keenan and John Walker make up the Soul Messengers and we're told that the quartet has worked with each other off and one for something like 25 years. Between them they've been in North East bands like the Distant Voices, Mix, Insight, La Liberte and the Skiptracers and now the Soul Messengers.

It was just twelve months ago that we enjoyed their 'Be Right Here' single –a sort of "psychedelic" soul Temptations sound. Since then nothing – I'm guessing that Steve has been busy with SouLutions. But now the Soul Messengers are releasing a whole album... this very week in fact!

The ten tracker is called 'Dark Soul' and from the little we've heard it's shaping up to be a classic Brit, modern soul set with the overall sonic template not a million miles away from the well-loved SouLutions sound. Tunes like 'Don't Tear Your Heart Out' and 'This Is For Real' are sweet and smooth and stuffed with catchy hooks and gentle harmonies. There's also a version of William DeVaughn's classic 'Be Thankful'.

THE SOUL MESSENGERS: 'Dark Soul' album is on Festival Park Records and available only via the Messengers own web site.

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 March 2020 16:21

 

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