Friday, 05 August 2011 16:34 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

kennyOne of the UK's favourite soul boys returns to the fray with the late August release of a brand new double A side single – 'Breathe'/'The Show Is Over'. 'Breathe' - which is the title track to our man's hugely anticipated new studio album – is an unusually restrained but insistent mid-tempo beater that will delight the modern soul crew. 'The Show Is Over', however, is different again and will probably surprise KENNY'S legions of fans. Co-written by his wife, FRANCISCA, it's a gentle slice of pop/soul with a crisp production and thought-provoking lyric.

The 'Breathe' album is KENNY'S first full solo set since his wonderful 2006 LP 'Crazy World'. In the interim MR. T has been busy studying complementary medicine and he's recently graduated with a B. Sc. in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine though recording and performing has never been far away. Indeed he's going to preview the new album at Parkway's Jazz Café on September 2nd... more details on the Mean Fiddler web site. In the meantime look forward to a full review of 'Breathe' here @ SJF very soon.

Last Updated on Friday, 05 August 2011 16:39



Wednesday, 03 August 2011 09:50 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Gene_McDanielsSJF is sad to report the death of legendary soul music singer-songwriter, GENE MCDANIELS, who passed away on 27th July aged 76.

Born in Kansas in 1935 and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, Eugene Booker McDaniels was the son of a preacher and started off his music career singing gospel music in the devotional group, The Echoes Of Joy. In the late '50s, he moved to the US West Coast and started singing jazz, often with pianist Les McCann and his group.

Under the name Eugene McDaniels, he signed to Liberty Records in 1960 and scored two Top 5 US pop hits with 'A Hundred Pounds Of Clay' and 'Tower Of Strength' in 1961. McDaniels appeared as himself in the Richard Lester-directed 1962 movie, 'It's Trad, Dad,' alongside Acker Bilk, Chubby Checker and Gene Vincent. After studying acting and a brief and fruitless spell at CBS in the mid-'60s, he relocated to Europe for a while, eventually moving back to the USA at the end of that decade when Les McCann and Eddie Harris enjoyed a massive Stateside hit for Atlantic with the McDaniels' tune 'Compared To What' (taken from the pair's live 'Swiss Movement' LP). That song's success (Roberta Flack also recorded it on her debut album, 'First Take') resulted in a deal with Atlantic in 1970, which yielded the albums 'Outlaw' (1970) and 'Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse' (1971), both helmed by the late Joel Dorn. Both records melded soul and jazz with folk and blues and the latter set in particular, with its trenchant political invective, caused controversy, even prompting US Vice President Spiro Agnew to ring Atlantic to complain about the views expressed on 'Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse.' Atlantic panicked and fired McDaniels from the label. Ironically, though, it was Atlantic Records that gave McDaniels his biggest pay check when a song he'd written and produced for Roberta Flack ('Feel Like Makin' Love') became a million-selling pop and R&B number one in 1974.

McDaniels also penned and produced sides for Gladys Knight & The Pips, Nancy Wilson, Merry Clayton and Melba Moore during the same timeframe and in 1975 he recorded another album under his own name, 'Natural Juices,' for Lou Adler's Ode label.

After lying low for most of the '80s, in the 1990s McDaniels wrote and produced 'Meet Me On The Moon' for Phyllis Hyman and worked with singer, Carri Coltrane. In 2004, he released his final album, 'Screams & Whispers.' For the last decade of his life or so he lived in Kittery Point, Maine, writing music and working on movie screenplays.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 10:01



Thursday, 28 July 2011 13:31 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

randyAt the beginning of August Rhino/Warner UK will be releasing a brand new RANDY CRAWFORD 'Best of' compilation. The 17 tracker includes all the lady's big hits along with live versions of 'Imagine' and 'Everything Must Change'. There's also the in-demand duet with Italian guitarist, ZUCCHERO – 'Diamante'. The set comes complete with an essay from SJF's very own CHARLES WARING who succinctly sums up why Ms. CRAWFORD is the consummate soul singer when he attests– "she can convincingly convey the profoundest of human emotions".

We have five copies of this wonderful album to give away in our latest competition. Simply answer the question below and send you answers to our usual e-mail address. The closing date is Friday 5th August ... the release date of the album.


QUESTION. What was the title of RANDY CRAWFORD'S 1980, CRUSADERS-produced album?

Remember –the closing date is August 5th.



Sunday, 24 July 2011 13:25 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

amy-winehouseAMY WINEHOUSE – one of Britain's most talented and charismatic singers of recent years – was found dead at her North London flat on Saturday 23 July. News sources report that ambulance crews were called to her apartment at around 4pm on Saturday but when they arrived the singer was "beyond help". Police said that they were treating the death as "unexplained" though other sources say the cause of death was a lethal cocktail of alcohol and drugs.

AMY WINEHOUSE was 27 and had been working on a third solo album to follow the success of 'Frank' and 'Back To Black' but personal issues had lengthened the process and it's claimed that nothing significant had been recorded.

The multi-award winning singer had enjoyed a meteoric rise to fame when she found material to match her distinctive voice – a powerful contralto that combined elements of R&B, soul and jazz. Some soul purists weren't entirely convinced about AMY'S credentials but anyone who's taken the time to listen to 'Love Is A Losing Game' or even the stripped down version of 'Valerie' knows otherwise.

AMY WINEHOUSE – a huge soul talent – RIP.



Friday, 22 July 2011 15:31 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

ArethaFranklin_AWomanFallingOutOfLoveARETHA FRANKLIN has just released a new album.... her 38th studio recording. "New", though, isn't quite the correct adjective to describe the set – 'A Woman Falling Out Of Love'- 'cos most of the material was recorded three years ago and the circumstances surrounding its release are complicated to say the least.

Since the late 70s "the Queen of Soul" has, of course, been contracted to Arista but because of disagreements and ongoing health problems there's been nothing new released since 2003. During this enforced hiatus Ms. FRANKLIN created her own label – Aretha's Records - and, when she was able, recorded a number of new tracks. Arista boss, CLIVE DAVIS consistently maintained that ARETHA owed his label one more album but after the singer's life threatening surgery the exec mellowed and has now allowed the release of 'A Woman Falling Out Of Love'.

To distribute and promote the LP, ARETHA'S done a deal with retail giant Walmart who are currently stocking the album Stateside and featuring it prominently on their download site. To further complicate matters there was an audio glitch on one of the tracks (a vocal version of 'Theme To A Summer Place') and the album was delayed, but we're reasonably reliably informed that the album is now available via Walmart – but don't quote us !

Previews indicate a patchy set though those who've listened long and hard attest that - despite her health issues and the fact that she's approaching 70, ARETHA is still "THE QUEEN OF SOUL". The critics' consensus suggests that the new song 'U Can't See Me' is the highlight, while the opener 'How Long I've Been waiting' is also winning lots of support. The album's guest performers include RONNIE ISLEY and you can catch a full review on the excellent site –,uk


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