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BLUE-EYED SOUL TROUBADOUR RETURNS WITH NEW ALBUM AND TOUR

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:03 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

GoodFeeling_HighResAlbumFrontWhen it comes to musical CVs, the versatile singer/songwriter and pianist PAUL CARRACK boasts one that is second to none. A former member of the home-grown group, ACE – they scored a Top 20 UK hit in 1974 with 'How Long' (which was also a big hit in the USA) – he's worked with some of the biggest names in British rock and pop, ranging from Roxy Music, Squeeze, and Mike & The Mechanics to The Smiths, The Pretenders, Roger Waters, Elton John, and ex-Beatle Ringo Starr. But despite the eclectic and varied nature of his collaborations and sideman stints, Sheffield-born Carrack's own musical sensibility was shaped by his early passion for soul music and the sounds coming out of black America on iconic record labels like Motown, Stax and Atlantic in the 1960s.

Despite being an in-demand session player, Carrack has also made his mark as an artist in his own right - as well as recording fifteen well-received albums since 1980, he has also savoured the experience of notching up four Top 50 UK singles between 1987 and 1996. Following on from his last project, 2010's 'A Different Hat,' an ambitious album that featured the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the 61-year-old Yorkshireman is back with an excellent new opus, the soul-steeped 'Good Feeling.' Featuring a selection of original material and covers, it's self-produced and appears on Carrack's own label, Carrack UK.

One of the 12-track set's chief standouts is 'Nothing Without You.' It features a plaintive vocal from the soulful Carrack along with sanctified Hammond B3 touches and a funkafied rhythmic undertow that resonates like a vintage Muscle Shoals recording.  By contrast, there's a Motown-esque feel to the set's sprightly opener, 'Good Feelin' About It,' which features Stevie Wonder-style harmonica fills. Other highlights include 'I Can Hear Ray' – a lovely heartfelt tribute to the great Ray Charles – the chugging horn-laden R&B workout, 'Marmalade Moon' (co-authored with Squeeze's Chris Difford), and a sensitive reading of Thad Jones' 'A Child Is Born.'

As well as his new album – which is available from September 24th – Carrack appears in a forthcoming BBC4 documentary about his life and career and will be touring the UK in July, August, October and November. For more info about Paul Carrack and his tour dates, go to: http://www.paulcarrack.net/

Last Updated on Tuesday, 31 July 2012 16:18

 

THE FUNK MEISTER IS BACK - NEW LARRY GRAHAM ALBUM DUE SOON!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012 08:18 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Larry_GrahamIn the world of funk, bass player extraordinaire, LARRY GRAHAM, is a bona fide living legend. It was during his time with SLY & THE FAMILY STONE in the late-'60s and early-'70s that the Texas-born musician took the evolution of bass guitar playing several steps further with his slapping or 'popping' technique, which proved profoundly influential and spawned a legion of imitators. In the mid-'70s, Graham led his own band, GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION, which scored some notable chart successes in the States, including their 1975 US chart topper, 'Your Love.' Five years later and Graham – whose rich, resonant vocals are as much a part of his musical identity as his fat-bottomed bass lines – achieved a huge pop crossover smash with his million-selling romantic ballad, 'One In A Million You.'

Fast forwarding to the present day and a rejuvenated LARRY GRAHAM – who has lived in Minnesota since the late-'90s and is now approaching his sixty-sixth birthday - is leading a new line up of GRAHAM CENTRAL STATION. The band is due to play at the Clapham Grand in London on Monday September 10th with a new album – the first from Graham since 1997 – following on October 15th. The album's called 'RAISE UP' and is released by the Moosicus record label in Europe (in the States it will be available via Razor & Tie). It features some striking cameos – PRINCE (a long-time confrere of Graham's) appears on three cuts, and retro-soul auteur, RAPHAEL SAADIQ, contributes to one track. The 11-track album promises to be a feast for funk aficionados so look out for a review soon at SJF as well as a full interview with the legendary bass man. 

Read more at Larry Graham's official website: www.larrygraham.com

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 20:55

 

LET THERE BE COVERS...

Sunday, 08 July 2012 18:49 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

sandySANDY (SANDER) NELSON was a sixties drummer who made a living playing on sessions and making demos in and around Los Angeles. In 1959 he cut his own record 'Teen Beat' - a driving drum-led instrumental that went gold. More hits followed including the monumental 'Let There Be Drums' which went top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic. His label, Imperial, had him record profusely and between 1962 and 1966 they released no less than 11 albums on him.

Over the last couple of years Ace Records have been cherry picking from those albums to release their own SANDY NELSON compilations and they've just released the third set – 'Big Sixties Frat Party'. This 24 tracker should be of real interest to soul collectors since it includes lots and lots of soul covers including NELSON'S super-charged versions of 'Work Song', 'The Jerk', 'The Clapping Song', 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg', 'Mustang Sally', 'Uptight' and 'Nothing's Too Good For My Baby' – which at one time enjoyed heavy action on the Northern soul scene.

SANDY NELSON'S BIG SIXTIES FRAT PARTY is out now on ACE RECORDS

 

GOING DUTCH...

Saturday, 07 July 2012 11:40 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

corner_greenKeyboardist CHRIS HOLLAND is the younger brother of JOOLS and he regularly plays with big bro's bands. CHRIS has also played with PAUL WELLER, SQUEEZE, THE STEREOPHONICS, RAY DAVIES and TOM JONES. From time to time he also makes his own recordings and he's about to release his fifth solo album – 'Corner Green'. It's an odd set with a massive 26 tracks – 11 of which are described as 'demos'. Musically, it's all pleasant post BEATLES pop with a lot of the songs having the feel of GEORGE HARRISON about them.

We draw attention to the album simply because one of the cuts is getting some attention from the soul fraternity. It's the STEVIE WONDER influenced 'Funny Feeling' – an easy going, summery duet with guest vocalist KATY SHOTTER... worth investigating.

CHRIS HOLLAND'S 'CORNER GREEN' is released on 13th August on Cosmic Nova Records.

Last Updated on Saturday, 07 July 2012 11:46

 

BIG UP NORTH...

Sunday, 01 July 2012 15:14 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

cleetopresNorthern Soul fans are nothing if not loyal. When a club, event or a "night" takes off and establishes itself it's guaranteed longevity simply because of the devotion and passion of the punters. One of the longest running Northern Soul celebrations is the Cleethorpes Weekender. The windy Lincolnshire resort began hosting the event in 1993 and the DJs, dancers and artist have been back there every year since.

To celebrate, Kent Records have just released a fabulous 25 track compilation that highlights some of the best material to wow the Cleethorpes crowd over the last 20 years. You get loads of great Northern items here like FRANK DELLS' 'He Broke Your Game Wide Open', THE DIPLOMATS' 'Help Me' and TONY MIDDLETON'S 'Drifting'. What makes the album special though are the inclusions from the acts that the Cleethorpes Mafia regularly bring over to grace the weekend. Amongst those names are LITTLE ANN, BARBRA LEWIS, MAXINE BROWN, BETTYE SWAN, H B BARNUM and TOMMY HUNT... nostalgia never sounded better.

To add to this album's attraction there's a wonderful and lengthy essay extolling the highs and lows of the function. It's stuffed with great photos and memorabilia and it all stands as a great tribute to the loyalty of the Northern fraternity.

THE CLEETHORPES NORTHERN SOUL WEEKENDER .. . 20 SOULFUL CELEBRATIONS is out now on Kent records.

 

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