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FEISTY 45s

Sunday, 16 November 2008 16:44 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

FEISTY 45s

Savvy soul people with adventurous ears and the ability to appreciate sounds that get away from the clinical, retro groove might want to check out a couple of new singles on the Island label. First up there's 'Gettin' Up' from the legendary Q-TIP. The founder member of A TRIBE CALLED QUEST has a new LP - 'The Renaissance' - out right now and 'Getting' Up' is the lead single. Sampling BLACK IVORY'S catchy 'You And I', the tune - built around an insistent keyboard riff - is irresistible. And, yes, it is a rap track, but there's soul-a-plenty in there. Same goes for the R&B slanted 'Check Your Coat' from O'NEAL McKNIGHT. McKNIGHT began his career as a fashion stylist and has worked with people like USHER, SNOOP DOGG and ROBIN THICKE and his song was chosen by CBS as the soundtrack to its Stateside prime time 'Fashion Rocks' show. That show provided the platform for the song to take off and if you go for the no rap mix, you'll discover an electro-flavoured, beat-heavy item with a hook-em-in chorus that will recall USHER at his soulful best. Both discs are out on Island in December.

 

SEAL WITH SOUL

Wednesday, 12 November 2008 13:39 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

SEAL WITH SOUL

Though news commentators failed to pick up on it, most real soul fans homed in on the SAM COOKE reference in BARACK OBAMA'S wonderful acceptance speech last week. Paraphrasing the COOKE anthem 'A Change Is Gonna Come', he said, "It's been a long time coming, but a change HAS come." By extraordinary co-incidence the song is one of the focal points on SEAL'S brand new album, 'Soul'. By common consent, it's acknowledged that SEAL has a remarkable voice but so far he's failed to connect with the soul community. Here, on this seventh full LP, he chooses to cover a set of songs that have been inspirational to him in his life and career and so far the album's had a warm reception with tracks being playlisted on a number of soul radio stations. Along with the COOKE classic, you can also enjoy SEAL'S takes on (amongst others) AL GREEN'S 'Still In Love With You', ANN PEEBLES' 'I Can't Stand The Rain' and JAMES BROWN'S 'It's A Man's Man's Man's World'. There are also two IMPRESSIONS' songs on the set - 'People Get Ready and 'It's Alright'. Label is WEA.

 

RETURNING ACES

Saturday, 08 November 2008 07:49 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

RETURNING ACES

Ace Records have just re-instated some previously deleted items back into their catalogue. Amongst them is a trio of albums on SYLVESTER who, of course, rose to prominence at the height of the disco boom. Sadly he'll always be tagged with the disco label but SYLVESTER (JAMES), who died in 1988, was also a great soul stylist. Check out his version of BURT BACHARACH'S 'I Took My Strength From You'. Fans of the ISLEY BROTHERS who don't have the boys early recordings might want to investigate 'Shout And Twist With Rudolph, Ronald And O'Kelly' while for funk followers 'Super Funk Vol. 2' and 'Stax Of Funk' are musts. Also back on catalogue is the label-defining 'Stax Gold' - though most soul fans will have all its tracks, I'm sure. Finally - a couple of new Ace compilations that should interest collectors: 'Breakaway' - featuring the songs of JACKIE DE SHANNON offers cuts from people like IRMA THOMAS, DOBIE GRAY and BARBARA LEWIS while 'The Golden Age Of American Popular Music Volume 2' has rarities from GENE McDANIELS and SAMMY TURNER.

 

SEARCHING FOR THAT POT OF GOLD

Friday, 31 October 2008 07:57 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

SEARCHING FOR THAT POT OF GOLD

With three full albums already under her belt, ALICE RUSSELL is set to launch her new set - 'Pot Of Gold' - at the end of November. Long-considered one of Britain's most underrated soul vocalists, ALICE has set up her own label, Little Poppet, for the release. With full artistic control, she' s put together a varied collection that's unified by her edgy, aggressive soul style, which, in the past has drawn comparison with the great ETTA JAMES and the rockier JANIS JOPLIN. A couple of cuts are already causing ripples in the music biz. One is 'Two Steps'; with zipping strings and furious beats, it's as authentic a Northern soul sound as anything recorded this side of 2000. The other cut causing a buzz is a moody cover of GNARLS BARCLAY'S 'Crazy' which will serve to remind soul parvenus that that there really is no substitute for experience.

 

DOING THE WRIGHT THING...

Friday, 31 October 2008 07:56 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

DOING THE WRIGHT THING...

At present Nottingham's ANTHONEY WRIGHT is a new name - but music biz insiders are predicting that by Christmas things will be different as his single 'Reset To Zero' grabs the headlines. The tune caused underground ripples earlier in the year and it's easy to hear why. Now being re-promoted in the big Christmas push, the cut has a very distinctive charm that's hard to pin down. It's totally contemporary (think DUFFY'S 'Mercy'), but there's a real retro feel about it. The chorus is instantly memorable and there's a wonderful hook in the verse, but it's ANTHONEY'S voice that does it. Though brought up on a diet of PRINCE, AL GREEN and MARVIN GAYE, ANTHONEY'S sensible enough to be his own man and he's come up with a unique vocal approach that nails the song. 'Reset To Zero' is out now and ANTHONEY'S album is due in February.

 

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