Tuesday, 01 March 2011 10:10 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

kikkiThe CHERRY RED group of label's recent release schedule is stuffed with all kinds of soul goodies to tempt soul fans of every hue. Their Shout imprint offers a twofer on LEON HAYWOOD. The 2CD pack pairs two of the man's mid 70s albums – 'Back To Stay' and 'Keep It In The Family'. Pick of the RPM subsidiary's soul releases is the first time reissue of underrated MADELINE BELL'S 1971 eponymous set which was originally issued in Philips. If a ever a soulstress deserved re-evaluation, it's dear old MADELINE.

Cherry Red's bbr label has a trio of great newies – JON LUCIEN'S 'I Am Now', MARLENA SHAW'S 'Sweet Beginnings' and TOM BROWNE'S 'Love Approach' – which of course spawned the massive 'Funkin' For Jamaica'.

However, perhaps the most interesting reissue for collectors is another RPM album – 'The Fontana Years – 1963-1968'... a fabulous retrospective of KIKI DEE'S early work prior to joining Motown. The big 32 tracker is a heady mix of 60's pop, dramatic ballads and early Brit-soul of the DUSTY SPRINGFIELD variety (hardly surprising since KIKI, of course, was for many years one of DUSTY'S backing singers). Highspot of the set is the in-demand 'On A Magic Carpet Ride'.

Watch out for reviews of these albums @SJF very soon.




Monday, 28 February 2011 08:23 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

lizz_wrightGospel-reared chanteuse LIZZ WRIGHT - who excited both jazz and soul fans with her gospel-infused debut platter, 'Salt,' back in 2002 - has just released her fourth long player for Verve. Entitled 'Fellowship,' the set features striking cameos from Me'shell Ndegeocello, African singer Angelique Kidjo and Dr. Bernice Reagon from Sweet Honey In The Rock. The set is also co-produced by singer/songwriter Toshi Reagon, who worked on Georgia-born Wright's last album, 2008's 'The Orchard.'  In terms of its material, the new album blends traditional gospel numbers – like 'Amazing Grace' and 'I've Got A Feeling' – with songs penned by rock stars Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix, though all are rendered in Wright's inimitably soulful vocal style.

Look out for a full review soon at SJF



Monday, 28 February 2011 08:18 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

MarshaFormerly one-half of the neo-soul duo Floetry, singer/songwriter MARSHA AMBROSIUS makes her long-awaited solo debut with an album 'Late Nights & Early Mornings' released on February 28th on J Records via Sony Music. Produced by the 33-year-old Liverpool-born singer alongside co-producers Peter Edge, Trevor Jerideau and J. Erving, the set features 13 songs, including the single 'Hope She Cheats On You (With A Basketball Player)' and a remix of 'Butterflies,' the track Ambrosius wrote with Andre Harris for Michael Jackson. Pick of the album for us at SJF is 'I Want You To Stay,' a glistening mid-tempo beat ballad.

Look out for a full review soon at SJF.



Saturday, 26 February 2011 14:16 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

smokyobamaIn his lengthy career BERRY GORDY has won countless accolades and honours but here@ SJF we have a sneaky suspicion that the show he helped put together on Thursday, 24th February

On that auspicious day PRESIDENT and MRS. OBAMA hosted a tribute to Motown at the White House. MC for the evening was JAMIE FOXX and Motown luminaries STEVIE WONDER and SMOKEY ROBINSON performed live to an ecstatic audience. Other Motowners in attendance included DUKE FAKIR, MARTHA REEVES and, of course, GORDY himself, while JOHN LEGEND, SEAL, SHERYL CROW, NICK JONAS and JORDON SPARKS offered their version of Motown classics.

It's been a tradition that every two years the White House holds an 'In Performance' concert and the reason for the Motown special was two-fold. First - the show was part of the celebrations for Black History Month and, second, because MR OBAMA is a huge Motown lover –quipping that his wife wouldn't have married him if he hadn't been a long-time fan of Motown.

Various web sites are currently showing wonderful footage of the show – all the best search engines will help you find them.

Last Updated on Saturday, 26 February 2011 14:19



Saturday, 26 February 2011 09:45 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

gwenSoul veteran GWEN McCRAE has just released a brand new single – 'Now I Found Love'. The record is out on Plain Truth Entertainment and the sound marks something of a departure for the lady who gave us soul classics like 'Keep The Fire Burning and 'Funky Sensation'. 'Now I Found Love', you see, is aimed squarely at the electronic dance audience. The beats are distinctly Europop and - for whatever reason – it seems our girl's having a tilt at LADY GA GA! That said, the voice is still sensational. 

The logic behind the release seems to be that Plain Truth enjoyed a huge European hit last year with 'My Feelings For You' from an artist called AVICII. That one sampled GWEN'S 'All This Love That I'm Giving', so it seemed logical for the label to put out something on the lady herself. Written by DAVID SEAGAL and produced by STEVE SOLA, GWEN McCRAE'S 'Now I Found Love' is out now and available from all the usual outlets.


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