Tuesday, 18 December 2018 20:02 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altDon't know too many soul fans who don't have a soft spot for the Average White Band and amongst their lesser know classics is the gentle ballad, 'Cloudy'. Fans of the song will be delighted to know that the tune been resurrected by award winning English singer/songwriter JO HARMAN. Her version is elegant and intimate and comes from her upcoming 'Found A Place' long player. Jo tells us that AWB were one of her late father's favourite bands and the singer has indeed worked with members of the band – including the song's writer Hamish Stuart.

Jo, though, is no stranger to soul royalty. You may remember she duetted with Lamont Dozier on his recent version of 'Reach Out I'll Be There' from his 'Reimagination' album while her own album 'People We Become' impressed many.

You favourite download portal will give you access to Jo Harman's 'Cloudy'



Saturday, 15 December 2018 15:36 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe big day's beckoning, so, if you're still looking for some new Christmas music to help you navigate the season, here are a few ideas.

For something quite different can we point you to 'Holiday Cheers' from New York blue-eyed soul and lounge jazz crooner PAUL LOREN? Different? Well, yes – you see the jolly 11 tracker consists of ten brand new Christmas songs and only one old chestnut (roasted on an open fire or not!). That venerated oldie is 'Marshmallow World' but the big attraction here is the new material which has a real 60s flavour about it.

Paul has always been open about his influences – 60s soul and Brill Building pop whilst amongst his heroes he cites people like Ray Charles, Frankie Valli, Sam Cooke, Sinatra, Aretha, Otis, and Tony Bennett. So here on 'Holiday Cheers' you can hear clever pastiches of 60s sounds. Most obvious is 'Steal Away' – a thumping dancer that owes more than a little to Martha and the Vandellas' 'Ready For Love'. 'Hold On To Christmas' might remind you of prime time Smokey Robinson while the brassy 'Footsteps On The Roof' is Paul's homage to Stax. Other highlights include the Carole King/Neil Sedaka flavoured 'Comin' Home To You' and the brief doo-wop interlude that is the album title track. Check the great 60s inspired cover too!

altAnd continuing the "coming home" theme, new soul man ANTHONY J MONDAINE'S Christmas offering 'Home For Christmas' is currently winning lots of airplay on the savvy soul stations. Don't know too much about Anthony but he tells us that his song is dedicated to military personnel who can't be home for the Festive Season – specifically his young cousin who is serving in Japan and Anthony's wistful, soulful meander perfectly reflects that sentiment. The cut also features some sweet sax and it's available right now.

altAnd finally, over the year GIGI HAROLD who works as GG has impressed us with some fine blue-eyed soul and now at year end she offers us her 'Soulful Christmas' – a pleasant, gentle paean to the season and all that it brings. It's very easy on the ear .... and for some reason reminds me of the Young Rascals' 'Groovin''.

Last Updated on Saturday, 15 December 2018 15:49



Friday, 14 December 2018 12:57 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                         altIt has been announced that legendary jazz singer NANCY WILSON has passed away at the age of 81. According to her manager, Devra Hall Levy, the much-garlanded triple Grammy winner "died peacefully at home after a long illness."

Born in Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1937, Wilson - the eldest of six children - was drawn to music at an early age, listing singers Dinah Washington, LaVerne Baker, and Ruth Brown as early influences. After triumphing in a talent show at 15 that was sponsored by a local TV network, Wilson appeared regularly on the small screen in her home state but unsure of dedicating herself to music, started a college course with the aim of going into teaching. But the gravitational pull that music exerted on her could not be denied and she left college before graduating to join and tour with saxophonist Rusty Bryant's Carolyn Club Band. That was in 1956 and two years later, she was urged by saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, who recognised her formidable talent, to relocate to New York. Following his advice, she soon took the Big Apple supper club scene by storm and in late 1959 was offered a contract by Capitol Records. Her debut single, 'Guess Who I Saw Today,' showcased her cool, inimitable delivery and opened the first chapter in a long and storied career.

She remained with Capitol for twenty full and fruitful years, leaving in 1980 with forty-one albums under her belt before hooking up with Columbia where her career took another direction. During that time she was successfully able to straddle the worlds of  jazz, pop and soul, forging an illustrious career as a sophistcated song stylist.  Her biggest hit for Capitol was 1964's '(You Don't Know) How Glad I Am,' which also garnered her the first of three Grammy awards.

Wilson's final LP, 'Turned To Blue,' was her seventieth and came out in 2006. It won her third and final Grammy. Five years later, the singer hung up her microphone for good and retired, spending her remaining years at home in Pioneertown, California.

NANCY WILSON  February 20th 1937 - December 13th 2018

Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2018 18:38


UNDER HER SPELL - Esperanza Spalding Announces New Album For 2019

Friday, 14 December 2018 11:53 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                           altAward-winning composer, singer, songwriter and bass player, ESPERANZA SPALDING, is set to unleash a new album called '12 Little Spells,' which will be available as a physical release via Concord in March of next year.  Comprising a dozen new songs, the set is the follow-up to 2017's acclaimed album 'Exposure,' whose recording sessions were streamed live on social media. The new album was conceived in Italy and recorded in Brooklyn and finds the super-talented jazz polymath exploring the healing capacity of music and its effects on the human psyche and body.

Spalding - who you can also hear on John Legend's new 'Legendary Christmas' album - has already premiered the songs on Facebook and a digital version of the album is already available to buy and stream. Her website offers limited edition versions - signed albums, CDs, USB sticks, and even vinyl test pressings - which can be pre-ordered now prior to the March 2019 release.

Explaining the genesis of the new album, on her website, Spalding wrote: "I wanted to release one more song-ey album/tour project to tide us over before I disappear into the belly of developing the next full thing. Then, all the sudden, this 12 Little Spells idea just started taking shape in my imagination all quick-like… and made various parts of my body tingle: hands, legs, solar-plexus, ears, feet, arms… This tingling had a kind of healing sensation, and I wondered: Can I harness these 12 little sensation-revelations into sounds, words, imagery, and performance that activates this healing, tingling effect in others?"

For more info go to:

Read SJF's 2018 interview with Esperanza here:

Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2018 18:38



Thursday, 13 December 2018 19:45 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

alt'We Are One' is a new single that brings REELSOUL together with sometime Soul II Soul heroine, ROSE WINDROSS. Rose has been perfecting her craft for something like 30 years and it shows on this classy slab of soul dance. The tune comes in effective 9 minute John Morales M+M mixes and is out now on DJ Spens' Quantize label....

Last Updated on Friday, 14 December 2018 18:35


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