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LATIMO!

Wednesday, 01 March 2017 19:48 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLATIMO are a new(ish) 8 piece UK soul band. They got into gear around 2103 and since then have gigged long and hard round the London circuit.

The boys in the band are... Al Chandrasena (bass), Stephen Michell (drums), Matt Birch/Rob Cossins (trumpets), San Whitehead (sax), Chris Olsen (sax and guitar) and Nick Pike (keys) while the vocalist is Katie Birtill who also enjoys a promising career in West End musicals.

Right now Katie is fully committed to Latimo as they release their debut album in April. Self-titled, the long player features 10 original songs that range from brassy funk ('Just Love Me One More Time') to southern style balladry ('Soulful Song'). In between there are all kinds of flavours and though most soul folk will pass on the rock-fuelled 'Brassic Park', elsewhere they'll find plenty of interest, particularly in the atmospheric builder that is 'Kiss Me Quick' where the powerful vocals show why Ms Birtill is such a favourite with West End audiences.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 02 March 2017 15:07

 

TSOP!

Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:12 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altPhilly anoraks will know that JERRY CUMMINGS was first tenor with the legendary Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Jerry joined the group in 1974 and featured on hits like 'Where Are All My Friends' and 'Bad Luck'. Jerry became a very close friend of Teddy Pendergrass and the pair remained close right up to Teddy's sad passing. To this day Teddy's widow, Joan, counts on Jerry as one of her best friends.

Back in 2102 after meeting with Kenny Gamble, Jerry was given permission to resurrect the TSOP brand... though this time "TSOP" was to stand for The SOUL of Philadelphia. All Jerry needed was the right vehicle to launch his project.

Well it's taken a while but last year Jerry was asked to listen to an unknown singer from Shreveport Louisiana, TONY SULLIVAN. Jerry could not believe how much Tony sounded like Teddy P (indeed Tony earned his crust working a Teddy P tribute show) and he was signed up pronto.

Cummings wrote him a song, 'Oh What A Woman', and it's just been released on TSOP. It's a busy, soulful slab of typical Philly soul and it carries the approval of Joan Pendergrass! Need we say more?

A diligent web search will lead you straight to Tony Sullivan's 'Oh What A Woman'

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Last Updated on Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:19

 

ANOTHER STATE OF MIND....

Saturday, 25 February 2017 17:03 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altIn the space of just a few weeks PETER SYMPHORIEN has been a catapulted from an unknown pub and club singer to the elevated heights of being #1 on the Amazon UK new R&B chart! The song that's done it for Pete is the Philly throwback. 'State Of Mind'... if you're not aware of yet, where you been?

Helmed by mix master Nigel Lowis, the song has been praised by critics who've likened it to a long lost Lou Rawls or Teddy P cut while Soul tastemakers like Snowboy and Bigger have been playing it to death.

Well, as is the modern way, 'State Of Mind' is being remixed to ensure it has maximum longevity and Nigel Lowis remains at the controls. Dubbed "Grandmaster Mix part 3", the new tweak clocks in at just over seven and half minutes and is edgier and a tad darker than the original incarnation. The intro is a lot slower but the Philly style stings are still in there and there's a delicious vibes break. Mr S's vocal is as soulful as ever.

Peter Symphorien - State Of Mind - Nigel Lowis Grandmaster mix part 3 - Released Friday 3rd March through DSG

 

LEON WARE DIES...

Friday, 24 February 2017 16:38 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altSoul multi tasker and all round good guy, LEON WARE, died yesterday, 23rd February in California. He had just, last week, celebrated his 77th birthday. The exact cause of death has not been released; however, it is known that LEON had been battling prostate cancer since 2009.

Ware was born in the wonderfully named Detroit district of Black Bottom in 1940 and attended the same blind school as Stevie Wonder. (An accident had left him blind for two years!). As a young man he worked with Lamont Dozier in the Romeos and after some production work with Berry Gordy, Leon drifted away from music. In the late 60s (after a spell at ABC Records) he reconnected with Gordy and enjoyed success by penning 'Got To Have You Back' for the Isley Brothers. Other Motown artists then discovered his songs, most notably the Miracles who worked with Ware after the departure of Smokey and Michael Jackson for whom he wrote 'I Wanna Be Where You Are'.

In '74 he moved away from Motown and worked with Quincy Jones on 'Body Heat'. He contributed three songs to the album – the best known being, of course, 'If I Ever Lose This Heaven'. The famous old song went on to be covered by numerous artists, notably the Average White Band. After collaborating with Minnie Riperton, Ware hooked up with Marvin Gaye for his 'I Want You' long player. Indeed that album's title song was intended to be used by Ware himself as he re-launched his singing career!

The phenomenal success of 'I Want You' led to Leon Ware's emergence as an artist in his own right and though his work was always critically acclaimed and revered by smooth soul connoisseurs. (His most famous album of this period is the now classic 'Musical Massage') it failed to enjoy the commercial success of the songs he wrote for others.

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Through the 80s, 90s and into the new millennium people of the calibre of Teena Marie, the Main Ingredient, Jeffrey Osborne, Loose Ends, James Ingram, Peabo Bryson, Melissa Manchester, Krystol, Billy Griffin, Bobby Womack, John Legend, and Lulu sought out his work. Leon also famously collaborated with Maxwell on his debut album, 'Urban Hang Suite' and tracks from that set have been widely sampled by the hip-hop generation.

While writing and producing for others, Leon also continued to pursue his solo career. In 1996 He released the 'Taste The Love' set for the U.K. based Expansion label. Later in the 90s he released 'Candlelight', 'Love's Drippin'' and 'Deeper'. In 2005 he released 'A Kiss In The Sand' on his own Kitchen Records and he followed it three years later with 'Moon Ride' on Stax Records. In 2015 he released 'Sigh'.

In recent years, Leon Ware continued to work. He toured regularly and was particularly fond of working in the UK where he enjoyed cult status. Indeed UK label Expansion has diligently reissued much of his back catalogue. Leon also recently worked with UK star, Omar.

Leon Ware is survived by his wife, Carol. He was previously married to Motown's Susaye Green.

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FEEL WHAT LOVE HAS!

Thursday, 23 February 2017 14:24 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altOne of last year's biggest soulful house tunes was 'When You Feel What Love Has'. The cut came out of LENNY FONTANA'S famed KARMIC POWER RECORDS... always a guarantee of soul quality. But what made 'When You Feel What Love Has' really special was the remarkable vocal from soul star JAMES "D-TRAIN" WILLIAMS. The Brooklyn born soul man gave his all on the classic New York style dancer... little wonder, in its various mixes, the tune packed dance floors world-wide.

Anyway, 'When You Feel What Love Has' is now being re-promoted and the good news is that amongst the various mixes there's one from DJ SPEN. Spen is a legend amongst the soulful house crew who know that his music emphasis is on the "soul" in "soulful". His mix here is full of urgency and passion and, of course, he's kept that fab D-Train vocal right up front!

'When You Feel What Love Has' (various mixes) is out right now and why not check out our interview archive to learn what D-Train feels about working with Lenny Fontana and Karmic Power!

Last Updated on Thursday, 23 February 2017 21:33

 

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