STAX 68!

Monday, 29 October 2018 14:39 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLast week in the States, another seminal STAX box set was released. Issued on Craft Records, 'STAX 68 A MEMPHIS STORY' is a five-disc box set containing all the A- and B-sides of every single released under the Stax banner in 1968, including the company's subsidiary labels. The massive 120 tracks feature all the label's big names (Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, William Bell, The Staple Singers et al) alongside lesser luminaries (like Linda Lindell, Billy Lee Riley and Shirley Walton).

1968 was a pivotal year for Stax. Sadly it followed the untimely passing of Otis Redding, but it was also the year that Stax severed its links with Atlantic (losing Sam and Dave's contract in the messy process). 1968 was also, of course the year of Martin Luther King's assassination in Memphis.

The box set also offers a 56-page book with liner notes by Memphis historian Andria Lisle, Stax Records historian Robert Gordon, and renowned producer Steve Greenberg, plus rare and never-before-seen photographs from the Stax archives.

Stax '68: A Memphis Story' released in the UK November 9th 2018



Sunday, 28 October 2018 19:34 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altLORI WILLIAMS' recent 'Out Of The Box' album was widely praised right across the soul media and rightly so. The jazz chanteuse slipped out of "her box" to present a smooth and sophisticated soul set that satisfied at all levels.

One of the album's key cuts was the Sade-esque 'Hold On' and the tune has just won remix status from the album co-producer - top smooth jazz piano man Bob Baldwin. Bob also wrote the tune and helping him put a new spin on it is veteran trumpet man Tom Browne. There are two new tweaks – "global" and a slightly more chilled out one – imaginatively called "global; chill"... both quite lovely and a tribute to Baldwin's production skills, Brown's flugelhorn artistry and Lori's wonderful vocals.



Friday, 26 October 2018 14:02 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altArmen Boladian's Detroit-based Westbound label is celebrating its 50th anniversary and to help commemorate the event, Ace Records have just released a 19 track compilation under the somewhat unwieldy title 'Westbound Super Breaks... Essential Funk, Soul And Jazz Samples And Breakbeats'. And therein lies the clue to the album's other raison d'être.

Anoraks of the hip-hop genre will know that the Westbound catalogue has over the years proved a proper treasure trove for beat seekers and sample hunters, So here, the nice people at Ace have collected together a selection of Westbound classics that have been sampled to death over the years... stuff like Junie's 'Suzie Thunderpussy', Funkadelic's 'You And Your Folks, Me And My Folks' and The Fantastic Four's 'Disco Pool Blues'.

As you can imagine most of the cuts are down and dirty and funky with a smattering of disco – but Denise LaSalle's 'Heartbreaker Of The Year' offers something a little different... and soulful.



Friday, 26 October 2018 13:59 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altGerman label Perfect Toy is renowned for unearthing some mighty rare recordings and there's none rarer than their latest release – a 17 tracker from seminal US garage rock/blue eyed soul band MORNING REIGN. The band comprised Ric Seaberg, Gene Heliker, Craig Chastain and Doug Heatherington and they were active through the late sixties around the West Coast.

The band only ever released four singles – none of which meant anything. However Perfect Toy has scooped up those singles and everything else they could, find on the band for this new release.... 'Can't Get Enough'. Listening you can hear why the foursome was ultimately unsuccessful. Their sound is rough and ready and lacking in the sophistication that other West Coast outfits perfected. Of interest to soul collectors though are covers of Little Richard's 'Lucile' and JJ Jackson's 'But It's Alright' – both packed full of energy and enthusiasm!



Thursday, 25 October 2018 19:09 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altWe've enjoyed plenty of great, new soul this year and by common consent one of the best long players has been KATHY KOSINS' Uncovered Soul'. With production from Kemau Kenyatta and extra input from Paul Randolph, the album was an intriguing mix of well-chosen covers and on point originals.

One of the covers was a moody reading of the Neville Brothers' New Orleans classic 'Voodoo' and Kathy and her team loved the song so much that they've gone and subtly re-written and re-recorded it as 'Put The Voodoo on Me'.... and it's a proper soul delight with funky bass lines, a melodic groove and a biting guitar. Cleverly the team retain all the sinister menace of the original.

Credited to Kathy Kosins & The Detroit Memphis Experience, it's the musical equivalent of the classic New Orleans gumbo stew.... a dash of Louisiana swamp music, a sprinkle of Detroit sophistication and a garnish of Southern soul... tasty!

Last Updated on Thursday, 25 October 2018 19:15


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