Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Language of Love - Jason Joshua - Penrose


If appearing on Discogs before release date was a mark of quality then this disc from new label Penrose has already been firmly stamped as a Classic. The Penrose label is a new West Coast venture from Daptone head honcho Bosco Mann run out of his new purpose built studio. California has a huge soul and lo-rider scene and the releases thus far from Penrose seem destined for that market, indeed the label design conjures up issues of tattoos and latino street culture. The 5 releases due to release on June 19th all sold out on Pre-order and have now appeared ahead of the release date on Discogs for considerably more than they released at. Strapped for cash at the time, i leapt on the Jason Joshua release but had to leave the others and at this stage it looks like i wont be getting near them anytime soon. But hey ho, must grumble.

Jason Joshua has been doing some great things over the past few years not only on his own Mango Hill imprint but also with the Beholders and Scone Cash Players (one of their 45s in the pile for review that i have to get to yet!!!) . It was the Rose gold release back in 2018 that brought him to my attention and the fact that both sides were so original marked him out as someone to keep a watch on. His subsequent releases with the Beholders all evoked that lo-rider scene with down tempo and lush productions.

So once i saw his name on this release i just had to have it and clicking into the sound file i got that giddy feeling that i was listening to something that wouldn't be hanging around for long. Sure enough i came back a day later and all copies had sold out. i guess the rest of the lo-rider, soul and northern scenes clocked the same qualities as i had. Driving beat with dense layered production that hints at a latin groove, there is a boogaloo sense to this that takes in the soul spectrum without being either and yet both at the same time. Golden Horns as one would expect from Mann, who looks after the production on this are swinging and dominate the soundscape. Vocals are deceptively sparse and take us on a trip with that groovy Miami vibe.

Flip it over for the downtempo 'La Vida es Fria' which is certain to be the favoured side on the souldies scene in California. For me though its a sunny day, cold beer and kicked back attitude with this side on the Hi-Fi drifting through the air.

Destined to be a classic on lots of different scenes, keep an eye out for copies turning up either as a re-issue or via secondary market (at sensible prices!).




Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Dump /Egg Roll – Lance Ferguson Rare Groove Spectrum – Freestyle


A newish venture from this legend of the Aussie Funk scene (I know, I know – he’s a kiwi) who is at the stage of his career where he can just do his thing and indulge himself somewhat. That sounds a bit like musical onanism but to be honest with these two sides and the most recent LP he released in 2019 there's nothing ‘indulgent’ here. All the tracks, nuggets of the funk scene for many years have been re-imagined and replayed by Ferguson and his cohort of funkateers. Egg Roll from the Soul Vibrations is given a dose of deeper funk that just rollicks along and The Dump on the b side is slinky and sleazy lounge funk that breaks down into cinematics as the second half rolls in. If you are a fan of Fergusons seminal group The Bamboos then this 45 will appeal to you and is a great addition to anyones Funknsoul collection. Note that The Dump does not feature on the LP so if you want a copy of that aweseome track, the 45 is where you need to go (but if you get a chance check out the LP Lance Fergusons Rare Groove Spectrum

If this is love – Jamie and the Numbers – DRC


I wouldn’t be a huge fan of contemporary covers of well-loved classic soul tracks. There are rare exceptions though where everything gels and you get a cracking disc with enough to be familiar with but also getting the cover artists take. The Precisions original version of this track is a stone cold classic and staple of the Northern Scene always filling the dancefloor when given an outing so anyone taking this on has to hit the target full on and frankly it’s not an undertaking for the faint hearted. Thankfully what we have here is a faithful rendition of the track and Jamies vocal has the required depth to nail the lyric and passion that the original has been loved for. Due to the absence of strings its more of a ‘band’ sound but that’s hardly a hanging offence and it swings despite the noted absence.  10 out of 10 for trying all the same. Flip the disc over for a modern soul outing that is scaled down from the tempo of the top side. Again Jamies vocals are right up there and production is a little more complex on this side. Wouldn’t be a fave of mine but nothing to offend, being honest. All the way from the antipodes and wrapped up in beautiful numbered company sleeve redolent of Mid century Motown sleeves

Released back in December and still available from the label/band check The Numbers for details

My Eyes / She wont come calling – Ernest Ernie and the Sincerities – IST



Unashamedly retro and harking back to the golden age of Soul music Ernie & Co. deliver another double side of golden age soul sounds that will put a smile on the face of the most cynical ‘original only’ soul fans face.  The first release Do Something announced these guys to the rare soul scene and caused a stir on that scene - for and against  were out in force with Ernie hailed as either a blasphemer or a messiah - and i think this release will be the cement that settles them. Top side features James Jamerson type bass licks and harmonies evocative of the temptations one can just imagine the stage moves the Temps were famous for as they slip and glide, fade and sidestep across the stage snapping their fingers. Flip side gets deeper into that sixties soul sound but takes it in a more modern direction. Chorus is pure Snake Pit on West Grand Boulevard structurally and even has a little Motown string riff at running through it (think Heard it through the grapevine). I don’t want to imply that this is something wholly derivative of the Hitsville sound but there is not a huge gulf between these tracks and the Motown arrangements and structure. And you know what that’s my intellectual side making mention of that last point, analysing and deriving a critical stance but when i liste its my heart that matters and my when my heart hears these tracks it hears  exceptional Modern retro soul music that gets me moving, smiling and forgoing any snobbish tendency. i urge you to do likewise, Ernies vocals are en pointe, silky smooth and inhabits his range comfortably emotional in his delivery. Whereas the top side is Temptations, the flip is Isleys at their baddest. But c'mere kids, Listen without prejudice, listen without prejudice.


Fight for your rights – Arthur Adams – Same Seed (SDE)


As a politically aware track from 1971 Fight for your rights is smack on the money with its progressive sound that is currently in vogue at northern clubs these days. Not bad for a record that was recorded and promptly forgotten since. 

Arthur Adams has a back catalogue that stretches back to the early sixties with his first outing on the Jamie label in 1961 however over that long period he never really bothered the charts nationally over his long career with only a few releases getting any sort of local recognition . During the sixties RnB/Blues was his mainstay however with the advent of awakening consciousness and politicisation of Black America he took his guitar over to the Funk side of the fence (My Babys love is a typical 70’s funk monster). This one is credited on the label from 1971 and literally puts the boot in from the outset "well I've never had freedom or my rights / been a prisoner , yeah, all my life" and quickly moves into a chorus of "I'm gonna stand up and fight for my rights" - you can almost see a raised black gloved fist held in pride and defiance.

As part of the whole funk scene he fell in with the crusaders and persuaded them to join him on a recording session and this has been taken from that session. So taking part here are members of The Crusaders (Sample, Hooper, Fleder, Versova) as the Backing band and with whom he would go on to work with well into the decade. The tape of the session was reputedly sent to an a&r man who forgor about it and remained languishing till SDE got their hands on it recently polished it up resulting in this beautiful release. Very much something that could get airplay down in the Thomas House when the Pow boys are on the decks. Hard hitting socially conscious FunknSoul that you should really add to your collection.


Head on over to Super Disco Edits and pick up a copy of this funky banger!

Chances – Monphonics – ColeMine


(name drop alert!!) last time I spoke to Kelly Finnigan, after his storming gig in Sugar Club, Dublin in February this year, I was telling him how much I was looking forward to the Monophonics gig in August. Well unless something major happens around Covid-19 I guess that gig is going to be pushed back to sometime next year and possibly longer, if ever. Which will be in the grand scheme of things not a hardship per se however i really was looking forward to catching these guys live in my hometown

Until then,  we have this little 45 and an LP to keep us ticking over. I don’t want to sound flippant but for those of you who have followed these guys over the years this will contain little surprise although it’s not as psychy as previous releases its still Monophonics plying their trade the only way they know how - simply stunning harmonies, solid instrumentation and Finnigans falsetto skipping through the tightly constructed lyric and then kicking up the notes into the chorus. Female voices counterpointing Finnigan add another layer to the proceedings and its just a wall of soul music that hits you full force. Having heard this loud on a powerful system I can confirm this funknsoul belter has a power that belies its tempo and as a mid paced dancer there is lots here for anyone who enjoys those moments of hitting a deep bass line with a flick of the feet. Perfect for getting ready to go out i would say ordinary but these days we will just have to settle for playing it getting ready for an online meetup. If you have a few bob rattling around in your pocket then i recommend that you grab a copy of the LP Its Only Us whilst you are in a Monophonic Mood....

Available at the Colemine Records


No Laggin, No Draggin/ Give Up the Love - Renaldo Domino - Colemine



Renaldo Domino’s career was brief with some local hits in Chicago and the Midwest back in the late fifties and sixties but as was the case then for a lot of acts, the promotion just wasn’t there and he soon moved out of the music business. Its wasn't till 2007 that he started back thanks to some exposure via Numero groups Twinight collection where he had a number of his sides included and also appeared on the cover of the collection. This century he has got back into the game with a couple of releases and thankfully to this day his sound is undiminished and as clear as a bell as it was back in the day. Top side is a chugging number firmly in the style of, dare i say it, Motown. Emphasis is on the back beat but its Dominos vocals that are the main draw here and towards the end he is up down and all over the scale bringing the track home in a slew of baritone and falsetto. The Flip side is big production number with strings set at a lower pace than the top side but again Domino has this under control and never wavers or swerves off the track. This is a wonderful release and its great to see Domino back recording and hopefully there are many more releases of similar calibre residing within him. 

Check out Colemine Records for release details. 



Latin Fever Vol 1 - Various - Original Gravity


Due to drop in Late July Early August is this compendium of Latin music on the Original Gravity Label. As an avid fan of boogaloo it was a pleasant surprise to see this pop up on my timeline and once I clicked into the link, heard the first few bars, I was grabbing myself a copy. Going to be honest here but if you are a casual Latin fan and only interested in the big hits between your Rnb/Soul/Northern or whatever then on first hearing you may just skip through and think there’s nothing here for you. But hold on a moment and give a chance – there’s a depth here that reveals once you spend a little time peeling back the layers. Like all good Latin there’s nothing po-faced here, just good dance floor movers and there’s a mix of guajira, boogaloo, mambo and just for good measure some Salsa doused in Funk as well as an interpretation of the Tito Puente classic Hit the Bongo that drives it back into the Mod salons with a whirling organ and an infernal pace. As its titled suggest, its a first Volume, lets see where subsequent editions take us. 

https://www.originalgravity.co.uk/store/vinyl-releases 




Wednesday, 20 May 2020

MD Records - The story so Far - May 2020


Boutique label run by Mark Andersen and Des Parker with the aim to bring quality soul to market. Releases thus far have all been never before released on vinyl and range from Northern Soul stompers to new recorded funky soul. Runs are strictly limited (typically 300) and there are no re-presses available nor plans for any so if you want a copy of the releases then you need to go to secondary market. There are 8 released 45s at time of writing with a schedule for the end of 2020 to deliver another 8 releases. There are also plans for another couple of labels doing re-issues of already released material as well as a Modern soul imprint for contemporary artists. All in all a tidy little setup that is growing from strength to strength.

MD Records


Cat # Artist Title A Title B Release Date
MD101 Ronnie Walker Can you love a poor Boy Now I cry 01/10/18
MD102 Fun & Funk Family Shouldn’t have said goodbye Every Mans gotta have Lovin' 03/01/19
MD103 Karla Denning/ Dynamic Siblings I bear Witness I bear Witness 15/05/19
MD104 Authentics ft. Ronnie Walker Lord Whats Happening No one will ever know 01/08/19
MD105 The Limitations I'm Lonely I'm Troubled(ALT) No Need 30/10/19
MD106 Git Shorty Walking on Air I know the real you 04/02/20
MD107 The In-Souls I've got the feelin' Tonys Groove 04/05/20
MD108 Roland Johnson Set your mind free Now you're gone 04/05/20



Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Every Time - Le Roy Jackson - Cannonball Detroit


Another release from the lads at Cannonball that is going to be making an appearance on a lot of playlists over the course of 2020. Once again the guys are taking a stripped down vocal demo and putting a complementary groove structure around the raw material and coming up with stonking end product. There's much to love here on this release not least the Jackson vocal that on both the top side version and the original Demo version displays that mid soul period vibe - neither sixties nor seventies. Arrangement done in-house by The Cannonballs is as a slick as ever and to be expected, these lads know their craft at this stage and have developed a signature Cannonball sound. Deceptive release this one for the dancers, as its not a stomper however i can see it popping up on many set lists from progressive deejays - the baggy trouser, badge festooned vest brigade will hate it but its not a release aimed at them, its for the deejays who are looking for new Northern records and looking to push the music envelope a little bit more. its got that intangible late night feeling of deep soul that fits the dancefloor so, so well and i suspect that before the year is out lots of people will be citing this as a current favourite. Top work from all involved,

Order over at the Cannonball Store  where you can pick up an issue or a Demo (though you will need to get your skates on)

Here's a little preview of the Version and the Demo....


Dont wanna cry no more - The Kevin Fingier Collective feat Gerri Granger - Fingier


Radio and club Deejay and Los Aggrotones guitarist Kevin Fingier has released his first outing on the Acid Jazz subsidiary and what a debut it is. Both sides display Fingiers influences with a major slant towards RnB with the top side featuring Gerri Granger who is in as fine a voice here as you would have heard on her Northern tracks. Nice easy going side that kind of inhabits a number of different genres and whilst not settling in one for any length of time has the potential to throw up a dogs dinner, there's enough motifs scattered through the track that pulls it all together. Flip side is an instrumental that is mellow and downright groovy as anything i have heard in quite some time. Lovely jazzy bluesy vibe on this one with swirling organ and fat Sax honking along that could very well become the next club classic. No wig outs on either side of this disc but enough here for the clubbers to louche about to without ruining the line of their clobber.

Go get one from the Acid Jazz Website  . in the meantime have a listen to both sides


Friday, 27 December 2019

Soul Chart 2019




    #20
    Don’t Hold Me Down (pts 1 and 2)– PM Warson – Self
An RnB ear worm of the highest order that just bosses the dancefloor and should really be heard at every good soul night - its got that bounce that will have the dancers smiling as they whirl all over the shop. Nice sax break keeps that gritty RnB mood chugging along and this one could very well be THE Mod dancer of the year. B-side is a version of Bob Dylans To be alone with you that is as hard a blues rocker as they come.


    #19
    Get with the program – Doug Shorts – Daptone
The first of the Daptone releases to feature in the list and a complete difference to the higher placed Scone Cash Players. Electro-funk, Boogie, Stepper – call it whatever you want but this is one serious piece of music that will have those who are open to all aspects of soul and funk slouching about the dancefloor. B side is a mid tempo modern soul banger with Shorts vocal as good as anything I have heard all year


    #18
    There comes a time – Fysah and the get down underground – We Coast
This one was a sleeper that could very well have passed me by but having been listening to it this past couple of months I am so glad that I dropped the couple of Euro and bought one. For those who loved that Grace Love sound then this one is gonna be right up your street. And that’s not surprising considering the musicians are part of the true loves. Strong Horns and swirling organ are ever present and over it you get the crystal clear vocals of Fysah, solid and grooving.


    #17
    Don’t you know/ True Love – Durand Jones and the Indications – Colemine
As the first 45 taken from the American Love call LP which dropped this year, this was a precursor for what was to be a major listening highlight of the year. This isn't retro soul per se, more of an update of the sound with little nods back to classic soul. With Jones and Frazier trading vocals and a solid backing from the Indications, top side is a neat little boppy uptempo number. The flip is a slow jam that has impressions of Doo-Wop and the soul group sound of the early sixties. Sublime double sider


    #16
    Catch me I’m falling/Trouble – Kelly Finnigan – Colemine
KF just couldn’t do any wrong in my eyes this year and in June this one slipped out and went straight into my cart. A dreamy shimmering ballad that sways and progresses at a snails pace with KF falsettoing all over the place to produce a wonderful 3 and a half minutes of subdued drama. With Joe and Max Ramey (The Ironsides) sharing the credits on Catch me, you know its quality. Trouble on the flip is a solo Finnigan composition and is the only way to own it at the moment. An Urban Soul anthem, this is solid gritty soul that is aimed more at the head and heart than the feet. Simply fucking marvellous


    #15
    Since I don’t have you anymore - Kelly Finnigan – Colemine
If you had bought no other new releases other than what Kelly Finnigan released over this year you would still be sitting on a tidy little stack of quality plastic. This November release was taken from this debut solo LP The Tales People Tell and features Kelly in a more uptempo mood and again delivering the words in his falsetto voice. Works as easily on the dancefloor as on your headphones and one that I never got tired off this year.


    #14
    My Eyes/She won’t come calling – Ernest Ernie and the Sincerities – Its souls time
November dawned and lucky us got treated to this absolutely monster from Ernest Ernie. You may recall him from his stunning anthemic ‘Do Something’ that channeled the seventies vibe of Marvin well this one is giving us two completely different takes on Soul. Top side is a Temptations like mover that is a smooth as a silver mohair suit. Clever licks (my girl?) and orchestration conjures up images of The Roostertail circa 65. Flip it over for a night at your favorite Northern night - leather soles, condensation and dancing like a dervish. Some may take the Motown references as being too derivative but for me this is cracking proper soul music and should be heard loud and often!


    #13
    Love our Love Affair – Carlton Jumel Smith – Timmion
That man CJS with a chilled and slick 45 that was a constant on my turntable during those Sunday morning after the night before sessions when the old head needed caressing rather than sonic assault. The silky vocals and laid back groove are medicine for the soul. Mention must be made for the trumpet segue courtesy of Jukka Eskola who has been dropping his own Jazz releases the last few years...sublime. On the strength of CJS output in 2019 the guy has gotta wear shades, the futures so bright.


    #12
    Canned Champagne – Scone cash players – Daptone
Funk and then some on this September release from the Daptone label. Vocals on this one are taken care of by Jason Joshua who’s star is currently on the up with an imminent LP release. This outing with the SC Players is a heavy funk banger with numerous breaks for the b-boys. This is not navel gazing stuff, this is get your freak on and stir up a storm on the dancefloor. Awesome instrumentation and vocals make this one a winner. Although one would be forgiven for questioning the quality of Champagne from a can, theres no doubting the effervescence of this track


    #11
    Love Bound – Joseph Malik – Ramrock
Literally just missing out on a spot in my top 10 of 2019 this release provided a stop dead moment when I first heard it courtesy of a label mailshot. The LP version is a damn fine movement however it was the North street remix that just floored me. What we get with that remix is a bone fide modern beat ballad replete with flourishes, sweeps and panoramic vistas that recalls the Mid-century polished productions from the Brill building, a time when orchestration was an art and creating a stunning piece of music was akin to alchemy. A wonderful 4 minutes of delicate, gossamer musical layers


    #10
    The way it should be/The waiting time – Bastards of Soul – Eastwood
Another one that arrived late in the year was the debut release from this Texas troupe and one that I utterly adore. Like all good rare soul its on a tiny label but for all that its sound is polished and poised thanks to Jason Block producing. But the base material Block is working with here is of such caliber that I would surmise the phrase falling off a log would apply to his work here. Chadwick Murray has a voice that is as silky as honey when it needs to be and rumbling when called for – solid pipes in the lad all the same. Top side has hints of Otis and Stax and a gritty downhome vibe that is full of backing vocals and Murrays commanding style. Flip it over for the achingly gorgeous The Waiting time that would bring a tear to a glass eye. The ending is a shimmering assault of wonderfulness – Murrays Whoo-hoos, a bluesy saxophone and a beat that commands you to clap your hands and join in. Keep an eye on this outfit to see what 2020 brings – using this 45 as a yardstick for their capabilities I can foresee great things


    #09
    Rise Up – Freedom Affair – Colemine
Halfway through the year this one slipped out and it seems flew under a lot of folk’s radars which is inexplicable as its one hell of a release that sends the Funkometer way up into the Red. A strident call for men to rise up against sexism this is heavy funk that just doesn’t give two fecks with a bass (Chris Hazleton taking a break from the eighty eights) that dominates and gives that flutter in the chest the way all good funk should. Three strong front women throw themselves into proceedings and vocally strut like Divas dropping the message for the boys to cop on and rise up. Solid performance from these Kansas residents. Boo-yah!


    #08
    I made a deal with myself – Alexis Evans – Recordkicks
I will admit but before I heard this (or rather saw the video) I hadn’t a notion who the lad was but am so, so happy to have heard his music. Taken from the I’ve come a long way LP it wasn’t the 1st Single to be released from there (that was ‘She took me back/Its all over now), but it was the track that excited the soul scene so much which led it to eventually get a release in June ( I will admit to mailing Recordkicks on that score along with hundreds of others I would guess). Set at a blistering pace Evans delivered a sure fire dance floor winner with nifty little hooks and breaks that goes full on and then slips back into vocalizing before storming off again but never falls into the trap of tempo for tempo’s sake. Its clear that everyone here is just so fecking enjoying themselves that you just need to join in and party. If you haven’t seen the video do yourself a favour and check that out – clever little filming. The flip side Your Words is as easy going as a Sunday morning – dreamy, gorgeous and so romantic.


    #07
    Soul Fanfare #3 – The Mandatory Eight – ATA
Instrumentals rarely make their presence felt in either my deejay sets or indeed in my purchases. A lot of them sound to my ears at least as just backing tracks and the most glaring thing about them is that there is something missing. It’s a rare instrumental than can hold my attention and keep me coming back for more. Thankfully the latter pertains to this April release from the Leeds based label ATA (all things analogue). Bursting out of the speakers with a chorus of horns there’s an atmosphere of Memphis soul that evokes the ghost of the MG’s or the Blues Brothers Band. Most of the guys on this would be Jazz heads and it shows as they step forward and back throwing little instrumental shapes into the mix whilst those ever present heavenly horns are punctuating the proceedings letting us all know that sometimes a vocalist is just not needed. The flip side gets darker and moodier – horns and organ giving us an authentic 6t’s wig-out is glorious.


    #06
    This is what Love Looks Like – Carlton Jumel Smith – Timmion
It was a struggle to decide on a CJS 45 to put into the top 10, I mean the guy was a shoe-in without a shadow of a doubt but such was the quality of the releases this past year every one of them could inhabit the top of the chart. As I say, Quality. This one that landed in March gave us the measure of the man and just about shades it for me as his best output in 2019. Solid soul track that swings, there’s a southern feel to this one with Memphis type horns and a lovely jangly guitar cruising about that gives it a fresh vibe – CJS honest vocal delivering not so much a dancer but more of a swayer with its crafty little melody that draws you in and puts a smile on your face.


    #05
    Your Love is too cold – Bobby Oroza – Big Crown
One of the first big 45’s of the year, BCR dropped Mr Oroza into the wider collective consciousness of the soul family with a quirky dancer that is redolent of late-night clubs and dance halls. Seemingly quite sparse in its construction it packs a punch that belies its production. Of course, the star here is Orozas voice, pitched at a charming wonky angle it oozes expression and is perfect for this most memorable soul classic. Backing band are en point and relentless in their groove. There's literally no let up, even the mid section break wags its finger at you and says “don’t even think of relaxing!!”. I have no doubt this one will be in a lot of folks top three and it was a tough decision to rate this where I did, but at end of the day its a subjective list but one thing we can all agree on - its one hell of a danceable track.


    #04
    America – Soul Scratch – Colemine
There’s not many can do social commentary like the Soul Scratch lads. In 2017 Pacified lit up the dance floor with its funky message against consumerism. And here we are again with two sides of social commentary that on the top side drips with white heat rage and on the b side head shaking exasperation. Top side is pretty much a detail of how America has drifted away from its stated values of freedom, justice and liberty for all. Set to a banging beat this is another side of Soul music that we rarely hear - the urge to make a change to ones environment for the better. Dale Spollet is as ever in fine voice and he fairly rasps out the words. The rest of the guys are no fecking slouches either and kick out that funk music with fire and passion. Powerful Stuff.



    #03
    Morning in America – Durand Jones and the indications – Colemine
Originally released on 45 as an extra in the Deluxe bundle offering of the LP that quickly sold out, such was the demand for this track to get a wider 45 release that Colemine just had to give in to the demand. I described this one at the time of its release as an urban poem written by Carl Sandburg and scored by Bobby Womack and over the past months I have yet to come up with a better description – there’s a grittiness to this that is as inner city as vacant lots, graffiti and sagging wire fences. Although this is a comment on the current state of American Society it’s as much a love song to its people as a critique of the state – vignettes describing the mundane struggles across the country highlighting that nations dysfunction. A fuzzed guitar screams the track to its ending giving voice to exasperation and frustration and of the ‘protest’ songs on the list this one is the meatier of the three. Thought proving


    #02
    Running (to get to your Love) – Bobby Harden and Soulful Saints – Dala
The year had almost run its course when Billy Aukstiks Dala Records stunned the soul world with this ‘classic’ soul release. Uptempo four/four beat and horns a plenty had the dance floors busy as Hardens silken voice was at home over a backing track that could have come from the Snake Pit on West grand Boulevard. Northern heads lapped up the full strings n things arrangement that galloped along at a frantic pace and the smashing little change of pace mid-way through that evokes 60’s Detroit to a T. Am pretty sure its sold out from the label at this stage but worth seeking out from the secondary market. Looking forward to hearing more from Harden and the saints in the years to come.


#01

    I don’t wanna wait – Kelly Finnigan – Colemine
Taken from the  LP Tales People Tell, February kicked off with this deep soul gem that as soon as I heard it had me enthralled with its spiritual tendencies. Steeped in emotion, Finnigans performance on this is standout and simply put, its jaw dropping. Anthemic in delivery, structured almost as a gospel this one pushes all the right buttons as it swoops and soars, dragging you along and then drops you into that delicious break. You wont be hammering the dance floor to this one, but this Hymn will definitely get you swaying with your significant other or throwing your hands up Hallelujah style. One of those pieces of music that touches every single fibre of your being till you are in danger of tipping off the deep end of the emotional cliff...A powerhouse and almost religious performance and one I am looking forward to experiencing in the flesh in February when he plays Dublin. The B-side on this one is a version of the Ruben Bell 67 Deep soul release Its not that Easy which in my opinion is better than the original. This release was to be but the start of a year that delivered an LP and four 45s (see elsewhere in the list) and consolidated his position as one of the lynchpins of the current US soul scene.

Saturday, 23 November 2019

I'm Lonely, I'm Troubled - Limitations - MD records


As someone who no longer frequents the UK rare soul scene on a regular basis i am so out of the loop its criminal so its not surprising that i was knocked sideways when i saw this cropping up on a social media post as a much anticipated release which leads me to believe this take must have been getting plays of late. At first glance i thought it was a reissue but then clocking that its an MD release and knowing the lads ethos of unreleased i was pleasantly surprised to hear that this is an unreleased take of the issued northern soul monster. As someone who loves this particular track (the issued cut), i was always going to be a tough nut to crack as to whether i would give this the time of day. For me the issued cut is an example of foot numbing dancefloor bliss and with its funky slant it was always an odd, but glorious, drop into a sixties northern set - fecked up everyones dance moves but they all loved it anyway

I've only got to hear about 30 seconds of the track and have been comparing it against the issued cut but to be honest this alt take really should be judged on its own merits. Happy to say that if you never heard the original cut then you would still be rushing to grab a copy of this alternate take. The funk is still way strong and driving, chord changes are somewhat different and theres a louder and more frequent backing whoo-hoos going on there keeping the whole thing chugging along. Feckin blinding if you ask me. The flip side is an unissued cut 'No Need' which we are being told is of similar calibre to the top side so that in and of itself is reason enough to buy the release. Quality once again from MD records

you can pick up a copy along with the rest of the labels output over at MD Records website