Soul and Jazz and Funk Latest


Monday, 27 April 2015 11:10 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

fgMost successful soul labels had their own in-house studio band and serious soul collectors can reel off the musicians who played for labels like Motown, Stax, Hi and Chess. Rick Hall's famous Fame label – based down deep in Muscle Shoals – had its own team of players too giving the product crafted in the East Avalon Avenue studio a very special soul cachet. For all kinds of reasons though Hall used three different teams of players who, over the years, became known as The Fame Gang.

The first "Gang" (Terry Thompson, Jerry Harrigan, David Briggs et al) helped establish Fame's credentials in the early '60s but they were soon lured to Nashville and bigger pay cheques. Arguably the band that followed was Fame's most illustrious crew – Roger Hawkins, Jimmy Johnson, Junior Lowe, David Hood, Spooner Oldham, and Barry Becket. Their notoriety became such that after five years with Hall they broke away and set up their own studios – Muscle Shoals Sound.

Hall then recruited a third Fame Gang...drummer Freeman Brown, bassist Jesse Boyce, keyboardist Clayton Ivey, guitarist Junior Lowe (a remnant from the old band) and percussionist Mickey Buckins – augmented by a tight four piece brass section – Harrison Calloway, Ronnie Eades, Havey Thompson and Aaron Varnell.

In studio down time, the sessioneers would frequently jam – often with the tapes rolling and in 1969 Hall released a single on them 'Grits And Gravy'/'Soul Feud'. The single did nothing but Hall decided to give the band an album. Entitled 'Solid Gold From Muscle Shoals', it was essentially an assembly of instrumental covers of recent hits like Tyrone Davis' 'Can I Change My Mind' and Glen Campbell's 'Wichita Lineman'. The long player bombed but now Ace Records' BGP imprint has resurrected some of the tracks as part of 25 retrospective on the Fame Gang.

'GRITS AND GRAVY: THE BEST OF THE FAME GANG' features some of the funkier and more soulful items from the album ('Choice Of Colours' and 'It's Your Thing' amongst them) along with the single's tunes and adds a plethora of unreleased tracks including versions of 'Cantaloupe Island' and '25 Miles' and plenty of original material. Musically, it's not a million miles away from the sound of Booker T and the MGs but Southern soul collectors will be delighted to have access to much long-neglected material. The album is out now.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 April 2015 11:19



Friday, 24 April 2015 16:06 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

KENYA_LP_COVEROver the last several months KENYA (Johnson) has made loads of friends with her Expansion-released album, 'My Own Skin'.

The Denver-born soulstress has put her educational counselling job on hold for a while to ride the acclaim that her music's winning. She'll be at the upcoming Southport Weekender (nowhere near Southport, of course... try Minehead!) and, very wisely, the powers that be have had the album's title track remixed by Tom Glide.... and he's done his usual top job. He retains the loping bass line and cranked up the horns but leaves Kenya's seductive neo-soul vocal floating atop the lot. And, naturally, giving 'My Own skin' this de-luxe treatment keeps the album's title right in the spotlight! Clever stuff!

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 16:09



Friday, 24 April 2015 14:11 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

JWAce Records' Kent subsidiary has just released two wonderful collections on two of classic soul's greatest.... JACKIE WILSON and GARNET MIMMS.

Despite being one of soul's founding triumvirate, Jackie Wilson has been poorly served by the reissue labels. Sure there are plenty of "greatest" and "best of" albums around but more specific material is harder to find. The new Kent album – 'JACKIE WILSON NYC 1961-1966' will fill in some gaps for both Wilson fans and general soul collectors. The album is a generous 2CD, 48 track collection which, as the title says, features material the onetime pugilist recorded in New York between 1961 and 1966. The collection is stuffed with unreleased items (24 in total) and there are also plenty of alternate mixes of some more familiar material. The Ace music 'tecs found the tracks whilst scouring the Brunswick vaults and to add some period authenticity, the compliers have left in some of the studio banter between Wilson and producers Nat Tarnopol and Eddie Singleton.

Musically, you'll hear Jackie on the cusp of the old and the new.... plenty of dramatic balladry and old school R&B but also plenty of the sweet, mid 60s uptown soul so beloved of collectors. Amongst the gems are 'All My Lovin'' – a potential Northern tune - and 'Call Her Up', already a favourite on the growing R&B club scene. The album also boasts a number of duets featuring Jackie with Lavern Baker and Linda Hopkins.

gmPhiladelphia's Garnet Mimms was never as successful or well-known as Jackie Wilson, but he's revered by soul collectors too, always glad to pick up on any of his recordings. Here Kent offer a 28 track collection called 'LOOKING FOR YOU' which brings together all the singles the one time doo-wopper recorded for United Artists and Veep. Naturally his signature songs are here – indeed 'Cry Baby' kicks off proceedings. But also enjoy a searing version of the Impressions' 'For Your Precious Love', a lovely Drifters-esque 'A Quiet Place' and a tear-jerking take on Walter Jackson's' Welcome Home'... mid sixties East Coast uptown soul at its very best. Of course, there are already a number of Mimms' collections out on the racks, but this is the first time that all his US singles have been assembled on one disc

Last Updated on Friday, 24 April 2015 14:20



Wednesday, 22 April 2015 19:09 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

dynmicThe UK's SOUL JUNCTION label does a great job rescuing obscure, collectable soul oldies and none more obscure than the two tunes on their latest 7" vinyl release. Both sides of the new release come from a Chicago nine piece called the DYNAMIC SOUNDS ORCHESTRA... an ensemble who aren't even a footnote in soul's history books.

Essentially, the Dynamic Soul Orchestra was formed as the touring, backing band for the Chi-Lites and during their time behind the Chi-Lites the band went through numerous personnel changes. When Eugene Record went solo some of the band went with him and played on his three Warner Brothers LPs. When Record re-joined the Chi-Lites the full Dynamic Sounds team got together again and they even scraped enough money together to record their own album. Sadly, the project was never finished and it was thought all the master tapes that were laid down had been lost in a studio fire.

Fast forward now to recent times when the band's percussionist, Otis Gould, found an old cassette tape of some of the album tunes. He had the tracks remastered and over the years several have been released via the internet. It's two of those recordings that Soul Junction has licensed for their latest single. The A side is a busy, bustling, brassy dancer called 'Tale Me Back' which features a great proper soul gritty vocal. The B side shows the Dynamic Sound orchestra in ballad mode. 'All I Wanna Do is Love You' is a lazy, rambling slowie which despite its uptown credentials has a rustic quality.

Find out more @

Last Updated on Wednesday, 22 April 2015 19:20



Monday, 20 April 2015 19:52 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

blueyIt took Incognito main man, BLUEY (Jean-Paul Maunick) over 30 years to record his first solo album.... the magnificent 'Leap Of Faith'. Now less than 12 months later he's just released a second solo album!

'Life Between The Notes' hits the sail racks today (20th April) and the 13 tracker sees Bluey once again flexing his vocals over irresistible rhythms and melodies. He sounds totally assured on the big dancers 'Hold On' and the LP's title track while on 'I've Got A Weakness For Your Love' he breaks out into a real funky falsetto.

Bluey admits that the new venture shows a real musical development – seeing him move more into jazz vocal territory, while the whole album rides a true jazz undertow.

He says of one particular track, 'Sunships On The Shores Of Mars': "This is the deepest adventure I've allowed myself to take into the world of jazz... it may be the beginning of something new!"

Full review of BLUEY'S 'Life Between The Notes' here @ SOULANDJAZZANDFUNK very soon.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 19:17




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