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SINGING FOR OLD SOULS: The Joe Stilgoe Interview.

Thursday, 26 March 2015 11:04 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

JoeStilgoe_10_11_2014-124_ST2JOE STILGOE is a UK-based jazz pianist, singer and songwriter and 2015 is shaping up to be a busy year for him. Joe, son of entertainer Richard Stilgoe, is all set to release his latest album – a swinging 12 tracker intriguingly called 'New Songs For Old Souls' . Then at the end of April he stars in the Old Vic's revival of Cole Porter's evergreen musical 'High Society'. Between rehearsals and preparations for the album launch, Joe managed to find a little time to talk to SJF about the new LP, the show and things musical. First though, it made sense to find out something about Joe's background and musical influences.....

I've been performing in jazz clubs for nearly 10 years now since moving to London. I was born in Sevenoaks, Kent, where I also went to school, studying classically on piano and singing. In my other life I was a drummer in dubious rock bands and then in an acid jazz outfit that didn't really survive its only gig. Dad and Mum, both musicians, played a huge role in being great supporters and sometimes practice-enforcers, as well as giving me a great musical education across the board, from Buddy Holly and the Beatles to Bach, Bill Evans , Billie Holliday and Bacharach. No, I don't know why I chose people whose names start with B!

So music was the obvious career path?

No, my ambitions early on were fairly non-existent, I just enjoyed music, but as it became my career my first ambition was to make a living, which eventually happened through cruise ships and then playing in piano bars and accompanying everyone from drag acts to comedians. Only later did I have ambitions to be a solo artist, and I started to take this seriously when I was signed to Candid records in 2008. Since then I've worked on my sound, and who I am on stage.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 March 2015 11:24

 

GRAMMY-WINNING SONGWRITER, SHARON ROBINSON, RELEASES NEW ALBUM…

Thursday, 26 March 2015 10:43 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

Sharon_RSoulful San Francisco songstress, SHARON ROBINSON, might be an unfamiliar name, perhaps, to the public at large but she's enjoyed her fair share of the time in the limelight during the last thirty years working alongside legendary Canadian singer/songwriter/poet, Leonard Cohen. Her impressive CV as a songwriter also indicates that she's composed noteworthy songs for an illustrious list of globally-renowned performers, including Aaron Neville, Don Henley, Brenda Russell, Michael Bolton, Diana Ross, The Pointer Sisters, Roberta Flack and The Temptations. She even won a Grammy for her song 'New Attitude,' which Patti LaBelle recorded for the Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack in 1985.

Now, Sharon has an opportunity to step out into the spotlight with her own album, a terrific 10-song set called 'Caffeine,' released on the Freeworld label in the UK on Monday March 30th. It's the second of her career and follows in the wake of 2008's 'Everybody Knows.'

 

Sharon is also in the UK for some concerts (details below). Catch her if you can...

Monday April 6th:                   LONDON, THE BUSH HALL

Wednesday April 8th:              GLASGOW, ORAN MOR

Friday April 10th:                     DUBLIN, THE BUTTON FACTORY

Look out for an interview with Sharon and a review of 'Caffeine' soon at SJF.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 March 2015 10:49

 

LOOK CLOSER!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 20:26 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

ssMost soul fans won't be aware of US singers STARR DUNCAN-LOWE and SAUNDRA WILLIAMS but discerning soul folk will, we're sure, have heard them! You see, for some time now, the Bronx-born duo have been the background vocalists for Sharon Jones – they've been an integral part of her Soul Revue both on stage and in the studio and Sharon herself is quick to praise what the girls bring to her performances.

The good news is that the ladies are now all set to step into their own limelight. Using the name SAUN & STARR they'll be issuing their own album on May 18th. Released on Daptone (naturally), the 11 tracker's called 'Look Closer' and sneak previews reveal a wonderful soul set that perfectly marries retro sensitivities with contemporary flavours – the kind of thing that Daptone always does so well!

Vocally, Saun & Starr are a throwback to soul's golden age. Little wonder –they were raised in the gospel tradition. Through the 1990s they were part of a soul trio (yep... the third member was a certain Sharon Jones!) called The Good N Plenty Band; then they all went separate ways. As Sharon's career took off she decided to recruit Starr and Saundra as backing singers and dubbed them The Dapettes). That was back in 2008 and the Daptone people (most notably head honcho, Gabe Roth) soon realised that the pair deserved their own album too.

Commitments and a busy work schedule have meant that it's only now that the album is ready for release. The wait though has been worth it. The music on 'Look Closer' is proper modern soul. A set of excellent, "song-led" tunes; expect no gimmicks or fireworks – just simple, organic music that's delivered with a passion and conviction. First single is the old school-flavoured 'Hot Shot' but in truth any song would work as a single... we're loving the classic 60's girl group sound of 'Dear Mr Teddy'.

We'll bring you a full review of the album very soon and watch out for an upcoming interview with SAUN & STARR.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 20:36

 

TAKIN’ IT EASY…

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 20:25 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

lolLIVIN' OUT LOUD are an American soul group who are well known to the UK soul cognoscenti. They first came to our attention back in 2006 with the album 'What About Us' and the few copies that were available in Europe were quickly snapped up by discerning modern soul collectors. In 2010 they returned with 'Lately' from which 'Cuz I Gotta Know' won the affections of the steppers and the modern soul crew. Here @ SJF we're proud to say that we were the first UK media to cover the band and the above-mentioned tunes!

For the last several months the band (led by siblings Reuben and Sylvia MacCalla) have been working on a new album, 'Take It Easy'. Last year a catchy little single, 'Always There' (no, not that 'Always There'!) was leaked and created more interest in the Livin' Out Loud team – who we're told are now trimmed down to a duo.

April 10th sees (at last!) the official release of the 'Take It Easy' long player and already the album's title cut has won a place on the playlists of all major soul radio stations and easy to hear why. The tune rides a languid 'Let's Get It On' kind of groove and the harmonies are really special - the kind that family groups seem to master so effortlessly.

Be sure we'll bring you a full album review very soon.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 20:36

 

GAYE A GO GO!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015 20:23 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

marvin-gaye-1961-1965-boxset-7-lpMARVIN GAYE would have been 76 years old on April 2nd of this year and to "celebrate" (yes, we thought it an odd anniversary to celebrate too!) Universal Music Enterprises and Motown Records have planned some super releases. Essentially, over the next three months, they will be rolling out two classic albums, a new digital single, a 7" vinyl single and a comprehensive, seven-LP collection.

Included in all that will be a vinyl version of Gaye's 1972 'Trouble Man' soundtrack; two rare cuts from the same year – 'Where Are We Going' and 'Woman Of The World' (first released only as a vinyl 12" last year); a Blu-Ray Audio, 96k/24-bit release of his 1973 classic album,' Let's Get It On' ; and a special limited edition double A-sided 7" vinyl single of his 1965 hit, 'How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)' b/w 'Once Upon A Time' – a duet with Mary Wells. To hammer all this home, Marvin will be honoured as Motown's iTunes Artist of the Month for April.

The seven LP collection will feature the first seven albums of his career, including the stereo mixes of his 1961 debut, 'The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye', 'That Stubborn Kinda Fellow' (1963), 'When I'm Alone I Cry' (1964), 'Hello Broadway...This Is Marvin' (1964); 'Together', his 1964 album of duets with Mary Wells, 'How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You' (1965), and 'A Tribute to the Great Nat "King" Cole' (1965) The release is the first of three planned vinyl box sets which will encompass the breadth of Gaye's career.

 

    

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