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SOUL AND FUNK ON VINYL - NEW REISSUES FROM THE DEMON LABEL

Saturday, 09 March 2019 10:14 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                                    alt

From its inception in 1980, the UK-based Demon label, along with its Edsel imprint, has been serving up noteworthy soul music reissues. With the resurgence in the popularity of vinyl LPs, the London-located company has just issued a varied batch of albums  - including compilations - on 180 gm vinyl.

First out of the blocks is 'Soul Classics,' a  30-track double LP that is likely to attract a wide demographic with its devotion to some of the soul genre's most anthemic tunes from the 1970s.The sound of Philadelphia is represented by songs by the O'Jays ('Brandy'), Billy Paul ('Me & Mrs Jones'),  Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes ('If You Don't Know Me By Now'), The Three Degrees ('When Will I See You Again,' Teddy Pendergrass ('The Whole Town's Laughing At Us'), and Jean Carn ('Was That All It Was').  There are also classic sides by Al Green, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Bill Withers, Earth, Wind & Fire, Isley Brothers, Freda Payne and Deniece Williams. You'll also find a sprinkling of 60s tracks from Nina Simone, Jackie Wilson, and Erma Franklin.

Another new Demon compilation making its appearance on LP is  'Greatest Hits' by the legendary Average White Band, which features some of the Scottish funk/soul group's biggest smashes: 'Pick Up The Pieces,' 'Cut The Cake,' 'Work To Do,' and 'Let's Go Round Again.' The album's pressed up on white vinyl.

For those who like to their soul music to be a bit more esoteric, then the gritty funk found on the self-titled album by The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson, originally released on Holland-Dozier-Holland's Hot Wax imprint in 1972, just might fit the bill.  It features the cinematic instrumental 'Free Your Mind' as sampled by DJ Shadow for his 1991 cut, 'Lesson 4.'

If you want to dig deeper in into H-D-H's Hot Wax/Invictus catalogue then another Demon retrospective, 'The World We Live In,'  is recommended. Like 'Soul Classics,' it's a double set and among its many highlights are 'Crumbs Off The Table,' by  Laura Lee 'Why Can't We Be Lovers,' by Holland-Dozier Featuring Lamont Dozier, 'Wants Ads' by Honey Cone, 'The Unhooked Generation' by Freda Payne, 'Love Factory' by Eloise Laws and 'Working On Building A Love' by Chairmen Of The Board. There also cuts by Lee Charles, Just Brothers, Harrison Kennedy and several others.

Also featured on 'The World We Live In' is George Clinton's groundbreaking aggregation, Parliament, whose mind-blowing debut album, 'Osmium' - famously sampled by the likes of De La Soul, NWA and DJ Shadow - was released on Invictus in 1970. A collision of psychedelic rock,  lysergic soul, gritty funk, deep blues and even country music (check out 'Little Ole Country Boy' complete with lap steel guitar), 'Osmium' is a sprawling collection of tunes unified by Clinton's genius.

More Demon LP releases come in the shape of  'Wack Wack,' recorded in 1966 for the Brunswick label, by Chicago jazz group, The Young-Holt Trio; 'Trax - The Foundations Of House,' a various artists compilation which spotlights the rise of Chicago's house music scene; and  'Straight Out Of The Jungle,' the 1988 debut from the pioneering hip-hop group, The Jungle Brothers.

 All Albums Are Out Now Via Demon Records

Last Updated on Saturday, 09 March 2019 10:27

 

LOOK TO THE FUTURE

Friday, 08 March 2019 13:38 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altI first got to know about U-NAM (Emmanuel Abiteboul) when his jazzy guitar licks accompanied Phil Perry on the quite lovely 'Right Here Right Now' back in 2004. Since then, the guitar man has gone from strength to strength via a series of fine solo albums and big name collaborations. En route, he's built up a steady and faithful coterie of fans and followers who'll all be delighted with his latest album – 'Future Love' – a 15 track smooth jazz/groove-heavy collection.

That delight has already shown itself as the LP sits nicely at #20 in the Billboard Top25 Jazz Albums and little wonder ... it's stuffed with optimism and energy which anyone who knows anything of Emmanuel might find odd. You see, last year he went through a complex divorce that would leave most people emotionally drained and down. Not U-Nam. He sees the future stacked with opportunity – reflected in his new album's title. The 'Future Love' track is as optimistic as the title implies; sound wise, it's a classic guitar-led smooth jazz groove. And there are plenty more like it.... cuts like 'Changes' and the lovely 'Good Old Days' for starters. More intriguing is the electro flavoured 'Change Of Heart'. Equally intriguing is the summery vibe of 'Artbeat' while the best Quiet Storm moment is 'My Joy'.

As ever U-Nam offers some cover versions – two in fact. The first is a new take on Luther Vandross' 'Get It Right' – real jazzy changes and vocal input from Tim Owns and Kim Chandler. They're there too on a cover of Deodato's 1984 'Never Knew Love' – another album highlight.

Of course, comparison with George Benson is inevitable. However as Benson seems to be changing direction (his latest album is a tribute to Chuck Berry and Fats Domino), fans of jazz guitar will be well satisfied with what U-Nam offers so splendidly on 'Future Love'. It's out now on Skytown Records.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2019 13:54

 

SOMETIMES I WONDER

Friday, 08 March 2019 13:32 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe US West Coast Lowrider music scene it seems is gaining momentum and one of its big tunes over over the last year or so has been Pratt and Moody's 'Lost, Lost, Lost'. A newish recording, the Scandinavian duo perfectly captured the essence of what down tempo Lowrider soul is all about.

DJ Mike Noriega was so impressed with the tune that he penned new lyrics and has gotten soul singer GERALD McCAULEY record it. Now called 'Wondering', it's just been released on Finnish label Timmion on 7" vinyl and it's well worth investigating especially if you're a fan of troubled, deep soul heartache balladry.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2019 13:56

 

STILL ROCKIN’

Friday, 08 March 2019 13:27 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altROCKIE ROBBINS' people tell us that the great man's much anticipated album 'Good Life' is officially released next Friday, 15th March. Though they also say that the album will be available at his almost sold out Jazz Cafe gig this Sunday (see below) while specialist store will have stock from March 11th.

Yes, after a 30 year gap, Mr RR is back with is us and album previews show  he's lost nothing of his smooth, soulful charm. Catch him in all his glory at the Camden Jazz Cafe on Sunday 10th March (we're told that he'll be performing all his old favourites – stuff like 'You And Me' and 'Be Ever Wonderful'. alongside the new stuff).

The venue informs us that there a few tickets left for the Expansion promoted show.... the label for the new release too.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2019 13:57

 

BLUES AND SOUL ... WELSH STYLE!

Friday, 08 March 2019 13:21 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFor the past five years, the North Wales town of Mold has been hosting a very special soul and blues festival. It was held at Kendrick's Field in the town but the 2019 edition is moving venues – to the famous Theatr Clwyd. The move will allow the festival to expand, as well as be prepared for whatever the Welsh weather throws at it.

So topping the bill will be Paul Lamb & his band The King Snakes. The band will be supported by Delta Moon, (the Atlanta, Georgia-based swamp blues band), Bruce James and Bella Black and the Kyla Brox Band. As ever, the festival will also include a great selection of real ales, boutique street food, on-site camping and glamping and music workshops. The event raises funds for a national charity, Music for All, which provides instruments for young people who cannot afford to learn or keep playing music.

This all happens over the weekend of 2-4 August 2019 and you can learn more @ www.nwbluesandsoul.co.uk

Last Updated on Friday, 08 March 2019 13:58

 

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