Friday, 22 July 2011 15:31 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

ArethaFranklin_AWomanFallingOutOfLoveARETHA FRANKLIN has just released a new album.... her 38th studio recording. "New", though, isn't quite the correct adjective to describe the set – 'A Woman Falling Out Of Love'- 'cos most of the material was recorded three years ago and the circumstances surrounding its release are complicated to say the least.

Since the late 70s "the Queen of Soul" has, of course, been contracted to Arista but because of disagreements and ongoing health problems there's been nothing new released since 2003. During this enforced hiatus Ms. FRANKLIN created her own label – Aretha's Records - and, when she was able, recorded a number of new tracks. Arista boss, CLIVE DAVIS consistently maintained that ARETHA owed his label one more album but after the singer's life threatening surgery the exec mellowed and has now allowed the release of 'A Woman Falling Out Of Love'.

To distribute and promote the LP, ARETHA'S done a deal with retail giant Walmart who are currently stocking the album Stateside and featuring it prominently on their download site. To further complicate matters there was an audio glitch on one of the tracks (a vocal version of 'Theme To A Summer Place') and the album was delayed, but we're reasonably reliably informed that the album is now available via Walmart – but don't quote us !

Previews indicate a patchy set though those who've listened long and hard attest that - despite her health issues and the fact that she's approaching 70, ARETHA is still "THE QUEEN OF SOUL". The critics' consensus suggests that the new song 'U Can't See Me' is the highlight, while the opener 'How Long I've Been waiting' is also winning lots of support. The album's guest performers include RONNIE ISLEY and you can catch a full review on the excellent site –,uk



Wednesday, 20 July 2011 19:09 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

jehroJEHRO is a French-born singer/songwriter who's just released his third solo album. 'Cantina Paradise' is an eclectic 11 tracker that effortlessly mixes laid back soul with Latin jazz... why, there's even a touch of reggae about some of the grooves, harking back to his time working with TOOTS HIBBERT.

JEHRO debuted in 1999 with 'L'Arbre Et Le Fruit' and his second, eponymous album went on to sell over 150,00 copies – chiefly on the back of word-of-mouth recommendation. In between he collaborated with a band called THE MARATHONIANS and together they worked with soul star, EDWIN STARR.

With 'Cantina Paradise' JEHRO'S constructed a welcoming, summer sound track – perfect for long, lazy days and warm evenings spent with specials friends. The songs 'Night Shines', 'Stolen Rose' and 'Last Too Long' stand out, and anyone who enjoyed the recent JONATHAN JEREMIAH album will find lots more to like.

JEHRO'S 'Cantina Paradise 'is out now on Warner Jazz.



Saturday, 16 July 2011 11:21 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

smokeyUniversal/Hip-O Select continue their reissue programme of SMOKEY ROBINSON'S solo albums with a fifth volume that makes available what many consider the great man's "lost" album. On May 25, 1978 SMOKEY'S performance at the Roxy in Hollywood was recorded live and the LP record of the show was released at the end of October. Titled 'Smokin'', the double vinyl album featured numerous ROBINSON classics – from both his solo years and his time with the MIRACLES. Of most interest is a wonderful tongue-in –cheek medley of 'Bad Girl' and 'You Can Depend On Me' while the set also featured less well-known numbers like 'Love's So Fine' and 'Why You Wanna See My Bad Side' along with one studio recording – 'Shoe Soul' , which originally appeared on the 'Love Breeze' album.

For the show SMOKEY used his regular band which featured luminaries like SONNY BURKE, WAH WAH WATSON, JAMES JAMERSON JR and MARV TARPLIN who kicks things off with that distinctive riff from 'The Tracks Of My Tears'.

The album has never been issued on CD and the vinyl version was deleted from all catalogues over 30 years ago. This first-time on CD version contains all the original art work, great archive pictures and an essay from journalist PETER DOGGETT... but set's USP is SMOKEY ROBINSON'S unique voice... the sweetest instrument in soul music.

Last Updated on Saturday, 16 July 2011 11:27



Thursday, 14 July 2011 09:04 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

steve_cropperLegendary guitar man, STEVE CROPPER is about to release a brand new album. 'Dedicated' is the Memphis axe man's tribute to legendary R&B group the 5 ROYALES – or more specifically their guitar man LOWMAN PAULING. The ROYALES hailed from North Carolina and they recorded chiefly for the legendary King label in the fifties. Amongst their biggest hits were 'Dedicated To The One I Love' and 'Think' and many commentators see them as a vital link between group R&B and harmony soul. Like most doo-wop/harmony groups of the era the ROYALES worked with their own guitarist... LOWMAN PAULING. As a young musician CROPPER saw the group and PAULING at a local Memphis hop and he was hooked on his whole approach and style and he's quick to admit the debt he owes to the now largely unknown PAULING.

So this new album of CROPPER'S is a kind of homage to his old hero and to help him in his task he's enlisted some stellar names – amongst them STEVE WINWOOD, BETTY LAVETTE, BB KING, DAN PENN and SHARON JONES. The album is released at the end of August on 429 Records and to help promote the set STEVE is about to set out on a UK tour which runs through to September. For the tour  STEVE will be supported by THE ANIMALS. Check your local press to see if he's appearing in a town near you! Full review of the 'Dedicated' album on SJF very soon.

Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 16:20



Wednesday, 13 July 2011 08:29 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

alphonsofoncemizellSJF is sad to announce the death, at 68, of songwriter and producer, FONCE MIZELL.

Fonce is fondly remembered by jazz-funk-fusion fans for his work with brother Larry in the guise of the '70s production team, Sky High, which helmed key Blue Note albums for trumpeter Donald Byrd (including 'Black Byrd'), flautist Bobbi Humphrey ('Black & Blues'), as well as producing organ maestro, Johnny Hammond ('Gears') and masterminding LTD's 'Love Ballad,' and Taste Of Honey's infectious disco floor filler, 'Boogie Oogie Oogie.'

Prior to this, Fonce – who was born Alphonso Mizell in New Jersey and cut his teeth in local doo-wop group The Nikons before studying with Donald Byrd at Howard University – played a key role in the early success of the Jackson 5 at Motown. As a member of the Detroit company's songwriting and production outfit, The Corporation – along with Berry Gordy, Deke Richards and Freddie Perren - he contributed to the family group's early hits 'I Want You Back,' 'ABC,' 'The Love You Save,' 'Mama's Pearl,' and 'Maybe Tomorrow.'

Mizell passed away on July 5th though as yet the cause of his death has not been disclosed.


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