Friday, 01 October 2010 15:30 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

legend_and_rootsSinger/songwriter JOHN LEGEND returns on October 18th with 'Wake Up,' a sterling collaboration with the neo-soul/hip-hop group, THE ROOTS. The 12-track set, with its emphasis on socially conscious material, features contemporary reworkings of some of soul music's classic songs from the '60s and '70s. Kicking off with an impassioned revamp of 'Hard Times' – originally cut by Baby Huey & The Babysitters – the set includes fresh versions of Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes' 'Wake Up Everybody,' Les McCann's Gene McDaniels-penned 'Compared To What,' Marvin Gaye's 'Wholy Holy,' Donny Hathaway's 'Little Ghetto Boy,' Bill Withers' 'I Can't Write Left Handed,' and the Nina Simone-associated 'I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.' The album's final cut is a new version of Legend's own 'Shine.'

Here at SJF we've had a sneak preview of the album and can confirm that it's a deeply soulful concoction that's sure to be at the top of 2010's Best Album lists.

Look out for a full review of the album soon at SJF.



Thursday, 30 September 2010 18:57 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

ASWAD17052004The Metropolitan Black Police Association is presenting its annual 'Celebration Of Life Concert' on Friday October 22 at the Southbank's Royal Festival Hall. The concert will bring together some of the top names in contemporary music for a night of great entertainment whilst also raising awareness of the Association's anti-violence initiative Revival. 

Headlining this year's concert is the legendary UK reggae group ASWAD, featuring the ASWAD HORNS. The band, of course, are best remembered for their 1988 smash hit 'Don't Turn Around', but they debuted back in 1976 and are still recording ... their latest release being 'City Rock'. 

The show also features saxophonist COURTNEY PINE who will be joined by lyrical guitarist CAMERON PIERRE for a special duo set. An institution on the country's jazz scene, COURTNEY is a bandleader, composer, arranger, educator and performer on a number of different instruments. The bill is completed by the LIFEFORCE BAND who will be joined by guest vocalists GUVNA B (recently nominated for the Best Gospel act in the MOBO Awards), VULA MALINGA and KERSHA BAILEY who are all hotly tipped for 2010. The evening will be hosted by the inimitable CURTIS WALKER and signed throughout in British Sign Language by HETTY MAY BAILEY. 

For ticket info. go to  and for more details on the anti-violence initiative go to




Wednesday, 29 September 2010 18:35 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

gary_lewisGARY LEWIS is the son of zany (and occasionally very serious) US movie actor JERRY LEWIS. In the 60s - encouraged and supported by dad – young GARY broke into the music biz where he was drummer and vocalist in GARY LEWIS AND THE PLAYBOYS. Working with hotshot producer, SNUFF GARRET, the "band" chalked up a remarkable run of chart hits in the US (In actual fact, the recordings featured one PLAYBOY – GARY... the musicians on the tracks were the cream of the then LA session scene).

GARY meant little in the UK till the Northern Soul scene picked up on a couple of his sweet and banal but eminently danceable little ditties – 'This Diamond Ring' and 'My Heart's A Symphony' - and things were going well for our hero till UNCLE SAM beckoned and he was drafted into the Vietnam War.

On leave from the army GARY went into the studio again and recorded a new album with a more sophisticated sound. The LP, 'Listen,' was arranged by the legendary JACK NITZCHE and was described by the label's PR people as "psych pop". Sadly the album bombed ... GARY had to go back to the Army and he eventually became embroiled in legal disputes with the label (Liberty). So, 'Listen' was soon deleted and, of course, has now become an in-demand collectors' item. Now, Now Sounds (a subsidiary of Cherry Red) have made it easy for said collectors by reissuing the album in all its naive psych pop glory. It's certainly not soul – but its pleasing melodies and breezy West Coast optimism might appeal to those who enjoyed the man's two Northern faves. The reissue offers the album in stereo and mono mixes and you can find out more at




Tuesday, 28 September 2010 18:11 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

IMG_7805_copyUK duo FLOETRY were one of the runaway success stories of the early 2000s. Working out of Atlanta and then Philadelphia, MARSHA AMBROSIUS and NATALIE STEWART not only enjoyed success with their own work but they featured on numerous collaborations and provided quality songs for countless other artists - maybe most famously penning 'Butterflies' for MICHAEL JACKSON.

FLOETRY had a unique sound – a peculiar blend of vocals (courtesy of MARSHA) and spoken word (from NATALIE), it could go from almost ethereal to hard edged in the space of a few bars. In 2007 STEWART – the self proclaimed "FLOACIST" left the band to pursue a solo career and she's now set to release her first full album - 'Floetic Soul' on Shanachie Records.  This highly anticipated project sees THE FLOACIST (the name NATALIE is using) share the tracks with the likes of  MUSIQ SOULCHILD, RAHEEM DEVAUGHN, MC LYTE and LALAH HATHAWAY. The LP's first single is called 'Forever' and features the aforementioned Mr. SOULCHILD. It was produced by J.R. HUTSON (son of the legendary LEROY whose credits include work with JILL SCOTT and SOULCHILD).

NATALIE says of the album, "My approach to the manifestation of 'Floetic Soul' has simply been to get out of the way and go beyond my comfort zone, making sure to challenge any limitations that I may have placed on myself over time. 'Floetic Soul ' was inspired by the understanding that my original Floetic concept of 'poetic delivery with musical intent' had not come to an end, even though my group, FLOETRY, had completed its cycle. I was left with the realization that I still had music in my mind, my heart and my soul!" 

Also upcoming on Shanachie are albums on MINT CONDITION and PATTI AUSTIN

Full reviews of them all on SJF very soon.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 28 September 2010 19:01



Monday, 27 September 2010 10:49 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

solar-dickDICK GRIFFEY – legendary soul music entrepreneur – died on Friday 24 September in Los Angeles from the complications of quadruple heart surgery. Musically GRIFFEY was best known as the CEO of Solar Records. He was the manager and producer who made SHALAMAR, THE WHISPERS, LAKESIDE, DYNASTY and many more into star names. Once famously described as "being the BERRY GORDY of the disco funk era", he was a real music pioneer.

GRIFFEY will be remembered for much more than that though ... for the last 10 years of his life he lived in West Africa and was involved in commodities, international trade and humanitarian causes.

Widow CARRIE LUCAS GRIFFEY said, "We walked these last steps with him and held him close.  But all who knew him understood he belonged to the world. He acknowledged failures but rejected defeat. The doors he helped open, he reached back to bring others with him. He loved life and people. He did a hard day's work and expected the same from those around him. We celebrate his 'going home'."


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