Tuesday, 20 November 2018 18:52 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altWith Christmas gift lists in mind GREGORY PORTER is all set to release a new album... his very first live collection. It follows on from his three sold-out performances at the Royal Albert Hall in London earlier this year; thus 'One Night Only: Live At The Royal Albert Hall' wins release on November 30. It will be available digitally and as CD + DVD release.

The concert featured Porter's trusted band alongside the 70-piece London Studio Orchestra led by 5-time GRAMMY-winning conductor and arranger Vince Mendoza. The set list chiefly comprised material from Porter's Nat King Cole tribute long player, though he also offered favourites like 'Hey Laura' and 'Don't Lose Your Steam'... and with Christmas in mind, there's also Cole's 'The Christmas Song'.



Monday, 19 November 2018 16:31 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFirst generation mods will know all about London 60s band THE ACTION. With legendary residencies at top London mod clubs, the Marquee and the Scene, the fivesome... Reg King (lead vocals), Alan 'Bam' King (rhythm guitar, vocals), Mike "Ace" Evans (bass guitar, vocals), Pete Watson (guitar) and Roger Powell (drums) commanded a huge and faithful following intoxicated by the band's enthusiastic take on Motown and uptown soul.

Ironically, though, the Action had begun in the early 60s as the Boys, and their first forays into the music biz were as backing band for cabaret singer, Sandra Barry but they were soon bitten by the soul bug. Ditching Ms Barry and with a new, zippier name, The Action were soon packing clubs in their own right with their sets stuffed with covers of songs from the Motown greats and Curtis Mayfield. The Action's underground reputation brought them to the attention of Beatles' producer, George Martin, who signed them to his Air Production Company. With Martin in the producer's chair, the Action issued five singles on the Parlophone label, but, amazingly, none enjoyed any measure of success.

Over the years those five singles have become hugely collectable and the Action have assumed an almost mythical status, with collectors and fans knowing that beyond those singles, there had to be many more Action recordings out there.

Now Cherry Red, imprint Grapefruit comes to the rescue with an ab fab, four CD, 86 track box set that brings together everything the Action recorded in their 60s pomp – '64- '68. Included, of course are the ten sides of those Parlophone singles, but you also get stereo mixes of 'em, rare outtakes, demos, BBC live sessions and what have become known as "the lost recordings" – a George Martin never released album.alt

Over the 86 tracks you can hear the band's evolution. The three included Boys' tracks are standard 60s beat fare, but then, as The Action you can hear incendiary and loving versions of classics like 'Land Of 1,000 Dances', 'Harlem Shuffle', 'Girl Why You Wanna Make Me Blue' and the two Action highlights –their takes on the Marvelettes ' 'I'll Keep On Holding On' and Martha and the Vandellas' 'In My Lonely Room'.

Like most 60s bands, as the decade moved on, the Action's sound evolved. They flirted with harmonic psychedelia (let's blame the Beatles!) but even things like 'Dustbin Full Of Rubbish' and 'Climbing Up The Wall', have their own charm and Reg King's vocals always retain a soulful edge.

All the 60s action on the Action is here and though the band eventually imploded they left a mighty legacy. In the late 90s they briefly reformed and there's a live album from that time doing the rounds. Recorded at London's Boston Arms venue, it sees the group back to in their soulful stride with versions of stuff like 'The Monkey Time', 'Heatwave' and 'Ooh Baby Baby'. But it was the 60s that represented what the Action were all about and 'Shadows And Reflections – the Complete Recordings 1964 – 1968' definitively proves that.

THE ACTION; 'Shadows And Reflections – the Complete Recordings 1964 – 1968' is out now on Grapefruit.


Last Updated on Monday, 19 November 2018 16:50



Monday, 19 November 2018 16:27 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altAussie soulstress CHELSEA WILSON impressed all and sundry with her 2015 long player, 'I Hope You'll Be Very Unhappy Without Me'. In fact, in the land of Oz the 11 tracker was voted "Best Soul/Funk Album Of The Year" at the Victoria Music Awards.

We're told that Ms Wilson is readying the follow up album for an April 2019 release. The set's to be called 'Chasing Gold' and as a taster the first single has just been issued. It's a cute and tight modern soul groove, 'Real Love' (NO not that 'Real Love'!) that fuses disco with soul. The production is sweet and understated and comes courtesy of Ross McHenry who brings in some great bvs from Jason Heerah of Electric Empire.

'Real Love' is out now on Chelsea's own label (House Of Valerie And Joan – named for her two grandmothers),



Friday, 16 November 2018 14:31 BIll B E-mailPrintPDF

altAfter several years releasing her music via the Shanachie label, MAYSA is issuing her latest single on the Blue Velvet imprint. The chosen song for the debut is a typical Maysa ballad, 'You Are Not Alone'. Like much of Ms Leak's work the song is a subtle builder that allows one of soul's most recognizable voices to flourish.

Maysa tells us the song was inspired by the help she received during the premature birth of her child, Jazz. In essence the song is a moving message of love from a parent to a child - a story of unconditional love and encouragement and Maysa delivers it all perfectly. Out today.

Last Updated on Friday, 16 November 2018 14:39



Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:32 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altYou don't need us to tell you that Christmas is on its way.... it's creeping up on us right now. And of course along with Slade on repeat in your favourite shops and said shops groaning with all kinds of Christmas treats and tat, the record companies are lining up plenty of Christmas "goodies".

Here we present three offerings that might tempt you to get into the Yule mood. First up there's a ten tracker from ALOE BLACC... 'Christmas Funk'. In truth it's not the kind of funk that JB or George C would recognize but the whole thing is a cut above your usual Christmas fare.... actually, 'Tell Your Mama' does get a little tough and funky. Most of the tunes are Blacc originals but a cover of Wham's 'Last Christmas' is, shall we say, rather interesting. Equally intriguing is the rap saga of how 'The Mrs Saved Christmas'.

altMore traditional, maybe, is 'A Legendary Christmas' from, you guessed it... JOHN LEGEND. Every major artist, sometime or other, feels the need to cut a Christmas long player and Mr L clearly feels his time is now. His album is a 14 tracker and has been produced and arranged by Raphael Saadiq. The repertoire is a mix of well known Christmas fare and new tunes like the poignant 'Waiting For Christmas'. Amongst the familiar songs are versions of Marvin Gaye's 'Purple Snowflakes', Charles Brown's 'Please Come Home For Christmas', Stevie's 'What Christmas Means To Me' (with Stevie on harmonica) and 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas' which is a gorgeously lush duet with Esperanza Spalding.

alt... and speaking of that great song, Canadian singer CHERRILL RAE (whose version of the Temptations' 'Since I Lost My Baby' we recently recommended) has just released a very traditional version of it as her Christmas single. The B side is a straight take on 'O Holy Night'... both perfect for traditionalists.

Last Updated on Thursday, 15 November 2018 19:47


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