Monday, 22 January 2018 15:33 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe RU JAC label was founded in Baltimore in 1963 by Rufus Mitchell (Ru) and Jack Bennett (Jac). The pair had previously run their own music publishing and production company and so founding their own label seemed a like a logical move. The label was never hugely successful though it did enjoy a number of local hits. However, the vagaries of the business mean that, of course, Ru Jac material is now hugely collectable.

Enter US reissue specialists Ominvore. Omnivore has already issued retrospectives on two of the Ru Jac's biggest acts – Winfield Parker and Gene and Eddie and now they've just released two authoritative Ru Jac compilations that pulls together the best of the little label's output.

The first collection, 'Something Got A Hold On Me' is a 28 tracker that focuses on Ru Jac's early days – 1963-64. The sound is rough, primitive even but there are plenty of treasures here for the soul collector. Amongst the featured artists are James Crawford, The Teardrop Band, Mr. Tiny Tim the wonderfully named gospel ensemble The Fruitland Harmonizers and star man Winfield Parker. The album's title, by the way, comes courtesy of an unnamed Bobby Bland sound-alike; it's not the Etta James song .

Volume 2, 'Get It Right' covers the years 1964-1966 and features plenty of sparkling soul, funk and soul jazz. Biggest name on the set is probably Arthur Conley. He has two tracks on the album. Both are rough demos and very much in the style of Sam Cooke but they were god enough to impress a certain Otis Redding who promptly signed him to his own Jotis label. Soul buffs will also recognize the name Harmon Bethea. As the Mask Man (fronting The Agents) he scored hits on Dynamo. Here enjoy some of his first efforts. Elsewhere the two cuts from Shirley Grant are sweet and charming examples of early 60s soul while Butch Cornell swings some mighty Hammond in the manner of Jimmy Smith.

Both compilations are out now and are essential for soul historians. There's a third volume promised for February release.




Monday, 22 January 2018 15:30 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altUS music sources are reporting that the city of Dayton, Ohio is set to establish its very own Funk Music Hall of Fame & Exhibition Centre. The city fathers claim that Dayton has an unassailable right to be the home for such a prestigious venue. They point to local artists like The Ohio Players, Bootsy Collins, The Deele, The Dazz Band, Slave, Roger Troutman, Zapp, Lakeside, Faze-O, Shirley Murdock, Van Hunt, Dayton, Sun, The Majestics and Aurra as reasons why Dayton is so funkingly important!

A business group led by David R Webb says that the exhibit will not only focus on the history of funk music but will also "teach young people to play instruments, understand what it takes to work in all aspects of the performing arts, learn about the role music plays in creativity, critical thinking skills and self-discipline, and to improve their deductive reasoning skills in reading, math and science."

The Dayton Funk Centre is due to open this spring.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 January 2018 15:46



Sunday, 21 January 2018 16:39 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altFlorida born NATHAN MITCHELL is a smooth jazz performer, composer and producer and though he plays numerous instruments, his talents on the keyboards has made him an in-demand session player. Nathan has worked with people like Ricky Lawson, Jackiem Joyner, Paul Brown, Jonathan Butler, Elan Trotman, Mindi Abair and most recently Stokley Williams. His own 2012 release of 'For All Eternity' was well received and as 2018 gets into gear his latest release 'Inspiration' is climbing the Billboard Smooth Jazz charts. No wonder, the soulful groove and guitar/piano interplay ticks all the right smooth jazz boxes.

NATHAN MITCHELL: 'Inspiration' is out now on ENM music.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 January 2018 13:29



Sunday, 21 January 2018 16:36 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altWhitfield Batson is a London born singer who was brought up, though, in Barbados. When he returned to England his love of music drew him into management .... eventually working with the Undivided Roots Band in 1984. Whitfield also penned songs for Glen Goldsmith before going on to work with Jet Star music distributors. He returned to Barbados in the 90s and continued to work in the music biz though he also took up acting.

Right now, though, Mr B has stepped out from the background to cut his own single... a steady, catchy groove, 'Put That Love On Me'. Given Whitfield's pedigree you won't be surprised to learn that alongside the main mix, 'Put That Love On Me' also comes in a bright Maxi Priest-ish reggae mix.



Friday, 19 January 2018 19:05 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altTo remind us that early February sees the much anticipated release of 'BRIAN POWER Presents SOULHOUSE Vol 1', Mr P has been previewing one of the album's three new cuts.... a wonderfully uplifting sweep of soulful house from MARC EVANS 'You Mean The World To Me'. The collection's two other newies are Mike Delgado's 'Memoria De Roberto' and Michelle John's 'You Win'.

The rest of the compilation is made up of the best of Soulhouse's singles and included is the still monumental Eric Kupper mix of Rebecca Scales' 'So Long Gone'. The album is a double CD pack; CD 1 has 11 cuts while CD 2 is a Brian Power mastermix and it'll be available from February 2nd.


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