Monday, 20 October 2014 18:43 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

Sly-Album-cover-675x675SLY AND THE FAMILY STONE broke out in 1968 with the impactful 'Dance To The Music' –a tune that helped to re-write the soul rule book and for the next couple of years at least Sly ruled the soul and funk roost.

During his reign Mr Stone -along with his manager David Kapralik – set up his own record label, Stone Flower, and his status was such that he scored a distribution deal with the mighty Atlantic Records.

Like all great labels Stone Flower evolved its own unique sound – the sound of minimal electro funk, driven by the Maestro Rhythm King drum machine, and though it only ever released four seven inch singles, each credited to an individual artist, they all bore the words "Written by Sylvester Stewart/Produced and arranged by Sly Stone" on the sticker.

Like one of Sly mantras, the label was a "family affair". The first single, 'You're The One', was by "Little Sister" – Sly's sister Vaetta Stewart. The follow-up was 'Stanga,' also by Little Sister and the third release came from 6IX, a six-piece multi-racial rock group whose sole release, a super-slow version of The Family Stone's 'Dynamite,' featured only the lead singer and harmonica player from the group. Joe Hicks' 'Life And Death In G&A 'was the final Stone Flower release. Interestingly Hicks' 'Home Sweet Home,' was the first released Stone Flower production – but it came out on Scepter.

It's not surprising that the music has long been in demand. Light In The Attic Records have managed to license all the product and have just released a collection called 'I'm Just Like You.... Sly Stone's Flower 1969- 70'. The album gathers each side of the 45s plus ten previously unissued cuts from the label archives, all newly re-mastered from the original tapes. The album has been put together with the full cooperation of Sly himself and the set contains an exclusive interview with him. As is the way these days the album comes on CD, in digital format and as a double vinyl LP.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 18:45



Monday, 20 October 2014 14:55 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

Hyleen-Gil_jacket_680HYLEEN GIL is a young French singer/songwriter and guitarist and her debut collection 'Welcome' made waves on the European soul underground. Live, she's worked with people like Jamiroquai, Jill Scott, Prince, Mary J Blige and Robert Glasper... quite a cast, and for her latest recording the lady's brought in some more big names to help out – notably Omar and Frank McComb.

The mini album (it's essentially seven tracks + remixes and bonuses) is called 'U & I' and it's just come out on Sweet Soul Records. Musically, it's difficult to hang a tag on. Sure, it's soul but not the "sweet" soul implied in the name of the issuing label. Hyleen's music is edgy and complex; adventurous and intriguing. Some might call it neo/nu soul – but its' much more than that. There's a hint of jazz about it and Hyleen even tries her hand at rap; best to say that Hyleen's sound is at the experimental edge of soul.

Standout track is 'Wake Up Your Mind' – this is the one that features Frank McComb. Big Frank adds his voice to a sensual, mid-tempo soul shuffle and it really is infectious even when things slow down for a lengthy mid-song, dreamy spoken passage. The UK's Omar duets with Hyleen on 'Can You Love Me' – the most obvious choice for a single because of its relative simplicity. The release offers the original cut along with three remixes. Then there's a trio of musical sketches or "Digressions" and the album ends with an ambitious cover of Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky'.

The Japanese release has two extra tracks – a rambling 'Just A Smile' and a cover of Charme/Luther Vandross' 'Georgy Porgy'. Here Hyleen slows proceedings right down, so that the song is almost unrecognizable as the disco romp it once was.

... and speaking of Luther, Ms G clearly has a thing for Mr. V 'cos a quick internet search will lead you to her version of the great man's 'Never Too Much'. Once again she takes no prisoners with it. She recreates the classic giving it an almost drum and bass makeover. Don't know if it really works but she's to be praised for her bravery.

Find out more about this intriguing new artist at


Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 15:01



Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:20 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

bash1London-based soulstress BASHIYRA has been in the business since the 90s when she worked doing BVs for people like Michael Bolton, Patti Labelle and Diana Ross. 2009 saw the release of her debut, 'Thought You Knew', a mix of neo-soul, jazz and dance which won Bashiyra 'The Soul Baby Live Award 2011').

In 2013 she released an EP on Expansion Records (you may remember her lovely 'One Shot At Love') and is currently working on a new album for Herb Middleton's Nu Vybe label. The long player is heralded by the single 'Just Can't Be Wrong' which has just become available. The song is a steamy slab of down tempo soul which has a theme similar to Alicia Key's 'You Don't Know My Name'. We're told that there's a Soul Talk remix on the way along with Bash's version of 'You Know How To Love Me'.

The usual download portals will give you access to 'Just Can't Be wrong'.

Last Updated on Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:29



Sunday, 19 October 2014 20:18 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

photoRON LOUIS SMITH II is the son of KC and the Sunshine Band's horn man Ron Louis Smith Sr. The younger Smith (the self-proclaimed "Prince Of Sunshine") has just released his debut album, 'Second To One' which sets out to give a 21st century twist to the Miami party sound that the original KC and the Sunshine Band exported around the world.

The album is prefaced with the release of an energized dance single – a version of 'Spank' which was a minor hit for Jimmy Bo Horne back in the day. The new Ron Louis Smith version is already charting on US dance surveys and you can learn more on Ronnie's facebook page.



Friday, 17 October 2014 19:13 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

jrUS media sources are reporting that one-time Motown star, JIMMY RUFFIN is seriously ill. Reports say that he is in a Las Vegas hospital and that his family are asking for prayers. Additional reports on Twitter are saying that Ruffin has passed away; however, there is no confirmation from the family.

Jimmy Ruffin - the older brother of David Ruffin- is best known for his Motown hit 'What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted'; though at Motown he also enjoyed success with 'I've Passed This Way Before' and 'Gonna Give Her All The Love I Got'. He was particularly popular in the UK where he went on to score with the Robin Gibb song 'Hold On To My Love'. In Britain he also worked with Heaven 17 and Paul Weller.

Latterly Jimmy was living in Las Vegas and it's said that over the last few years he was working on new material.

Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2014 19:17


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