CORNELL CC CARTER ; One Love (cc2000music)

Tuesday, 07 August 2018 18:19 Bill E-mailPrintPDF

altLike many contemporary soul singers California-born Cornell Carter seems to get more love and respect from the UK and European soul fraternity than he does in his homeland. In the States, CC is known as a top session singer – he's graced records and live performances with people like Ray Charles, James Brown, The Whispers, The Temptations, Natalie Cole, Kool and the Gang and most recently Narada Michael Walden. A few years back he decided the time was right to go his own solo route and two albums ('In The Moment' and 'Vindicated Soul') and a slew of fine singles seemed to justify his decision. The albums and the singles (especially in their various remixes) did moderately well Stateside but in the UK and Europe they topped all the credible soul charts. Little wonder, then, that this – Cornell's newest collection has been one of the most eagerly anticipated sets of the year. Two mighty fine singles from the album cranked up the expectation. First there was 'That Feelin'' – a classic and chart-topping modern soul groove; then came 'That's My Baby' – another mini masterpiece. Both tunes, by the way, were produced by Soulpersonna (Morgan Howell) and served as tasty hors d'oeuvres for the album.

Those two songs sit centrepiece on the 12 track LP that is 'One Love' but the good news is that there are plenty more cuts to rival those new classics. Be assured 'One Love' is no one trick pony (or in this case "two trick"!)

For the rug cutters there's plenty to please....'Winners', 'Relax' and the two mixes of 'Something Like' will fill any modern soul room floor. Ditto the pacier 'Badeyah' – a treat for the soulful house crew too, this one.

Fancy some down time.... try the gentle 'Free' and the soporific 'Maybe', while in between tempos there are the lovely 'Life' and the homage to Bob Marley that is the LP's title cut.

In truth, 'One Love' is crammed with great, proper, "old fashioned" soul songs and CC's time in the studio working with some of the biz's biggest names has taught him a lot about presentation and production; then, of course, there's THAT voice – a beautiful instrument (don't take my word.... why would all those big names have used him?) that delivers every time.

This album opens with a concise spoken intro/tribute from BBC radio presenter John Leech. He opines that that CC Carter has "raised the bar" for modern soul with his "textured music" that "cascades and flows beautifully". Bob on Mr Leech! We agree! We're also confident that he'll agree that 'One Love' is one of 2018's very best and as the year draws on, few will albums will match it.

For more info on Cornell and this album go to out interview section!

(BB) 5/5

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August 2018 18:27


ALICE COLTRANE: 'Lord Of Lords' (Superior Viaduct)

Sunday, 05 August 2018 09:34 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

                           altAlice Coltrane's solo career didn't get off to an auspicious start - at least in the eyes of the puritanical jazz police - when she debuted her own music alongside tracks from her late husband on the posthumous John Coltrane album, 'Cosmos,' released in 1968. But those who may have accused her of exploiting her husband's death for her own artistic gain would also, perhaps, have applauded the way she rose out of his considerable shadow to find her own unique musical identity via a series of seven solo albums for Impulse! Records between 1968 and 1972. Her final LP for the label, 'Lord Of Lords,' from 1972, is now reissued on vinyl LP for the first time by US label, Superior Viaduct.  

Like all of Alice Coltrane's recordings, 'Lord Of Lords' is deeply spiritual and draws heavily on eastern culture and religion but what makes this album different from her previous releases is its debt to classical music. The grandiose 'Andromeda's Suffering' and 'Sri  Rama Ohnedaruth' - the latter a tribute to her then late husband, John - both employ massed symphonic strings which soar over a swirling harp and rumbling rhythm section (featuring noted bassist Charlie Haden and drummer, Ben Riley). There's also Alice's own idiosyncratic adaptation (for organ and strings) of Stravinsky's 'Firebird Suite' but arguably the most touching track is her gorgeous rendition of, 'Going Home,' an African-American spiritual, which 80 years earlier had inspired Dvorak's Largo movement from his popular 'New World Symphony.' Transcendent stuff.

(CW) 4/5

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 August 2018 18:44


DAYTONER: Off The Hook (Cabin Pressure)

Friday, 03 August 2018 12:13 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altDaytoner is UK band with a complex history. Their story begins with Dj/producer/general muso about Cornwall. Moss Daytoner. Since 2009 he's been creating music, he says, from his shed! As his reputation grew across the West Country he started to put together a live band to work the festival circuit where Daytoner shows evolved into a mix of live music and Dj sets; essentially they played live and the Dj injected samples and hooks into the output.

Daytoner, the band, is evolving too but the current line up is; Lucy Richards -Vocals; Jamie Graham- Keys / Guitar; James Frost- Drums; Patrick Redmond- Bass; Andrew Worthy- Sax; and, of course, Mr Daytoner – producer/DJ/ general string puller.

'Off The Hook' is the band's debut album – now widely available after a limited run in vinyl, when it won the support of funk and soul tastemakers like Craig Charles. We're told that the album title refers to the fact that the set (unlike their previous work) features no samples – just the band's original parts alongside the lyrics of singer, Lucy Richards.... and my word, what a singer! Ms R delivers like a vocal tsunami – full of passion, commitment, grit, energy and, yes, soul. In places you can hear the influence of divas like Aretha and Etta James while her approach clearly owes something to the tradition laid down by dear old Amy Winehouse.

Track that's currently winning airplay is the tough, loose, funky 'I Get By' – Muscle Shoals meets New Orleans via Cornwall! Amongst the other highlights are a quartet of Northern soul pastiches – 'Needed You', 'Second Stomp', 'Games' and 'Sicka' which is cleverly built around the gospel standard 'Wade In The Water'. Now we all know that the Northern crew are very pernickety and probably wouldn't touch Daytoner with a barge pole... they'd say they weren't "authentic". However, if you covered up any of these four tracks and passed them off as long lost artefacts from a 60s indie studio in Chicago or Detroit, they'd believe you. They are that authentic!

All very breathtaking! The respite come via the southern soul flavoured 'Stop And Go 'and the Latin kissed 'Pacific'. In truth I could have done without the gimmicky, cod, 20s style rag time opener 'The Winning Hand'. But take that away and you have a tough, rough hard-hitting, unusual soul album. Watch out for Daytoner; especially watch out for Lucy Richards!

(BB) 3/5

Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2018 12:50


DEE BROWN: Remembering You (Innervision)

Thursday, 02 August 2018 11:05 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altMost artists make records 'cos they love to make music; some because they have a point to make or a story to tell; sadly, some enter the studio just to fulfil contractual obligations. dee (not a typo, he doesn't capitalise that forename) BROWN'S latest long player was created for none of those reasons. Sure, he love's making music but his 11 tracker that is 'Remembering You' was born out of real tragedy. You see a couple of years back the Detroit-based jazz guitarist was engaged to gospel diva, Shaunia Edwards. As the couple were finalising marriage arrangements, Ms Edwards was stricken with a serious and sudden illness; tragically she died.

Grief stricken, dee went through the classic stages of mourning but as he emerged he decided to remember, embrace and celebrate what he'd had rather than to dwell on what he was missing. He was confident that was what Shaunia would have wanted. And what better way for a consummate musician to celebrate than to make music; so dee turned to writing and recording a suite of tunes to honour and celebrate his fiancé's life and 'Remembering You' is the result.

Given that, you won't be surprised to learn that 'Remembering You' is a joy-filled affair and amongst that joy perhaps the jauntiest cut is 'Hey Baby' which poignantly features a bright if short intro from Ms Edwards. The vocoded 'Pop The Question' rides a solid soul vibe too – both tunes classic examples of guitar-led smooth jazz. however, the D-funk remix of 'Pop' shows that dee can do "tough" too. The set's only vocal is the gentle 'Follow You' which features sweet and minimal cooing from Ester Todd and Winzell Kelly. Amongst the other album collaborators is Valdez Brantley (one time Usher's MD) who delivers some tasty keyboard parts.

REMEMBERING YOU is out now on Innervision Records

(BB) 3/5

Last Updated on Friday, 03 August 2018 09:59


MILLIE JACKSON: Exposed (Ace/Southbound)

Wednesday, 25 July 2018 19:58 Bill B E-mailPrintPDF

altThe wonderful Millie Jackson needs no introduction on these pages. She is a soul super star and thankfully most of her best, classic work is easily accessible. New material, though , is rare so to satisfy Jackson fans in particular and soul lovers in general, Ace Records embarked on an ambitious project a year or so back.... they brought in top UK producer and mixer, Steve Levine to reimagine 12 of Ms J's best.

Levine has a remarkable track record. He started off in the punk era but went on to work with the Beach Boys and Culture Club. Those gigs secured his reputation and since then he's worked with plenty more big names . He became chairman of the Music Producers Guild and has produced and presented all kinds of music shows for the BBC. A Brit and Grammy award winner, he works out of a studio in Liverpool and it's there that he worked on the Millie Jackson project.

Essentially Ace, who have the license to work Spring product, digitalised Millie Jackson's original multi-track analogue recordings and charged Levine to come up with something a little different but which retained the essence of the woman!

He choose 12 tracks – including 'My Man A Sweet Man', 'If Loving You Is Wrong 'and the Isaac Hayes duet, 'Sweet Music, Soft Lights And You' - and his efforts have just been released on CD (and for those who like new-fangled technology, on a seven track vinyl LP). It's important to note that these new mixes aren't what we night call "contemporary mixes" where mixers and producers add new elements to the original recording. Here Levine only uses original material – tracks recorded at the original sessions. And come on ... who would meddle with stuff laid down at Muscle Shoals or "sweeteners" recorded by people like David Van DePitte at Detroit?

The result is music that isn't better than the original – just different... maybe a wee bit sharper, maybe a wee bit edgier; let's call it a new perspective. The Ace people tell us that the album's been called 'Exposed' because these new mixes "open up" the tracks. Make up your own minds! 'Exposed' is out now.

(BB) 4/5

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 July 2018 20:16


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