CARLTON JUMEL SMITH is a veteran, real soul man who has never quite hit the major league but he’s made (I’m guessing) a decent living travelling the world peddling his take on proper, old school soul. Mind you Smith should know about vintage soul. He was born and raised in Spanish Harlem where, as an Apollo regular, he got to know and love people like Bobby Womack, James Brown and Al Green. He’s been making his own music since the late 1980s and more recently he was pacted to Finnish label Timmion who released his semi-autobiographical album ‘1634 Lexington Avenue’ in 2019. Odd Smith tracks have cropped up here and there, like ‘It’s Gonna Be Aright’ which appeared on a Golden Rule compilation – proper old school soul.
If that’s your kind of soul, then may we point you to Carlton’s new mini album/EP which has just won release on LoveMeDo Records. It’s called ‘Pleasure’ and on it he’s backed by French band the Soul Seeders. It’s a concise 6 tracker and shows just how much our man was influenced by the soul stars he saw and enjoyed on all those great Apollo nights.
The collection begins with the set’s title track and it’s a real, old school soul “pleasure”! (see what we did there!). We would say it’s a highlight but in honesty, each of the six tracks has plenty to offer. Concise brevity can be a virtue – it sure is here! Amongst the goodies is ‘I Don’t Know What To Say’ which the Northern fraternity might want to check out. It’s not frantic but up-tempo enough to satisfy while ‘A Better Day’ is a finger-clickin’ delight. This is real old school soul and the French Soul Seeders band are on top form throughout – they deliver tight rhythms, full on brass, sympathetic BVs … why there’s even a string section.
Carlton Jumel Smith and the Soul Seeders, ‘Pleasure’ is out now via LoveMeDo and comes recommended especially if your’e fan of the whole Daptone thing!