If you’re a proper UK soul collector you probably have fond memories  of two tunes from  ex-professional footballer, turned soul man GAVIN HOLLIGAN. They were ‘This Hotel Is Closed’ and ‘Same Old Story’ which he  now follows with an equally fine, ‘When Boys Become Men’.

Like those earlier soul radio staples ‘Boys’ masterfully blends soulful vocals, jazz coloured instrumentation, and provocative storytelling and if you listen carefully you’ll hear clever nods to Gavin’s  football background. He sings of “ups” and “downs”, “game of two halves” etc. But it’s  the soundscape rather than the lyrics that will immediately  grab you. ‘When Boys Become Men’ is boisterous and up-tempo and Mr H says: “This track has always been a firm favourite to perform live – audiences absolutely love it!” and easy to hear why.

The original  mix has plenty of merit – an all box-ticking slice of contemporary Brit soul. If you like things a little brisker, then there’s also an equally tasty mix from maestro Richard Earnshaw. Recommended.