Spanish boutique soul label SOUL4REAL’S JAI ALAI imprint is lining   up two delightful new 45s, both sitting sweetly on Ja Alai’s mission statement to make available in vinyl, quality modern soul that is rare, collectable and previously unavailable on 7″ vinyl.

First up is a double header from JAHEIM (Jaheim H. Hoagland). Hailing from New Jersey, he’s the grandson of 60s’ cult hero Hoagy Lands, and though he’s often classed as an “R&B” singer his music always delivers passion and soul – as witnessed by the two sides on the Jai Alai 45. The A side is one of the man’s best known tunes – ‘Just In Case’, which first appeared on his debut album, 2001’s ‘Ghetto Love’. The B side is ‘Diamond In The Ruff’ which debuted on the follow up LP, 2002’s ‘Still Ghetto’. Both tracks will have considerable appeal to both R&B and soul collectors and show why Jaheim’s held in high esteem. Anoraks will tell us that both tracks have actually been out on vinyl before – on 12”; this is the first time that they’ve been released on 7”.

The second upcoming Jai Alai release pairs two soul legends – JOHNNIE TAYLOR and BOBBY BLAND. One side features Johnnie’s evergreen ‘Let’s Get Back On Track’; the other side is Bobby’s ‘Heart, Open Up Again’. Both cuts come from both singers’ stay at Malaco Records.

Johnnie Taylor is a true soul hero. With a background in gospel (you’ll know he replaced Sam Cooke in the Soul Stirrers), he broke through at Stax in the 60s. Then, moving to Columbia, he went platinum with his hit ‘Disco Lady’. He then signed with Beverly Glen before finding a musical home at Malaco where he continued to record some stunning soul – including, of course, ‘Let’s get Back On Track’.

The tune first appeared on his CD album – 1999’s ‘Gotta Get The Groove Back’ and it quickly became a modern soul favourite as too did David Sea’s later ‘Stay In my Arms’ which used the same backing track. The Malaco guys knew a good cut when they heard one!

Like Taylor, Bobby Bland enjoyed a long and distinguished career eventually pitching up at Malaco. There, in 1985, he released the Tommy Couch and Wolf Stephenson produced album ‘Members Only’ from which ‘Heart, Open Up Again’ is taken. Written by George Jackson/Robert Miller/Michael Wooten, it’s a classic Southern soul artefact and Bobby delivers with an aplomb and assurance that only years of experience in the soul business can bring!

Thanks now to Jai Alai you can enjoy two top tunes from two of the all-time greats. Learn more @