The UK’s IZIPHO SOUL vinyl reissue label is fast establishing itself as a premier league player in the soul stakes. Few other labels can match the consistent quality that label boss Patrick Biggerstaff achieves with his releases and the label has just announced two upcoming 7” releases that will only consolidate Izipho’s reputation.
First up is a single from cult soul/blues singer/guitarist ROY ROBERTS. The disc features ‘LOVE ON THE LINE’ /’YOU AND ME TOGETHER’. The former is credited to Roy; the flip to the “Roy Roberts Experience”. ‘Love On The Line’ is a new (ish) track – recorded just last year. It has that very special Southern soul sound (shades of those great Malaco records) and it’s one of those very rare soul cuts where everything works… punchy brass, sweet melody, tight beats, sweet sax solo, convincing vocal, the lot… lovely! ‘You And Me Together’ is different again but no less soulful . Recorded in the late 70s, it’s a lazy, building meander with (in places) a Barry White flavour. It’s taken from Roy’s 1977 LP ‘Country Star’ and was released as a single in 1977
For their second newie, Izipho turn to gospel with a disc that lines up like this – THE LEONARD LOTHLEN PROJECT Feat. DERICK HUGHES; ‘IN THE PRESENCE’ b/w GOSPEL CLOUDS; ‘LET US PRAY’. Lothlen is a gospel star/producer/entrprenneur who works out of California and ‘In The Presence’ is another fairly new cut and its impact is totally overwhelming. Vocals are down to the stentorian Derick Hughes (son of the late Freddie Hughes) and his sound harks back the righteous soul testifying of people like Rance Allen and Andrae Crouch… proper soul power guaranteed! You just won’t be able to ignore it even if you’re not a believer! ‘Let Us Pray’ is different again. Recorded in 1971, the message, of course, is gospel based but sonically the cut is a sweet harmony ballad (think Bloodstone’s ‘Natural High’) that really hits home. Leonard marshalled the Gospel Clouds with a real passion while they offer well-honed, classic soul harmonies over a frail, tender lead.