Since March Geordie duo SMOOVE & TURELL (Jonathan Scott Watson (known as Smoove) and singer/songwriter John Turrell) have been promising us a new album. The promises have come via a series of singles – things like the big dancer, ‘Igotcha’, the funky right-in-your-face single ‘The Light’, the emotional ‘Joy’, the beaty ‘Violet Hour’ and the more restrained ‘Echoes’. All delivered the duo’s signature bass-heavy, electro, foot taping, disco-boogie vibe and if that sound’s the one that floats your boat you’ll delight in the parent album which finally wins release this Friday, 27th October.
The 10 tracker is called ‘Red Ellen ’ – named for Ellen Wilkinson, an early female Labour politician who played a prominent role in the Jarrow March, which greatly influenced post-war perspectives on social justice. Sound wise, the ‘Red Ellen’ track is, of necessity, a little less urgent that most of the rest of the album but it’s just a powerful – even including archive (we think) radio bulletins about the Jarrow Crusade itself. John Turrell explains the significance of the song and why it’s the LP’s title track: “After enduring years of deceit from those in power, we believed it was time for love to reclaim its place in our lives. This album embodies hope and serves as a reflection that, regardless of the turmoil surrounding us, if we remain resilient and support one another, we will all triumph. Our hero, central to our epic tale, is Ellen Wilkinson (Red Ellen), a woman who embodied everything that those currently in power seek to dismantle. Let us emulate Ellen’s spirit and stand up for goodness, fight for all that has benefited us collectively, and give back what we don’t need, for only love can conquer hate.” Amen brother! Like we said “powerful”!
The album’s other more restrained sounds are ‘Mary’s Song’ and ‘Empty Bottle Serenade’. The former is Turrell’s homage to his late, much-loved mother in law (listen up to the gear change mid-way!); the latter is a tender is a tribute to Jonathon’s father – the “empty bottles” of the title deliver some of the percussion.
Much of the rest of the album delivers the sound for which S&T are famous for – try the catchy ‘Geno’s Discotheque’ a tribute to a mythical club that never existed and revisit ‘The Light’ complete with a gospel flavoured intro and guest spots from Izo Fitzroy and legendary keyboardist Ronnie Foster. Both are key cuts and whether the soundscape be tough or tender, you can be sure that each of the ten tracks here deliver a message in the music.
SMOOVE & TURRELL@ Red Ellen – our October 27th via Jalapeno Record.