We first came across THE FAITHFUL BROTHERS in July via their single a stomping ‘Dance My Hurt Away’ with an equally splendid up-tempo cover of Billy Sha-Rae/Eddie Parker’s ‘Crying Crown’. Both were wonderful takes on classic Northen soul and, intrigued, we needed to know more.
Oddly maybe we discovered that the “brothers” weren’t from any of soul’s traditional heartlands; rather, they a hailed from Israel – Tel Aviv to be precise. It seems the resort city has a thriving Soul Club…. The Tel Aviv Soul Club, aka TASC. It’s powered by Yashiv Cohen, a DJ who, in 2006, brought in brothers Johnnie and Bin Neeman, whose massive soul collections he knew all about and he got them working the decks alongside his good self.
Yashiv also fronted a rock/pop band, Men of North Country but his primary passion is soul and when he learned that the Neemans were also msuicnas he had his ready made soul band, named for the Neemans as, we’re told, “Neeman” means “faithful” in Hebrew.
The aforementioned debut single raised a few eyebrows. Both cuts proffered a really authentic Northern sound …. tinkling vibes, crashing beats, parping brass and pumping bass… the lot. The conservatives and purists weren’t that impressed, but that’s their loss. The Faithful’s sound was a glorious homage to the Golden Age of Northern soul and there’s plenty more on the boys’ debut album which has just won release.
If you missed the single, both sides are featured on the eponymous set and they still sound convincing, particularly the take on ‘Cryng Clown’. The album’s other big cover is a take on McKinley “Soul” Mitchell’s ‘The Town I Live In’. Taking on such a classic shows how confident the Faithfuls are and they don’t just copy it; they give it a totally different feel – properly up-tempo. The other big dancers are ‘Crossroads Of Love’, ‘Downtown, Uptown’ (with a female vocal in parts) and two instrumentals – ‘Night Man’ and a really lovely ‘They Don’t Know’ which delivers a classic early Motown feel – uplifting hand claps, sweet brass and crystalline vibes taking the lead parts.
Elsewhere, ‘Let’s Break The Curfew’ is almost funky, ‘So Slow’ is a mid-tempo groove while ‘Tell Me One More Time’ , ‘Get It Over’ and ‘Joy’ are melancholic slowies in the Southern soul vein. They show that the Faithful gang are keen to check out all facets of 60s soul – and in places they do it really, really well. The album’s out now via Mr Mellow’s Music.