VARIOUS; The Contemporary Soul Songbook Vol. 3 (Soul Unsigned)

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For my sins I’ve supplied the introductory sleeve note to this, the third in Soul Unsigned’s Contemporary Soul Songbook series. The gist of my little homily is that though we can all clearly remember our soul entry point (mine was 1964 by the way) and dearly cherish the music that first won us over, genuine soul lovers will always seek fresh new sounds with the ability to affect their emotions and connect with their souls in the same way as it did at that first, magical dawning. Here we have 14 fresh new sounds courtesy of the Soul Unsigned label and each one has the potential to do both those things. How much they might play on your emotions and connect with your inner being will, I guess, depend on your receptivity and the particular soul sounds that might be your preference. If you like foot tapping, head nodders there’s plenty here that will appeal – most notably French muso, Wadz’s Leon Beal-vocalised ‘We Can Make It’ and the 2008 recorded ‘Serenity’ from Kenny Wesley. Like it a little more mid-tempo? Well, try ReNeda’s sultry ‘Rest Of My Life’ or the laid-back ‘No Fantasy’ from Londoner, Pvibez. If you prefer the ballads then Me’Na’s ‘Deja View’ and The Neo Jazz Project’s ‘Love Surreal’ will fit the bill perfectly. Maybe you like your soul a little jazzier…. then go straight to Antoinette’s ‘Indulgence’ or Brandon Woods’ ‘A Good Thing’ (Eldon T Jones on vocals there). The gospel side of soul is represented by Marshal Badger’s ‘He Did It All For You’, while Southern soul has great representative in the classic story-line song of ‘Hell On My Hands’ from Alabama’s Charlie Brown. Fans of harmony groups will delight in New Congress’ ‘With Me’ and if Latin rhythms do it for you then there’s Seductive Souls’ ‘Your Love’ and Papik’s ‘Rhythms Of Life’. Then we need to mention Nate White’s bassy ‘Can’t Do Without You’ and the organic soul of Mamayo’s ‘Waiting’. In short, something to appeal right across the soul spectrum…. but great music throughout, pity about those sleeve notes!

(BB) 4/5