Full Flava is the soul-music-making alter ego of Birmingham-based UK producer/songwriter/keyboard player Rob Derbyshire. He began his Full Flava odyssey back in 2000 with ‘Chinese Whispers’, three more albums followed – each one beautifully crafted and tailored to capture the classic modern soul sound – the sound of good times, optimism and Soul Weekender memories. Little wonder then that Full Flava’s music has ever been a favourite with the modern soul crowd. Rob knew what boxes to tick and he ticked everyone with soulful aplomb and helping him in that ticking process he used a team of top musicians and a bevy of the very best femme soul vocalists including people like Kelli Sae, Chantay Savage, Donna Gardier, Cee Cee Peniston and Carleen Anderson.
Rob and the Flava crew have been quiet of late – our man’s been busy working with people like One Direction, Westlife and Little Mix; lucrative gigs, we’re guessing, but more importantly showing the respect that Rob has in the UK music community.
Full Flava’s label is UK soul mainstay Dome and the Dome crew have made sure that the Full Flava brand has stayed in the spotlight via a series of carefully curated remixes and reissues of some Full Flava classics like the Rob Hardt mix of ‘The Glow Of Love’, Nigel Lowis’ re-tread of ‘Too Much Too Late’ and the Blue Lab Beats’ reimagining of ‘Stories’. Over the last few years, there’s been a plethora of those mixes and you can guess from the names above that Dome have used the best mixers in the game and, importantly, mixers who offer a range of styles and sounds.
I’m guessing that modern soul collectors will have most of the mixes but if they haven’t they can catch ‘em all on this wonderful, new 20 track ‘Refreshed’ collection. The name says it all – a ton of Full Flava tunes (many Derbyshire re-treads of modern soul classics) given a fresh, remix treatment. Even if said collectors have the cuts what’s not to like to have ‘em all lined up in one easily accessible and convenient place?
To make ‘Refreshed’ even more essential there are some new cuts like an Izzy Chase vocalised version of ‘Love X Love’ which comes in an Incognito mix (remember what we said about big name mixers?). There’s a new version of the perennial ‘Nature Boy’ (Hazel Fernandez on vocals here) and the album heralding single – a fab cover of Oliver Cheetham’s ‘Get Down Saturday Night’ with a big vocal from Chantay Savage. It will remind you of parties, Soul Weekenders and everything that’s good about modern soul. Hopefully, all those parties and weekenders will be coming back soon. In the meantime have your very own party/weekender with Full Flava’s ‘Refreshed’… musically, it’s all you’ll need!