VARIOUS: Independent Soul Divas 2 – Tokyo Rush (Label: Lola Waxx)

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VARIOUS: Independent Soul Divas 2 - Tokyo Rush

One of last year’s best soul compilations was Lola Waxx’s ‘Independent Soul Divas’ collection… and the good news is that the label has now issued a second volume – enigmatically sub-titled ‘Tokyo Rush’ for reasons which escape me. That’s not important though – what is important is that the Lola Waxx crew have once again come up with a tip-top section of fresh, modern soul sounds which – without their enterprise – might have lain unheard and unappreciated. That surely would have been criminal, since artists of the calibre of Kelli Sae, Adina Howard, Lenora Jaye, Rena Scott, Lina and Kendra Ross deserve sympathetic platforms from which bigger audiences might be accessed; the penny may then drop with those audiences that modern black music isn’t just about rap, bling and over-produced, trite R&B… it’s still (as it was back in the day) about passion and commitment… about soul, if you would. This collection defines its mission right from the start with Kelli Sae’s ‘You’re All I Need’ – a sultry mid-tempo groove that owes something to ‘Nights Over Egypt’. The same slinkiness is apparent on LeNora Jaye’s more-than-apt ‘Times Are Hard (Fiscal Stimulus Mix)’, ‘You Keep Tripping’ from Rena Scott and the Mary J-flavoured ‘What Do I Do’ from Adina Howard. Lea Lorien’s ‘Waiting’ lifts the tempo in an interesting spaced-out way that might recall the Rah Band while Sy Smith’s ‘The Art Of You’ has a soulful house feel to it. Best modern soul dancers though are Rachel Brown’s ‘Weekend’ and Aura Jackson’s ‘Walk After You’. The former has good times stamped all over it; the latter is a sweet finger clicker; both feature the crispest, tightest mid-tempo beats. As good, but with a different feel , is Melissa Young’s ‘Get It Right’ – a modern ‘Woman To Woman’ while Tracey Cruz’s ‘Your Dreams’ and Kendra Ross’ ‘Real Deal’ are looser and jazzier altogether. They bring variety to an indie album that once again proves that there’s still plenty of real soul out there.
(BB) 4/5