JOHN ELLISON: Some Kind OF Wonderful (Music On Vinyl/PopMi Music)

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Most soul collectors have a soft spot for cult, soul hero JOHN ELLISON. Their affection is based on his timeless 1967 smash hit  ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ which he recorded way back in 1967 with his band SOUL BROTHERS SIX. The  song has been covered countless times and John, who fronted the band, played the guitar and wrote the song, has traded on the anthem ever since. He’s  been honoured as a songwriting legend many times over, collecting multiple lifetime achievement awards from BMI, West Virginia and Canada. Since those heady days of the late 60s, Ellison has released  a series of solo albums, the most recent being 2013’s ‘Up From Funk’ . Two of his earlier LPs 1993’s ‘Welcome Back’ and 2008’s ‘Back’ both featured remakes of ‘Wonderful’ and, proving that you can’t keep a good tune down, he’s delivering yet another take on it  as the lead/title track to a brand new album which was recorded at PopMi Music’s studio in the Netherlands.

The long player is a 12 tracker and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the new take on  ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’ opens proceedings. It’s based on the original Atlantic template; the logic being why over-tamper with something  so good. Yes, it’s lost nothing of its “up” charm and if that’s what you want there’s plenty more. ‘Let’s Get This Party Started’ is self-explanatory; ‘If I Had Just One Wish’ delivers a Caribbean swagger; ‘It’s Your Lips’ is breezy and poppy; while ‘Love Line’ is a 60s good time throw back.

But there’s plenty to prove that Mr E’s no one-trick pony. The album boasts some serious southern soul balladry (‘Easy To Remember’, ‘Quitters Never Win’ and ‘Simply Love You’). ‘He Watches Over Me’ is a nod to John’s gospel roots (shades of ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ here ) while there are a couple of mid-tempo offerings – ‘Where Do I Go From Here’ and the punchy ‘Let Me Be The One’ – an album highlight. THE highlight though is ‘West Virginia State Of Mind’ – a homage to where he came from 80 odd years ago and a track that proves in the business of real soul there’s no substitute for life experience… John Ellison has it in abundance and it shows!

The album comes as a  CD, in black vinyl and as a limited-edition gold vinyl record for collectors. You  can learn more about this album@

BB) 4/5