VARIOUS: Jump Start Music (Label: Soul Unisgned)

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VARIOUS: Jump Start Music

Jump Start Music is the newest album from Phil Driver’s Soul Unsigned set up and it marks something of a diversification for the Cambridgeshire-based label. The first change is that Phil has handed over compilation duties to an “outsider” – Ginger Tony. Tony is a hard working DJ who’s hosted his ‘Jump Start’ show on Solar radio for the past three years and he’s recently become a resident at Dr. Bob Jones’ famed ‘Surgery’ sessions … great recommendation then. The second big difference which Soul Unsigned followers will quickly notice is that a lot of the music here is not quite what we’ve come to expect from the label. Some of the tracks here will have so-called soul “purists” (a.k.a. “blinkered conservatives”) reaching for their smelling salts and James Carr retrospectives, because, you see, Ginger Tony has dared to include tunes that smack of house music, why there’s even a smattering of Latin and jazz cuts… how very dare he!!! Well, genuine soul fans are broadminded enough to know that real soul can be found in all kinds of places – yes even in dance venues, Latin clubs and jazz cellars while the many who’ve enjoyed all the previous Soul Unsigned albums will know that Phil Driver’s policy is to cast his soul net far and wide and to never be afraid to be “different”. So what are the “different” tunes here? Well for starters there’s the big mish-mash that’s the Jivers’ ‘Do What’. It brings together all kinds of flavours and is as quirky as the city that spawned it – Barcelona. Then there’s the loping house grooves of Brenda Boykin’s ‘Love’s In Town’ … and what an assured vocal. Ping to ‘Latin Groove’ from Smoove & Turrell or ‘Day By Day’ by the Jazzinvaders and you might think you were listening to a legendary Fania label compilation. There’s more Latin inflections on both the loose and leggy Parker’s ‘Dig ‘n Swing’ and the Japanese-originated ‘Sands Of Time’ from Monday Michiru. I can offer no greater recommendation than to say that both reminded me of Swing Out Sister. In truth, I didn’t get the Lack Of Afro Mix on Kraak and Smaak’s ‘Squeeze Me’. I felt it just liked focus… an aberration more than made up for by some sparkling, more “traditional” soul cuts – namely 45’s ‘I Believe’ and the Wet Cookies with ‘Something’s Changing’. The former (with vocals from Stephanie McKay) is already and rightfully a “big tune” and the latter has all the potential to become one too. But to get the real flavour of how the old meets the new or how the familiar sits with the different try ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ from Mo’Horizons or ‘Shine’ from Shuya Okino. ‘Shine’ is soulful house at its best but listen hard and you’ll hear echoes of the wonderful ‘Just You And Me’ from Sean Oliver, while ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ drags the Godfather’s funk into the 21st. century – and dig that crazy horn intro. All good stuff in my book… but I do know that the blinkered brigade will find things to carp about: sadly – it’s their loss.
(BB) 4/5