LISA STANSFIELD; Seven + (Monkeynatra Records)

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The ever lovely Lisa Stansfield is enjoying a real renaissance at the moment. She’s recently completed a sell-out tour, enjoyed high profile TV appearances and her Northern soul movie is about to hit a multiplex near you this very week! Oh, and let’s not forget her wonderful album, ‘Seven’, which wowed critics and fans alike earlier in the year (our archive will get you access to a review and an exclusive interview with Ms S too).

The album was unusual because it appealed to what we might call your average music lover (and we don’t mean that in any derogative way or mean to, imply that the album was “average”) AND to proper soul fans who loved the dance floor potential of many of the album’s cuts – so much so that many of the best soul remix teams retooled several of the tracks to give them extra special dance floor life… and each and every one of those remixes hit the spot with the connoisseurs.

However many of those remixes were limited editions – some only serviced to top DJs – and by implication hard to get hold of … till now. You see, Lisa’s people have wisely decided to reissue the ‘Seven’ album in a new de-luxe, extended 2 CD format which offers the original album on the first disc along with all those great remixes on CD 2.

In our review of the original LP we said that “the 10 tracker is a fabulous synthesis of everything that made us love Lisa back in the day…. energized dancers, feisty feminism and tender, tear-jerking ballads” and re-listening there’s nothing that would make us change our minds. There’s also the bonus of the inclusion of a track that didn’t make the cut the first time around. Tune in question is the quite lovely ‘There Goes My Heart’ – a classic slice of Stansfield soul.

The second CD in the pack – masterfully put together by soul-man-about-town Steve Ripley – contains all those magic remixes and amongst the many highlights is the wonderful Soul Talk remix of ‘So Be It’. The song in its original format was always one of the standouts on ‘Seven’ but Messrs McKone and Baker transform it into one of 2014’s best modern soul dancers… its excellence testified by its inclusion on the year’s definitive modern soul compilation, ‘Soul Togetherness 2014’.

Other highlights include the two Cool Million remixes of that “new” song, ‘There Goes My Heart’ and Opolopo’s synth-driven re-working of ‘Picket Fence’. In fairness some soul folk might grimace at the more housiefied cuts (e.g. Moto Blanco’ s edit of ‘Can’t Dance’) but then again the house heads might not go for Andy Lewis’s Northern flavoured re-tooling of the same song. But that’s little Lisa for you – she offers something for everyone and does it with a real generosity of soul.

(BB) 4/5