SNOWBOY: Snowboy’s Soul Spectacular (Label: BGP)

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SNOWBOY: Snowboy's Soul Spectacular

Mark Cotgrove is Snowboy and that dual identity is only half the story of the man’s complexities. He’s been part of the UK music scene since the mid 80s and since then he’s recorded in different guises for a number of labels and in a number of styles. He’s also the percussionist of choice for any number of name artists who want authentic rhythms on whatever track they may be recording. That said there’s not a lot of easily-accessible material currently available on the man … and it’s especially hard to trace those great tunes he cut in his non-Latin Section periods. Well, it’s all been put right now, thanks to Ace’s BGP subsidiary. Here we have 13 cuts collected from a number of labels, covering the period 1991 – 2001 that show (again) that when the spirit’s right and there’s a genuine motivator in place, UK studios can turn out soul every bit as authentic as their US counterparts. Case in point here is Snowboy’s’ beautiful version of Dorothy Moore’s Malaco tune ‘Girl Overboard’. When ever two soul heads get together, arguments will rage over which is the better version… and more often than not the vote goes to Cotgrove’s Anna Ross-vocalized take. Equally, even Leroy Hutson fans concede that Snowboy’s version of ‘Lucky Fellow’ (featuring) Noel McKoy) is every bit as good as the original – though in fairness it’s treated a whole lot differently. Elsewhere on this collection you get more vocals from McKoy and Ross – ‘Give Me The Sunshine’ and ‘Where Love Loves’ and plenty of free ranging instrumentals that go from loose jazzers to funky steamers via Afro foot-tappers. Best of those instrumentals is ‘Astralization’ – a sincere homage to the Mizell brothers with just the precise amount of other-worldliness. As a portrait of one side of the artist the compilation is faultless and we’re told that BGP plan to complete the picture with a collection of Snowboy’s best Latin bits later in the year.
(BB) 4/5