Expansion’s annual Togetherness compilation is always eagerly awaited by the real soul fraternity. They know that the album will – without doubt – deliver the very best selection of modern soul and this new 15 tracker does exactly that … and, as with some of the more recent sets, compilers Ralph Tee and Richard Searling have cast their soul nets over a wide area – both in terms of geography and time. Here there’s music from the States, the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, Switzerland… even South America. Amongst the best of the new stuff there’s Kylie Audlist’s wonderful ‘In a Week, In A Day’ (www.soulandjazzandfunk.com being the first UK based media to big up the tune) while the most venerated oldie on offer is the Impressions’ 1976 Cotillion outing ‘This Time’, begging the question why so much of their post Curtis Mayfield work is so neglected. Other great cuts from the past included here are the Tavares’ ‘Only One I Need To Love’ from 1980, and Chaka Khan’s ‘Lover’s Touch’. That one first saw the light of day in 1981 as a b-side and has lain lost and neglected till now. Great though those tunes are, it’s the new stuff that’s the life blood of modern soul and there’s plenty here to indicate the future’s bright. Root Soul’s ‘My Dream Came True’ is a particularly strong opener, Tyrone Lee’s ‘Time Of Your Life’ maintains the pace and quality, while the Jimmy Abney-vocalised ‘Nothing Feels Better Than You’ from 45 aka Swing-O must make you seek the source album, ‘The Revenge Of Soul’. Best of the bunch, though, is the crunching ‘Was She Worth It’ from LA’s Jovonnie. The track has all the soul power of the classic anthems that Jam and Lewis crafted with the Sounds Of Blackness – yes, it is that good! Gentler and with a feel of Mark Johnson’s ‘Daydream’ is ‘Seasons’ from Jonny Montana and interestingly, amongst all these great vocals, the collection also features an instrumental, the Joey Negro Dub Mix of The Los Charly’s Orchestra’s ‘Some Of The Things’. Who’d have thought that at the beginning of the whole Togetherness thing they’d eventually be featuring an instrumental let alone one from Venezuelan musicians! We’re wondering what they’ll come up with next year … we can hardly wait!