The title’s the big give away here. Yes, this ab fab 16 tracker is part of Expansion’s 25th anniversary celebrations and as with all good music parties there’s plenty of exciting new stuff and lots of cherished oldies.
A trio of stunning new cuts opens the collection. They are the Shirley Jones/Jean Carne collaboration, ‘Whatever It Takes’; ‘Luv is Comin’ Up’ from Tom Glide; and ‘Step By Step ‘from Leon Ware… and before you say, “hang on the Tom Glide tune isn’t new”… well, yes, the song isn’t – but this remix is. Here, good old Chris Bangs gives it his best Drizabone sound-alike shot and creates an instant, irresistible modern soul classic. Same description applies to the other two… though with those artists you wouldn’t expect anything else would you? On any other album they’d be the absolute standouts, but here, there’s so much more it seems that Messrs Tee and Searling are really spoiling us. Other choice brand new cuts come from Kloud 9 (‘Sweet Sensation’), Soul Talk (the Cool Million mix of ‘Really Don’t Mind’), Manchester’s very own Victor Haynes (‘From The Bottom Of My Heart’) and James Day (‘Young Hearts (Will Never Be Lonely))’ – a fine down tempo moment with vocal from Chauncey Matthews).
Then, there’s stuff that – though not brand new – is still of recent vintage – like Keni Burke’s ‘So Real’, Sheree Brown’s ‘Just A Simple Love’ and Kindred The Family Soul’s ‘Magic Happen’.
Add to all that a wonderful smattering of oldies – Maysa Leak’s ‘The Bottle’, James King’s ‘Memory’, Kuh Ledesma’s ‘Dreaming’ and Leo’s Sunship’s ‘Give Me The Sunshine’ and you have all the ingredients that make this the best modern soul compilation of the year.