Expansion’s ‘Soul Togetherness’ series closes its first decade with a collection that’s every bit as good as any of the previous nine. It’s all down to the tireless sifting, searching and sorting of Messrs Tee and Searling whose forays into the big, wide, wonderful world of modern soul always come up with the goods. As ever this 15 tracker is a delicious mix of oldies and new stuff and though some of the tunes have already had great exposure on all the best soul sites (this one included), it’s good to have them reassembled into a meaningful mix.
Of those already “bigged” new cuts, the best remain Jonathan Butler’s Benson-esque ‘So Strong’, Adriana Evans’ beguiling ‘Surrender’ and Richard Earnshaw’s Kenny Thomas–vocalised ‘Waiting’. The other new gems here are Brian Culbertson’s ‘Another Love’, Al Olive’s ‘Slow Down’ and Olivier Hutman’s ‘I Lost My Way’. The first was rightly championed by Jazz FM and features a great vocal from Kenny Latimore; the second is a sublime Luther Vandross pastiche (‘My Sensitivity Gets In The Way’ part 2); while the third shows once again that France is currently delivering some great soul – mind you, this one was produced by Dexter Wansel!
Best of the oldies? Well there are an awful lot of contenders. For starters what about Madagascar’s ‘Rainbow’? With a vocal that could be Philip Bailey – it’s an ultimate feel-good record, while Michael Henderson’s 1978 classic ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ is well worth its inclusion. Cherry on the cake though is undoubtedly the Phat Phili Mix of Teddy Pendergrass’ ‘Believe In Love’. It first sneaked out in 1993 and was only available for a short time (on CD at any rate) on a Mastercuts compilation. Now it’s back and for your soul’s sake don’t miss it this time around. It’s the perfect example of what modern soul is all about… mind you we could say that about almost any of the tracks here.