VARIOUS: Soul Togetherness 2018 (Expansion)

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There is probably a complex explanation as to why, as you grow older, annual events seem to come round more quickly than ever before. So, it’s with a shudder of surprise that I’m pleased to announce that Expansion’s soul extravaganza that is the annual ‘Soul Togetherness’ compilation is now with us. Can it be 12 months since the last one…. can it be 18 years since the first one? Yep, that’s the simple fact and yep, the new 15 tracker has been put together (by Richard Searling and Ralph Tee) with the same passion, love and knowledge as the very first instalment in the franchise….. and yep, the quality of the music is every bit as good as any of the other ‘Togetherness’ sets.

The recipe is the same too (why change a winning formula?). That’s to say you get the musical cream from the year’s modern soul scene along with the odd left-fielder and a choice oldie or two. Here the big oldie is The Ritchie Family’s 1982 outing ‘One And Only’ and even though it’s something like 35 years old, its sonic template, groove, vibe and feel isn’t a million miles away from the more contemporary items on offer.

Over the year, here at SOULANDJAZZANDFUNK, we’ve pointed you to most of those contemporary items – notably Cornell Carter’s ‘That Feelin”, Kenny Thomas’ ‘Your Love’, James Day’s ‘He’s A Hurricane’, John Reid’s ‘All Night Long’ and Jakki Graham’s ‘About Your Love’.

Of the less familiar stuff we heartily recommend the Change “comeback cut” ‘Hit Or Miss’, the Motown Gospel outing ‘One More Praise’ from Brian Courtney Wilson’ and the ab fab ‘Do Something’ from the wonderfully named Ernest Ernie and the Sincerities which magically blends uptown sophistication with gritty southern passion. Yes, it does owe more than a little to ‘What’s Going On’ but it’s still a magnificent modern soul gem. But we could say that about any other 14 tracks here!

(BB) 4/5