VARIOUS: Village Soul 2 (Label: Expansion)

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VARIOUS: Village Soul 2

This is modern soul DJ Terry Jones’ second ‘Village Soul’ compilation for Expansion and just like the first set, Terry uses his experience to prove that when done well, modern soul can offer more variety than some would accept. So here for example there’s the full-on retro sounds of Delegation’s ‘One More Step To Take’, the proto-house beats of Michael Proctor’s ‘Love Don’t Live’, the freshness of Billy Griffin’s ‘Like Water’ and the lovely sensitive sounds of Randy Brown’s ‘I’m Here’. Real soul? Well look no further than Aretha’s ‘It’s Just Your Love’, ZZ Hill’s take on Bettye Swan’s ‘Make Me Yours’ or the Dells in full flow on the mighty ‘Bring Back The Love Of Yesterday’. Other goodies amongst the 17 generous cuts include Rose Royce’s ‘Best Love’ and Adeva’s ‘Don’t Think About It’ and the imaginative yet simple cover of Gladys Knight’s ‘Walk In My Shoes’ from Bruce Cloud. The album’s other big cover version, however, doesn’t work so well – it’s the in-demand Chuck Jackson’s version of Bob Marley’s ‘Wait In Vain’. Chuck has great voice but the arrangement destroys the song’s intrinsic innocence. It does, though, make an interesting inclusion, as too does the Real Thing’s ‘Love Takes Tears’. As a died-in-the-wool, xenophobic Scouser I championed the song when it was first issued way, way back, but the smarter soul-know-alls dismissed it as lightweight pop… funny how time changes peoples’ musical perceptions. Here the song’s ensconced as a gem of modern soul – and no way out of place amongst the big soul names I’ve already mentioned… great song – on another great Expansion compilation
(BB) 4/5