Review: On this sumptuous Juno Download exclusive, bearded soul boy Aroop Roy's smooth Nomadic Soul album gets a good going over from a wide range of like-minded artists. There's a variety of soul-flecked moods and grooves represented, from warm deep house, snappy nu-jazz and slick modern soul to wonky hip-hop, and speaker-bothering bruk. The standard of remixes is largely high throughout, with a smattering of real stand-outs. Check, in particular, the heavy late night dancefloor vibes of Greymatter's strutting mix of "I'd Die For You", the rolling, near-anthemic broken beats of Yellowtail and Simbad's sparkling efforts, and the Domu-ish wooziness of Cone's rub of "Lily".
Review: Brian Auger, is the most famous musician you've never heard of. The Londoner has been sampled by Mos Def, Common and Air. Last year's first instalment of this anthology gained a large, new audience for Auger, with tours and media appearances aplenty. Now Volume 2 collects remastered classics from his 50-year career, but also rare and previously unreleased material. Highlights include sizzling jazz piano tracks ("Poinciana", "Work Song"), rare Hammond organ/big band versions of jazz standards as well as appearances by the likes of Julie Driscoll, Mike Clark and Paul Jackson (Headhunters) and Alex Ligertwood (Oblivion Express). Breathtaking.
Happiness Is Just Around The Bend - (6:54) 134 BPM
Straight Ahead - (6:26) 96 BPM
Bumpin'AA On Sunset - (11:25) 86 BPM
Inner City Blues - (6:08) 93 BPM
Whenever You'AAre Ready - (7:48) 152 BPM
Truth - (7:53) 80 BPM
Don'AAt Look Away, Look Around - (8:23) 100 BPM
Second Wind - (5:08) 82 BPM
I Love You More Than You All Ever Know - (7:30) 141 BPM
Future Pilot - (7:27) 142 BPM
Compared To What - (11:55) 153 BPM
Brain Damage - (8:02) 95 BPM
Review: Originally a big jazz pianist, Brian Auger switched his attention to the Hammond Organ in 1965 creating a revolutionary jazz-fusion sound in the process. Here they are recently captured live running through material from their 40-year career, and sung by esteemed vocalist Alex Ligertwood.
Review: Two stone cold legends on one unforgettable 45": Courtney and Omar build on their recent Black Notes From The Deep live collaborations with a stunning original and killer cover. "Rules" is a funk-based track that jumps and sizzles with a fresh contemporary energy that you might not expect from either party while "Butterfly" pays a very special homage to another stone cold legend Herbie Hancock. A beautiful release. You might say there's nothing like it.
Review: Ever since they recruited powerhouse vocalist 'Mighty" May Johnston for some tracks on second album, Look Out, Watch Out, back in 2011, this raw and retro Aussie soul band have been slowly building up to this, their first proper album with Johnston at the helm. "Come Alive!" certainly does just that, boasting ten effervescent '60s / '70s indebted gems that don't mess about. We've been recently introduced to two tracks here ("Done Me Wrong", "Souls Come Alive") via a teaser single and boy, have they set the tone for this accomplished record by a group at their musical peak. Bravo.
Review: Aussie retro-soul outfit Deep Street Soul introduced us to new vocalist 'Mighty" May Johnston on their second album back in 2011. Now they've finally finished the follow-up and we can expect album No 3 very shortly. Here they offer a two-track sampler to get us in the mood. That it does too in a big way with "Souls Come Alive" channeling the vibes of the late, great Janis Joplin on this bluesy soul ballad. The other teaser here is the stomping "Done Me Wrong", which features a slick beat shuffle, sassy brass and the most gritty, powerful roar in music today!
Review: Building on their self-titled debut LP for Freestyle Records, this Australian funk juggernaut returns stronger than ever - with DSS' new vocalist May Johnston lending a wicked soulful snarl to the raw delights of new single "Look Out Watch Out". With live funk drums taking centre stage in the mix over Hammond organ and chicken-scratch guitars, it's a raucous delight. In contrast, their cover of Clarence Reid's "Masterpiece" (this time sung by Greenbacks' Shirley Davis) is a slower, cowbell-driven soul stomper.
Review: Building on their self-titled debut LP for Freestyle Records, Australian funk juggernaut Deep Street Soul return stronger than ever - with new vocalist May Johnston lending a wicked soulful snarl to the raw delights of "Look Out Watch Out". With live funk drums taking centre stage in the mix over Hammond organ and chicken-scratch guitars, it's a raucous delight. In contrast, their cover of Clarence Reid's "Masterpiece" (this time sung by Greenbacks' Shirley Davis) is a slower, cowbell-driven soul stomper.
This Love Ain't Big Enough (feat Shirley Davis) - (3:05) 123 BPM
Review: Down home funk that recalls old-school greats like Marva Whitney as well as new jack funkateers like Sharon Jones and The Dap Tones from Deep Street Soul, who work up a stomp on the excellent "Hold On Me" and back it up with the more jazzy popcorn swing of "This Love Ain't Big Enough". Two excellent cuts from the group's latest LP, "Look Out, Watch Out".
Review: Having developed from their roots as Hammond-heavy funkateers trading under the name Reverend Cleatus & The Soul Saviours, The Fantastics show off a fantastic range of styles on their second LP, All The People. Their cover of Boogaloo Joe Jones' "Sweetback" still contains all the essential funk flavours - sax solos, beautifully bluesy funk guitar and a tight rhythm section locking down the groove - while "Somewhere Finally" uses Sulene Fleming's vocals to create a modern take on doo-wop, while "Cold Case" breaks out with the slide guitars and harmonicas for a down-home blues out. Add to that the samba-jazz of "Cecils Slide" and the mellow, flute-driven Afro-funk of "Know No Gods" and it's clear The Fantastics have been very hard at work of late.
Cold Case (45 version feat Sulene Fleming) - (3:52) 87 BPM
Fat Hector - (3:22) 86 BPM
Review: For the second single from their rather marvellous All The People LP, The Fantastics enrol singer Sulene Fleming to join them on the slow funky blues of "Cold Case". Featuring a mean harmonica and some gritty rock 'n' roll guitars, Fleming owns the song with her commanding vocals, which is presented here in its "45 Version" format. As a bonus, the band have also thrown in instrumental and live favourite "Fat Hector" on to the release, which is a must-have for fans of funk-filled retro swing.
Review: With a growing rep on the UK funk scene, and BBC support from Mark Lamarr and Craig Charles, The Fantastics are on the grow. With new singer Sulene Fleming also on board, they sound magisterial on "Somewhere Finally" - a slow and classically soulful funk song which makes great use of the interplay between Mark Norton's sax and Fleming's warm and swooping delivery. On a more Meters/Jimmy Smith tip, "Up Yours" on the flipside is a Hammond-led slinker, while "Mushroom Strut" goes all out on a 90s Acid Jazz groove. Look out for their second album which should be hitting the stores soon.