Category Archives: Soul

Cola Boyy – Have You Seen Her (2018)

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Matthew Urango, aka Cola Boyy, is a 28 year-old multi-instrumentalist and singer from Oxnard, California (hometown Anderson .Paak). Like .Paak he blends disco, soul, funk and his own groove to create something sunny and joyous. And I love the piano. Have a great weekend.

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Sly & The Family Stone – Everyday People (1968)

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The classic single ‘Everyday People’ from Sly & The Family Stone. This was 1968 – an annus mirabilis for popular music. Different strokes for different folks. The song would feature on their 1969 album Stand.

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Christopher Cross – Sailing (1979)

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Listening to Christopher Cross, it is hard to believe that he played guitar for Deep Purple in San Antonio, Texas in 1970. Richie Blackmore had fallen ill and undoubtedly it was not his soulful vocals that they sought out. A little later than usual this morning, it’s the sunny disposition of ‘Sailing’. Absolutely, it is clearly a guilty pleasure.

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Matthew E. White – Big Love (2012)

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It is hard to categorise Matthew E. White’s sound on ‘Big Love’. Larger than life, the song featured on his 2012 album the Big Inner. The bass groove, honky-tonk piano, the Philly strings, the backing singers, the sax and something celestial… it’s a very tasty soup.

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Phum Viphurit – Lover Boy (2018)

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Tender, funky, smooth, neo soulful, crooning, Thai, Australasian, the sound of of singer-songwriter Phum Viphurit is hard to pidgeonhole. ‘Lover Boy’ is his latest play.

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Bastien Keb – Pick Up (2017)

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Multi-instrumentalist Bastien Keb released his concept album 22.02.85 on First Word Records in 2017. Keb draws on the influences and builds on the sounds of Bon Iver and Connan Mockasin. The album is an alluring brew of alternative soul. Have a great weekend.

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Jordan Rakei – Hiding Place (2018)

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Recently signed to Ninja Tune, Jordan Rakei has battled his demons and written the album Wallflower. It’s an exploration into the world of an introverted soul singer, which is what makes his metamorphosis even more remarkable. Jordan was enjoying a cult following in his hometown of Brisbane when he upped sticks and circumnavigated the planet to London. He has since been able to collaborate with a roll call of London talent. It helps that his voice is smoother than butter and he borrows from D’Angelo and the type of reggae that Sting would enjoy. The album finishes with ‘Hiding Place’ and the title track.

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Jamila Woods – HEAVN (2016)

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Like Kali Uchis, Jamila Woods has quite a few friends. She released her debut album HEAVN in 2016 and was already able to showcase collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Noname and Donnie Trumpet amongst others. The result is a collage of soul, jazz and hip-hop, with all the authenticity you would expect from someone raised on the Southside of Chicago. The album’s title track is a great way to kick of the week. Have a good one.

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Alice Clark – Don’t You Care (1972)

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With ‘Never Did I Stop Loving You’, ‘Don’t You Care’ took the the Acid Jazz scene by storm in the 1990s. Both cut for Alice Clark’s eponymous 1972 album, these recordings are key pieces of early 1970s soul from a singer at the peak of her powers. Have a great weekend.

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Leon Bridges – Bad Bad News (2018)

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Yesterday, Leon Bridges released an eye-catching video for his new single ‘Bad Bad News’ from the forthcoming album Good Thing. The sound is funkier than the vintage soul of his 2015 debut Coming Home. I like where the Texan is taking his music.

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Anderson .Paak – Put Me Thru (2016)

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I featured Anderson .Paak plenty on this blog in 2016, after the release of his revelatory long player Malibu. I overheard another one of that album’s standout tracks – ‘Put Me Thru’ – this week and I was reminded of his breezy blend of funk, soul and hip hop. Enjoy and have a good weekend.

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9 of the best – northern soul stompers

A compilation for a snowy weekend in Blighty. My 9 favourite northern soul belters in chronological order. Some very tough decisions and soul searching went into curating this list.

Frank Wilson ‎– Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) (1965)

The Steinways – My Heart’s Not In It Anymore (1966)

The Tomangoes – I Really Love You (1966)

Rubin – You’ve Been Away (1967)

The Fi-Dels – Try A Little Harder (1967)

Chuck Wood ‎- Seven Days Too Long (1967)

Freddie Chavez – They’ll Never Know Why (1968)

 The Impressions – Stay Close to Me (1968)

Carrie Cleveland – Love Will Set You Free (1980)

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Honourable mentions also go to: Ray Pollard for ‘The Drifter’ (1965); Luther Ingram for ‘If It’s All The Same To You Babe’ (1966); Carol And Gerri ‎for ‘How Can I Ever Find The Way’ (1966); Morris Chestnut for ‘Too Darn Soulful’ (1967); The Formations ‎for ‘At The Top Of The Stairs’ (1967); Barbara Acklin for ‘Am I The Same Girl‘ (1968); Epitome Of Sound for ‘You Don’t Love Me’ (1968); Dobie Gray ‎for ‘Honey, You Can’t Take It Back’ (1970); The Velvets for ‘I Got To Find Me Somebody’ (1973) and Smith Brothers for ‘There Can Be A Better Way’ (1974).

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Freddie Chavez – They’ll Never Know Why (1968)

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A huge tune in the halcyon days of the legendary Wigan Casino, this dance floor filler was recorded by soul musician and bandleader Freddie Chavez. This pressing was rare, touched by latino horns and blessed with rarity. Northern Soul glory.

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Frank Wilson ‎– Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) (1965)

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Frank Wilson, who later became a minister, wrote or co-wrote the hits ‘Love Child’ for Diana Ross and the Supremes, ‘Chained’ for Marvin Gaye and ‘All I Need’ for the Temptations. But before all of those shenanigans, he recorded this Northern Soul belter. The story goes that after the recording, Motown’s Berry Gordy asked Wilson to concentrate on writing rather than singing. The record never saw the light of day, because Gordy destroyed all the promo copies, save one that surfaced in 1977. Hence the Holy Grail of rare Northern Soul came about. A second copy was discovered in 1990 and in 1996 the record was bought by Kenny Burrell for £15,000, making it the most expensive 7″ single ever.

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The Fi-Dels – Try A Little Harder (1967)

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Another slice of Northern Soul on a Thursday. Producer and writer Bob Relf was one half of Bob & Earl of ‘Harlem Shuffle’ fame. Relf co-wrote ‘Try A Little Harder’ and it was originally released on the LA-based Keymen Records in 1967. A 1975 release on Vee Jay Records followed to cater for the UK’s demand for superior and rare examples of the Motown sound coming from all over the US. The re-release featured a “Keymen Strings” instrumental version on the B-side. The instrumental  became as much of a Northern Soul standard as its flip.

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