Category Archives: Soul

9 of the best – sounds of 2018

Samuelsounds begins a short hiatus for the festive season. As is my way, I leave you with my favourite sounds of 2018. They are in no particular order. Merry Christmas, have a great holiday and see you in the New Year, when I will whittle 12 to 9. (Done!)

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Talking Straight

Father John Misty – Just Dumb Enough to Try

Natalie Prass – Lost

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land

Stephen Malkmus – Solid Silk

Vasser – Valerians

Let’s Eat Grandma – Donnie Darko

Oscar L – Monster Tube

Kokoroko – Abusey Junction

Honourable mentions also go to: Childish Gambino for ‘This Is America‘; Phum Viphurit for ‘Lover Boy‘; Fake Shark for ‘Wake Up‘; Phosphorescent for ‘New Birth in New England‘; Bodega for ‘Jack In Titanic‘; MorMor for ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful‘; Kanye West & Kid Cudi for ‘Reborn‘; Christine and the Queens for ‘Damn, dis-moi‘; Lana Del Rey for ‘Mariners Apartment Complex‘; The Voidz for ‘Leave It In My Dreams‘; Nilüfer Yanya for ‘Thanks 4 Nothing‘ and DJ Koze for ‘Pick Up‘.

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The Style Council – Changing Of The Guard (1988)

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From an album that was overlooked to one that was pored over, but discarded nonetheless. 1988’s Confessions of a Pop Group is the critically derided album by The Style Council. Paul Weller was accused of being self indulgent and pretentious – and it left him without a record contract in the U.K. Still, as I listen to ‘Changing Of The Guard’, I still like the jazz-pop-orchestra fusion thing. So what do I know?!

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Everything Is Recorded feat. Sampha – Close But Not Quite (2017)

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The production prowess of XL Recordings founder Richard Russell, the tender voice of Sampha and an inspired Curtis Mayfield sample (from ‘The Makings Of You’)… what else could you ask for? Russel struck gold last year with the single ‘Close But Not Quite’. The song features on his album Everything Is Recorded.

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Nilüfer Yanya – Thanks 4 Nothing (2018)

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This next year could be the breakthrough year for 22-year-old Nilüfer Yanya. She grew up listening to Nina Simone, Amy Winehouse and the Pixies and if you listen carefully and open your mind, you can hear the references in her indie soul. ‘Thanks 4 Nothing’ featured on her 2018 EP Do You Like Pain.

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Georgia Anne Muldrow – Run Away (2009)

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A 17-year old Georgia Anne Muldrow was confident enough to mix free jazz, hip-hop and soul. The result was the album Early. In truth it’s a mixed bag, but ‘Run Away’ is a pearl. A song about reaching high – take off and fly, run away. Have a great weekend.

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Ella Mai feat. Chris Brown – Whatchamacallit (2018)

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Ella Mai’s type of R&B might not be zeitgeist, but the popularity of this year’s hit ‘Boo’d Up’ seemed to say otherwise. ‘Whatchamacallit’ features on her self-titled debut. Retro. Mitcham massive! Have a great weekend.

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Quiet Elegance – You’ve Got My Mind Messed Up (1973)

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Staying on the soul train for another day, this is ‘You’ve Got My Mind Messed Up’ by Quiet Elegance. Originally released as a B-side to their less remarkable song ‘I Need Love’. Quiet Elegance were formed in 1971 by Martha’s sister Lois Reeves and two former members of The Glories – Frankie Gearing and Mildred Vaney. Have a great weekend.

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Lee Fields & The Expressions – Precious Love (2016)

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I am just squeezing in a post before the day is up here in Blighty. I spent some time in a local park today to the soul soundtrack of Lee Fields & The Expressions’ 2016 album Special Night. The best came last; the single ‘Precious Love’ closes the long player perfectly.

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Adele – Chasing Pavements (2008)

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In 2008, the nineteen-year-old singer-songwriter Adele Adkins burst onto the scene with her much-discussed debut album 19. This was blue-eyed soul, but adorned with a voice that was destined to penetrate the public’s consciousnesses. The single ‘Chasing Pavements’ was the first blueprint for her inevitable stardom.

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Jimmy Cliff – Many Rivers To Cross (1972)

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“Wandering I am lost/As I travel along the white cliffs of Dover…” Jimmy Cliff wrote these immortal lines at the young age of 21, when he was reflecting on the his fading dreams of becoming a successful musical artist in the UK, having left Jamaica at the age of 14. The irony.

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Childish Gambino – Redbone (2016)

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In 2016, after more than two years of no music, Childish Gambino resurfaced with his third studio album Awaken, My Love! Zeitgeist Gambino showed that he had been wasting no time. Channeling the sound of Prince and Connan Mockasin (now there’s a notion), he carefully moved away from rapping; listening to the standout single ‘Redbone’, you can hear, funk, soul and sadness. Talent.

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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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