Category Archives: Soul

Cuco feat. Jean Carter – Bossa No Sé (2019)

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I short changed my regular subscribers this week. Today a bonus track, tomorrow a “Best of” list. L.A. singer-songwriter Cuco has shared a new song called ‘Bossa No Sé’. It’s an advance single from his forthcoming debut LP Para Mi, to be released on 26 July on Interscope. Alt-soul or bossanova-pop-hip-hop… whatever the label, his story of bad romance is endearing. The duet format with Jean Carter (from L.A. hip-hopsters Your Grandparents) is fun. Have a great weekend.

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Bob & Earl – Harlem Shuffle (1963)

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Before it was named by George Harrison as his favourite song, before it was covered pretty badly by The Rolling Stones, and before House of Pain lifted its horns for ‘Jump Around’, ‘Harlem Shuffle’ had already gone through its own rebirth. Co-arranged by Barry White and Gene Page, the original single wasn’t a commercial success. But then it was reissued six years later in 1969 and hit the chart heights. Apparently it took that long to learn the dance.

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The Black Keys – Never Gonna Give You Up (2010)

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The Black Keys did something remarkable once they joined the likes of Wilco on Nonesuch Records. Over the course of four albums, they completed a journey from a blues-rockin’ duo in Akron, Ohio to awesome glam soul stadium rockers travelling the globe on a cloud of musical distortion. But during this rise, they were also able to fit in a cover version of Jerry Butler’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’. Style.

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Wilson Pickett – Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You (1970)

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It’s not a ‘Land Of 100 Dances’ or ‘In The Midnight Hour’, but the equally classic ‘Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You’. The song was written by The Formations (Jerry Akines, Victor Drayton, Johnnie Bellmon and Reginald Turner) but Wilson Pickett’s version was its first release as a  7″ single. And what a single?! Pressed on Atlantic Records, it also featured the funky ‘Ain’t No Doubt About It’ on its flipside. ‘Don’t Let The Green Grass …’ has since been covered by many fans of Pickett, including The (Detroit) Spinners, Huey Lewis and The California Honeydrops.

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Solange – Way To The Show (2019)

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There’s something exceptional about Solange Knowles’s sound and group of producer pals. Her genre is not one I fully appreciate, but I make exception for songs like ‘Way To The Show’. This glossy soul funk comes her latest album When I Get Home. Have a great week.

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The Isley Brothers – That Lady, Pts. 1 & 2 (1973)

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Looking back at last week, Durand Jones and his the Indications got me thinking about The Isley Brothers. In 1973, Ernie Isley and family had the genius idea of covering their own 1964 single ‘Who’s That Lady’ on their 1973 album 3 + 3. The result was the retitled classic ‘That Lady, Pt. 1 & 2’.

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Durand Jones & The Indications – Morning in America (2019)

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The retro soul sound of Durand Jones & The Indications is almost unsurpassable. Listening to ‘Morning in America’, I feel that you could be hearing the output of Bobby Womack. Ths song features on the album American Love Call, released earlier this month.

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Seinabo Sey – I Owe You Nothing (2018)

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Seinabo Sey is different. Okay, she’s Swedish-Gambian and she’s got the voice, but there’s also a self confidence in ‘I Owe You Nothing’ that I wasn’t expecting.

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Johnny Thunder – I’m Alive (1968)

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Johnny wasn’t always Mr. Thunder. He was born Gil Hamilton in Florida, where he started singing in church at an early age. After working with the ever changing touring party of The Drifters and singing backing for Dionne Warwick, his break came in 1963 with a novelty version of the nursery song ‘Loop de Loop’. But it was in 1968 that he recorded the song that should have made him a household name. Thunder released ‘I’m Alive’. At the time, Bob Dylan referred to it as “one of the most powerful records I’ve ever heard”.

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Macy Gray feat Erykah Badu – Sweet Baby (2001)

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Good morning. We kick off this week with one of the lesser known tracks of Macy Gray. The Ohio-born soul singer was always going to find it difficult to reach the heights of her debut album On How Life Is, but somehow her time came and went far too quickly. (Has it really been 20 years?) Nevertheless the quality of her voice continued to permeate in some of her later work. In 2001, she released her second studio album The Id. The lead single is ‘Sweet Baby’, a collaboration with Erykah Badu and guitarist John Frusciante from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Have a great week.

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Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – You’re All I Need To Get By (1968)

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Happy Valentines! You’re All I Need was the second and final studio album by soul royalty Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Terrell’s untimely death robbed us of one of the greatest double acts in soul history. The title track ‘You’re All I Need to Get By’ was written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson.

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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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