Category Archives: Soul

Delegation ‎- Oh Honey (1976)

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As I start to think about the soundtrack to summer, I bring you the lounging groove of Delegation. Ricky Bailey, Ray Patterson, Len Coley were doing their thing at the tail end of the 1970s. They never surpassed the magic of ‘Oh Honey’, which deftly cutting a path between the dominant sounds of Earth Wind & Fire and Fleetwood Mac. On YouTube, I feature Majestic Casuals’s suitably named Poolside Edit. Have a great weekend.

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Clarence Carter – Patches (1970)

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He’s had a long career, but I am not too familiar with Clarence Carter’s canon. However, the title track off his 1970 album Patches is a classic. Have a great weekend.

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William DeVaughn ‎- Be Thankful For What You Got (1974)

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Massive Attack gave a second life to this song in 1991 when they covered it for their seminal album Blue Lines. ‘Be Thankful For What You Got’ was a originally released by D.C.-born soul singer William Edward DeVaughn Jr. It cuts a beautifully fine line between jazz funk and soul. Have a great weekend.

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Paolo Nutini – Candy (2009)

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Singer-songwriter Paolo Nutini’s sophomore effort, Sunny Side Up, is a relatively easy listening affair. However, within it are some standout moments.  The single ‘Candy’ is full of the type of blue-eyed soul rock that fans of Van Morrison and John Martyn will appreciate. “I’m a heartless man at worst, babe/And a helpless one at best.”

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Melody Gardot – My One and Only Thrill (2009)

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The haunting sound of Melody Gardot. For her second studio album, Gardot mined a dark piano jazz style, and no more so than on the title track. Critics’ references to a blue-eyed Nina Simone are very complimentary, but not that unfathomable. My One and Only Thrill was released on the Verve label in 2009.

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Childhood – Californian Light (2017)

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The last time I heard Childhood, I am sure they were part of the psych-rock renaissance. No more, if ‘Californian Light’ is a signal of what is to come. Ben Romans-Hopcraft leads the way with a new soul-infused sound from new album Universal High. I am reminded of the blue-eyed soul of The Style Council.

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The Five Stairsteps – O-o-h Child (1970)

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At about the same time that The Jackson 5 were making waves, the first family of soul, The Five Stairsteps, released the song ‘O-o-h Child’.  The family were Betty and Clarence Burke Sr.’s five children: Alohe Jean, Clarence Jr., James, Dennis and Keni. Maybe it’s just me, but that earworm chorus, the drum rhythm and the singing siren (at roughly a minute in) make me wonder why this disc only sold a million copies. Have a great weekend.

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The Impressions – Stay Close To Me (1968)

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Close to you, close to me… get it? The pressing of the LP This Is My Country looks and reads as if it should be a protest album by Chicago-based The Impressions. However, aside of the title track, the album was anything but. For example, the Curtis Mayfield-penned track ‘Stay Close To Me’ sounds more like upbeat Motown than gritty Chicago soul. In fact, The Five Stairsteps & Cubie version would become a Northern Soul dance floor staple. Both records were released in 1968 on Mayfield’s Curtom Records label. Have a great weekend.

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John Mayer – Moving On And Getting Over (2017)

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Singer John Mayer’s eleventh album The Search for Everything was released in January. It’s a break-up album and the funky opener ‘Moving on and Getting Over’ puts it simply. It’s a return to his a more blue-eyed soulful side after his dalliance with sounds of Laurel Canyon.

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Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Ain’t No Mountain High Enough (1967)

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On this day (20 April) 50 years ago, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell released ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’. The song had been held back by writers Ashford & Simpson from the likes of Dusty Springfield as the their strongest case for entry to Motown. They knew they had a gold-plated disc on their hands. And they were right; they secured a contract with the Detroit-baed label and the song’s success led to a string of more Ashford & Simpson-penned duets (including ‘Two Can Have A Party‘, ‘You’re All I Need to Get By’, ‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing’, and ‘Your Precious Love’). Bliss.

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Velvet Hammer – Happy (1977)

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In 1977, Andre Williams recorded a number of tracks in Chicago with a band Williamsput. The collaboration was called the Velvet Hammer and represented Williams’ foray into the world of disco. In truth, the music became more prevalent on the Northern Soul scene. ‘Happy’ was the B-side to ‘Party Hardy’. Pharrell Williams certainly flipped the disc over.

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Cass McCombs – Opposite House (2016)

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I’ve noticed my start to the year is a little solemn. There’s no changing the low key today. Cass McCombs released ‘Opposite House’ as the the first single from last year’s long player Mangy Love. Angel Olsen provides backing vocals on the chorus. “Oh why/Why does it rain inside?” they sing. Have a great weekend.

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Sampha – Blood On Me (2016)

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Known for being the principal vocalist for Aaron Jerome’s SBTRKT, Sampha Sisay is flying high and solo. ‘Blood On Me’ is a contemporary slice of electro-infused soul released on West London’s Young Turks label. His voice is breathless, urgent and engaging.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2016

My favourite sounds of 2016 in no particular order…

The Avalanches – Because I’m Me

Whitney – No Woman

Glass Animals – Life Itself

Car Seat Headrest – Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales

Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”

The Strokes – Threat of Joy

Okkervil River – Okkervil River R.I.P.

The Weeknd feat. Daft Punk – I Feel It Coming

Traumprinz – 2Bad

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Honourable mentions also go to: De La Soul for ‘Trainwreck‘; The Last Shadow Puppets for ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect‘; Let’s Eat Grandma for ‘Deep Six Textbook‘; Anderson .Paak for ‘Come Down‘; Solange for ‘Cranes In The Sky‘; DJ Snake for ‘Let Me Love You’; Honne for ‘Someone That Loves You‘; and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds for ‘Rings Of Saturn‘.

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Solange – Cranes In The Sky (2016)

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‘Cranes in the Sky’ features on Solange’s album A Seat at the Table. The track features Raphael Saadiq on bass, a downtempo R&B take on Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Symphony’ and a video directed by the singer and her husband Alan Ferguson. Solange Knowles is working out some issues and blossoming with it.

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