Hey Hey Yeah Yeah: More New Retro Sounds

19 Jun

So I think you get the idea with this now (even though its an idea that’s really only just occurred to me):  I’m mainly interested in featuring things on this blog that you can actually go out and buy (fairly easily – there’s got to be some effort involved!).  There are plenty of other sites catering for rarities and obscurities, and increasingly as I get older I find the collecting thing off-putting and boring (though, as with other modern necessities such as drain cleaning and pest control, I’m glad that there as those who do – otherwise we wouldn’t have some of the great compilations and reissues that just seem to keep on coming).  So these are all great NEW records that are influenced by the past but could probably only be made in the here and now – swinging hammonds, funky guitars and cool vocals, beautifully recorded, and available to buy now!

So don’t let these slip by and then try and find then 10 years later when they’re out of print (yes, we’ve all been there) – get on it now!

In no particular order (but ladies first I guess):

1. Robin McKelle & the Flytones ‘Soul Flower’ (Doxie Records)

Robin’s been around for some time, recording a couple of jazzier albums for the likes of Blue Note in the past, but she’s gone back to her soul roots on this, hitting a nice jazzy, 60s soul vibe that feels just right for summer (even the ever tardy, increasingly shorter English summer).  Backed by a great group (think Daptone tightness) and with some wonderful guests (Lee Fields and the increasingly ubiquitous Gregory Porter), this is an album you can leave on from start to finish.  Backed by Sony Records, I could see this really crossing over, but no matter what, this is great retro soul music for 2013.  ‘Fairytale Ending’ is one of the best tracks, but as I say, its one you can play the whole way through (I could only find a live version of this on YouTube, recorded in France with lots of gratuitous ‘mercis’, but it gives  you a good feel of what they sound like):

 

2. James Taylor Quartet ‘Closer To The Moon’ (Real Self Records)

Long after their ‘Starsky and Hutch’ soundtracked heyday, but sounding better for it, JTQ have just carried on making great records.  Now on their own label, James sings on this (which is admittedly a bit peculiar, but its his party…), has gone a bit psychedelic (think Brian Auger meets 70s Horace Silver in the club scene from ‘Blow Up’), and has continued to turn out funky little groovers like the soundtrack-y ‘Paralello’ and PY-fave ‘Nightwalk’.  No YouTube presence for this (talk about underground!) but you can listen to soundclips here – it’s a great album:

http://www.junodownload.com/products/the-james-taylor-closer-to-the-moon/2145718-02/

 

3. S-tone Inc ‘Lost & Found’ (Schema)

Where jazz meets soul and gets turned on by house.  Italy’s Schema Records (run by the wonderful Nicola Conte) are really a must buy label, turning out records that are totally informed by their maker’s love of jazz, soul and latin music but which could only really be made in the last decade or so, crossing over as they do with modern club rhythms and production techniques that mean they could have been played at the Scene Club, Paradise Garage or Cafe Del Mar!

S-Tone Inc. (who I think are a production team) have had a number of albums out on the label, and their latest is a great collection of remixes and unreleased tracks that maintain their very high standards.  Difficult to pick a representative track due to its eclectic nature, but this is a standout  – a great latinised version of ‘I Put A Spell On You’:

 

4. The Jazzinvaders feat. Dr Lonnie Smith ‘That’s What You Say’ (Unique)

So you wait what seems like months for a modern sounding funky hammond organ album to come out, and then of course two come along at once.  Jut as deserving of your attention as the James Taylor above, Holland’s Jazzinvaders release a career-best album with hammond ace Dr Lonnie Smith.

Three things you need to know about Dr Lonnie Smith: 1) He isn’t a doctor (he adopted the title because he likes it) 2) He always wears a turban, again for no obvious cultural reason (other than he likes it I guess) 3) He plays the funkiest organ this side of those classic 60s Blue Note recordings (in which he of course played a significant part).  Absolutely fantastic stuff, with every track being a guaranteed dancefloor winner.  The track which lends its title to this post is pretty typical:

 

Never let anyone say they don’t make them like they used to!

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