February 2014 Playlist

11 Feb

A top 10 of sorts to keep those stormy February blues at bay:

1) Robin McKelle & the Flytones ‘Heart of Memphis’ (OKeh) – lovely recreation of the Willie Mitchell/Al Green Hi sound – will be one of the best contemporary soul albums of 2014 (and it’s only bleedin” February!)

2) Mighty Mighty ‘See The Light’ (Schema) – great jazz dance from Finalnd, via the always reliable Schema Records – check their version of ‘Too High’.  Rhodes-tastic!

3) V/A ‘Kent’s Cellarful of Soul’ (Kent) – some classics and some not so well known tunes – the best 60s soul comp for ages .

4) The Stairsteps ‘2nd Resurrection’ (Solaris) – reissue of their comeback (and final) album for George Harrison’s Dark Horse label, this is great 70s soul infused with the spirit of the great soul groups of the 60s (the Impressions and Miracles especially) – check ‘Throwing Stones Atcha’ and ‘Pasado’.  Described by Mojo magazine (in 2001!) as one of the best 100 soul albums of all time, I’d put it top 20.

5) V/A ‘Studio One Rocksteady’ (Soul Jazz) – the sweetest soul voices over those shuffling rhythms, this is lovely stuff from reggae’s greatest period.  Usual high quality packaging from Soul Jazz as well.

6) Zara McFarlane ‘If You Knew Her’ (Brownswood) – not a dance album by any stretch of the imagination, this is stripped down and moody to the extreme – just voice, some piano, bass, the occasional trumpet solo.  Amazing moody late night jazz vocals…good to the last drop.  Check her amazing slowed down version of ‘Police and Thieves’.

7) Andrew Hill ‘Grass Roots’ (Blue Note) – new (reasonably priced) Jap reissue of Andrew’s ‘soul jazz’ album from 1968.  Check ‘Mira’.  Happy 75th birthday Blue Note!

8) V/A ‘Dusty Heard Them Here First’ (Kent) – original versions of the tunes that Dusty covered in the 60s, this covers all the bases (well known and not so well known): the Velvelettes, Aretha, Marvin, Garnett Mimms….you listen to this and can’t make your mind up whose versions you prefer.

9) Floyd Taylor ‘Shut Um’ Down’ (Artia) – modern southern soul from Johnnie Taylor’s son, features a great version of his dad’s ‘What About My Love’ amongst a host of other deep and soulful tunes.

10) V/A ‘Without Limits’ (Outta Sight) – second volume of modern soul classics from the ‘Modern Soul Collective’, they keep the quality count high by featuring lesser-known tracks from established acts.  Check the opening ‘When Temptation Comes’ by the Chi-Lites to see what I mean (and is this the distant cousin to Eugene Record’s ‘Overdose of Joy’ perhaps?).  Great comp.


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