Best of Soul Donuts 2018: singles

Image result for charles bradley

I want to say thanks to all of our fans, and give this to ya…these are the best new singles released in soul/funk during 2018.  It was another incredible year.

25. Calibro 35-Travelers

Image result for calibro 35

Known for their movie soundtracks and atmospheric jams this is a dark bit of cinematic funk.

Travelers

24. Parliament-Medicaid Fraud Dogg

Image result for parliament medicaid fraud dogg

The intergalactic funkateers are back with a new album of the same name as this song.  It’s not your mama’s p-funk.

Medicaid Fraud Dogg

23. Swamp Dogg-I’ll Pretend feat. Guitar Shorty and Bon Iver

Image result for swamp dogg i'll pretend

Swamp Dogg is back with a new album and it’s clear he’s embraced the future, including unexpected guest appearances, auto-tune,  and a wide variety of new styles.

I’ll Pretend

22. OYAT-Tokyo Maigo

Image result for oyat tokyo maigo

Straight forward instrumental jazz/funk from this Seoul band.

Tokyo Maigo

21. Vulfpeck-Lonely Town

Image result for vulfpeck lonely town

A light-hearted and  jaunty little love song from the core members of Vulfpeck.

Lonely Town

20. Xperience-Candy

Image result for xperience candy

Seattle’s very own Xperience blends hip hop, R&B and classic 70s soul to super sweet effect.  On Candy he delivers all of that with a little West African flare.

Candy

19. The Midnight Hour- Questions feat. Cee Lo

Image result for the midnight hour ali shaheed muhammad adrian younge

Super producer/multi instrumentalist Adrian Younge and A Tribe Called Quest’s very own Ali Shaheed Muhammad are together as ‘The Midnight Hour.’  They have come together right on time to make old school hip hop, jazz, and R&B cool again.  Questions features Cee Lo on the vocals, a nice familiar touch.

Questions

18. The California Honeydrops-Call it Home

Image result for the california honeydrops

The California Honeydrops have been making their form of traditional folksy, delta blues and New Orleans second line inspired jams since around 2007. This time around they’ve clearly solidified their various sounds into a singular style.  Evidenced by the title track from their new album Call it Home.

Call It Home

17. Mestizo Beat-Featherbed Lane

Image result for mestizo beat

A hard hitting bit of funk, like the Budos Band, heavy on the horns, organs, and drum breaks.

Featherbed Lane

16. The Sha La Das-Just for a Minute

Image result for the sha la das

Daptone Records’ new darlings carry the torch on soul revival with ease and grace.  They also appeared on Charles Bradley’s Black Velvet.  Keep up the good work boys…

Just For a Minute

15. Eli “Paperboy” Reed-99 Cent Dreams feat. Big Daddy Kane

Image result for eli paperboy reed 99 cents

A playful and upbeat classic Motown song updated with Big Daddy Kane adding the raps.  A fun song that isn’t shy about being broke, and conjures up images of care-free summer days before you worried about your lack of money.

99 Cent Dreams

14. The Putbacks- Ways feat. Bilal

Image result for the putbacks with bilal

A dark, psychedelic bit of soul that features the organs, wailing electric guitars and Bilal’s aching cry for redemption of his soul.

The Ways

13. Chaka Khan-Like Sugar

Image result for chaka khan like sugar

The legendary Miss Chaka Khan is back with a brand new disco funk banger!

Like Sugar

12. Betty LaVette-Going Going Gone

Image result for bettye lavette

Soulful and somber, this song has a country twanginess and almost folksy, acoustic soul sound that defines Bettye LaVette’s later career (think Bill Withers).  She keeps on going with as much power and poignancy as her former glory.

Going Going Gone

11. The Greyhounds

Image result for the greyhounds

The imprint of Austin, Texas is written all over the soul of the Greyhounds, as well as the well worn sound of their vocals and gritty aesthetic of their music.

Learning How To Love

10. Khruangbin-Lady & Man

Image result for khruangbin

Using the seductive sounds of long forgotten Indian soul/funk as their platform for the sound on their second full album.  Lady and man is a more upbeat selection but could’ve easily been replaced by many other songs on the album.

Lady & Man

9. Kelly Finnigan-Catch Me I’m Falling

Image result for kelly finnigan

The front man for psych-soul band the Monophonics steps out on his own with an instant classic in the soul revival game.

Catch Me I’m Falling

8. Kali Uchis-After the Storm feat. Tyler the Creator, Bootsy Collins

Image result for kali uchis after the storm

A monster funk bop with Tyler adding some bars and Bootsy adding his sage wisdom.

After the Storm

7. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats-Coolin’ Out

Image result for nathaniel rateliff and the night sweats coolin out

The fact that Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats have managed to keep their ethos and style intact after achieving such huge fame after the release of their first album is monumentally impressive.  They have a great ability to channel the classic sounds of Memphis and Muscle Shoals making it into their own distinctive sound.

Coolin’ Out

6. Leon Bridges-Bad Bad News

Image result for leon bridges bad bad news

The young man who made such a huge impact on the soul revival scene is back with something different but no less special.  Here Leon showcases his more upbeat side with this danceable, yet super jazzy track.  One of the catchiest donut’s of the year!

Bad Bad News

instrumental version

5. Kadhja Bonet-Mother Nature

Image result for kadhja bonet

At the crossroads of jazz fusion and late 70’s funk, this track is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Mother Maybe

4. Marlon Williams

Image result for marlon williams

The soulful, country swagger of Australian singer songwriter Marlon Williams is simply a byproduct of his incredible talent for all types of music he chooses to endeavor.  Bear witness to his prowess here on Come to Me, and then explore his entire back catalog, you will not be disappointed.

Come To Me

3. Charles Bradley-Can’t Fight the Feeling

Image result for charles bradley

I’m deeply saddened by the passing of another legend Charles Bradley.  A performer I’ve been lucky enough to see several times.  He has left us way too soon, but he didn’t leave us before recording an amazing collection of music to enjoy forever.  Black Velvet his final album showcases the music he recorded over the last decade, and some tracks recorded more recently featuring the Menahan Street Band.  Can’t Fight the Feeling is pure Black Velvet (his James Brown alter-ego) and transcends the soul universe to exist outside of all time and space.

Can’t Fight The Feeling

2. The James Hunter Six-I Don’t Wanna Be Without You

Image result for james hunter six

I needn’t really say much about The James Hunter Six.  Regular listeners and readers already know that they are one of my favorite bands of any style, period.  In my opinion they are at the top of the class for capturing the sound, and style of classic rhythm and blues, and soul.  I truly could’ve chosen any song off their newest album ‘Whatever it Takes’ and used it as an example for a master class on soul revivalism, but after much meditation I kept coming back to I Don’t Wanna be Without You.

I Don’t Wanna Be Without You

1. Pat Thomas-The Money Guys

Image result for pat thomas the money guys

…And…drum roll…a surprise number one!

Pat Thomas-The Money Guys!!!

I instantly fell in love with this song for some reason.  Could it be the spot on Beach Boys style vocal harmonies? The great, almost humorous lyrics? The understated, yet catchy little guitar solo that echoes around the room? The horns? The big build up?  All of it.

The Money Guys

Image result for pat thomas the money guys
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best of 2018 Soul/Funk albums

 

Image result for piles of cds

I had this ready to go 2 weeks ago, but then got super busy so…Here it is the collection of hard work (if you call listening to a ton of dope music hard work?) I put in during the year of 2018.  I’ve sorted through hundreds of soul/funk albums to narrow it down to the best selections from 2018!  Soul on…

25. Gizelle Smith-Ruthless Day

Image result for gizelle smith ruthless day

Gizelle Smith-Ruthless Day

Upbeat and energetic neo-soul heads out into the sunlight to play on a truly authentic 70s funk and pop radio kinda day.  Featuring Stones Throw vet Eric Boss on a few vocal duets and production credits!

24. The Vogs-A Change Is Coming

Image result for the vogs a change

The Vogs-Baby When You Call

Classic Motown and northern soul come back to life. We’ll be looking for more from them in the future.

23. The Du-Rites-Gamma Ray Jones

Image result for the durites gamma ray

The Du-Rites-Gamma Ray Jones Theme

This from the Du-Rites————->

“Very proud of The Du-Rites‘ third album in just as many years, Gamma Ray Jones. Pablo and I are honored to provide the musical score for the lost pilot episode (“Get This Turkey Outta Here”) of 1972 TV detective show Gamma Ray Jones. It sat for 46 years with no music because it was dropped by the network in favor of “Banacek,” “Cool Million,” “McCloud,” “McMillan and Wife” and other detective show comps. Apparently Gamma Ray Jones was too violent and the overhead for hospital bills and crashed Cadillacs caused network execs to drop the show. All violence was real – Gamma Ray Jones didn’t believe in stuntmen and Pedro “Gamma Ray” Jones was a real life detective in NYC, not an actor. (Zoom in on back cover in slideshow for the whole story)…Hopefully the show with the music locked to film sees the light of day. Much more to come, including a mini-documentary on “cop show funk”. Suitable for broughaming!”

What more do I need to say…they had me at funk and detective show.

22. Theo Lawrence and the Hearts-Homemade Lemonade

Image result for theo lawrence and the hearts homemade lemonade

Theo Lawrence and the Hearts-Heaven to Me

A refreshing bit of country-soul and heartfelt songs from this young French Canadian.  The album also adds the sounds of swamp rock, rhythm and blues, and early 60s pop into the mix.

21. Orgone-Undercover Mixtape

Image result for orgone undercover mixtape

Orgone-The Black Five

Gritty funk covers with a little help from all of their friends.  A supremely satisfying record to get down and funk up the dancefloor, but also with some slower soulful numbers to groove all laid back to.

20. Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics-State of All Things

Image result for ruby velle & the soulphonics state of all things

Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics-State of All Things

Strong vocals take center stage in front of this six-piece powerhouse backing band to crank out some soulful floor shakers and some jazzy transcendental instrumentation.

19. St. Paul and the Broken Bones-Young Sick Camellia

Image result for st paul young sick camellia

St. Paul and the Broken Bones-Convex

Hard working group of soul troubadours are back with a new set that infuses a bit of lighter, late 70s flare and disco into the mix.

18. Ernie Hawks-Scorpio Man

Image result for ernie hawks scorpio man

Ernie Hawks-Scorpio Man Theme

Vintage from the album cover to the sound, this monumental soul-jazz-funk centers around the flute of Ernie Hawks and employs one of the most prolific and important backing bands in the modern soul revival era.

17. Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats-Tearing at the Seams

Image result for nathaniel rateliff and the night sweats tearing at the seams review

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats-Coolin’ Out

Whiskey soaked and stylishly quaffed, this is bearded retro soul that sounds like it came straight from Muscle Shoals or Memphis Stax/Volt during their great run of success in the early 70s.  This new record shows off more of Rateliff’s lyrical prowess and touches on some more personal moments, solidifying that realism and honesty as somewhat of a signature style.

16. Lucky Brown and the S.G.’s-Mesquite Suite

Image result for lucky brown mesquite suite

Lucky Brown and the SG’s-Mesquite Beat

Hickory smoked instrumental funk featuring the organ, dusty horns, and the grittiest of rhythm sections.  The group shines on a variety of styles and sounds that roll through your senses like a tumbleweed across the vast expanse of desert.

15. Lucinda Slim-Lucinda Slim

Image result for lucinda slim self titled

Lucinda Slim-Wrath of the Lawmen

The production and instrument credits on this album reads like a who’s who of talent in the soul revival world. Featuring the legendary Keb Darge, Gabe Roth, the Haggis Horns, Krewcial, and more.  If that isn’t enough take Lucinda herself, a legitimate powerhouse singer who has recorded the world over with some of the industry’s greats, including Zap Mama, Sharon Jones, and Youssou N’Dour.  Gospel infused spirituality meets classic Motown and northern soul of the 60s, with a bit of southern blues and funk.  The stylistic choices don’t stop there though, this album also touches on latin and 20s inspired jazz to complete the gumbo of different tastes you can experience all in one place!

14. Shawn Lee and the Soul Surfers-S/T

Image result for shawn lee and the soul surfers

Shawn Lee and the Soul Surfers-53 Years

The headline reads: Masterful secret agent tours the world.  That 007 is Shawn Lee and he predictably has found another group to experiment with in the rogue Russion KGB operatives the Soul Surfers.  They’ve plotted another diabolical project with this self-titled album, and it’s all about the drums…well not ALL about the drums, but they do stand out.  Amidst the spaced-out jazz grooves and dark funky cumbia you can pick out the occasional carnival organs and purely funky guitar, but it’s the drums that keep you coming back.  Like the funky drummer once did.  Intriguing listening for the jet-setting, double crossing, self-made smuggler, or accidental expert of espionage.

13. Shirley Davis and the Silverbacks-Wishes and Wants

Image result for shirley davis wishes and wants

Shirley Davis and the Silverbacks-Wishes and Wants

Feeling closer to a reawakened soul-funk movement/scene than an album,  these hard-edged grooves seem like a call-to-action from a political rally, and less of an easy-listening mod 60s swingers party.  Tucxone house band lays the tracks and worldly young Australian personality Shirley Jackson helms the bull-horn.

12. The Putbacks-The Putbacks

Image result for putbacks self titled

The Putbacks-Oranges

Melbourne vets release their first full album of eclectic, cinematic, and uniquely composed tracks. Deep funk, Ethio-Jazz and fuzzy psychedelic rock-soul fusion exercises through a number of instrumental jams, guest appearances and production from Paul Bender of Hiatus Kaiyote.

11. Ural Thomas and the Pain-The Right Time

Image result for ural thomas and the pain right time

Ural Thomas and the Pain-Slow Down

This Louisiana born, preachers son, lends an air of authenticity to his soul music.  Mr. Ural Thomas is experiencing a late in life comeback after enjoying success early in his career opening for the likes of James Brown, Stevie Wonder,  and Otis Redding.  After Portland, Oregon’s (his home town) famed Mississippi Studios re-released a few of his classic records Thomas was back on the map with renewed vigor to continue recording.  After assembling his band the Pain, named after one of those classic cuts, the group of local legends and studio musicians got down to work.  Now, two years later, as Thomas celebrates his 78th birthday, “Portland’s Pillar of Soul” returns with The Right Time, his first album of all original old school soul songs.

10. Ben Pirani-How Do I Talk to My Brother?

Image result for ben pirani how do i talk to my brother

Ben Pirani-Light of My Life

Faithfully recreated Northern soul and Motown with a slight whiff of buttoned-up jazz in its horns, and the early Philly Soul sound in its audacious string section, and street corner do-wop harmonies.  The diversity of sound doesn’t stop there, my favorite moment on the album ‘Light of My Life’ has a little Latin tinge to it, ala classic Joe Bataan.  Some of the other best moments on the album come in the form of ballads, a hard thing to pull off.  A serious new player on the scene.

9. Shannon and the Clams-Onion

Image result for shannon and the clams onion

Shannon and the Clams-The Boy

You know them, you love them.  I mean how many glamour punk slash early 60s girl group vigilantes are there?  Really I don’t need to say much here, except now they’re in the favor of Dan Auerbach and his stable of decades rusted musicians and collaborators.  As such this album benefits from all of those perks, and or surprisingly in spite of that this album managed to remain the actual, credible sound of the rhythm and blues from way back.  The only difference being it was made now.  The real trick now will be if Miss Shannon and her precious Clams can safely maneuver the rapids of rocks mainstream going forward.

…also this album comes with a special shout-out and, wink wink nod to an equally impressive, if not better, solo album from Shannon Shaw below…

8. The Jack Moves-Free Money

Image result for jack moves free money

The Jack Moves-Money Clouds

The Jack Moves are supremely confident even in their self-deprecation, and not afraid to toss around a little crass language and have fun.  On their second full-length album They  add an air of chemical intrigue, transcendent bliss, and glamorous nostalgia to their soft-n-sweet funk and soul grooves.  The smooth late 70s vibes are reminiscent of that era’s Curtis Mayfield, while setting you free to explore the clouds.  Meanwhile their more soulful tracks capture the spirit of the early 70s effortlessly.  A well thought out album front to back and a very entertaining listen.

7. Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio-Close But No Cigar

Image result for delvon lamarr organ trio close but no cigar

Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio-Close But No Cigar

As the name of the group suggests the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio goes heavy on the organs!  It’s perfect for when you’re in a strictly B3 kinda mood.

6. Khruangbin-Con Todo El Mundo

Image result for khruangbin con todo el mundo

Khruangbin-Evan Finds the Third Room

Traveling the world through an array of era’s transforming instrumental soul, and funk into psychedelic dusty grooves.  This album takes its influence from Thai, Iranian, Indian, and Caribbean music.  Vintage sounds are employed around every corner of this album from Zouk style, retro surf, even gospel and hip hop, along with of course international soul and funk.  Get lost to ‘Con Todo El Mundo!’

5. The Sha La Das-Love in the Wind

Image result for sha la das love in the wind

The Sha La Das-Open My Eyes

The Sha La Das-Just For a Minute

Daptone stable singers break free to start their own group.  Father and sons ensemble the Sha La Das have found instant success with their first album ‘Love in the Wind.’ They may owe that success to the faithfully recreated vintage soul sound, due in large part to the drummers Homer Steinweiss and Nick Movshon, that they have achieved here.  This album showcases the power of nostalgia.

4. Leon Bridges-Good Thing

Image result for leon bridges good thing

Leon Bridges-Bet Ain’t Worth the Hand

Leon Bridges-Bad Bad News

A slight departure from his first album, this album employs  more pop sounds than vintage soul, but does it in a tasteful and satisfying way that still recalls the past.  If ‘Coming Home’ channeled the 60s soul sound, ‘Good Thing’ comes back with a breezy 70s pop sound that is also undeniably contemporary.  The adventurous and experimental nature of this cross-over album points to Bridges desire to be considered more than a nostalgia act and to revel in the world of pop stardom instead.  I would say this is a good start to achieving that type of fame.

3. Bettye LaVette-Things Have Changed

Image result for bettye lavette things have changed

Bettye LaVette-Political World

Bettye LaVette-Going Going Gone

Another in the legion of Bob Dylan cover projects, except this one doesn’t make you groan, and freshly arranged according to Miss LaVette’s tastes.  Soulful and somber with a touch of spirituality and gospel sung with pure honesty.  Featuring some notable guest appearances and production credentials.  Bettye LaVette continues her late career vitality with ‘Things Have Changed.’

2. The James Hunter Six-Whatever It Takes

Image result for james hunter six whatever it takes

The James Hunter Six-I Got Eyes

The James Hunter Six-I Don’t Wanna Be Without You

The sixth album from the James Hunter Six offers more of the same vintage Rhythm and Blues meets classic Soul.  I really feel like it’s unnecessary to say a lot about this album, first of all because I’ve lauded the achievements of the group many times before here, but also because the music strongly speaks for itself.  From the moment you turn this album on you will be endeared to its magic and then after it ends you will be left wanting more.

1. Charles Bradley-Black Velvet

Image result for charles bradley black velvet

Charles Bradley-Slip Away

Charles Bradley-Can’t Fight the Feeling

The final album from Mr. Bradley, The Screaming Eagle of Soul, released posthumously.  This album is a collection of newly recorded songs and unreleased tracks from along his journey, featuring heavily the Menahan St. Band, and also The Sha La Das.  Not much to say, except he will be greatly missed by all of us in the soul music community, a true master, pastor, and the opposite of a disaster.  All my love.

Image result for charles bradley black velvet
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best of: Singles 2018-All Genres

Image result for stacks of tapes

I know what you’re saying, hey Mr. Soulman what do you know about other types of music? Just stay in your lane and rake the leaves.  Well it turns out I love all types of music…imagine that.

This is the first year I’ve undertaken an “All-Genre’s” best of list and like the strictly soul version it is naturally limited to the songs I heard, and liked.  You may find yourself saying whaaaaat?…that track is garbage, and that’s ok.  Hey let me know in the comments what your favorites of the year were.  I’m all ears.

Anyway these are tracks that either got stuck in the ol’ noggin, and wouldn’t leave, tracks that were instant bangers that I had on repeat, or tracks that snuck up on you while you were trying to sleep (Mooo!), inserting themselves into your brain stem.  One thing is for certain there is a lot of nostalgia for the 90s here.  Not just me though, like everyone…

The order of the tracks are strictly based on intuition and feeling…it was really hard!

These ARE the best 50 tracks from 2018, all the tracks, trust me. ENJOY

50. Alt-J-In Cold Blood feat. Pusha T (Twin Shadow Remix)

I fantastic remix on a fantastic remix album.  This year Alt-J presented us with an entirely remixed version (Reduxer) of their album (Relaxer) from last year.  An album full of moments and surprises but ultimately a really fun listen with a ton of guests.  Here they discuss the new project.

49. Melody’s Echo Chamber-Quand Les Larmes D’un Ange Font Danser la Neige

Acoustic and electric guitars, lilting vocals and bold rocking drums kick off the beginning, opening up to a mix of swirling psychedelia and introspection as we soar along.  The various different parts of this song combine to make the entire experience a memorable journey.  This song and the journey it takes you on craftily conjures up faint impressions of 60’s Acid Rock, French New Wave cinema, 90’s Pop and Grunge, and a completely contemporary sound.

48.  Jack White-Get in the Mind Shaft

A new sound and style from the maestro Jack White.  On here he serves us up a fat slice of futuristic funk, orbiting somewhere near Earth but sonically exploring the outer-reaches of our galaxy.

47. Nine Inch Nails-Ahead of Ourselves

N.I.N. is back and true to form with this gritty, grimey, glitchy, fuzzy, electronic and industrial metal slab.  The gears keep turning for Trent Reznor and while you can hear those gears grinding together on his tracks, the sparks flying off of them have re-lit the fire, instead of grinding to a halt.

46. GUM-The Blue Marble

Neo-psychedelia in the vain of Flaming Lips is all the rage right now, and this song is a more than prime example.  Just dig those 90s drums!

45. La Luz-Mean Dream

If I had been working on an Album of the Year list longer that 25 spots, this album would sit at 26.  One of my favorite albums of the year, packed full of great songs.  Also one of my favorite songs of the year, ‘Mean Dream’, is a song that is so surprisingly stylish that it sorta creeps up on you like the music in a Quentin Tarantino movie, adding more to the scene than even the acting.

44. Doja Cat-Moo

If you don’t know now you know.  This one is truly something special.  If she wasn’t so confident this might be weird.

43. Vince Staples-FUN!

Just toss E-40 onto a track called FUN! and I’m pretty much already sold,…but to add the amazing Vince Staples into the mix, then I’m really sold.

42. Ed Ruscha V-Woo Are You

Trying to describe this track is a little like trying to hold onto a slippery salamander.  It’s like a jazzy, funky, tropical, psychedelic version of Bowie’s ‘Major Tom,’ with a slight reggae swing.  There I gave it my best effort.  I hope it amuses you.

41. Commodo-Bitch and Moan

Conjuring up a terrifying trip through Cambodia on a fishing boat with savage, spear wielding natives lurking in the shadows, or a sweltering jungle scene being stalked by an invisible alien in a tech suit, is just the type of thing that Commodo does before breakfast.  Slick jazz breaks, and banging echo drops punctuate this raw type of music that lives just outside the realm of edm/dubstep/trap.

40. MK. Gee-Fool

The track starts off with intricate bass and guitar picking, with swelling vocal harmonies that rise and explode into distorted 80s casio tape loops.  The overall impression feels like returning to your warm cozy blanket as night descends, after a long day at the beach.

39. Sunni Colon-Mornin Dew

Calling this music Satin Psicodelic is an apt description.  Island vibes in the sun, 90’s drum machines and popular sounds, and a jazzy smooth style makes this track swing and reminisce.  Think PM Dawn, “Set Adrift on Memory’s Bliss of”…

38. Jay Rock-WIN 

Win Win Win Win, all he does is Win.  Even 2018 needed a few anthems.

37. YOTA (Youth of the Apocalypse)-Drop the Bomb feat. MF DOOM

When a super group composed of members of the Gorillaz and Klaxons unite you pay attention.  A fun playful track with MF DOOM rapping over a classic sounding hip hop beat and children’s vocal chorus.

36. The Damned-Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow

The Damned are back and still cranking out a vintage Misfits sound, complete with all of the bizarre references and nod to space travel and beyond.  A driving bit of punk that became it’s own instant classic.

35. Joan as Police Woman-Warning Bell

Just a gem of a track, sort of a lighthearted but funky 90s female singer-songwriter, like Tori Amos or Fiona Apple with the heavy piano, but just really incredible and sweet.

34. Dick Stusso-Modern Music

Just a fine ol’ tune. Not too complex, not at all pretentious, just a song you can hang your hat on.

33.Charlotte Day Wilson-Nothing New

After her initial success with last years EP CDW, she is back with a new short set of tracks.  Nothing new is an ultra catchy song that channels old school RnB with a futuristic soul vibe.  Singing, writing, and producing her own music seems effortless, and I can imagine it only points to bigger things in her future.

32. Her’s- Low Beam

With a retro 80’s vibe and just the right hint of sleaziness this track stalks it’s way into your regular rotation.

31.  Jordan Rakei-Wildfire

A funky lil Afrobeat drum pattern hides in the back while the RnB vocals and jazzy guitars swirl and drip.

30. Das Kope-L.A.X.

Reminiscent of Tame Impala’s last effort with the overstated bass and guitar duo coming through hard, with a stylish and fashionable vocal track and synth pairing.

29. Bishop Nehru-Driftin’

A really slick flute sample holds together this old school stripped down hip hop beat.  Great rapping, a solid backing track, and nuthin’ fancy.

28. Mikaela Davis-Other Lover

An angelic harp like string instrument and lilting singing punctuates the heavenly atmosphere, while a funky drum track holds it down.

27. Tropical Fuck Storm-You Let My Tyres Down

Tropical Fuck Storm is a great name for this type of Post-Modern grunge/metal music.  This track wins the award for the most authentic 90s grunge of the year.  Drug fueled Aussies passionately rage on this song that feels more like three songs instead of one.

26. MORTEN-Family (feat. Dave East)

The banginest banger of the year, and Dave East raps the hell out of it too.  The head-cracker of 2018!

25. Post Malone-Rockstar (feat. 21 Savage) 

Not much needs to be said for this one.  It’s a worldwide phenomenon and there’s probably no way you missed it.  Still I feel it needs to be here because it’s so catchy and sorta sums up a lot of the vibes of 2018.

24. The Shacks-Follow Me

Such a great song. Unique and original while simultaneously possessing a very familiar vintage 60’s sound and style that I am more than susceptible to.

23. Amen Dunes-Blue Rose

An interesting timeless sounding tune without a chorus.  The song just peddles along at a fast pace with an interesting rhythm,  a buzzing hive of sound, and nothing really definitive standing out except the vocals.  I’m sort of reminded of U2, or other classic 80s.

22. Spiritualized-Here it Comes (The Road) Let’s Go

Subtle horns underscore this folksy even twangy country song about nostalgia and the open road.

21. Kanye West-I Love It (feat. Lil Pump)

When I tell friends that I love this song, they look at me like I must literally be losing my mind.  Yet I can’t help it, I really do think this song is a banger.  So catchy, so slick, so hip and of course it has Lil Pump who I also consider one of my guiltiest pleasure’s.  File it under immature and ignant, morbid fascination I guess, but I couldn’t live with my fraudulent self and the best of list if I hadn’t included it, and high up the list too.  Shame on me.

20. Sudan Archives-Nont For Sale

Traditional African instrumentation and world music influences blend with trap, hip hop and R&B in this anthem of empowerment and anti-colonialism.  A sensational hit that walks a similar path as M.I.A.

19. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club-Ninth Configuration

Typically speaking I wouldn’t consider myself to be a big BRMC fan, but this song is just really really good, and I couldn’t deny it.  It’s a mellow, hard rock song with a tasteful amount of grunge straight from the 90s.  Maybe it’s because I grew up in the 90s and haven’t really heard something so authentically grunge and actually good in a very long time.  I don’t know, I guess I should stop making excuses for liking it…

18. Louis Cole-Things

Louis Cole offers us up a track with a practical message.  On this upbeat song with heavy synths and pulsing drums Mr. Cole lays it all out for us and hooks us in.  Later he adds a fantastic string section that builds and builds until it takes off soaring through the atmosphere and finally leaves the song and it’s message orbiting somewhere near Earth.

17. Parquet Courts-Freebird II

Just a simple bit of garage rock here.  It’s refreshing to hear such a no frills, straight forward bit of rock n roll.

16. Travis Scott-STARGAZING

It was really hard to pick one track off of Scott’s unbelievably good new album ASTROWORLD, but I landed on this one because of it’s iconic nature, and sort of being emblematic of the entire album.

15. Anderson .Paak-6 Summers

Political rap done by just the right person at the right time.  A perfect track for 2018.

14. Richard Swift-Broken Finger Blues

After the untimely death of a musician the tendency is to elevate that person to legendary status immediately, but with Richard he was already there, and as evidenced by his music was working at a masterful level.  This track shows us where he was headed and then leaves us in a bittersweet melancholy wondering what he could’ve done next.

13. Thomas Dybdahl-All These Things

A swampy, twangy, rockin’ blues song at it’s core, with a little funk and an enigmatic transcendent quality.

12. Montero-Running Race

A jaunty little earworm that will dig itself into the brain with the quickness of a sidewinder snake.  A track based in fantasy and imagination.

11. Father John Misty-Just Dumb Enough to Try

In my humble opinion Joshua Michael Tillman aka Father John Misty has greatly benefited from the production of Jonathan Wilson, who happens to be one of my favorite artists out there currently.  This track is a nearly perfect pop song that has trimmed the fat expertly and served us up a glorious cut.

10. Pusha T.-Come Back Baby

Project Wyoming needed to be acknowledged and I like most everyone else have chosen to do so through Daytona, Pusha T’s part.  Almost as iconic of a song as the photo of Whitney Houston’s bathroom that adorns the album cover.  In Pusha’s own words, he’s been brilliant.

9. Jonathan Wilson-Over the Midnight

As I said Jonathan Wilson is one of my favorite producers and artists around.  His work w/ Roger Waters, Father John Misty, and solo have produced some of the finest moments in my listening experiences lately.  After waiting for what seemed like a lifetime I finally got to hear his new album, Rare Birds, and it was a stunner.  Too many great tracks to count, and everyone’s list who included Mr. Wilson contained different choices for the best tracks.  To me that is clear evidence of a fantastic album.  I chose Over the Midnight because it spoke  to me the most, with it’s soaring and sprawling frame.  It has a classic Springsteen and American 80’s vibe that I love and clocks in at over seven minutes which allows the listener to get truly lost.

8. Lord Huron-When The Night Is Over

A stellar bit of prairie noir, sounding akin to the lush drapery and romanticism of the cinematic arts, with a smooth and soulful body that ambles along with significant swagger.

7. Calexico-End of the World With You

Complete with references to famous artist James Turrell’s craters this Arizona band sheds the mariachi to get back to more roots rock.  More than just a fantastic bit of prophecy and doom, this track shares it’s love of apocalyptic pessimism with many of the other tracks on here, but encourages the listener to find peace and happiness together with your closest friends and lovers all the way until the very end of time.

6. Unknown Mortal Orchestra-Hunnybee

Just when you thought the smooth sounds of Disco, Yacht Rock, and 70’s jazz had completely vanished, UMO come back to reaffirm it’s stylish and sexy qualities using their signature sounds to push those genres ahead.

5. Childish Gambino-This is America 

Easily the most emblematic and monumental video moment of the year, and maybe the decade.  The song is super fire too, even if it was copped from another rapper and made more famous. (American Pharoah)…(That’s sorta the point though, isn’t it.  This IS America after all.)

4. J. Cole-The Cut Off (feat. kiLL edward)

A rare moment of heartfelt intimacy and confession in hip hop, and an inner journey into the world of drugs, fame, and depression reaching out for a beacon of hope.  Still a supremely satisfying rap song in the old school style.

3. Noah T. Jackson-Virginia Vine

Sounding close to CSNY, The Band, or classic Neil Young with a decidedly gritty feel, closer to city life than the rural Appalachians, this brand of upbeat folk rock is both simple and complex filled with fantastic harmonizing and nostalgic songwriting.  The overall feel acts like a soothing tonic.

2. Dirty Projectors-That’s a Lifestyle

How they do it I’ll never know, the Dirty Projectors are a truly inventive and unique group as this new album proves yet again.  An intricate even folksy acoustic guitar starts off, and then inextricably adds another acoustic guitar pattern.  This takes off into competing electric guitar riffs woven delicately into that pattern.  Add in the signature vocal harmonies, overdubs, and studio tricks.  What is left for the reveal of the entire song is not just the catchiest hook of the year but an amazingly well crafted tapestry of musical artistry.

1. Damien Jurado-Allocate

The standout violin section adds a grittiness and a tinge of sadness to the song, along with its lyrics about distance, disillusionment, and disappointment.  A poignant urgency underscores a certain haunting atmosphere in this masterpiece of a track from the seasoned vet Damien Jurado.  He begs you not to notice that far-away look in his eyes with his whispering voice.  Allocate derives its strength from its simplicity and beauty.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stuff I Missed-The Once and Future Band

Starting with the Once and Future Band I wanted to begin with my notes on stuff I’ve missed.  I wanted to share with ya’ll this wonderful band who made big waves last year in 2017.  Often compared to Pink Floyd and other legendary Psychedelic rockers these blokes are alive in the here and now and creating some masterful jams.  Start with their amazing EP from 2014 and explore further.

also here’s a great interview with the group.

and here’s a few great live performances.

Daytrotter Sessions

Jam in the Van

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Boogaloo Soul Party!

Related image

Today’s radio playlist—–>

1. The Brothers Two “Boogaloo Soul Party”
from Crimson 7″

3. Augie Colon “Chant of the jungle”
from Chant of the Jungle

4. Ramsey Lewis “African Boogaloo Twist” Single

8. Willie Colon “Talento de Television
from tras la tormenta

9. Ray Barretto “acid”

10. Joe Cuba Sextet “Que Son Uno” Single

11. Eddie Palmieri “Bilongo Single

12. Eddie Palmieri “Cuidate Compay Single

16. Cool Benny “Wabble Cha Single

17. La Sonora Carruseles “federico boogaloo Single

18. Sonora Carruseles & Delfo Ballestas “La Chola Caderona Single

22. The Lebrón Brothers Orchestra “Senora Suerte Single

23. Samuele Pagliarani “Pink Soul Party
from Boogaloo (RedGlobe Records)

24. Hector Lavoe and Willie Colon “Pirana Single

25. Ray Lugo & The Boogaloo Destroyers “Que Chevere! (My Baby’s Got Latin Soul)
from Que Chevere! (Freestyle Records)

28. Charly Antolini’s Power Dozen “Uela Uela
from Atomic Drums

Image result for boogaloo party
That’s a wrap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Recent Afrobeats

Afrobeat king Tony Allen 1970 

The past few years have seen an explosion of new Afrobeat albums.  All those hard driving rhythms need to be unearthed and documented in one place.  Just in case no one else has done it, here it is…

First I’m going to feature a few of my favorite albums, and then I’ll list the rest of them.  All of them you need to check out.

Starting with Tony Allen’s new album, The Source (2017).

This album is raw and electrifying the whole way through, featuring not only Mr. Allen’s drum set, but also full-filling a life long dream of recording on Blue Note Records.  This album is truly unique, mixing in Jazz with Afrobeat and more traditional African music.  The Source also has Allen looking back at his early influences on the drum-kit, Art Blakey, Max Roach, etc…, and pays a fitting tribute to them.  Employing a who’s who of Paris Jazz musicians The Source will leave you in awe of what a 76 year old veteran of the drum set can craft.

…check out this killer photo collection of Tony Allen here.

Speaking of the forefathers of the genre Femi Kuti has a new joint as well.

Femi Kuti-One People One World (2018)

I don’t think I really need to express the importance of the message on this one.  With titles like Africa Will Be Great Again, Femi speaks about the future he see’s  for his people.  Not only does he touch on Africa but he acknowledges the entire world, imploring us to find our collective humanity and live together in unity.

…and here are a ton more to keep you busy.

Antibalas-Where the Gods are in Peace (2017)

Of course a necessary place to start digging is with Antibalas’ new album.  Straight forward, politically motivated Afrobeat in the direct vain of Fela Kuti’s classic records.

Here Lies Man-S/T (2017)

“What if Black Sabbath played Afrobeat?”  This is the question that Marcos Garcia of the Afrobeat collective Antibalas asked before undertaking his new project Here Lies Man, a question we didn’t know needed asking but are damn glad he did.

David Nesselhauf-AfroKraut

Image result for david nesselhauf album 2017

This dynamic offering is the brainchild of producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist David Nesselhauf.  Citing the creative experimentation of kraut rockers Can and using vintage recording techniques and instruments this album has a unique sound.  Combining new music and pop sensibilities with Afrobeat and striking rhythms makes it a great album to listen to and dance!  Also keep your eyes peeled for the new album coming out soon!

Roberto Lopez-Criollo Electrik (2017)

A really great collage of latin, pop, afrobeat, and funk on display here.  Read more here.

The Heliocentrics-The Sunsine Makers (2017)

Image result for heliocentrics albums

This very interesting album is the original soundtrack to the documentary film of the same name.

https://i1.wp.com/www.thefrontloader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/img_7191.jpg

-From the Deep (2016)

The Heliocentrics are a group that is constantly hard at work.  Whether they are working together as a unit or employing the help of other talented musicians, they are experimenting with the genre and pushing it further into the future.  Collageing together ambient sounds from the environment, and rattling around various rhythm instruments, helps to push this experimental vibe farther along.  Strictly speaking not really Afrobeat, but there is enough influence there to be intriguing and a good fit for this post.

The Seven Ups-Commandments

Image result for The Seven Ups Commandments

…another new band that has been hard at work.  Below is the cover for this years new album Commandments, but keep your eyes out for their 2015 self titled release, and last years release, Drinking Water.

Magic in Threes-Heady Days (2017), 3, & IV both (2016) and Return of… (2015)

Image result for magic in threes heady days
Image result for magic in threes heady days
Image result for magic in threes heady days
Image result for magic in threes heady days

Strictly speaking this side project from the folks who brought us DeRobert and the Half-Truths, isn’t just Afrobeat but is more a collection of psychedelic rhythmic bliss, and cinematic hip hop beats.  Still it’s the general Ethio-Jazz and Afro-centrism of the albums they’ve concocted that make them notable contenders in the genre.

 

…that’s my recap of some of the more notable albums that have come out, here’s a list with way more to sink your teeth into as well.

Invisible Astro Healing Rhythm Quartet-2 (2015)

The Polyversal Souls-Invisible Joy (2015)

Chop Teeth Afro Funk Big Band-Bone Reader (2017)

Chicago Afrobeat Project-What Goes Up (2017)

-Nyash, Up! (2013)

Shaolin Temple Defenders-Free Your Soul (2017)

-From the Inside (2013)

Diazpora-Islands (2017)

Soul Jazz Orchestra-Under Burning Skies (2017)

-Resistance (2015)

-Inner Fire (2014)

Surefire Soul Ensemble-Out on the Coast (2016)

-S/T (2015)

Jungle Fire-Jambu (2017)

-Tropicoso (2014)

Big Mean Sound Machine-Runnin’ for the Ghost (2017)

Hard Proof-Stinger (2017)

Funkallisto-Saturday Night Dogs (2017)

…thank you come again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best albums of 2017

Image result for soul funk 2017

Sorry folks I’ve been slacking on this post for quite some time now, but I’m finally catching up and updating my shiz. Here it is the best, best of list from last year, you’re ever gonna see in March of the following year.  This list comprises the best albums of last year, the ones that had soul/funk throughout and were exceptional for their style and sound.  It is obviously a little different than singles, but you’ll notice some crossover.  Now that that’s outta the way…

As is true every year 2017 had some great soul/funk records released. Some leaning towards the past and some firmly futuristic new fashions for soul and funk.  A few of this year’s best albums used hip hop as their major influence.  Retro sounds also mixed with gospel and folksy campfire incantations, while dark groovy vibes crept in. Fantastic danceable afro-beat mixed in with the funk, and turned the soft ground into mud.  Even dusty country, grimy rhythm and blues, and dirty ol’ southern delta blues, got soul last year.  In other words, what a year for moving forward and redefining what soul/funk means to us.

As heard on the Soul Donuts radio program @KWVA 88.1 FM Eugene here is The Top 25 Soul/Funk Albums released in 2017 below!

25.  Nicole Willis and UMO Jazz Orchestra-My Name is Nicole Willis

Nicole Willis and UMO Orchestra-Haunted by the Devil

Veteran soul songstress emerges with a new band and a swathe of new sounds.  Orchestral and psychedelic don’t often pair together unless we’re throwing in jazz.

24.  Haggis Horns-One of These Days

The Haggis Horns-The Long Way

A little rap, funk and 70’s soul rides the bus together with the horn section driving, it’s a cross town commute that’ll start any day off right.

23.  Tanika Charles-Soul Run

Tanika Charles-Soul Run

New comer on the Soul Donuts radar, this young diva hits all the right notes on her album Soul Run simultaneously fresh and sounding old.  She crafts a smooth soul revival sound, with a solid cast of producers that have helped her capture a unique vintage 60’s vibe.

22.  The Meltdown-The Meltdown

The Meltdown-Better Days

Heart wrenching soul vocals combine effortlessly with the band as it lays down the essential foundations for exceptional ballads, and horn driven songs.

21.  Soul Scratch-Pushing Fire

Soul Scratch-Fireside Lounge

Rage against the current political climate and a critique of consumerism are just some of the buttons that LA’s Soul Scratch has pressed on ‘Pushing Fire’.  The group excels with straight-ahead soul butt-shakers and deep groovers, add the solid horn work and it makes this album a blast to listen to.

20.  Abstract Orchestra-Dilla

Abstract Orchestra-Workinonit

The Abstract Orchestra takes on the music of J Dilla the world re-knowned producer, to rearrange, deconstruct, and groove as a live band playing rap and hip hop classics.  A fantastic album for the headphones, to nod your head to.

19.  Wayne Snow-Freedom TV

Wayne Snow-Fall

A multitude of genres and styles makes this album worth listening to as a whole, start to finish.  Along this journey you will stay rooted in jazz and future soul, but will find oneself meeting the likes of; electro, house, disco, jazz fusion, broken beat, afro-carribean, afro-beat, and what sounds to me like new jack swing.  All of this material is accompanied by funky guitar riffs, bits of scratchy samples, and spoken word sound bytes.  Meanwhile the entire album is bathed in a mellow Fender Rhodes that washes over each track binding them together.

18.  Sinkane-Life and Livin’ It

Sikane-U’Huh

Sudanese-American singer songwriter Sinkane gives us his second full length album ‘Life and Livin’ It’, and it does just that makes life worth living.  This album blends styles from all over the world including kraut-rock, Ethiopian jazz, soul and funk rock with his signature Sudanese pop.  He is also the head of the all-star Afro-Electro-Funk band (includes David Byrne, Money Mark, Damon Albarn, Dev Hynes, Alexis Taylor, Redman, Jamie Lidell, Pharoah Sanders, and more…)  the Atomic Bomb!  playing the songs of legend William Onyeabor.  Sinkane’s star is firmly on the rise.

17.  Lord Echo-Harmonies

Lord Echo-Just Do You

Lord Echo is another moniker of multi-instrumentalist, DJ, and producer Mike Fabulous from New Zealand.  On this project Mr. Fabulous uses his powers to dip in and out of styles including smooth reggae, funky latin rhythms, and elegant disco jams. Ultimately he crafted a fun and highly danceable album.

16.  Ikebe Shakedown-The Way Home

Ikebe Shakedown-Supermoon

Hard hitting rhythms and thunderous horns that could pump up Rocky Balboa himself define the in your face sound of Ikebe Shakedown.  This album is definitely recommended for fans of the Budos Band, with their almost post-apocalyptic desert-wasteland funk style.  Also hat’s off to the guitar work on this one, you can hear a mix of surfy tremolo, and nasty funky wah standing out.

15.  Polyrhythmics-Caldera

Polyrhythmics-Marshmallow Man

Very similar in style and feel to the aforementioned Ikebe Shakedown album, but with subtle differences.  They still retain that deserted wayside funk but with some tendencies toward jazz, psychedelia, and Ethiopian jazz.  The elegant use of the flute and more understated horns added nice colorful nuances.

14.  Shanda and the Howlers-Trouble

Shanda and the Howlers-Keep Telling Me

The raucous bar room sounds of rhythm and blues are still alive with Shanda and the Howlers, and they do a great job of keeping that authentic style going, as well as the party.

13.  D/Troit-Soul Sound System

D/Troit-Soul Sound System

Copenhagen’s D/Troit are the new darlings on the retro soul scene due to proper packaging, essential production from Daptone’s Gabe Roth, and receiving great reviews worldwide.  After the famed music aficionado Craig Charles hyped them, ‘Soul Sound System’ started getting the attention it deserves.  A great vintage soul reawakening done correctly enough to satisfy.  Much like the many new soul revival acts who came before them the next question is where to turn to next?  Is it a smart move to aim for a larger more pop-oriented market and sound?  Or is it time to use your sophomore album to double down and stay in character long enough to see where this soul revival can take them?  How authentic of a sound can they achieve?  Those are the big questions…

12.  El Michels Affair-Return to the 37th Chamber

El Michels Affair-Tearz

Follow-up to the 2009 cult classic ‘Enter the 37th Chamber.’  It’s instrumental Wu-Tang, what could go wrong.  If you don’t know now you know.  It also had 4 album covers…

 

…this from the Big Crown Records page—>

The vinyl version of Return To The 37th Chamber is presented with 4 different hand painted covers. The originals were painted on two sewn together flour sacks in Accra, Ghana by Heavy J and Stoger, two artists who are legends in the Ghanaian Mobile Cinema scene and regular contributors to the Deadly Prey Gallery’s collection in Chicago.
From the music to the presentation, this album is a perfect example of what can only be achieved through diversity. The end result is as much a kaleidoscope of influences and multiculturalism as the city it was recorded in. El Michels Affair is once again, “sounding out the city” that raised them, pulling elements of art and culture from across the country and around the globe to create an album truly unique in it’s own right.

 

…and here’s a great interview with Leon Michels the man behind it all over at Mass Appeal.

11.  Will Sessions-Deluxe

Will Sessions-Cherry Juice

Will Sessions, an actual 8 piece funk collective from Detroit, have been playing together for quite some time working with the likes of Mayer Hawthorne, Danny Brown, Elzhi, and Slum Village to name a few.  This album is a collection of 7 inch singles the group recorded along their journey.  Raw and uncut funk bangers that will surely twist your hips and purse those lips as you yell out, OOOH YEAH that’s hot.  Based on the success of this release I predict great things are in the works for Will Sessions in the near future.

Check em out here.

10.  Cactus Channel-Stay Awhile

The Cactus Channel-Storefront

The Cactus Channel deliver thoughtful and emotive blue-eyed soul or alt-soul.  Home to Melbourne, Australia the group has released it’s third album ‘Stay A While.’  They have struck gold by mining the same plot of soul and funk real estate that Melbourne favorites like the Bamboos and Saskwatch have already dug.

 

9.  The Blind Boys of Alabama-Almost Home

The Blind Boys of Alabama-Stay on the Gospel Side

Serving as a swan song of sorts for the surviving members of gospel/soul group The Blind Boys of Alabama.  Here the group sings with the same raw emotion and energy that already made them so enduring.  This album is a deep and personal journey told about the lives and through the lens of core members Fountain and Carter, featuring a few covers, and a huge collaborative effort from some of the south’s finest.  Songwriting help and performances were recruited from Marc Cohn, John Leventhal, Ruthie Foster, Cris Jacobs, the North Mississippi All-Stars, the legendary Randall Bramblett, Megafaun’s Phil Cook and Valerie June.  The sound on this album touches deeply on folk, gospel, soul, and Americana.  After nearly 7 decades of making music together The Blind Boys of Alabama have given us an amazing and lasting legacy. The folk and soul pours from every track and creates the perfect environment for contemplative and relaxing introspection.

more info here

8.  Don Bryant-Don’t Give Up On Love

Don Bryant-It Was Jealousy

Veteran Memphis soul-man Don Bryant hits back in his 70’s with new album ‘Don’t Give Up On Love.’  This collection of songs reinvigorates a decades long soul career that has been shelved for over twenty years aside from gospel songs and church services.  After performing with the Bo-Keys Bryant was urged to continue his soul career and together they recorded this new album of solid Memphis soul.

There is a lot more to his story so read about some of it here on Paste Magazine.

7.  The Como Mamas-Move Upstairs

The Como Mamas-Count Your Blessings

Daptone’s gospel angels are back with an album that makes gospel relevant, necessary, and cool. With the Daptone house band, “The Glorifier’s,” at the helm it’s not hard to see why this album was so successful.  Using traditional call and response formats for the songs it almost recalls mumble rap in its simplicity, however blasphemous that may seem.  My craziness aside, it is a great album that seems fresh, especially for gospel.

…a few words from Pop Matters on the subject.

6.  Jeb Loy Nichols-Country Hustle

Jeb Loy Nichols-Don’t Drop Me

Based in Britain but originating from Missouri this amalgamation of sounds and styles seems just right for a Missourian.  A country swagger melds itself with soulful grooves, sun drenched dub, and southern barroom boogie.  A little bit of New Orleans jazz, 80s, 90s, and blues mingles with the lo-fi, hazy atmosphere Nichols brews up.  With an overall low-key, late 70’s soul vibe, ‘Country Hustle’ makes for a solitary example of how to compose something new in this crowded world.

…check out a video over here.

5.  Son Little-New Magic

Son Little-Kimberly’s Mine

Son Little came onto our radar with his early work with RJD2 as half of the group Icebird.  A singer-songwriter of the highest order his best moments on ‘New Magic’ come to us via an upbeat pop ditty on Blue Magic, with a guest appearances from Questlove, and his soulful ballads that appear throughout.  Similar to Sinkane in that they both have crafted their own sound entirely fresh and unique, Son Little is not copying any one style.  Lush strings lend poignant emphasis to some tracks and spacey funk sounds to others.  This album employs elements of soul, R&B, rhythm and blues, delta blues, folk, and Americana and is an album that is exciting, fashionable, and magical.

more info here.

4.  Sugaray Rayford-The World That We Live In

Sugaray Rayford-Take Me Back

The larger than life Texas blues man has been working hard playing shows with his own band, the Mannish Boys, and recording since 1985.  This time out the big man plays as much Memphis soul as he does his signature blues, cooking up a hell of gumbo.  A fat slice of funky blues that will knock your socks off in a tornado of fury.

…great interview over at Soul Jazz and Funk.

3.  Curtis Harding-Face Your Fear

Curtis Harding-Need Your Love

This Michigan native emerged onto the music scene performing backing vocals for Cee Lo.  Now he finds his signature raspy falsetto recording with Danger Mouse on a powerful new record. Sumptuous strings and a tinge of fuzzy psych sounds also contributes to the projects captivating quality.  Curtis Harding’s new album is a slice of dark introspective soul and a heavy dose of funk.

…more here…

…and here.

 

2.  Mavis Staples-If All I Was Was Black

Mavis Staples-If All I Was Was Black

This is the third album that Mavis has collaborated with Jeff Tweedy on, and each time they have been able to conjure up strong divination.  Rooted in soul, gospel, folksy Americana and blues, this album uses the current political and social climate as it’s staging ground.  The album also leans more toward a dirty and dissonant funk that reflects the overall mood of the project.  A truly amazing memento full of the social consciousness of the Staple Singers of old, but with the wisdom, and grace of a current master.  Mavis is busy pushing forward into an uncertain future, waving the flag of peace, hope, and love with her uplifting and inspiring songs, but on this new album we are also exposed to her outrage and frustration.

…this from Pitchfork 

and this about Mavis and Sharon.

  1.  Sharon Jones and the Dap-kings-Soul of a Woman

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings-Sail On

Much has been said about the life and legacy of Sharon Jones so I won’t lament the subject here, but I will say that it hurts me personally to think I won’t be able to see her perform again.  ‘Soul of a Woman’ is just the Dap-Kings and Sharon doing what they do best, throwing down the most authentic soul music anywhere around.  Funky, rhythmic, hypnotic and poignant it really does have it all, in terms of a soul record.  The first half of the record lets loose and captures the raucous sounds of northern soul floor-fillers and dance-hall groovers.  The second half of the album evokes more of the style of early Motown and souls golden age.

This work is not only her last effort (released posthumously)  but may possibly be her best.  I legitimately loved every song on it.  So of course it had to be our number one.

I won’t say much about it here, just that you should go listen to it.  Love it, cherish it, and be thankful that we got to hear one last masterpiece from the father’s and mother of this new soul revival.

…more here, here, and here.

We’ve danced like children, drifted off in thought and memory, and shed some tears along the way, and now that we’ve crawled through the funky, dirty swamp and emerged onto the other side, we are wiser and more aware.  It”s now become clear that it was a great year for us Soul babies and it’s even more clear that big things are still to come.

Peace out…til next time.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment