Looking Back


I meant to put this up a while ago, but it never happened, realistically music from 2012 is still streaming into my desk and I haven’t got to it all yet.  Why make a best of 2012 list before the year is even over?  But that’s just me.  Now is the time, its my turn to look back on the best music from last year.

I’ve been reading a lot of year end lists, and have noticed that certain stuff is trendy to like, and certain stuff is trendy to dislike.  This phenomenon seems a little weird to me since all of these supposed authorities on the best albums of the year are simply stating their opinions, which in theory should be wildly different.  I have a hard time believing that every critic loved Kendrick Lamar’s new joint, or were so infatuated with Frank Ocean’s new album that they were universally deemed the best of the year.  I liked both of those efforts, but you won’t find either one on my list of favorites for the year…coming soon.  Regardless of all that, over here at Soul Donuts we are gonna stick to what we know, soul and funk.  So my attempt at a list will be very specialized to include opinions on the best soul/funk albums of 2012.

After much thought and deliberation I’ve finally decided on a list of the top 25 soul/funk albums from 2012.  I hope you enjoy the list, and perhaps find some inspiration, and some stuff you haven’t heard.  So without further ado…here are the nominees for the first annual Soul Donuts Awards for excellence in the Soul/Funk world 2012.

25.  The Mason Affair-Eyes on Fire

Eyes On Fire

Fun and funky, with a West Coast summertime vibe.

The Mason Affair-Spend Some Time

The Mason Affair-Fat Strut

24.  Bibi Tanga and the Selenites-40˚of Sunshine

40º Of Sunshine

Silky smooth funk, with just the right amount of jazz.

Bibi Tanga and the Selenites-Dark Funk

23.  The Soul Snatchers-Scratch My Itch



The Soul Snatchers-Show Me Love

22.  Cactus Channel-Haptics


New-comers from down under.  Perhaps influenced by the new wave of soul/funk themselves.

The Cactus Channel-The Colour of Don Don

The Cactus Channel-Jungle Run

21.   The New Mastersounds-Out on the Faultline


Jazz-funk stalwarts from across the pond do it solid again.

The New Mastersounds-You Mess Me Up

20.  The Transatlantics-Find My Way Home


Rhythmic and soulful, great horns, and nice female vocals.

The Transatlantics-Need A Little Help

The Transatlantics-The Harm You’ve Done

19.  Martha High With Speedometer-Soul Overdue

Soul Overdue

This band was already throwing it down, but then they met Martha High and stepped it up.

Martha High and Speedometer-No More Heartaches

Martha High and Speedometer-Dragging Me Down

18.  Brownout-Oozy


Latin vibes and poly-rhythms collide with funk.


Brownout-What You Did

17.  Kylie Auldist-Still Life

Still Life

Bamboo’s lead temptress, adds a bit of flashy disco style to her exemplary brand of soul/funk.

Kylie Auldist-Nothin’ Else To Beat Me

Kylie Auldist-Howlin’ For You

16.  Sugarman 3-What The World Needs Now


The most complex and complete effort by these Daptone all-stars under the Sugarman 3 banner.

Sugarman 3-Jealous Moon

Sugarman 3-Dirty Water

15.  Georgia Anne Muldrow-Seeds


Just call up Madlib and add some killer Badu-esque soul-jazz vocal stylings…got yourself a winner.

Georgia Anne Muldrow-Seeds

Georgia Anne Muldrow-Calabash

14.  Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers-A Hill of Feathers

A Hill Of Feathers

Surprisingly raw effort from these relative unknown youngsters.

Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers-The Kitchen Strut

Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers-Tell Me Something (Liberties)

13.  Andre Williams-Life


Still kickin’ it, and making real bluesy, soulful records with humor, and a message.

Andre Williams-Stuck In The Middle

Andre Williams-Blame It On Obama

12.  Monophonics-In Your Brain


Not what I was expecting, this album has the making of a soul/funk classic.

Monophonics-In Your Brain

Monophonics-They Don’t Understand

11.  Quantic/Russell-Look Around the Corner

Look Around The Corner

A giant melting pot of musical excitement from North America down to South America and back again.

Quantic and Alice Russell-Una Tarde En Mariquita

Quantic and Alice Russell-Travelling Song

10.  Mr. Day-Dry Up In The Sun

Dry Up In The Sun

Highly underrated second album takes its influence from many realms, even sounding unique covering Cornell Campbells, ‘minstrels.’  A soulful delight.

Mr. Day-Dry Up In The Sun

Mr. Day-Queen Of The Minstrels

Mr. Day-Right On

9.  Gary Clark Jr.-Blak and Blue

Blak and Blu [Deluxe Edition]

Hot hand on the scene, this young bluesman mixed up a little bit of everything for this release.

Gary Clark Jr.-Soul

Gary Clark Jr.-Please Come Home

8.  Menahan St. Band-The Crossing

The Crossing

Just another day at work for these veterans.  They still haven’t lost a bit of what made them so spectacular right out of the gate.

Menahan St. Band-Seven Is the Wind

Menahan St. Band-Sleight of Hand

7.  Nick Waterhouse

Time's All Gone

Exciting young rocker takes his influence from early R&B, proto-soul, and blues to pay fitting homage to those early records.

Nick Waterhouse-Indian Love Call

Nick Waterhouse-Teardrop Will Follow You

6.  Alabama Shakes-Boys and Girls

Boys & Girls

If you haven’t heard this one yet, you may live under a rock, or in a sewer.  Bold and powerful, they deserve all of the love in my opinion.

Alabama Shakes-Heartbreaker

Alabama Shakes-I Found You

5.  Lee Fields-Faithful Man

Faithful Man

Still one of the best in the biz, hands down…soulman.

Lee Fields and the Expressions-You’re The Kind Of Girl

Lee Fields and the Expressions-I Still Got It

4.  Betty LaVette-Thankful N’ Thoughtful


Always thrilling to see the beautiful divas from the golden age of soul come back, and do their thing so timeless as this.

Bettye LaVette-Dirty Old Town

Bettye LaVette-Everything Is Broken

3.  Dr. John-Locked Down

Locked Down

Blown away by this one, doesn’t hurt to have the Black Keys helping too.

Dr. John-Getaway

Dr. John-Big Shot

2.  Michael Kiwanuka-Home Again

Michael Kiwanuka

Another rising superstar, with aching amounts of soul in his voice.

Michael Kiwanuka-Tell Me A Tale

Michael Kiwanuka-I’m Getting Ready

Michael Kiwanuka-Home Again

…and at number one!!!! It had to be, the one and only Mr. 110th St.

Beautiful, heart-breaking, and wise, this album never fails to move me, especially after the sad news of Bobby’s diagnosis with alzheimer’s.  Partnering with Damon Albarn made for a smart choice, and reminds me of last years Gil Scot-Heron and Jamie XX  album a bit.  A fresh take on soul, from one of the true living masters.


The Bravest Man in the Universe

Bobby Womack-Stupid

Bobby Womack-Please Forgive My Heart

…and some bonus Womack just for the hell of it.

Bobby Womack-I’m Through Trying to Prove My Love to You

Bobby Womack-California Dreamin

Bobby Womack-Fly Me To The Moon

…more bonus stuff

The Soul Snatchers-I Cant Stand It

About spinladen

DJ at KWVA University of Oregon campus radio, record collector, artist.
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1 Response to Looking Back

  1. Pingback: Best of 2013…Soul/Funk Albums | Soul Donuts

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