Various Artists - Alex Attias presents LillyGood Party Vol. 2BBE Music
Alex Attias is not only a premier DJ and avid record collector, he’s a superb producer as well. Attias has crafted remixes for a number of artists over the years and his DJ sets, specifically his Lillygood parties are not to be missed. Of course not everyone can make it to Switzerland, Attias’s home base for his parties so the next best thing is to press play to his latest BBE release “Lillygood Party Vol. 2”. This twelve track release is packed with soulful funk and house bangers certain to fill a dance floor or ignite a house party. There isn’t a weak track in sight here so you’re in for a treat. “Playground” is irresistible deep house layered with gorgeous chords from Martin Iverson aka Atjazz featuring Saral Jazz. Yam Who’s rework of Dwayne Morgan’s “Everything” features soulful spoken word over lush deep house grooves. “Children Of The World” is a signature Louie Vega production filled with gospel inspired vocals and infectious percussion. As far as compilations go, this latest version of “Lillygood” is as good as it gets. Vol. 1 was good but Vol. 2 is on another level.
Reg Dancy, 04/20
Various Artists - Americana Rock Your Soul Vol 2BBE
Zaf Chowdhry and Mark Taylor, soul music connoisseurs return with their second installment of the "Americana - Rock Your Soul" series. Volume two continues with another collection of rare unreleased material from the 70's and 80's. Just like Vol.1 there are a few hidden gems, however this collection is a bit more upbeat and engaging than Vol.1. That's quite evident by the opening track "There's A New Group In Town", by A Breakaway. "Vaya Mulata" by Luc Cusineau is laid back funk with a stirring touch of the Wah Wah guitar. "Give It To You" is sweet atmospheric Disco by RCR. Jaye P. Morgan delivers a smooth ballad with an eighties vibe complete with soothing vocals and synths on "Here Is Where Love Belongs". Overall this is a much more enjoyable set than Vol.1. While they're aren't any knockout tracks, there's enough to keep you entertained for the journey through the archives of the Black American songbook.
Reg Dancy, 03/14
Various Artists - Americana-Rock Your SoulBBE
BBE has been very busy dropping a number of quality compilations and there are many that demand your immediate attention, “Blued Eyed Soul and Sounds from The Land of The Free” however isn’t one of them. This compilation of soft rock and soulful grooves courtesy of Zafar Chowdhry and Mark Taylor provides a few moments of enjoyment starting with Eric Tagg’s “Living off the Love” and Tender Leaf’s “Coast to Coast” which features a nice falsetto voice floating over a nice rhythm guitar and keys. In addition, Midnight Flyer’s “I Just Want To Love You” is a nice soft rock soul tune would’ve been spiced up if left in the hands of, say Shuggie Otis, of whom it reminded me of. Instead it starts out with a little fire and fades with a fizzle. After that you’re left with tunes like “Can’t Hide Love” by Jaye P. Morgan that will make no one forget the EWF original. “I Got the Feelin’” is symbolic of most of the tracks here: a mediocre soulful pop tune with good intentions but doesn’t have the grooves that will make you want to play it again. I got the feeling that if you’re looking for quality soulful sounds you will find plenty of alternatives within the BBE catalogue that will live up to the billing.
Reg Dancy, 10/11
Various Artists - Amplified presents Dirty Soul ElectricBBE
The title says it all, this isn’t some stand in the corner and look pretty kind of funk. This is pop your collar and break out in a sweat kind of funk. Zak Akhimien and Jean Claude Mighty have formed Amplified, a platform to showcase some of the most progressive forward thinking soul music on the scene today. I’m always a bit wary of compilations but I’m feelin the roster these guys have put together here. For starters, we have Tiombe Lockhart with the wicked funky rock infused “You Need Me”. We also have two of soul music’s up and coming talents here. St Louis native Coultran lays his soft smooth vocals down on “Girl Of My Dreams” and Bilal Salaam is equally impressive on “Noohustle”. Another one of my favorite artists on the comeup is Muhsinah. Muhsinah’s voice may remind many of Georgia Anne Muldrow. Her offering of “Construction” is a great example of the wealth of talent that is on the horizon. In fact “Dirty Soul Electric” would be a great way to introduce yourself to quite possibly the future of soul music. Based on this very enjoyable record, the future is in very good hands.
Reg Dancy, 09/08
Various Artists - Audio FormationPin Cushion Records
Scarborough is not a town you'd usually associate with hip hop but Kista has been causing quite a stir with his DJ sets, graffiti work and productions. Just for starters you must check out his "Talk with God" which featured Tableek from the excellent Maspyke. The twelve tracks here are sourced by Kista and are an ace selection of laid back hip hop instrumentals by artists from all over Europe. Many of the names will be unknown to you but that shouldn't detract you from the quality beats. The artist work has been created by Breakface who's done illustrations for Lowdown and Wax Poetics magazines, which adds to the finishing touch.
Simon Harrison, 01/07
Various Artists - Backstreet Brit Funk Vol.2 Compiled by Joey NegroZ Records
Leave it to premiere DJ Joey Negro to assemble another enormous selection of rare gems. Brit Funk Vol.2 has dusted off some hidden UK funk tracks from the late seventies and early eighties that will have you searching for your platform dancing shoes. There's plenty to savor from this double lp that features several unreleased tracks. Among the highlights are Eastbound Expressway's "Never Let Go", a late seventies funk groove with a break beat that certainly jump started parties back in the day. "Ease Your Mind" by Touchdown has an infectious uptempo groove and swirling horn rhythm that has found it's way into several DJ's playlist today. "You Gotta Get It" by Congress is another banger with a wicked synth laden bass groove. Eight years after Vol.1 Negro hits the mark once again.
Reg Dancy, 10/18
Various Artists - BamaLoveSoul presents On Deck 2BBE
Roderick Moody, aka DJ Rahdu, host of the immensely popular internet show "BamaLoveSoul" has been an important messenger in shining the spotlight on the burgeoning underground soul scene in recent years. With the success of his first compilation entitled "On Deck", it's only right that he follows up with another gem. "On Deck 2" is a journey into the paradise of hazy laid back soul from a number of up and coming artists. One of those talents is James Tillman. On "Shangri La" his falsetto floats over a dreamy and intimate composition about an earthy paradise. Birmingham Ala native and gifted lyricist Fayth Hope waxes poetic about strength and fearlessness on "Warrior". Los Angeles native Jevon Reynolds is another name to remember. "Silence" is a touch of modal jazz and soul wrapped into a sultry composition. There's plenty of quality soul music out right now and this sublime compilation is a good place to explore and savor.
Reg Dancy, 08/14
Various Artists - Basement Soul: Sounds From The Floor Vol.1Unique Uncut
In the current climate in the music industry there is a lot of uncertainty with independants. So it's always great to see people start new labels and continue to push quality music. Basement Soul is a club night based in Brighton and this is their debut but it's as though they've been at it for years. Exclusives from Jneiro Jarel, Soulphiction, Yellowtail and Max Cole aka Moxo Tengu. It's also fantastic to see Vaceo's "Cos You're Here" and Masoul's "Knowledge" with Ursula Rucker finally get a release. This is one Friday night session I need to visit.
Simon Harrison, 04/07
Various Artists - Battlefield Band In ConcertTemple Records
Filmed at the Brunton Theatre in Musselburgh this has Mike Katz, Alasdair White, Sean O’Donnell and Alan Reid showcasing 14 tracks which include The Merry Macs Set, I’m Going To Set You Free, The Emigrant and the Sisters Reel Set. Terrific stuff from some real legends of Scottish traditional music.
Graham Radley, 07/08
Various Artists - BBC Radio 3 Awards For World Music 2007Union Square Music
33 tracks over 2 CDs showcasing nominees and winners, you might debate those facts but what's for sure is you get a great selection of quality music here. Look out for category winners like Maurice el Medioni & Robert Rodriguez, Gotan Project and Mahmoud Ahmed while among those those not so lucky but equally deserving are Balkan Beat Box, Gogol Bordello, Lo'jo, Fat Freddy's Drop and Les Boukakes. Every ipod should have one. ps Apparently the 20th anniversary of 'World Music' is approaching, strange that, we thought much of this music and certainly the traditional sources had been around for centuries! Just having our periodic gripe at the patronising terminology which apparently works on the basis that lots of people use it so that makes it right-it's not.
Graham Radley, 05/07