Raashan Ahmad - For What You've Lostcrowncityrockers
I don’t know exactly what inspired the title of rapper Raashan Ahmad’s new release but I would like to think that what we’ve lost is some old fashioned feel good hip-hop, which he provides here in abundance. Indeed, the Crown City Rockers front man delivers another refreshing dose of that laidback soulful hip-hop we never seem to get enough of. There are many enjoyable tracks here to savor like “Imagination”, a mid-tempo rhodes flavored tune that evokes images of sunny afternoons in Cali, which is where Raashan calls home. “Sunshine” has all the ingredients of a summertime jam, the warmth of the grooves, tight rhymes’ and the soulful voice of Noelle Scaggs for bonus points. Another standout track is “I Am” which features the underrated Chi-town native Rita J. Raashan and Rita J’s effortlessly flowing styles make for good chemistry. “These Foolish Things” is easily one of the best trackss here, and there are quite a few to pick from. Raashan and guest Count Bass D ride this soul jazz organ grinding groove while Silya Nyomen adds a little bit of spice with her soulful vocals. “Falling” also receives honorable mention thanks in part to supreme lyricist Gift Of Gab and singer Aloc Blacc. Despite the notable guest appearances Raashan impressively carries this disc on his own shoulders. Like his previous release “The Push”, Raashan delivers another strong record filled with lyrics that are fun and some that are thought provoking. This is a well spent investment from the underrated MC.
Reg Dancy, 06/11
Raheem DeVaughn - Love Behind the MelodyJive Records
Other than the well placed use of Floetry on "Marathon" there is but one worthy track, that of the two-stepper "Love Drug". The rest? Well let's say it is in a field where players are plentiful and skill sparse. Let's hope Jive can produce something for the Premier League later in the year.
Steve Williams, 01/08
Raheem DeVaughn - The Love ExperienceJive Records
Joining the likes of Dwele and Van Hunt in the list of genuinely talented Soul artists emerging from the manufactured mush of chart-clogging 'R&B' is Baltimore's Raheem DeVaughn. This debut offering sees DeVaughn's immense voice and refreshing song-writing ability coupled with some of the most creative, and musically sensitive producers around; including the tragically underrated Pete Kuzma. With 18 tracks, the spine-tingling Soul is bountiful, and if there was any justice, the Kenny Dope produced 'Guess Who Loves You More' would be a chart-cleansing hit.
Tom Breslin, 11/05
Rail Band - Belle Epoque Vol 3 -- DiobaSterns Music
This is just the best, a classic band with 19 tracks spread over two CDs , this as the title suggests is the third part of a story covering 1970 to 1983. All I really need to say is this is the band that first brought us the talents that are Salif Keita, Mory kante, Sekou Kouyate, Lanfia Diabate and Makan Ganessy, listen to them here & revel in divine, pure music.
Graham Radley, 05/09
Ralf Gum - In My CityGo Go Music
If you compiled a list of places that truly embrace soulful house music, be sure to list Johannesburg, South Africa near the top of that list. DJs have been known to perform in front of tens of thousands house party evangelists. One of the prominent DJs in South Africa the last several years captivating dance floors with his signature sound has been Ralf Gum. The German born and now South Africa resident professes his love with the appropriately titled "In My City". Ralf's third album features an array of international heavyweights who sprinkle their vocal spices to his gorgeous arrangements. What better way to kick off the disc than by enlisting native South African legend Hugh Masekela. His blissful trumpet phrasings augment the soulful grooves on "With Her Hands". Veteran House diva Monique Bingham turns up the heat on the bumpin' house tune "The Pap". Veteran UK soul icon Omar blesses the playful sunny grooves of "Love Core". "Bi Na Ba Njo", featuring Dele Sosimi is filled with funky Afrobeat rhythms. This is a glorious tribute filled with positive vibes and uplifting house rhythms that captures the pulse of the city.
Reg Dancy, 01/15
Randa and The Soul Knigdom - What You NeedFreestyle
Freestyle records, home of the funk bands delivers another winner with Randa & The Soul Kingdom. Their second lp is filled with gritty funk grooves highlighted by the vocal prowess of Australian resident Randa Khamis. “What You Need” begins with the aptly titled “Power In Me”. Guitarist/Producer Lance Ferguson lays down a scorching groove to complement Randa’s soaring vocals. The horns are funky and the lyrics keep you interested. “The Things” is a bubbly disco tune filled with infectious percussion. “Cold” is a dim the lights slow funk grinder that is solid but it’s the high energy burners sprinkled throughout that will keep you pressing repeat. This is one tight record that delivers on all levels. If you like your funk raw and uncut then this is the record for you.
Reg Dancy, 12/11
Randolph - Echoes Of Lonely EdenStill Music
I think it’s time for Detroit to change their nickname from the Motor City to the Music City. They’re not producing automobiles like they once did but they’re sure as heck producing an abundance of talented musicians, singers and producers left and right. Without a doubt one of those musicians is Paul Randolph, a talented bass player with the distinctive raspy voice heard previously on Jazzanova’s “Of All The Things”. “Echoes Of Lonely Eden” is two cd’s in one. Disc 1 features the original recordings while disc 2 features an assortment of reworks from an all star lineup of dj/producers. One of those dj’s, East London’s Simbad flips “Lonely Eden” into a bass heavy mid tempo funk deluxe. Deetron adds a laidback soulful groove with some experimental Rhodes playing on “Leanin”. Aaron Jerome starts out “Golden Days” with a mellow groove and then it morphs into a up-tempo house treat. Speaking of house, there are lots of gems here like the Jazzanova remix of “Believer” and Archety’s Lower Harmonic remix of “Claim”. If by chance you missed out on the 2009 release, there’s no excuse now. This is an impressive collection of original recordings and outstanding remixes from an artist who clearly deserves more recognition.
Reg Dancy, 09/10
Ranking Dread & Massive Dread - 2 Dread Ina BabylonSilver Kamel Audio
From Trenchtown in the dancehall days this has six tracks each from Ranking Dread (two featuring Horace Andy) & Massive Dread recorded at Channel one and mixed at King Tubbys with Sly & Robbie providing the rhythm. Two rudeboys with both of them meeting untimely deaths so this is a reminder both of how good things were and how much we missed.
Graham Radley, 03/07
Rasmus Faber - Where we belongFarplane Records
“Where We Belong” is the latest full length disc from Swedish producer Rasmus Faber. Rasmus has treated us to a number of quality remixes for various heavyweights like King Street, Defected and Code Red just to name a few. For this set, Rasmus takes us on an adventurous ride of melodic, blissful house music that will entertain you well beyond the dance floor. In addition, he has enlisted the help of several talented vocalists to add another dimension to these wonderful recordings. The disc starts out with a subtle orchestral intro, which is followed by the lightly sweetened deep house delight “Everything is alright” which features the angelic voice of Linda Sundblad. It’s also nice to hear from Dyanna Fearon, who last appeared with Reel People stop by and bless us with four tunes with her beautiful voice. “Give it to me” is a pulsating house jam that breaks down into a down-tempo stomper towards the end and “Yes” is a soft mid-tempo groover. “Every time we” is the weakest of the four but it’s still worth listening to. “I don’t mind” which features Parasto is easily one of the best tracks here, a long playing atmospheric gem laced with beautiful chords. As an accomplished pianist and first rate producer, Rasmus delivers with a record filled with rich orchestral sounds, fine tuned arrangements and thumping beats. The result is a lush, rhythmic, uplifting listening experience.
Reg Dancy, 03/09
Rasputin Stash - Devil Made Me Do ItBBE
Rare Chicago soul from Rasputin Stash, a group created by Martin Dumas Jr. "Devil Made Me Do It" is filled with vintage seventies funk. Highlights include "You're So Special" filled with blistering horns and soft vocal harmonies. "Middle Man" has a nice mid-tempo guitar groove and piano melody that has been sampled by rapper Jon Wayne. While the vocals aren't memorable the soulful rhythms and funky grooves will keep your head nodding to it. This is certainly worth checking out.
Reg Dancy, 03/16