Hannah Williams & The Tastemakers – A Hill Of Feathers

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The daughter of a musically gifted minister, Hannah Williams AKA Deep Soul’s Funkiest New Diva was immersed in soulful music from the day she was born. Her first single, an independently released 45 on Mondegreen Records, reached out into the soul scene and drew praise from Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Charles Bradley, Craig Charles on his BBC radio show and various labels and promoters. Within weeks of the DIY vinyl release, the London based 9-piece were snapped up by Italy’s renowned Record Kicks label. Whilst recording the anticipated debut LP, out October 15th, the outfit have made several trips to Europe to headline festivals and have wowed domestic audiences with a mainstage performance at Shambala and two consecutive headlines at Larmer Tree’s second stage.
Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers have become increasingly dominant in the domestic club scene; a highlight was their headline at the legendary 100club and a headline at Manchester’s Band On The Wall for the Craig Charles clubnight. They have become the go-to band for supporting big name acts like soul frontrunners Sharon Jones & Charles Bradley as well as hip hop legends like AfrikaBambaataa& The Sugar Hill Gang; a testament to the modern influence that goes into their groove making. In fact, the band often collaborate live with MC’s who are drawn in by the band’s instrumental work. A tour in May helped convert the band’s studio tightness into a blistering live show. The first single and video from the debut album is out on September 10th with a launch party on the 12th @ London’s Floripa venue. The LP, titled “A Hill of Feathers” will be out on Record Kicks on October 15th 2012 with an extensive tour booked in October and November.

 

Otis Clay – Soul Man Live In Japan

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Thankfully, Otis Clay is an artist who refused to change with the times. When the R&B audience embraced disco and, later, urban contemporary, the hard-edged belter wisely stuck with the type of raw, unapologetically Southern-sounding soul that put him on the map. Though he calls Chicago home, Clay’s approach has always shouted “Memphis!” in no uncertain terms. A 41-year-old Clay was clearly very much in his prime when this magnificent live date was recorded in 1983. Sparing no passion on such treasures as “Holding on to a Dying Love” and Al Green’s “Here I Am (Come and Take Me),” Clay illustrates why his small yet devoted following holds him in such high regard. One of the most pleasant surprises is the ballad “Love Don’t Love Nobody.” While the Spinners’ excellent hit version boasted a sleek Philly soul production, Clay takes the gem straight to Memphis

Precious Stone -In The Studio With Sly Stone 1963-1965

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One of the biggest success stories of the Woodstock Festival and movie, Sly & The Family Stone built up their international reputation in the years prior to 1969 with such ground-breaking albums as “Dance To The Music” and “M’Lady”. Sly successfully fused soul, funk and rock, in a totally natural way.The music he created then (and in classic later works like There’s A Riot Going On) changed the face of black music for ever. Sly’s ideas not only influenced those working at the popular end of black music (paving the way for such artists as Prince) but also the creative jazz process (affecting the music Miles Davis made on such albums as “On The Corner” and subsequently laying the groundwork rhythms for groups like Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters). “Precious Stone: In The Studio With Sly Stone” is a fascinating exploration of how Sly was to so convincingly integrate rock with dance music. It captures the early recordings he made tor the Autumn label when, as Tom Donahue and Bob Mitchell’s house producer and A&R staffer, the 19-year old Sly also cut many early 60s West Coast rock sides with bands like The Beau Brummels. Between 1963 and 1966, Sly was also leading the house band and MCing at Bay Area spectaculars at the Cow Palace, DJing on KDIA and KSOL and, generally, pulsing to the heartbeat of the emerging West Coast rock and R&B scenes. From the start, Sly produced his own sessions tor Autumn. Often these were unfinished, probably no more than demos or ideas for other artists to use. I’ll Never Fall In Love Again is included here in a fast, previously unissued, version by Bobby Freeman. Sly liked the song enough to include it later on his own “Dance To The Music” album. Freeman also cut C’mon And Swim for Sly and it blasted to the top of the charts, propelling Freeman to the premier position at Autumn. Also of great interest are 4 previously unissued demos Sly made with Billy Preston (all probably remained in the can as Preston was then signed to Vee Jay) and a previously unissued Dance All Night with brother Freddie (later of The Family Stone). 16 of the cuts are previously unreleased tracks. Alec Palao’s detailed sleevenotes tell the early Sly story and the whole package is a must both for fans of Sly Stone and those who savour all things West Coast pop.

Jr. Walker & the All Stars

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Walker & the All-Stars ended up on their Soul subsidiary, debuting for the label in 1964. In early 1965, they scored their first big hit with the dance tune “Shotgun,” which marked Walker’s vocal debut; in fact, the only reason he sang the song was that the vocalist he’d hired didn’t show up for the session, and he was somewhat flabbergasted by the label’s decision to leave his vocal intact. Berry Gordy’s instincts proved right, however, when “Shotgun” topped the R&B charts and hit the pop Top Five. A steady stream of mostly instrumental R&B chart hits followed, including “Do the Boomerang,” “Shake and Fingerpop,” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” (Walker was, naturally, encouraged to record instrumental versions of Motown hits). In 1966, Graves left and was replaced by old cohort Billy “Stix” Nicks, and Walker’s hits continued apace with tunes like “I’m a Road Runner” and “Pucker Up Buttercup.” Toward the end of the ’60s, seeking to diversify their approach, the All-Stars began recording more ballad material, complete with string arrangements and Walker vocals. That approach resulted in the group’s second Top Five pop hit, the R&B number one “What Does It Take (To Win Your Love),” which helped refuel Walker’s career. He landed several more R&B Top Ten hits over the next few years, with the last coming in 1972.

Curtis Mayfield – The Very Best

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From his classic early work with the Impressions to his subsequent solo career, singer-writer-producer-guitarist Curtis Mayfield is one of the key figures in American rhythm and blues, pushing musical and lyrical boundaries while maintaining deep ties to gospel roots and emotional thrust. His large and varied body of work contains a wealth of magnificent music, much of it collected on Rhino’s three-CD box People Get Ready: The Curtis Mayfield Story. This 16-track single disc is a good introduction for beginners, with the familiar crossover hits “Superfly,” “Freddie’s Dead,” and “Move On Up,” along with equally impressive (if less well-known to pop audiences) numbers like “(Don’t Worry) If There’s A Hell Below We’re All Going to Go,” “We Got to Have Peace,” and “Future Shock.”

Darondo – Let my people go

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You might have heard Darondo’s irresistable soul nugget “Didn’t I” – as the opening cut on the Gilles Peterson Digs America compilation.He opened-up for James Brown and lived a colorful lifestyle hanging with folks like the notorious Fillmore Slim. Take a listen to these tracks, released for the first time together on an album, and you may agree that he could have been the next Al Green or Sly Stone. But about 25 years ago Darondo disappeared. Let My People Go is nine tracks long, compiling the three super-rare 7″ singles that comprised Darondo’s musical career and includes three previously unreleased tracks recently found on a reel of demos. Mixing low-rider soul with blues and r’n’b, he delivered in a variety of styles. From the socially-charged title track to the sexually-driven funk of “Legs” Darondo’s raw soul sound is turning heads worldwide.

Don Covay – King Of Soul

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You Ought to Know About Don Covay, but If You Don’t How About this for Starters. He Wrote Chain of Fools (Aretha Franklin), Sookie Sookie (Steppenwolf), Mercy Mercy (Rolling Stones) as Well as the Classics See Saw, Three Time Loser, Pony Time, Long Tall Shorty and Heaps More. Along with Solomon Burke, Joe Tex and Wilson Pickett was a Member of the Original Soul Clan who with Otis Redding Are Regarded as Soul Music’s Definitive Artists. This CD features his Classic Late 60’s/Early 70’s Original Recordings and Will Appeal to Anyone Interested in the History of Soul Or Listening to Great Deep Soul Music. Includes the Classics “Sweet Thing”, “Three Time Loser”, “Ain’t Nothing a Young Girl Can Do”, “Bad Luck”, “Daddy Please Don’t Go Tonight”, “Love is Sweeter on the Other Side”.