The Midlands and more............on the Modern side
Hi all.............just found out that my last piece for On The Scene was not used due to printing problems. It's a little out of date now, but it's a shame for it not to get read after putting the effort in, so here goes:
Firstly, let me wish you all a belated Happy New Year via these pages. I hope you all enjoyed the festive season, and that you managed large doses of soul in amongst all that over-indulging and family stuff. Anyway, it's back to it now, and though the new releases are traditionally thin on the ground at this time of year, there's plenty to cover gig wise as we set our sights firmly on Prestatyn in mid-March. More on that later.
I did say last time out that I expected to turn in a great report on the Without Boundaries 6th Anniversary down at The Coors Visitor Centre in Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire. Well, around 200 souls turned out to work off the turkey at what must rank as one of our best sessions yet. Across two rooms the music was top notch, with all DJ's performing at the very top of their game. As I've previously mentioned, from now on we welcome Steve Guarnori as a resident DJ in the 70's/crossover room. So, on the back of the Christmas success, the sensible amongst you will make a note in your diaries that our next event takes place over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. DJ's on the day include Butch, Colin Curtis, Jamie Taylor, Tats Taylor and Rick Scott alongside residents Colin Brown, Steve Guarnori, Fish and Mark Randle. And, you get the added bonus of a live performance by MOBO Gospel Award Winners NU LIFE. Oh, how we look after you. See listings in this very organ as April approaches.
Continuing with our look back at the Christmas action, and three days after Without Boundaries the Soul Purpose Christmas/New Year party took place, and a huge success it was too. Loads of folk took advantage of the cheap stay-over, including loads of the Sheffield crowd from Soul Intent. Big shout to you guys, who kept the night porter busy with the drinks runs well after the music stopped!! Anyway, they loved it and vowed to return next time. A massive thanks to Fish for turning in a great spot on guest duties; very well received. It just remains for me to tell you to note that our next session takes place on Friday April 20th with guest DJ, Bolton main man, Bob Hinsley. As always, Sam Evans, Mark Goddard and Mark Randle will be in support. As usual, more info can be had on 07710 283281, at firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.soul-purpose.net.
Look out for a new all-nighter promoted by Alan Johnson and co. to replace the Burslem sessions, which came to an abrupt end toward the close of 2006. The new venue is Uttoxeter Race Course, and I'm reliably informed by an independent source that this is a bostin' venue. I'll be amongst the DJ's at the first one, which unfortunately will have happened by the time you lot read this. Again, keep an eye on those listings over the coming months for future dates.
Continuing with the good news and no sooner do I report the bad news about the loss of the Aston Villa venue for Dave Thorley's Soul Shakers International event, and the man himself informs me that he's found a replacement. Yes, Soul Shakers returns in early March at Solihull Football Club, Damson Parkway, Birmingham. Lots of good words said about the first event at Villa, mainly around the music policy, and of course that won't change at the new venue. So, my advice is to get along and make this night a success. DJ's on the first night at the new home will be Soul Sam, Arthur Fenn, Marc Forrest (Berlin), Meg Wilshire, Ady Pountain, Ali & John Nightingale, Gavin Page, Steve Lloyd and of course Dave & Malayka. Again, see the gig listings for full details. Don't miss it!
The Soul Intent Crew has been forced to relocate their fantastic event from the Red Lion in Todwick over to the Prince of Wales at Renishaw. So, unbeknown to me at the time, my guest spot in December was the last at the old venue. Anyway, I went to the first event at the Prince in January, and I have to say that whilst I thought the Red Lion was a super venue, the Prince of Wales is even better. There's more dance floor area, its better laid out for those that want to escape the music for a chat but without mobbing the bar, and it's a no smoking venue with a foyer for those that do want a crafty drag. Perhaps surprisingly, nobody seemed at odds with the latter, which bodes well for those promoters concerned about attendances when the smoking ban comes into effect later this year. Anyway, add to all this a later finish time of 1 a.m., which should serve to attract more travellers, and I think you have a recipe for success. I'm made up as it's a junction nearer for me, being M1 J30!
Finally gig wise, and it will be upon us before you know it, is the Midnight Hour Weekender. Yes, mid-March all roads lead to the North Wales coast for one of the largest gatherings of the year; some 3000+ souls joining together at the Pontins centre in Prestatyn. With Meli'sa Morgan set to appear on the Friday night, and surprise guests on the Modern front to be revealed nearer the time, it's sure to be an unmissable event. The gig is totally sold out, with the ubiquitous waiting list currently in operation, so get on the blower, you never know your luck. Call 08706 045606 for last minute opportunities. I'll be there on the Thursday night pacing myself again..............not!!
Before we get into the tunes, I did promise last time that I'd mention my visit to the NIA in Birmingham to see John Legend on the Wednesday before Christmas. Despite John keeping us waiting an age between the support-act (Robin Thicke.......what an unfortunate name!) and his appearance, he turned in a super show encompassing material from each of his Columbia albums. Around 15 songs performed to an appreciative audience by the latest soul superstar on the block. Catch him next time round if you can; definitely worth it.
To the music then, and I'll start with something I've only just picked up, but that caused a stir at year end on the nations dance floors. From Germany comes the set "Soulprint" by Karl Frierson. You need to head straight for "Ten Minutes", a superior soul dancer that everyone will want in their collection. Another appearing to me late 2006 was Steven Perrilloux, whose "Only You" set contains the ace mid-tempo "Do The Right Thing". The new set from Spur Of The Moment "Urban Renewal" contains another great dance floor winner in "We Can Get Together", though I'm not sure how much exposure this will get, as it's a little tricky to find, with my copy coming from their website at www.spurofthemoment.com.
We usually take a trip to the land of the rising sun, by way of reviewing the latest releases from Japan. Perhaps the biggest thing of the moment is the Shuya Okino CD "United Legends", which is chock full of good stuff, most notable cuts being "Summer Love" from Nicky Guiland and "Beautiful Sadness" from Carleen Anderson. My particular favourite is ""If It Is Love"" featuring the vocals of Clara Hill. Don't miss this CD. Having said that, the vinyl maniacs amongst you may want to hang fire, as Especial records has just released "United Legends EP 1" with the aforementioned Clara Hill and Carleen Anderson cuts included amongst others. I have a sneaky feeling that the whole CD may see a release across 2 or 3 twelves. The Nicky Guiland cut on vinyl............hmmmm.....there's a thought! The DJ Kawasaki CD that we mentioned last time has been followed up with the release of a remix package "Beautiful Too", worthy of your investigation if your bank manager allows it. On Japanese vinyl out of the New World Records stable is the latest offering from the Studio Apartment, and the great, "The Rising Sun" featuring none other than Blaze. Keeping the tempo up, but moving across to the USA, we have the latest on Generate Music from Deepswing & DJ Meme feat. Linda Jackson and "Lift Up (Your Soul, Your Spirit)". I must confess that this didn't quite hit the spot at first, but it's really got under my skin and I love it! Very uplifting, this might have some mileage on the UK modern scene owing to its Salsoul feel, a la Silvetti "Spring Rain".
If you like the southern soul sound, you could do worse than to check out the latest offering from Stan Mosley. A top album this, and if you missed out on Stan's first release(?), the "Standing Tall" EP on Butlers records from around 10 or so years ago, you'll be pleased to know that the three killer tracks from that EP are included here. Oh, "Steppin Out" is the title of the CD.
Finishing off with a look at some more vinyl, and the following are all worth checking out in my humble.............Terisa Griffin releases "Sunshine" in its Terry Hunter Club Mix form for Dopewax, Franck Roger returns on Real Tone out of France with the brilliant "All In The Way" featuring Zonkes. Check out the UK's very own Vanessa Haynes on "Morning Light", new for Irma out of Italy. And finally, Phuture Sole continues to deliver the goods with Kenny Carvajal & Lafayette on "A Higher Place".
Right, as is customary at the beginning of the New Year, and while the new releases are slow, I'll sign off by listing my favourite musical moments from 2006. A really good year for the music I think, though you may not agree if solid albums is what you look for. Lots of great album cuts and single releases, but few solid albums. Hasn't that always been the case though? Whatever, here are the lists, and what we have are ten CD soul cuts and ten up-tempo vinyl goodies. Don't forget you can catch me on Starpoint Radio (www.starpointradio.com) on the last Friday of each month. C ya next time!
1. J-Red In Your Dreams (US Soul Mop Ent. CD)
2. John Legend Again (US Columbia CD)
3. Gina Darby Yes (US Gina Darby CDS)
4. Amar Khalil Sunny Day (US Earmark CD)
5. Unified Tribe Don't Wanna Be (US IAM CDS/CD)
6. Donald Harrison You Love Me Back (US Fomp Records CD)
7. Vanessa Haynes I Wonder (UK Change Of Weather CD)
8. Bobby Lyle Peabo Bryson Lost In Our Love (US Heads Up CD)
9. Amp Fiddler Heaven (UK Genuine CD)
10. Hil St. Soul feat. Dwele Baby Come Over (US Shanachie CD)
1. Kenny Carvajal ft. Reggie Hall Life Is (US Habitat 12")
2. Arnold Jarvis Justified Love (US Fuzion 12")
3. DJ Spinna feat. Heavy We Can Change This World (UK Papa 12")
4. Glenn Underground Prelude (US Unified 12")
5. Leo Mendez Group I Feel Love (EU Love Monk 12")
6. Steal Vybe & Rhythm Slaves Essence Of Life (US Steal Vybe Music 12")
7. Nadirah Shakoor Love Song (Feliciiano mix) (US Yoruba 10")
8. Guy Robin ft. Anthony Moriah Angel Of Love (UK Hustle Music 12")
9. J-Man & Yenza ft Charlie King Smile (UK UK Basic 12")
10. DJ Kawasaki ft. Angela Johnson Save Your Love (JAP Especial 12")