soul posts


Monday, July 31st, 2006 by Paul Irish

caribbean soul // folk // reggae

Nuzzle these together for me: the songwriting flavor of Jack Johnson, the character of Amadou & Miriam, and the sound of the islands with the roll of an ocean wave. The Frenchman Jehro (pronounced ZHE-ro) moved to London at 20 and was absorbed by the Jamaican and Spanish influences around his Hammersmith flat. You can expect light and acoustic arrangments alongside Jehro’s chansonnier voice delivering lyrical sensuality. As for me, I expect to see a lot more of this cat.

Island love played cool.
Jehro – Everything (track 9 on the Aurgasm Summer Soundtrack)
Jehro – Long Is The Way
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Lou Rawls

Saturday, January 7th, 2006 by Paul Irish

smooth soul // vocal jazz // classic r&b

Mr. Frank Sinatra once said that Lou Rawls had “the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game.” High praise, but well deserved. Rawls hailed from Chigago where he was high school buddies with soul giant Sam Cooke; they later collaborated on “Bring It On Home To Me” which you can grab at Soul Shower. (If you’re looking for a treat, you can hear Lou and Will Ferrell in a one-on-one scat attack on the Anchorman DVD commentary.) The track below, “In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down” is a live recording of a finger-snapping mix of great jazz-blues and conversational improv. First heard it on WICN and knew I had to share it – never thought Lou’s passing would be the final impetus. He will be missed.
Smooth, classy elegance with an charming vocal personality.

Lou Rawls – In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down (Live)
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Radio Citizen

Thursday, September 22nd, 2005 by Paul Irish

vocal breaks // oily soul // slack dub

If reknowned jazzbreaksdancegroove über-DJ Quantic hands you a CD-R and tells you, “Have a listen, you might like this,” you’d be wise to heed his request. Luckily A&R at Ubiquity did, and now we have this fire track “The Hop” steaming off of the label’s newest compilation. Radio City is 27 year-old German Niko Schabel, a talented instrumentalist and music scholar. In “The Hop” he proves his ear’s precision– stirring the aural pot with musty vinyl samples, a laid back break, and a magical touch for pacing. Smokey vocalist Bajka (from jazz-house outfit Beanfield) adds some lyrical funk into the mix.
A bold but chill taste of tomorrow’s yesterday’s groove.

Radio City feat. Bajka – The Hop

Update (2007.01.03): Radio City has been renamed to Radio Citizen
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Beady Belle

Tuesday, August 30th, 2005 by Paul Irish

nu jazz // norwegian soul

Beady Belle is a result of collaboration between vocalist Beate S. Lech and talented instrumentalist Marius Reksj√ł which began at the University of Oslo. Marius earlier worked with the Bobby Hughes Experience and joined Beate in developing an album for Jazzland Records, requested by nu-jazz godfather Bugge Wesseltoft. From Beady Belle’s newest album, Closer, is “Goldilocks” which gives me everything I want out of a nu-jazz tune in a fine smooth progression. I get vocals similar to Diana Krall, some organic clap and tambourine action popping in, and even a killer blues rhythm guitar break-out solo session.
Hot groove, sweet vocals, and an organ tickled with white gloves.

Beady Belle – Goldilocks
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James Knight & The Butlers

Monday, August 22nd, 2005 by Paul Irish

1960’s miami soul // funk

Just like Sly & The Family Stone’s “Dance To The Music” and Archie Bell and The Drells’ “Tighten Up”, this track has an additive instrumentation structure. James calls for the bass player first, followed by the drummer, and then gets some organ action stirring up that pot. Once some horns drop into the groove, you know the hot game is on. This group didn’t make a big record, but they were considered the “number one Miami and Miami Beach band of the funk era. And if you listen closely to Shadow’s “Mongrel…Meets His Maker” off Private Press, you’ll spot a sample from the Butlers’ track “Fantasy World”. (danks t’my main cat, Delassus on this track)
A simmering soul number that gets you moving.

James Knight & The Butlers – Funky Cat.mp3
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The Meters

Friday, January 7th, 2005 by Paul Irish

funk // soul // 1970’s new orleans r&b

Ya know, sometimes I see this song floating around; I think Thank god somebody’s listening to it. But still not enough bodies are hearing this; it’s an absolute classic. It’s been sampled by everyone — from Public Enemy to Congo Natty. Picture this: a suave black brotha’ strutting down the city block after he had just kissed his sweet lookin’ honey that he just knows looks too good for him, but damn it, he’ll take it. And he is one happy, smug fella’.
The simmering convergence of meaty funk and hearty soul.

The Meters – Just Kissed My Baby

Joe Bataan

Thursday, December 16th, 2004 by Paul Irish

boogaloo // latin soul

There is something so irrestible about handclaps leading off a song, especially when they’re backed up by a scorching brass section. Mr. Joe Bataan evolved from a childhood in Spanish Harlem, an adolesence with Puerto Rican gangs, and an absorbtion of R&B, Afro-Cuban and Afro-Rican musical influences into the absolute king of the boogaloo. He released this red hot track in 1969, right when the fiery attitude of the genre was at its peak. Unfortunately for him and others like Joe Pito, the fanbase faded but we’re keepin’ it hot. If this shit lights you up, get down with one of these soul brothas.
Get on this train and shake down with your lady.

Joe Bataan – Subway Joe

DJ Z-Trip

Monday, November 29th, 2004 by Paul Irish

motown remixed // soul // funk

Imagine all the hottest tracks of Motown, all mashed up in a megamix of soulful body-movin’ music. DJ Z-Trip delivers exactly that in this 9-minute long non-stop funk-fest. He drops into it with some Jackson 5 loads you up with the finest grooves of The Temptations, and even forcefeeds you some hard-hitting Edwin Starr. DJ Z-Trip is widely regarded as one of the finest sampling and mashup professionals, alongside 2 Many DJ’s, Double D and Steinski, Coldcut, and The Avalances. Peep the excellent interview over at Downhill Battle, and also check out the great things they’re doing to protect our right to listen to music.
The very best of Motown’s finest groove-filled gems.

DJ Z-Trip – Motown Breakdown


Sunday, November 28th, 2004 by Paul Irish

neo-soul // contemporary r&b

N’Dambi got started as vocalist with the big afro, backing up the soul siren Erykah Badu. Her solo albums sound like what you’d expect from Sunshine Anderson, India.Arie, The Princesses Nubiens, or Erykah — laid back grooves with an upright bass, a scatting vocal line, and a head-nodding chorus. “Call Me” snuck itself in my head after listening to my man Maze’s radioshow. It’s a standard song structure, but it’s got definite head-nod appeal. Her gentle voice injects subtle but solid emotion that gets right down to the soul of it.
It’s a red-light drizzly night outside, but you’re in where the vibe is swingin’.

N’Dambi – Call Me

Edwin Starr

Thursday, September 30th, 2004 by Paul Irish

motown soul // northern soul

The music from Motown was the only stuff that could speak your soul and to your dancing feet. We all know Edwin from his classic protest song “War”, so much that Jackie Chan quotes it. Great song; this one’s even better. He recorded it a year earlier in 1969. The driving percussion feels like bullets shot at your toes (dance, sucka!) and the hard baritone sax and horns grab your shoulders into a solid groove. It’s a classic inescapable tune that got a little too forgotten. Revive it.
Throw down for a hot funky soul-filled number. Grab the big beat remix if ya feelin’ it.

Edwin Starr – 25 Miles
The 3 Amigos – 25 Miles 2001