Every new year starts with a 3-CD compilation of the finest indie soul tracks, courtesy of Ralph Tee who compiles the songs for the ever so reliable Expansion Records. This time around, 34 tracks have found the way onto the latest edition. Very few have been mentioned here before, like the wonderful “Gotta Have You” by GarciaWalker&Durrell or a track from the latest album by Sheree Brown and the Michele Chiavarini house remix of “Be The Change” by Jarrod Lawson.
Once again, there is a lot to discover, like the breezily flowing Kathy Kosins/Frank McComb duet “I Gotta Pinch Myself” or the collection’s opener “A Little Love” by Julian Jonah feat. Lucita Jules. This is yet another must-have comp with so many quality tracks simply too numerous to mention. There are a few pieces here harking back to the good old days of late 70s/early 80s soul, like the Joy Remix of “What Goes Around – Comes Around” by The Groove Association feat. Georgie B. I also welcome the return of Christopher Williams on his strong “Fine As Gold” tune, featured here with the T-Groove Remix.
New Jersey-based producer and songwriter Regi Myrix teams up with Noel Gourdin for the feel-good groover “Step Into Love”. There is a fine soul/r&b stepper by Maurice J with “No Matter How Far”. Is this the Maurice Jacobs who released the “Devoted” album back in 2001? Just asking. There are only a handful of tunes here which are not really worth a mention; the majority of the tracks all get a thumbs up rating. Love the Rob Hardt Mix of Candace Woodson‘s “All It Takes”. Subtle and smooth soul with serious handclaps. And what a nice cover of Brenda Russell’s “In The Thick Of It” by Ernie and The Family McKone featuring Valerie Etienne. There is another cover version. You don’t mess with “Get Down Saturday Night” by Oliver Cheatham, but Full Flava and Chantay Savage come up with a fair enough version.
Will Downing released a new album last year. The very sophisticated “The Song Garden” is represented here by the soothing “Say Yes”. Will still sounds amazing. It’s finger-snapping time on “Loving You The Best I Can” by Marlo Wells. And the indie ride continues with wonderful singer Marshella Griffin, who records under the name of Marshella Muzic. The Bloomington, Indiana native is featured here with “U & Eye”, a track from her debut album “Moodz”, a quiet storm beauty. There is a beautiful cover of The Spinners classic “There’s No One Like You” (originally on the 1974 LP “New And Improved”) by Point Of Vu and a very 80s-sounding “Is It You” by BB Soul feat. singer Cheri Maree, reminding me of Loose Ends and Nick Martinelli productions of days gone by. Japanese guitarist, songwriter, and producer Yuma Hara also found the way onto the compilation with a track from his 2018 album “The Day”. On “Be Free”, his smooth jazz playing is enhanced by singer Monique Dehaney and a remix by T-Groove. My favorite track here is “You’re My Everything” by singer, songwriter, saxophonist, and producer Vince Broomfield, younger brother of Eugene Wilde who scored a couple of hits in the mid 80s. This suavely flowing track is featured on his latest EP “Past & Present”.