We’re finally back and ready to go after a devastating loss at the very beginning of the new year. And once again, music has proven to be a healing force. Thanks to Ralph Tee, a new chapter in the Luxury Soul series has been opened, with 35 new quality indie soul cuts on a luxurious three-CD set, out now on Expansion.
I won’t get into a detailed description of all the tracks here, but rather want to highlight a few cuts on this wonderful new compilation. Incognito head Bluey is featured here with five productions, the best of which, “Fall Into My Love”, opening the proceedings. Francesca Thomas has the perfect voice for this Incognito-style uptempo soul gem. There is a very sophisticated, poignant and sultry new track by Darryl Anders AgapéSoul: “Bulletproof” has some warm keys, great backing vocals and Darryl Anders in top form. We get a Will Downing moment with “Falling” by S.E.L. feat Bryan Chambers, a floating, heavenly piece which is one of the highlights of this set. The HamilTones, backup singers for Anthony Hamilton, add the feel-good “Celebrate”, echoing those wonderful late 70s E,W&F days. And Joe Leavy conjures up a jazzy Marvin Gaye with “Inside You”. Sound of SuperBad take us back to the 70s with a haunting bass line and strings on “I Want ‘Cha”.
The second CD opens with a sample of one of my favorite Isley Brothers tunes: “Here We Go Again” is the backdrop for Jack Tyson Charles and his sublime “Something”. I have always admired Hilary Mwelwa, better known as Hil St. Soul, who is teaming up with Regi Myrix for a soul/pop/urban delight called “One Life”, which was something like a minor hit last year. Hilary just released her own distinctive cover of The Ohio Players classic “Heaven Must Be Like This” by the way. Songstress Yolanda Parker and her beautiful voice grace the Motown-inspired “Everything You Do Blows My Mind”, written by Raymond Burton after hearing the Stevie classic “Until You Come Back To Me”. A joyful midtempo swayer. And how we still love London-based Debra Debs and “Dreams”, released last October on her wonderful “Sevens” album.
There are more small wonders on CD 3: French-Caribbean singer and multi-instrumentalist Adeline for example. “After Midnight” is from her brilliant “Intérimes” album of last year. Highly recommended! “I Wanna Go Back” by Robert IMtume Owens reminds me of Luther’s “Never Too Much”. Milano-based singer Roberta Gentile is featured with a pretty sexy “Play Me”, produced by Bluey, to be released on her forthcoming debut album. A wonderful start into the new year and a more than welcome soulful glimmer of hope.