Mellow Dome – 15 Mellow Soul Grooves

Recently celebrating 30 years in business, the wonderful indie soul label Dome Records, operating out of the UK, not only released two volumes of their greatest work with “Dome 30 Years Vol. 1” and “Dome 30 Years Vol. 2” last year, but now come up with yet another great compilation: “15 Mellow Soul Grooves”. Starting with one of their biggest hits to date, a cover of “Until You Come Back To Me”, timelessly recorded by Hil St Soul on their 1999 debut album “Soul Organic” (they have moved on to Shanachie Records now), this is an excellent overview of the mellower side of US and UK indie soul from the past decades until today.

One of the better tracks by India Arie is actually a guest spot of hers on another Stevie Wonder cover. On “Never In Your Sun”, she smoothly glides along the Khari Cabral Simmons production. The track can be found on the Atlanta-based producer and songwriter’s 2012 abum “Clementine Sun”. It is really rewarding being reminded how many great artists the label has nurtured and brought into life. London-based singer Donna Gardier, who has worked with Sting and got her big record label start in 1991, didn’t really have the support back then. So it took more than a decade before an indie label, Dome Records, really got her off to bigger things, with an album (“Home”, 2002), that suited her much better. “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” from that album is included here.

Mellow Dome

Both Anthony David and Angela Johnson have recorded two albums each on Dome Records and one of the newer tracks on this album is their joint effort on “Heaven”, a cover of the beautiful BeBe & CeCe Winans tune. Stripped down, subdued, and breathtakingly corresponding, the two easily stroll through the piece. Up next is another mellow milestone: the greatly missed Terry Callier wrote “What Color Is Love” in 1972 and Incognito’s Bluey and his group Citrus Sun came up with a bittersweet cover, sung by Valerie Etienne, on their 2014 album “People Of Tomorrow” (they have released three albums on Dome so far). A fantastic version of a classic track. Multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger Rico Garofalo is the mastermind behind Lasperanza, who released a great version of Gwen Guthrie’s “It Should Have Been You” on their 2019 album “Seeds”, a collection of reimagined soul and jazz tracks from the 70s and 80s. From that same album, we get “Early Morning Love”, featuring LaAerial Owens. The Gamble/Huff tune is not as catchy as on Lou Rawls’ album “Unmistakably Lou”, but still…

And what a great move of welcoming Jarrod Lawson to the label. The man who turns everything he touches into soul gold, is featured here with “I’ll Be Your Radio” featuring Amber Navran from Moonchild. It’s off his 2020 LP “Be The Change“, one of Gina’s rare five-paw albums and our record of the year. Hammond organist James Taylor started his quartet in the late 80s, fusing acid jazz, funk, TV themes from the 70s, and lots more into his group sound. With over 30 albums to his credit, he released one on Dome back in 2007: “Don’t Mess With Mr. T: JTQ plays Motown”. Tyrone Henry is the featured singer on the Marvin Gaye classic “After The Dance”, sounding a lot like Omar. We also get Brenda Russell here (from her wonderful 2004 album “Between The Sun And The Moon”) with her seductive and soulful “I Know You By Heart” and the great Dennis Taylor with Anita Baker’s “Angel” from his 2001 album “Unconditional”. Great voice, Luther-style, but didn’t really like the drum machine part on this one. But the album is still worth checking out, especially since it was released as a double LP, too.

Still more to come: Avani‘s sexy “Best Friend’s Lover”, the sultry “All The Way” from Drizabone Soul Family featuring Nataya, the swaying Latin flavor of “Salt Sea” with the wonderful Julie Dexter, and the innovative production company Full Flava with a remix of “Nature Boy”, sung by Hazel Fernandes (from the 2003 album “Colour Of My Soul”), crying out for more stuff from this amazing singer. The album concludes with the incredibly gifted Shaun Escoffery and his take on “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

The album is out this Friday. Vinyl please!


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