While Gina is enjoying the various pools of our neighbors during this summer (like in this short video clip we took), we can’t get enough of a wonderful indie Soul collection which just came out. “Soul Shine – 16 Contemporary Summer Soul Vibes” is a brilliant collection of intoxicating groovers and shakers with a few new names to explore and some well-known artists with brand-new material.
Victor Fields is included in this set (I have reviewed his masterly Lou Rawls tribute album on these pages) as well as Ola Onabule who will come out with a new album in the fall (see also report on these pages) and whose “Soul Town” from his 2004 album is given the remix touch by Nigel Lowis. Nigel is also involved in the remix of “Make You Mine” by a young artist from South Carolina called Samuel David Sanders. It’s an amzing tune right out of the Philadelphia International Records book complete with a lush string arrangement and contagious backing vocals. The O’Jays meet Teddy Pendergrass on this one. And Samuel has the most infectious voice. A real gem written by the man himself.
The compilation opens with another new name to me: Leon Timbo from Atlanta has the production help of Luther Hanes behind him (he has worked with Gerald Albright, Ledisi, or Jonathan Butler) and the 7-plus minute anthem has some fantastic live strings and some dazzling vocal work and a really shining production. What an impressive way to start the album. The track comes from Leon’s debut “What’s Love All About” album due later this year.
And there is more to enjoy: the majesty of Carmen Rodgers on “Beyond The Stage” from her exceptionally soulful “Stargazer” album, or superb guitarist Tony Remy featuring Tony Momrelle on a mid-paced, sweaty groover called “Lighthouse” which has a simply hypnotic hook and one of the best vocal performances from Tony (who used to work with Incognito). And there is ex-Pieces Of A Dream singer Tracy Hamlin who has enlisted the one and only Frank McComb on her smoothing “My Good Day” from her own new release “Limits” (to be reviewed here asap).
The guys from Soul Talk, Ernie McKone and Toby Baker, are responsible for a new recording by master songstress Sheree Brown: the sunny and warm “All Your Love” also has some late 70s/early 80s background vocals that are unfortunately not done anymore these days. One of the many surprises here is Bulgarian singer Ruth Koleva who has come up with a breakbeat gem and some fusiony electric keyboard sequences that are just oozing quality indie Soul/Jazz. The track is her own production and has the remix hands of Kaidi Tatham of Bugz In The Attic as support. Another brilliant tune. Tempo slows down a bit for the Australian singer Chelsea Wilson and the Motown-like “One Day At A Time” and the equally impressive James Day who features Tony Terry on a relatively innocuous R&B ditty (“Repertoire”) which doesn’t really do any harm.
There is more delight to be found in new recordings by Victor Haynes, Neo, a Barry White soundalike, Italian DJs Crossroads with the help of singer Natasha Springer (welcoming back the early 80s with a bang), Incognito guesting on Russian singer Olga Makovetskaya on a track that is pure Incognito, and the guys from Soul Talk with their own catchy “Not Giving Up” featuring the cool vocals of Gary Poole. This compilation by Ralph Tee will accompany us throughout the summer and beyond.