What is soul music? Who knows where the boundary really lies. This is the sort of music that two dj's from Manchester called the Unabombers belted out at their 'Electric Soul' events and their 'Electric Chair' night every month in a dirty basement on Oxford Street. Those nights were a big influence on me - and on my relationship with the lady who later became my wife. It was our first night out together and our last night out in MCR before we moved to Australia. Their music policy was loose. It opened my eyes. It just needed to be "music with feeling".
So here it is. Psychadelic soul music. This isn't a fast party set though - it's more focused on the sort of tracks that were played early in the night, or during their "Summer Soul" events, as the dancefloor was about to heat up. I'll so something faster another time.
From the top we have:
Jill Scott, a songwriter, poet and singer from Philadelphia. Not a bad pedigree on paper, but Jill also has a vocal range equal to the late Minnie Riperton and is able to consistently reach notes in the sixth and seventh octave. This one's quite hushed though!
Greyboy comes next, with some urban influenced sounds from San Diego.
Will I Am follows that - but not with the sort of hip hop or pop that he can be associated with. His is a loose, psychadelic, almost jazzy cut. A real classic.
4 Hero appear twice in this mix - never a bad thing. Dego and Marc Mac are two guys from London who started out early in the 90's with heavy, pounding drum and bass and jungle. Their consistently high quality output and wonderful departures into soul, and their almost single-handed creation of broken beat speak volumes of their talent. True legends.
Following that is Amp Fiddler from Detroit, who decided to release his own material after supporting others for two decades. The 'others' happened to include George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic, Prince, Seal, Jamiroquai, Carl Craig and Moodymann. Little wonder that his output to date has been highly acclaimed. This track, 'You', is particularly beautiful.
Up next is Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez, one half of Masters at Work. What this man doesn't know about house, latin, soul, hip-hop or most other music is not worth knowing. His diversity is amazing, and he's a prett hot dj too. Incredible skills. This one's definitely on the soulful, downtempo side of his style of hip-hop - with a simple funk influenced vocal.
Roy Ayers also appears twice. A veteran artist who has influenced soul and hip-hop enormously, his music is both of it's time and timeless. This is one of a collection of lost recordings that were uncovered in the last decade and remixed by various artists. It's lyric predate and demand the creation of the United States' Dr. Martin Luther King public holiday. Political activism with a vibraphone!
Back to London again with Spacek, though this one is mixed by Osunlade, a native of Los Angeles, who is a priest of the Nigerian religion Ifá and produced music for Sesame Street in the 80's and 90's!
4 Hero and Roy Ayers appear again, followed by Manzel's 'Midnight Theme', an obscure deep funk track from 1979 (appearing here as an edit by Kenny Dope).
Jazzanova next. Germany's foremost future jazz outfit (there are quite a few), Jazzanova is more of a collective, with artists drifting in and out. 'L.O.V.E. And You & I' is a very blissed out kind of electronic jazz. German soul!
Osunlade appears again, though this time he's the producer. 'Oia In Winter' was recorded in Santorini, which probably reflects in the summery accent to Osunlade's trademark pan-African sound.
The penultimate track is by the other half of Masters At Work, 'Little Louie Vega'. This isn't the Masters At Work New York house sound though. This is Luis Fernando Vager reflecting his latin american heritage with a downtempo remix by Philly hip hop legend Jazzy Jeff (yes, it's 'that' Jazzy Jeff - no Fresh Prince here though).
Finishing things off is a monumental slab of dub disco by Joey Negro's Sunshine Band, who live up to their name with a glorious, disarmingly life affirming lyric. If this doesn't make you smile then I feel sorry for you.
I hope that you enjoy this.
I can provide a .cue file for those who want to burn a cd with individual tracks, rather than one long file. Just ask if you want one.
00:00 Jill Scott - Slowly Surely
03:00 Greyboy - Genevieve
06:23 Will I Am feat Julie Dexter - Lay Me Down
00:15 4 Hero - Take My Time
14:25 Amp Fiddler - You (Live Drum Mix)
18:12 Kenny Dope - Get On Down
23:45 Roy Ayers - Holiday (DJ Spinna Mix)
29:37 Spacek - Getaway
34:47 4 Hero - Give In
39:07 Roy Ayers - Funk In The Hole (Nicolay Mix)
43:47 Manzel - Midnight Theme
47:27 Jazzanova - L.O.V.E And You & I (DJ Ghe Remix)
50:17 Osunlade - Oia In Winter
53:02 Louie Vega - Jungle Fever (ATOJ Remix)
57:15 The Sunburst Band - Every Day