SOUL SPECTRUM

alabama shakes – over my head
etta james – I’d rather go blind
jill scott – you don’t know
billy stewart – sitting in the park
bettye swann – then you can tell me goodbye
chris mcclenney – us
d’angelo – really love
chance the rapper feat noname gypsy – israel (sparring)
lion babe feat pharrell – wonder woman
shoffy & theodor – ride
drake – hotline bling
werkha – flinch/quiver
leon bridges – smooth sailin’
izzy bizu – deep blue sea
j felix feat kinny – black little box
prince – 1000 x’s & o’s
jill scott feat mos def – love rain (coffee shop remix)
bugge wesseltoft & henrik schwarz – dreaming
raury – devil’s whisper
sinkane – new name
goldlink – spectrum
bambooman – sun (eckoclick remix)
ash walker – six eight

 


MIX NOTES

Over My Head – The last song on the Alabama Shakes latest album, Sound & Color, which came out in April. Definitely a little bit of an Al Green thing going on here, in all the right ways. See Brittany Howard on stage once, and you can’t deny this chick was born to sing the blues.

I’d Rather Go Blind – Speaking of soulful women with an unmistakable, singular stage presence – Etta James is the alpha with no omega in this game. Recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals studios, it was released as the B-side to her 1967 “Tell Mama” single. The track was written for her in prison by Ellington James, who was doing a stretch at Chino for robbery.

You Don’t Know – This was the first track leaked from Jill’s 2015 “Woman” LP. The record is pretty hit or miss for me, but when Jill’s voice gets moving, you can’t help but get in the car with her. It’s actually a pretty faithful cover of a 1967 track originally sung by Carl Hall, and written by Jerry Ragovoy – best known for penning “Time Is On My Side” (Rolling Stones, Irma Thomas, etc).

Sitting In The Park – Billy Stewart was a DC gospel singer and piano man discovered by Bo Diddley. Bo put him in his own band and got him signed to Chess Records. He recorded 4 albums. This was his biggest hit, peaking at #4 on the soul charts in 1964.

Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye – This was written as a country song for Don Cherry in 1962. Bettye recorded it in 1969 for her 3rd LP, “Don’t You Ever Get Tired Of Hurting Me” (which is either a question, or a call to action, I can’t tell) on Capitol Records. If you’re gonna go country, I prefer the Eddie Arnold version.

Us – Chris McClenney is a 21 year old singer / songwriter making tracks in College Park, Maryland for the dope-ass Soulection Records label out of LA (also home to another dope artist on this mix, Goldlink). This track is jus a simple instrumental that reminded me of an old 90s groove, so here it is. We have Roy Ayers to thank for this type of schmoove shit even being “a thing”. You can check out some of Chris’ vocals HERE

Really Love – Another deliciously sweet track from D’s Black Messiah LP. My double vinyl copy of the album just arrived last week from Okay Player, along with a double album repress of Brown Sugar – on white vinyl no less. Do pick one up yourself.

Israel (Sparring) – The art of lyricism is not completely dead yet. Pushed aside and undervalued, yes, but not gone. Seek and ye shall find. Chance’s flow is not my favorite, but he drops science all over this shit – as does Noname Gypsy, aka Fatimah Warner, who like Chance, built her rep in the Chicago streets. Preach.

Wonder Woman – NYC’s Lion Babe is some herb named Lucas Goodman and some supermodel-lookin’ chica who is actually Vanessa Williams’ daughter (no lie!) Jillian Hervey. They make the kind of pop soul records I can actually listen to, which is rare. Getting Pharell on your track doesn’t hurt either. I predict big things for these two.

Ride – Shoffy is Alexander Shofler, an LA-based musician and producer making electronic-laced R&B for the young and restless. Theodor is Italian producer Matteo Rossanese, making beats out of Turin. I’m hoping he drinks a lot of good Barolo over there. They teamed up to release this track in 2015 and it’s definitely got its own hybrid sound.

Hotline Bling – I like one Drake song a year, and this one just got in under the wire for 2015. I try to resist. I really do. And he’s absolute garbage as an MC. But this song makes me bounce a little. And it makes you bounce a little too. Admit it.

Flinch/Quiver – Manchester DJ and producer Werkha has been making really interesting electronica / bass music as of late – in the vein of other UK cats like Romare. This instrumental opens up his “Colors of a Red Brick Raft” LP that came out in June of this year. The whole album is mostly full of vocals and really worth a listen.

Smooth Sailin’ – in an effort to showcase a broad spectrum of soul music, both old and new, I had to include one of these new jacks that wave the flag for the old Sam Cooke-type sound. Fort Worth, Texas crooner Leon Bridges is one such dude. His first record hasn’t even been out for a year and he’s already blowing up. I’m glad the world still makes room for music like this. Not much room, mind you, but just enough.

Deep Blue Sea – Izzy Bizu is a brilliantly talented UK singer songwriter who looks like Rosario Dawson’s younger hotter sister, if such a thing is even possible. Her voice is a little bit Amy Winehouse and a little bit Amel Larrieux. She was discovered last year at an open mic and is already opening for Sam Smith. It begins…

Black Little Box – Bristol’s J Felix puts some funk in his soul, and rightly so. He released his first album in June and heads are nodding as we speak. This has some crispy ass drums, peppy Sly Stone “Fresh”-era horns, and a spacey synth sound that would make Prince proud.

1000 x’s & o’s – Speaking of Prince, OH SNAP he finally released a studio version of “1000 X’s & o’s” – a song that purple fanatics have been hearing at live shows for 25 years. He first recorded it in 1992 for Rosie Gaines, while on the Diamonds & Pearls tour, but it never made it on to any of his records. Carmen Electra was supposed to rap on it too LOL. Now, out of nowhere, it appears on 2015’s “HitnRun Phas One”, his 38th album. Yes, I said 38th. The rest of the record is mostly whatever, but this sounds just exactly like the Prince I love.

Love Rain (Coffee Shop Remix) – This remix of a classic track from Jill’s debut LP came out on 2007’s “Collaborations” compilation. One of the many times I fell in love with Alison Chan was when, un-prompted, she busted out with Jill’s entire verse, acapella, from memory, without missing a word. If you feel Jill Scott, I feel you. Feel me?

DreamingHenrik Schwarz is one of house music’s best kept secrets. A dope producer and excellent DJ. If you know, you know. Bugge Wesseltoft is a Norwegian Jazz pianist who was played all over the world since the early 90s, running his own Jazzland label and collaborating with cats like Billy Cobham as well as a slew of dance music peeps. This came out in 2011 on Henrik’s Sunday Music label. Here’s a live version from Montreux.

Devil’s Whisper – Raury makes an answer record to his own “God’s Whisper” track, this time from the perspective of Old Scratch himself. Like I said, there are rappers out here breaking new ground and putting in work. You just gotta dig.

New Name – Sinkane is Ahmed Gallab, a London-based brother who mixes jazz and electronica with Sudanese Pop and a bit of Afrobeat. DFA signed him in 2012 and his songs have been seeping into Brooklyn loft parties ever since.

Spectrum – DC’s Goldlink continues to change shit up and blur the boundaries of Hip Hop and EDM and whatever he wants. this man is WAY out in front. Also a prime example of sites like Soundcloud giving a platform for unknown musicians to introduce new shit to the world. Don’t sleep.

Sun (eckoclick remix) – I never quite know how people manage to make ethereal house music like this, that sounds almost like its being played far off in the distance, with the wind filtering the vocals here and there in a weird push/pull fashion. Like, do they record it straight at first? Then fuck with it later? Or was this what they knew it would sound like all along? It boggles the mind. This came out in 2013 and has been sitting in my morning workout iPhone playlist forever.

Six Eight – Ash Walker is, oddly enough, best known as a UK Reggae DJ. Here he turns to Jazz and plays it straight, with just a hint of dub delay here and there, and it’s a nice way to end this mix, if I do say so my damn self. Thanks for listening.


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