2006 – February

CORRINE BAILEY RAE – Corrine Bailey Rae

Already a massive hit with Jo Whiley and the listeners of Radio 1, Corrine Bailey Rae is a British soul singer of the purest form. Her voice is a cross between the sublime Billy Holliday, soul sista Jill Scott and the unique Nelly Furtado that manages to grab your heart and make you fall in love, all in one bar. It’s persuasive and the down tempo and artistic sound floats along effortlessly. Perfect for relaxing to and great late night listening. There’s been a buzz surrounding the 26-year-old Leeds lass since her debut EP ‘ Like A Star,’ but it’s the release of her debut album this March and a string of gigs all over the country that are bound to make her the success story of 2006. As a teenager, she was lead singer and guitarist for the indie band, Helen, and has recently worked with the Artful Dodger and Craig David’s producer.
The second single from her album, Put Your Records On, has just been released, and is the perfect lazy Sunday afternoon tune. If Michael Parkinson finally gets around to hearing about her, you can expect her to be this year’s Norah Jones.

DJ JAZZY JEFF – In The House

The Defected In the House Series has set high standards to date. This is a compilation series with a reputation for delivering diverse mixes from some of dance music’s most respected DJ’s including Dimitri from Paris, Junior Jack, Kenny Dope, DJ Gregory and Sandy Rivera. It came as no surprise that no.11 in the “I.T.H.” series was just as fierce, mixed by non other than hip hop celebrity Jazzy Jeff : Jazzy Jeff, the notorious Hip Hop DJ from Philadelphia, 3 times winner of a Grammy Award, 2 times winner of the prestigious US Soul Train awards, famed for his association with Will Smith. He made his name with the 90’s classics, ‘Boom Boom Shake The Room’ and ‘Summertime’. He now owns his own record label ‘A Touch of Jazz’ and is one of the world’s most internationally respected DJs. Close friend of Kenny Dope who has had a huge influence of Jeff’s house sound, primarily a producer this artist has gone onto sell over 10 million records worldwide.
Put your hands together and give a big heads up to Jazzy Jeff’s first ever House compilation.
‘I grew up playing pretty much all different kinds of music – I wanted to show my version of where house music came from. I was inspired by the early Philly International sound, you’ll find funk, disco and soul all the way through my mix because that what I grew up on’. And boy, does it show here : from the very first bars of a remixed version of The Temptations’ Papa Was A Rolling Stone, through Barry White, Blaze, Booker T and Kool and the Gang you’ll know most of the songs as soul classics, but they’ve all been beefed up and thrown through a funk-house blender to produce a stunning three disc set.
Great value, terrifically original and a brilliant party album.


WOLFMOTHER – WOLFMOTHER

Let’s face it, heavy rock power trio Wolfmother aren’t the most original band in the world, but at the same time what is, in this rock ‘n’ roll resurgence of the 21st century? The shame about most of the clones that have popped up recently is that they might come close to the sound, but they just don’t have the skills to pull it off, but just try to separate Wolfmother’s chunky riffs from the ones Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi did three decades earlier. ‘Dimension’ and ‘Woman’ are taken straight from the textbooks of Cream, Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, with the occasional organ riff that may as well have been played by Jon Lord.
‘Apple Tree’ and ‘The White Unicorn’ are the only throwaway tracks on here and even they’re pretty good. While the latter shows the band’s handle on musical dynamics, they still don’t quite rock out as hard as the rest of the album.
Wolfmother might not be the most original thing in the world, but in a world where copy cats are acceptable, this is one rip off that rocks… HARD.
If you own anything by Led Zeppelin, Rush, Sabbath or Deep Purple and are as sick to the back teeth of the ironic/moronic stylings of The Darkness, do yourself a favour and get back your faith in rock music by begging, borrowing or buying a copy of this superb debut.

ELECTRIC SOUL 2 – V/A

This mix of tripped out, bass conscious soul is smoother than Errol Brown’s head. The steady tempo glides up and down though it never gets too hectic and keeps the soul vibe ‘real’. By the time you get to the pre-coital build up of track nine (by Nubian Minds) you are highly likely to have melted like a Galaxy on a radiator. Which would be shame really cause it then goes all ‘Dimitri From Paris’ with some modern, deep disco sophistication. With Amp Fiddler appearing here as well, this is some heavy mid-tempo soul with a modern flava. It’s a well spun out mix and for my money this sort of music goes hand in hand with a nice cold beer, a sizzling barbeque and the glare of a hot summer sun in your back garden. Put this on and you might actually believe you’re there …

DAVID GILMOUR – On an Island

The third solo album, and the artist’s first studio recordings since Pink Floyd’s 1994 multi-platinum The Division Bell, includes orchestrations by the renowned Polish composer Zbigniew Preisner.
Guest musicians appearing on “On An Island” include David Crosby and Graham Nash singing harmonies, Robert Wyatt playing the cornet, Caroline Dale on cello, Alasdair Molloy on glass harmonica and Pink Floyd’s Richard Wright guesting on Hammond organ.
The set will see Gilmour’s first efforts on the saxophone, as well as contributions by contemporaries from his pre-Floyd days. “It’s my best and most personal work,” he says. “Making it with my musician friends has been a positive experience on so many levels.”
A 2006 tour is also on the cards, starting in Europe in March, goes to USA in April and returns to the UK at the end of May, with concerts in Manchester, Glasgow and London. There might never be a better time to see one of rock’s true legends, so do your homework with this album first!

MASSIVE ATTACK – Collected

Given the lukewarm reception afforded their most recent album, the timely release of a best-of may scream “cash-in,” but that doesn’t mean Collected doesn’t hold plenty of genre-hopping gems. Once the darlings of the UK trip-hop scene, Massive Attack have spent a decade pooling hip-hop, reggae, club-friendly beats and ecclesiastical orchestral arrangements, producing moody chill-out tracks, as represented here by the dense mysticism of Teardrop and the heady Inertia Creeps. Protection, with its relentless piano and lazy vocals is as relaxing as it is sinister, while Karmacoma sees the group at their most flippant, exploiting exotic beats.

In the shadow of their first three albums, Collected feels more like a trip-hop down memory lane than an exploration of the group’s greatness. As a best-of, it lacks the celestial Hymn Of The Big Wheel and the musical claustrophobia of Heat Miser.
What we have here is a record that collates the best of Blue Lines, Protection and Mezzanine, stuffs them into some flashy packaging and tosses in a bonus CD of dodgy remixes and b-sides. Hardcore fans will shell out for the extra material, while others must endure weak filler tracks. Here, it looks like everybody loses. The best way to go is to buy the first three albums : Blue Lines, Protection and Mezzanine. They’re all on mid-price at the moment, so will set you back less than twenty quid.

Originally published in 2006

 

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