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Soul Express CD Review

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The Contemporary Soul Songbook
UK Soul Unsigned Records CD, 2009

1) Ashanti Munir - I'm Staying Home Tonight 2) Antoinette & Howard Hewett- Where Do We Go from Here 3) Lisa Zure - Tongue Tide 4) Woody Cunningham - Never Say Never 5) Trish Andrews - On My Mind 6) Fola - Phenomenal Woman 7) LeNora Jaye - Living for Today 8) Eddie Sea Ft Aaron Sledge - India 9) Razzberry - At Times 10) Tracey Harris - Can't Settle for Less 11) Sophia Nelson - Over 12) Jua - Lost paradise 13) Tammy Harris - Come over 14) Ariana Jane - Mirage 15) Donald Sheffey - Just Because 16) Nash Reed - Saying Less

Now here's a good value-for-money set for quality soul devotees. Phil Driver and Leigh Fry have done an excellent job in compiling soul tracks from various indie releases. Many of the tunes included have already been raved in our online magazine - or included in our Quality Time Cream Cuts or Serious Soul Chart listings of recommended soul tracks and albums, but the great thing is that most of the previously unknown artists featured here are equally classy.

First of all, Antoinette Manganas is one of the finest new talents that have emerged in recent years, and certainly deserves all the exposure she can get. Her duet with Howard Hewett, Where Do We Get from Here topped our Cream Cuts Chart in April, and Antoinette's brilliant solo set Verbal Crush was our album of the month in April, spending two months at the top of our Serious Soul Chart. If you still need more recommendations, just listen to the YouTube video pick below!

Moreover, our readers are probably already aware of the excellence of Trish Andrews', Sophia Nelson's and Tammy Harris' recent albums, and if you aren't, here is a good chance to check these talents. Trish Andrews' recent CD These Five Words spent two weeks at # 2 position on the Serious Soul Chart, and Tammy Harris' album Natural Vibe was our album of the month in October 2007. In my Quality Time column from 2008, I mentioned that "for anyone who likes both soul and salsa and Latin music, Sophia Nelson's latest CD is worth hunting down"; you can listen to Sophia's track Over on this compilation.

Barry Towler has also been raving about Ashanti Munir and Jua in our CD reviews, and the old Woody Cunningham tune Never Say Never from 1997 is probably already considered as a classic by many.

Of the artists that were completely new names to me, I especially loved the Lisa Zuré track Tongue Tide, which is crowned by some excellent saxophone soloing by Vince Lars. Many other tracks chosen for this compilation also feature plenty of saxophone. Other highly recommended tracks include Razzberry's highly soulful mid-tempo ballad At Times and Arlana Jane's stylish sax-laced ballad Mirage, which is produced by the legendary Michael J. Powell.

(Rating 8/10) -IT

Soul Express Video Pick from YouTube

Antoinette & Howard Hewett: Where Do We Go from Here (Live Version)

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