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Soul Express Album Review


VARIOUS ARTISTS
Soulchoonz Records Presents The Nu Vintage
(UK Soulchoonz, 2007)
1)KIMIA COLLINS – Your Only 2) LISA BELL – Tell Me Why 3) KAYTE BURGESS – Now You Know (The NV Remix) 4) LORRAINE REID – All Lies 5) WADE O) BROWN – So Glad (NV Remix) 6) MICHELLE TAVARES – Wanna Be 7) NU VINTAGE – Da Funk Interlude 8) MICHELLE TAVARES – I Need Your Lovin' 9) ALANA BRIDGEWATER – Deception 10) KATE BOWEN – Been So Long 11) KAYTE BURGESS – Happy (NV Remix) 12) IAN MARTIN – Movin' On (NV Beat Remix)

Di-Lee at Soulchoonz knows a good track from a bad track, hence there are no bad tracks on this set. This is an excellent album full of respectable modern street orientated soul songs but without the dull laboured indistinctness that blighted the Soul Desirables set. Soulchoonz, if you regularly visit their website, cherry pick the best track from the stateside indie scene and offer them as legal downloads. Di-Lee is able to sort the wheat from the chaff and notice the real talents that threaten to be swallowed up by the rising tide of R&B sewage and the marching, faceless army of indistinction.

The set hits the ground running. Kimia Collins is a sexy young vocalist from Los Angeles, and cites Faith Evans and Mary J Blige as her inspirations. Sorry, old girl, but you're much better than that old tosh and its taken this one track to prove that to me. Kimia understands that you need more than a heavy bassline and a sample to make a record. OK, this is very contemporary, but its excellent stuff so don't be put off by associations with the likes of Faith and Bilge. Lisa Bell is another fresh young talent who hails from Canada. Her inspirations are far more healthy, and include Etta James and Gregory Isaac. This beaty number is, again, totally 2007 but hails from the quality end of the scale – think of Kindred's last offering and the best cuts from that.

Fellow Canadian Kayte Burgess has 2 songs on here. The first is marred by some rap, but once that ends the groove is infectious and drizzled with excellent sax and rhodes. “Happy” is more like it – an aptly titled boogie tunes affair which should do some goodness on the likes of Starpoint and other quality radio stations. Lorraine Reid is also a fellow Canadian and is working on her debut album. This street rumbler is very good indeed and has a great hookline. This song bodes well for her album which is said to be styled on Jill Scott. I would rather you be yourself, dear! The industry is full of clones as it is without any more! LOL.

Wade O Brown needs no introduction. This youngster has a seriously soulful voice and it is a pity that he is only about 25 as his vocals would have benefited the style of the 1980s very well. This Remix is chunky, funky and is perfect for today's urban-based radio slots who like to appeal to us dyed in the wool soulies who like melody, difference and individuality. This track is, needless to say, a highlight of the album. Apart from being a very beautiful and sexy young Lady, Michelle Tavares also has 2 inclusions on here. The infectious and bubbling stepper “Wanna Be” and slap-bass led party friendly “I Need Your Lovin'” will not disappoint either. The latter should be particularly of interest.

Another highlight on this set is the KILLER “Deception” by Alana Bridgewater. This track is taken from her forthcoming album which is styled on 60s Stax Records with vocals similar to Chaka Khan and Aretha Franklin. Does that sound great or what? Well, this song is BRILLIANT and along with Wade O Brown (and many others, of course!) make this CD essential. I cannot wait for this Lady to release her CD! Kate Bowen is another seriously attractive and talented young Lady, and is known for her 2006 EP “Bare”. “Been So Long” is an excellent and very tight modern stepper but pales in comparison to the aforementioned track. It is an amazing 2 years since Ian Martin's last album and here to close the CD off is a remix of “Movin' On”. Not a version I care for, but I know that the UK market will lap it up.

This is a strong, strong album and augers well for all artists who contribute on here. See this as a taster for much greater things to come. Please do not overlook!
- Barry Towler

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