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Soul Express Album Review


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VARIOUS ARTISTS:
SOUL TOGETHERNESS 2006
(UK Expansion CD, 2006)

1) Let’s Groove - Funky Company 2) Oh – Janita 3) Lord (Bah Samba Mix) - Alexander O’Neal 4) Fall Into My Love - Black Box 5) I Feel Love - Leo Méndez Group 6) Walkafteru - Aura Jackson 7) First Sight - Peter Hadar 8) Here We Go Again (Bump Mix) - Aretha Franklin 9) Ain’t For Free – Trace 10) Keep On Keepin’ On - Unified Tribe 11) Rhythm Of Love - Jersey Street 12) Where Has The Love Gone - Steve Harvey featuring K.K. 13) Somethin’ Bout Cha - Millie Jackson 14) Do You Love Somebody - Luther Ingram 15) Looking For You - Kirk Franklin

I never bothered with the 2005 compilation mostly because for me it was filled with tunes I either had, or couldn’t care less about. As time goes by I seem to be more disillusioned with the so-called "modern scene". Are we, I wonder, getting too that away in time from the days when REAL soul was made? Memories are not the same, and some on the scene today were not even born in the 70s or early 80s. Hence today what is considered great is nothing but a mere ghost of tunes gone past, if it is at all comparable anyway. There is some STRONG material out there today and one or two can be found on here, but at the end of the day I will always hark backwards and not to the programmed sounds erupting out of Clubland London or whatever clique support it.

I am so impressed, however with the great work on here from Alexander O’Neal who collaborates with Bah Samba on the anthemic, if not highly original, "Lord". I downloaded this great track back in the summer from iTunes and have not stopped playing it. As the liner notes go, this really is pop soul the way it used to be: happy, dancable, moreish and soulful! This is an edited version but at nearly seven minutes long is still a real treat. Vocally Alex is back to his best and the feel good groove suits the gentleman to a tee. Great stuff and worth it for this song alone.

I am also a firm favourite of Finnish bombshell, Janita. This Lady is not only stunningly beautiful but is pure class to boot. "Oh" is lifted from her essential 2001 set "I’ll Be Fine" and is rightly spun today on choice dancefloors. I guess, though, that many will already have this. I rather like, also, the Crazy Beat championed "I Feel Love" by the Leo Méndez Group who originate from Spain. This is another modern groove that merits inclusion on here.

I have already championed Unified Tribe this year and their excellent "Keep On Keepin’ On" appears here should you not have the original album. Beating all these, though are the songs considered "revival tunes". Both Millie Jackson and Luther Ingram are giants and stand tall above other lesser entities included on here. Millie’s reading of Lattimore’s "Somethin’ Bout Cha" is excellent as is Luther’s "Do You Love Somebody" which was added straight to the iPod. Now, this is soul music.

I really find myself shaking my head at the likes of Funky Company, Black Box, Aura Jackson, Kirk Franklin and the rest. Sorry, folks, these just don’t do it for me. But as I always say, that’s me – go check for yourself. Essential for the highlighted cuts.
- Barry Towler

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