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Soul Express CD of the Month - July 2012

Cool Million: III CD



EU SedSoul CD, 2012

Peggi Blu – When We Loved / Laura Jackson – It’s Your Life / Kenny Thomas – Without Your Life / Meagan McNeal – Pick It Up / Gary B. Poole – Running Around (12” Version) / Francisca – You Don’t Care / Chidi – Take Me Home / Westcoast Allstars – We Can Work It Out / Monique Thomas – Love Dance / Peggi Blu – What About You / Jono McNeil – Peace Of Mind / Natasha Watts – Show Me / Donna Gardier – Shout It (From The Rooftops) / Bashiyra – The You In Me

Cool Million return with yet another set of essential tunes that take us back to happier and more saner musical times. Drawing together their enviable arsenal of soulful singers, old and new, and their own unquestionable talent for the groove, Rob Hardt and Frank Ryle set off on the next chapter of their very own good groove. In an era where brand new music leaves me colder than a snowman’s naughty bits, new-familiar sounds such as this bridge the gap between the best of today’s retro scene and past classics.

Laura Jackson

Fourteen songs that bring nothing but joy and happiness... and the gems start, for me at least, with track two which is Laura Jackson’s (on the pic right) “It’s Your Life”. A great rhythm and melody (both essential for a song and something today’s kiddy nursery rhyme auto-tuned artists have no clue about) combined with a boogie times feel and soulful freaky 80s synths a la Paul Laurence / Kashif / Kleeer. How wonderful is this, hmm???

“Without Your Love” features the brilliant Kenny Thomas on vocals and is an excellent vehicle for his super-soulful delivery as is “Running Around” for the superb Gary B. Poole, appearing here with the swirling strings for the12” version. This song is a real stomper and should be a strong contender for the Soul Togetherness 2012 compilation. Classy dancefloor material. Hey, America, remember the days when you made stuff of that description? No? Thought not. Who cares when you can swagger and swear your way through the BET awards show and have to have most of it bleeped out. I bet you are all pleased with yourselves. Hope so because anyone with any style, class, intelligence or decency certainly was not. Why not listen to Cool Million, shut up and sit down and let real singers and writers do the job properly? Reassuring yet also sad that white Europeans make far superior black American music than black Americans. A sad reflection on today is it not? But I’m grateful to these guys for capably filling the space that the sensible artists vacated prior to the lunatics and brain-dead who killed them and their musical craft off.

A sexy vocalist called Francesca pops up with “You Don’t Care”, reminding me of Karyn White (also a sexy vocalist!) and helps mould a very sensual downtempo effort. Classy! Talking of which, Chidi’s “Take Me Home” harks back to mid 80s SOS Band... check out the gorgeous haunting synth!!! We should all know and love the single release “We Can Work It Out” credited to the soulful amalgam who is the Westcoast Allstars. The female parts are almost as good a harmony as the legendary Jones Girls... a great groove and one to be enjoyed for many years to come.

I have wanted new music from the superb Peggi Blu for ages and here she is with her superior second offering on here, “What About You”... the sensibility is early / mid 1980s and beyond reproach. Seriously classy and far better than her rather bland and disappointing opening “When We Loved”.

Jono McNeil has a voice that will appeal to younger listeners as well as older ears. He has a great Gospel presence a la Parkes Stewart or someone of that kind of Commissioned flavour... ”Peace Of Mind” is a great 80s track that should have been on the market at the time... what more can I say?! If slap bass a la SOS Band’s “High Hopes” is your bag then the 1982 sounding “Show Me” by Natasha Watts will be right up your street. Slap bass... let’s have much more of it!

Moving on to the final track I am reminded of Mtume circa 1983 on Bashiyra’s SUPERB “The You In Me”. This is the kind of material that makes me feel sooooo good... and who better than the SedSoul stable to dish it up in plenty good measures. An unmissable CD. Bon apetit!

Barry Towler

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