Deonis Got Next!

1 02 2011

Whetting appetites for his upcoming album, Deonis just dropped his mixtape, He Got Next. It’s a ten-track, future funk fuelled excursion through soul, purpleness, hip-hop, R&B and much in-between. Cuts initially grabbing my attention include the When Doves Cry on Planet Rock goodness of Fade Away, the space age slow jam, 4:20, the upfront sounds of My Future Now and the Prince-like Supernatural.

Deonis is perhaps better known for his production work as Pumah. The man’s pedigree is second to none; he’s produced for SoulCuts favourites, Carmen Rodgers and Geno Young, and worked with innumerable great artists including Kirk Franklin, Musiq Soulchild, Fred Hammond, Darwin Hobbs, Erykah Badu and Eric Roberson.

Deonis produced eight of the project’s ten tracks, with the other two appearing courtesy of his unofficial mentor, the legendary J Dilla. His influence is certainly felt on this mixtape, but Deonis appears to have deftly crafted his own undeniably fresh and funky sound, delivered at the cutting edge of soul, warranting comparisons with trailblazers such as Bilal and Eric Roberson.

He Got Next is available as a free download, via Deonis’ Bandcamp page. You can listen to it right here:

Deonis’ debut album, The Breaking Point will be released 1st March, featuring production from S1, Ernie G, Terrace Martin, Picnictyme and Deonis himself. We’ll be bringing a full review when we get to hear it. On the basis of this mixtape, I can’t wait!


SoulCuts Advent Calendar Day 7 – Bootsy Collins – Be-With-You

7 12 2010

The world’s greatest funk bass player flips the script on his old hit, I’d Rather Be With You, with this cut culled from his 2006 Yuletide offering, Christmas Is 4 Ever. A tribute to funk master Roger Troutman, Be-With-You is a talkbox-fuelled sticky funk jam that’ll get even the tightest scrooge loosening up and nodding their head in appreciation.

Bootsy’s Christmas collection is definitely worthy of further investigation for those looking to funk up their Christmas. Grab a cup of egg-nog, tip in a little extra liquor, and feel the festive funk from your head to your toes and back up your bootsy, baby!. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Funk ‘N’ Stein Bring Some Hot Ass Funk

26 11 2010

Funk ‘N’ Stein is an Israeli funk band with a refreshingly old-school sound akin to a laidback Tower of Power. Out on the mighty Phil Driver’s Soul Unsigned label, Funky Mission balances ass-ripping funk and mellower moments like two fatties giving it their all on a see-saw. If you like real songs, proper musicianship and all that old and crusty good stuff, then this album’s right up your dirty alley, make no mistake! But if you like overproduced, one-dimensional pap, then you’d better scarper! Right now, before I get the fuzz on you!

Funky Mission compiles a bunch of the best cuts culled from the group’s past few albums. Whatever the age of the tracks on Funky Mission, this album is a breath of fresh air for the funkateer. Warm arrangements, stirred up with strings, horns and a nimble rhythm section give Funk N Stein the edge over their competition. We’ll be bringing you a full review sometime in the next week or so. Until then, enjoy these little tasty funk soul biscuits!

You can grab a copy of the album over at the excellent Soul Unsigned website! Go on, treat yourself! You deserve it!

Tom Glide & the Luv All-Stars – In the Name of Luv – Review

3 10 2010

In the Name of Luv is the brainchild of fellow Frenchmen, Tom Glide and Patrick Smadja. Years ago, as students, the two promised one another that they would one day record an album with a bunch of Earth, Wind & Fire musicians. Fast-forward a few years and Tom Glide has assembled his dream team (including RahmLee, Larry Dunn, James Gadson and a whole host of top-brass soul luminaries) to produce the most joyous album I’ve heard this year. It’s an unabashed love letter to the classic American soul sounds of the early eighties, replete with punchy horns, sweet strings, real musicians and a truckload of fantastic tunes.

The album kicks off in fine style with the punchy Get It Off, a spirited dancefloor groove, replete with a sterling arrangement and some impressive horns centre-stage. It’s an A-grade cut that’s wholly representative of the overall quality of the project.

Get It Off

There’s nothing showy about any of the arrangements here, no long solos or musical masturbation, everything fits together in support of the song and the groove. And that groove takes for its inspiration the music of EWF, Quincy Jones and the more sophisticated dancefloor soul of the late 70s/early 80s. Although it’s far from simply being a collection of retro-soul, In The Name of Luv accurately distils its influences to create an album that sounds like a lost Earth, Wind & Fire record. It magically captures the spirit of first discovering EWF or The Dude; recalling a time when music sent a shiver down your spine.

What’s Your Fantasy

What’s Your Fantasy is an exemplary slice of soulful disco that deserves to be a huge. It’s a real step-up from the proto-disco Jamiroquai has been releasing over the past ten years, showing how it should be done, not skimping on the soul for the sake of the groove. I’m Crazy drops the tempo for a beautiful Philly-styled ballad complemented by a lush, romantic string arrangement that recalls Larry Gold’s excellent Don Cello & Friends album (check Bunny Sigler’s Can I from that album!). Along with the title track, it’s one of only two ballads on the album, both delivered with style and finesse by Orlando Johnson.

I’m Crazy

The horn led Fanfare segues into Can You Feel It, another tight groove propelled by a superior funky horn arrangement and some storming percussion. The quality just does not let up on this album. There is not one poor track. Even the slightly cheesy title and one-dimensional lyrics of Kool Party can’t hold things back, delivering another absolute belter of a jam; a superior slice of Saturday night soul!

The absolute stand out cut is Love is Coming Up. It’s hard to single out particular tracks for attention on such a consistently excellent album, but this track has now taken the top spot in the SoulCuts 2010 chart. The horn and vocal arrangements on this track are stellar, sending a shiver up the spine. The intro is masterful, a little synth, some scat vocals and the track builds, bringing in bass and drums before driving forward with those punchy horns. There’s a subtlety to the track that brings to mind that sophisticated late 70s/early 80s sound you’d usually associate with a Norman Connors or Quincy Jones production. Yes, it’s that good.

Love is Coming Up

In the Name of Luv ends with the title track, a stretched out romantic ballad with Orlando Johnson on lead vocals. It’s a wonderfully smooth end to the album with a restrained horn arrangement and delicate keys. A subtle track on which to end an album full of energy, spirit and passion.

This album shines brightly as an absolute labour of love. It transports the listener to a better place. It may not be a revolution in sonic terms, or songwriting. Some may even view it as not being particularly progressive for soul music, but I’d argue the case that this is exactly the kind of music we need to be hearing right now, born out of love for the genre with an expressed desire to entertain, move and delight the audience.

In the Name of Luv may be the successful realisation of a long-held dream for its creators, my only hope is that it’s a recurring dream and that this soulful troupe continue to make music together for many years to come. Please, don’t delay, go grab a copy of this album now and enrich your soul! A physical copy will be out sometime in the future on the excellent Expansion label, but you can currently download it at iTunes, quick, jump to it!

Hot SoulCut Alert – It’s The Weekend – Leroy Burgess

17 09 2010

We all love Leroy Burgess, right? The undisputed master of boogie soul and creator of classics such as Heartbreaker, You Got That Something, Over Like a Fat Rat, Barely Breaking Even and Mainline among others, Leroy Burgess is the very definition of a cult soul hero.

Mr Burgess has just released an album of material from the boogie vault, updated with a 21st century twist, in the shape of the enjoyable Throwback Volume II: Sugar Hill 1983-1986. But it’s the remix package of It’s The Weekend that’s been enjoying some heavy play chez Cuts. The choice cut just has to be the laidback house stylings of the Jonny Montana and Craig Stewart Mix. It’s one to play, savour, repeat and love, over and over. It’s the weekend! Enjoy!

The remix package contains other versions from Cool Million/Seductive Soul fella, Rob Hardt and Patchworks. It’s well worth some of your pennies. Check it at iTunes and Traxsource.

Oh! And check Blues & Soul for a nice little interview with the man himself! Quality!

Friday Funk – Seductive Souls – Is This Love

17 09 2010

Today’s Friday funk comes from the funkiest place on earth, Germany!

As the creative mastermind behind Cool Million, Rob Hardt has been supplying soulheads with a delectable selection of 80s inspired grooves for the past few years. This year’s Back for More was an exceptional collection of impeccable tunes, with the title cut an undoubted classic that’ll be spun for years.

Seductive Souls is his 70s funk, soul and disco inspired project. For Friday Funk, we’ve picked the choice cut, Is This Love. It’s a breezy little reggae-tinged, jazz-funk ditty with a nice vocal from Michael Aark, some squiggly 80s synths and a crack-like addictive groove. We can’t stop playing it chez Cuts.

Bundle on over to iTunes, Amazon, or your favourite soul music retailer and snag a copy of the album, Spirit. It’s pretty good for the soul!

Oh, and here’s your usual Friday Funk bonus for the uninitiated: Back for More by Cool Million featuring the one and only Eugene Wilde. If you love 80s grooves, this is the jam for you!

Greg Blackman – The Price of Love – Review

6 09 2010

Greg Blackman’s The Price of Love is one of the most refreshing soul albums of 2010. The self-styled funkiest white boy you shall ever see has seemingly come out of nowhere to deliver a strong set of homespun soul equal to any 2010 debut. Greg’s sound is unlike that of any other soul artist currently releasing records. It’s a funky amalgam of Timmy Thomas, Stevie, Marvin, Curtis, Prince and Bobby Womack, all delivered with lashings of originality, personality, humour and SOUL.

There’s no doubt that Greg is well schooled in the soul classics, but he’s brought something fresh to the table rather than merely emulating his heroes. His organ and synth fuelled tracks provide a warm analog styled soundscape that feels more authentic than the output of any of those supermarket retro soul stars peddled by the major labels. Live instrumentation, comforting, lo-fi production and heartfelt vocals all combine on The Price of Love to create one of the best British soul albums of the past ten years.
Have a listen to the sublime Tell You Something.

The album kicks off with the glorious Marvin circa Trouble Man groove of recent SoulCut of the Week, The Price of Love and never lets go until the organ-fuelled Northern Soul stomper, The Life I Live brings the thirteen track album to a joyous, funky close. In between these jams, you’ll find squelchy, early Prince-fuelled funk (the playful Funky Feelin), captivating instrumentals (the relaxed jazzy vibes of Smoke), Higher Ground inspired jams (Leave This City), deep rare grooves (the sensual Tell You Something – a track that Leon Ware would be proud of) and genre-bending cuts like the 1970s kids TV music meets Bobby Womack vibe of My, My, My.

Have a listen to the awesome My, My, My.

Some may accuse me of hyperbole, but I can’t apologise for my effusive take on The Price of Love. It’s a hugely entertaining soul album that will undoubtedly be in my top 5 come the SoulCuts 2010 review. If this album were on a trendy label like Stones Throw, the critics would be all over Greg like flies on poop.

The Price of Love is a deeply original collection of tracks that’ll be revered in years to come. Come on soul people, let’s show our support to one of the most original new voices on the scene and get over to iTunes and purchase. Pure soulful quality!
BONUS!Take a listen to the early Prince vibe of Funky Feelin