On Repeat…Mint Condition – Caught My Eye

8 02 2011

I have to admit that I didn’t pay this cut much mind when it initially surfaced, like a fool. But, repeated plays have unlocked a groove up there with Mint Condition’s best (i.e. the Jam & Lewis years). It’s an addictive midtempo goodie featuring the hallmarks of that classic MC sound; live instrumentation, on point vocals, mature lyrics and catchy songwriting. I am now officially excited about their new album, due out on Shanachie, April 5th. In the meantime, I’ve got Caught Me Eye on repeat…

You can grab a copy of Caught My Eye over at iTunes. It’s dope.


Hot SoulCut Alert – Sir Gant & the Invisible Force – I’m Gonna Miss You

7 02 2011

One of the most popular cuts on the modern soul scene over the past couple of months has been Sir Gant & the Invisible Force’s timeless slice of soul, I’m Gonna Miss You featuring Boyz II Men founding member, Marc Nelson. Taken from the upcoming album, The Journey, I’m Gonna Miss You is a midtempo ethereal gem that calls to mind the work of great artists such as Lamont Dozier, Earth, Wind & Fire and George Duke.

The driving force behind Sir Gant & the Invisible Force is producer, arranger, keyboardist and composer, Dean Gant, perhaps best loved for his co-production and arrangement of arguably the greatest soul album of the 1980s, Anita Baker’s impeccable Rapture. Sir Gant has worked with some of the most influential figures in soul and jazz over the past forty years including Peabo Bryson, Outkast, Earth, Wind & Fire, Curtis Mayfield, Jerry Butler, Bill Withers and Deniece Williams. Musicians on the album include Omar Hakim, Steve Ferrone, Ricky Lawson, Al McKay, David T. Walker, Gerald Albright, Rahmlee, Dr. George Shaw, Marcus Miller, Nathan East and percussionist Paulinho da Costa. With this pedigree, and the quality of the album’s first single, we have high hopes for Sir Gant’s forthcoming ‘Journey’.

For more information on Sir Gant, head on over to Reverbnation to listen to more cuts off the upcoming album, which should officially be with us by the start of March. In the interim, you can purchase I’m Gonna Miss You at iTunes. Nice one!

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!

Hot SoulCut Alert! Miss Baby Sol – Before I Begin (The Journey)

13 12 2010

Miss Baby Sol is undoubtedly one to watch. Having worked with the great and good of the UK scene, her debut EP is now available for pre-order and it sounds like it’ll be well worth slapping down your spondooliks to reserve a copy. With a devil-may-care approach to genre, Before I Begin will take in soul, jazz, reggae and (whisper it) rock. The snippets I’ve heard certainly pushed me to pre-order. Limited to 500 copies, I’d advise a digital trundle over to her site from which you can place your order. Check out her EPK below and a live rendition of the zippy Common Ground from the recent excellent Black Einstein EP, Whatever Happened to Major Tom. It’s a tad early to say it, but, Happy New Year!

Find out more about Miss Baby Sol at http://www.missbabysol.com/.

SoulCuts Advent Calendar – Day 9 – Al Green – That’s What Christmas Means to Me

10 12 2010

That’s What Christmas Means to Me is a fireside gem from the Rev Al Green. Just look at his mug on the cover of this Eighties album! I mean, that’s what Christmas means to ME! A chunky knit jumper (or sweater for our friends from across the pond) and a cheesy grin, Al’s the very embodiment of the season of goodwill. All that’s missing is a flaming Christmas pudding!

Holy sweet nativity, that’s what Christmas means to me!

SoulCuts Advent Calendar – Day 8 – The Whispers – This Time of the Year

8 12 2010

My favourite Christmas album of all time is Happy Holidays To You by the inimitable Whispers. Released in 1979, this is the soundtrack to Christmas each and every year chez Cuts. Many of the tracks we’re featuring as part of the SoulCuts Advent Calendar tend to be standout tracks on otherwise ordinary albums, however, Happy Holidays To You is that rare festive beast, a Christmas album without any leftovers, with an great mix of original and classic songs.

This Time of the Year is an original fireside anthem replete with those sweet Whispers harmonies. The lyrics are cheesy, cozy and heartfelt, encapsulating why many find Christmas so special. My favourites include, Momma’s oven, Is baking plenty lovin’ and The streets are all crowded, Trees seem to grow in houses. Genius!

Real soul fans know that The Whispers are one of the greatest vocal soul groups of all time and with Happy Holidays to You they provided possibly the finest soul Christmas album ever recorded. Don’t worry, we’ll be featuring a couple more killer cuts as the season progresses. Ho! Ho! Ho!

SoulCuts Advent Calendar Day 4 – Luther Vandross – This is Christmas

4 12 2010

What would Christmas be without a bit of Luther? His This is Christmas album from ’95 is jam packed with traditional Christmas fodder and some decent original cuts. We’ll be featuring further tracks from the album as the month continues, but today we just had to plump for the delightful title cut. This is Christmas is a traditional Luther deep gospel ballad, with Luther’s vocal performance up their with his very best (and that’s saying something, indeed!). It’s a modern Christmas classic, satisfyingly stamped with Luther’s usual class and charm. Ramp up the fire, fill your glasses, put some Luther on; This is Christmas!