Monday, 9 February 2009

Sundae Soul Presents....

Sundae Soul, based in Germany, were the good folks who introduced Donald McCollum into the soul market back in 2006, and they have now released a set of collectors' singles on 7” and 12” of both new and old recordings – most I feel are excellent choices. The first I shall turn my attention on is the double header from two of Stax's most overlooked artists, Barbara Lewis and Mel & Tim. “The Stars” is a real gem from Barbara Lewis. This late 60s effort is very soulful indeed and totally essential. Although on Stax, this song was recorded with long-standing Producer Ollie McLaughlin in Chicago. The strings are sweet and the tempo enough to satisfy the modern crowd and the Northern set at the same time. This is real soul music, no more no less.

The flipside is a CLASSIC slab of Mel & Tim. “Forever And A Day” is my favourite tune of theirs, and its nice to see it get a fresh lease of life in 2008. Again, the sound straddles both modern and Northern arenas, and fans of The Supremes contemporaneous works such as “Bad Weather” will more than appreciate this.

The second single to get excited about is headed by the superb Stax outfit Black Nasty. On the same level as fellow artists, The Bar-Kays, though heavier, this killer choon sums up everything that is great about early 70s soul. This track is available on CD still, for those like me who cannot abide vinyl, and can be found on the rare 1973 Stax album “Talking To The People”. I am not very knowledgeable about Idris Muhammad, I must admit that much. This 1972 song featuring Sakinah Muhammad is a very nice number, and one I had not heard before. The jazziness infiltrates the modern soul flavour and Sakinah's vocals are very powerful and pronounced indeed. This is quality.

Another double header is also blindingly good. The Round Robin Monopoly released 3 singles under this particular guise between 1974 and 1975 and this cut was included on their much sough-after 1975 album, “Alpha” released on the Truth label. Miss this song at your peril! The real killer track has to be the excellent Volt single from 1970, “Special Kind Of Woman”. This is one for a future Searling compilation if ever I heard it. Written by the legendary George Soule and Terry Woodford, this really does not and cannot get any better!

Of the newer material, what a way to kick start 2008 with three mighty fine tracks from the 12” by the Larry London Project. “A Love Like That” both moves and grooves with vigour but the warm rhodes anchor it down giving it a greater appeal. The programmed beats atop the guitar and synth bash away merrily. Vocally I hear such resemblance to William Bell in places, especially when the chorus kicks in. This really is quality soulful dancefloor material for 2008. The classic vibe also permeates the heavy hitter, “Don't Walk On By”. Lovers of Donald McCullom will certainly be ordering a copy of this. As far as I am concerned, this is a LOT better and definitely more soulful. The rattling bongos and haunting keys of “We Will Find A Way” add an almost ethereal feel to the fast-paced and clattery beats. Again, more soulful than anything coming out from the major labels at the moment.

Another new track is from 6AM called “Missing You”. This is one to appeal to the Modern Soul crown / Togetherness following, and very nice it is too. Very simple, yet very more-ish. Mary's Mine deliver an out and out stepper called “Marvin” which has some echo of the Northern scene and should do the business both on radio and on the dancefloor. I am very impressed and very happy to see such quality material released, both classic and new. I hope that these will be made available on CD or download in the future – but if not then please do not allow these gems to slip away.

Barry Towler