Sault: 5 / 7 review – intriguing grooves from a mystery funk machine

(Forever Living Originals)
No one seems to know who they are, but one thing is sure: Sault make hooky, dubby, funky music with echoes of ESG and Can

Mystery is a rare commodity in rock and pop these days. The internet has made investigative journalists of us all, and an artist who expends a lot of effort creating an enigmatic aura will almost invariably find themselves revealed online. So hats off to Sault, who managed to release two albums in 2019 – titled 5 and 7 – without anyone managing to conclusively solve the puzzle of who was behind them. Continue reading

THE DIARY OF A BRITISH SOUL MAN: Dateline: London, December 15, 2019

….This past week or so there have been quite a few dates of importance for soul music lovers the world over.  December 10 marked the 52nd anniversary of the tragic plane crash that saw the passing of the legendary OTIS REDDING, unquestionably one of the genre’s true pioneers.  Otis was very much a part of my journey as a teenager in London first being introduced to what was then called R&B.  With his achingly emotive style, the Georgia-born singer/songwriter had started to have an impact in the U.S. with early hits like “These Arms Of Mine,” “Pain In My Heart” and “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long,” (his first ‘crossover’ single in 1965 followed shortly thereafter by his original of “Respect”); my own personal memories centre much around his version of The Temptations’ “My Girl.”  The Motown group had a massive U.S. hit with the Smokey Robinson-penned track but in the U.K., it fizzled on the charts after a week prompting Atlantic Records to release Otis’ more acoustic cover as a single.  It became one of the most popular records in Britain in December 1965: at the time, I was working to earn Saturday pocket money at a small record shop in N.W. London called Musicland (which specialized in the import of new singles from Jamaica, catering to the young immigrant population – known decades later as part of the ‘Windrush’ generation – who had come to Britain the ‘50s and early ‘60s) and would often recommend it our regular customers eager to hear the latest U.S. R&B releases. Continue reading

Washington DC’s go-go music gets recognition after years underground

The city tried for years to suppress the sound from the streets but in 2020 will finally give it official recognition

It’s been the rhythmic African American underbelly of Washington DC for half a century, as culturally important as jazz in New Orleans, country music in Nashville or rock’n’roll in Memphis.

Yet go-go, a foot-stomping, drum-based fusion of funk, rap and R&B, has – barring a brief championing by sections of the British music press in the mid-1980s – rarely been heard outside the clubs, churches and street corners of its DC heartland. That is, until now.

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Author: Rob Walker Continue reading