Albums

$63.99

Soul - Released October 19, 2018 | Craft Recordings

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1968 was a pivotal year in Stax Records' history and a fascinating story in itself. Otis Redding (their biggest star) and four members of the Bar-Kays were killed in a plane crash in December 1967. Their distribution agreement with Atlantic Records was dissolved, resulting in the loss of several more artists from Atlantic, and in the loss of their entire back catalog to Atlantic, which meant Stax earned no revenue from its previous recordings. Then, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Memphis exacerbated racial tensions not just nationwide, but acutely in Stax's hometown of Memphis (King was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers). Rising from the ashes, Stax had an ambitious plan to create an entirely new catalog in just over a year. Otis Redding's posthumous classic "Dock of the Bay" was a tremendous help in getting the label off the ground again. But the model of a house band and single producer that had given Stax their legendary sound was not going to work for the amount of material that had to be created in order to give them a solid catalog. To that end, they had to bring in outside producers, which began to upset what had essentially been a cooperative up to that point. At the same time, the music business was shifting from singles sales to album sales, and Stax was keen to make that transition as well. All this is extensively chronicled in the accompanying book. As far as the music, it's all top-notch, but you can hear the change in sound taking place. Of course, there are songs you recognize, but there are at least as many that you probably don't. Despite the pervasive unrest, the songs never get overtly political. Even "Tribute to a King" isn't about Dr. King, but about the King of Soul Music, their friend Otis Redding. The music stands on its own, of course, but the story behind it all is remarkable and largely untold. Stax '68 is a great collection of music, and this excellent set places it in a proper historical context, telling the story of the rebirth of one of America's great soul labels. ~ Sean Westergaard
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R&B/Soul - Released September 21, 2018 | Warner Bros.

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
Two years after his premature death, Prince’s Ali Baba cave has offered up its first treasure. With the aptly named album Piano & A Microphone 1983, it’s with the simplest devices that his art is heard. At only 25 years old, Prince had already released five albums (For You, Prince, Dirty Mind, Controversy and 1999) and was just about to release the album that would turn him into a global star, Purple Rain. The multi-instrumentalist spent his days and nights in the studio and we find him here alone at the piano for a medley of personal compositions and two covers: Joni Mitchell’s A Case Of You and the gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep. The intimate context of this recording only amplifies the intensity of this unpublished work. Just close your eyes and you’ll find yourself alone with Prince… With his elastic voice and skilled playing, the musician from Minneapolis proves to those who doubted him that he was a true artist; both entertainer and composer, showman and improviser. His stripped back version of Purple Rain touches on the sublime and the track Strange Relationship gives an insight into the evolution of his productions, as four years later the track appeared, more muscular this time, on the album Sign o’ the Times. While Piano & A Microphone 1983 may be primarily aimed at Prince fans, novices – if there are any left – will no doubt enjoy discovering this impressive artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Soul - Released March 30, 2018 | Verve Records

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A great, revived soul voice. Politically-conscious songs from the Great American Songbook. This project harks back to the 1960s (and beyond), but it finds a strong echo in today's America, divided and rocked by President Trump... By dedicating the whole record to covers of songs by Bob Dylan, Bettye LaVette makes her voice heard, literally and figuratively. Produced by Steve Jordan, Things Have Changed which features, amongst others, Keith Richards and Trombone Shorty, alternates between warm, vintage soul, and funkier bursts of real rock'n'roll. Above all, the 72-year old soul artist from Michigan continues to prove that she has a lot of singing in her yet. LaVette made her definitive comeback as long ago as 2005, with the album I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise, itself also made up of covers, this time of songs from artists like Sinéad O'Connor, Lucinda Williams, Joan Armatrading, Rosanne Cash, Dolly Parton, Aimee Mann and Fiona Apple. Two years later she confirmed her vocal powers with The Scene Of The Crime which revisited Eddie Hinton, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Ray Charles, John Hiatt and Elton John. Coming, like all good things in spurts of threes, Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, from 2010, saw her taking on compositions by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Traffic, the Animals, Led Zep, George Harrison, Pink Floyd, Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, the Moody Blues, Derek & The Dominos and the Who… This latest 2018 offering, though, stands head and shoulders above the others, thanks to the hair-raising sincerity that the singer brings to Dylan's repertoire. Great art. © Max Dembo/Qobuz

R&B/Soul - Released March 16, 2018 | Naive

Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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Throughout his albums, you quickly understand that Meshell Ndegeocello was more than a Prince-ss. It’s easier to just see in this amazing singer, bass player and songwriter the female counterpart of the small genius from Minneapolis… For a quarter of a century, she has created the perfect alchemy between jazz, soul, rock, pop, funk, new wave and hip-hop, a true custard pie that is usually indigestible when tried by her competitors. With her, free as a bird never rang so true. It’s only logical, as this is the meaning of Ndegeocello in Swahili… Her 2018 batch sounds like a return to the groove roots; Meshell entertains herself by revisiting songs from the masters of the genre (Prince, TLC, George Clinton, Tina Turner, Janet Jackson, Sade) and also from some forgotten names (Force MDs, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, Surface, Al B. Sure!). Recorded in Los Angeles with her faithful Chris Bruce (guitar), Abraham Rounds (drums) and Jebin Bruni (keyboards), the aptly-named Ventriloquism is much more than a simple “cover album”. Stripped-down of their sometimes dated original sound, her songs are completely restored with care and taste by a Meshell that is as inspired as ever (TLC’s Waterfalls sounds like some Neil Young!) and yet beset by a rather dark personal touch. “The year around the recording of this album was so disorienting and dispiriting for me personally and for so many people I know and spoke to all the time. I looked for a way to make something that was light while things around me were so dark, a musical place to go that reminded me of another, brighter time.” This sensation of plenitude can be redeeming, and also kind of beautiful. All of that exudes from Ventriloquism, the strong work of an upstanding as ever and really unique artist. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Soul - Released November 17, 2017 | Anti - Epitaph

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
Ten years after signing with the ANTI label, Mavis Staples pursues her impressive resurrection. Still joined by Jeff Tweedy, the great soul gospel priestess even hands him the wheel in this If All I Was Black, for which the band leader of Wilco has penned all the songs. After We'll Never Turn Back produced in 2007 by Ry Cooder, You Are Not Alone in 2010, One True Vine in 2013 and Livin' On A High Note in 2016 (on which she asked Nick Cave, Ben Harper, Justin Vernon a.k.a. Bon Iver, The Head & The Heart, tUnE-yArds, Neko Case, Aloe Blacc, Son Little, Valerie June and M Ward to participate), Pops Staples’ daughter inhabits each composition and her voice tames the lyrics of songs that couldn’t be more politically motivated. A major figure of the Civil Right Movement, a regular of great causes and militancy in songs, this lady masters these anti-Trump pieces with her usual class, with strong yet subtle criticisms—that are never Manichean nor childish—of an American in full regression. Above all, the blend of gospel inwardness, soul power and rhythm ‘n’ blues groove that she offers perfectly combines with Tweedy’s rustic and 'no added sugars' production. A great soul disc! © MZ/Qobuz
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Soul - Released September 15, 2017 | Rhino Atlantic

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R&B - Released December 2, 2016 | Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC

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R&B - Released December 2, 2016 | Glassnote Entertainment Group LLC

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
$103.49

Soul - Released October 30, 2015 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
Soul Manifesto is a fancy but accurate title for what is essentially another installment in Rhino's Original Album Series, where all the individual albums are presented as mini-LPs in paper sleeves, slid into a small box, and marketed at a low price. In this case, this rounds up the 12 albums that form the core of the Otis Redding discography: the five studio albums he released between 1964 and 1967 (Pain in My Heart, The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul, The Soul Album, Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul, the Carla Thomas duet album King & Queen), the live albums Live in Europe and In Person at the Whisky a Go Go, and the four posthumous studio LPs released between 1968 and 1970 (The Dock of the Bay, The Immortal Otis Redding, Love Man, Tell the Truth). While other rarities were dug up years later -- two noteworthy sets are 1992's Remember Me and the following year's box set Otis! The Definitive Otis Redding -- this has all the important music Otis made, all delivered in a handy and affordable little box. If you didn't own this seminal music already, this is a great way to get it. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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R&B/Soul - Released August 21, 2015 | Epic - Legacy

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
In a way, the Isley Brothers have been taken for granted. Part of that is the group's unwitting doing because they were exceptionally steady. From 1966 through 1983, the Isleys placed at least one single on the Billboard R&B chart each year. They were always present, frequently at or near the top. For an extended period, they were among the most progressive groups, whether they were mixing gospel, soul, and rock, incorporating synthesizers without sacrificing the funk, covering pop hits and often surpassing them, or epitomizing quiet storm. When they retreated from the fore, they adapted with ease. Another factor in their undervalued status is that their vast discography has been reissued in chunks by various sources across the decades. The RCA Victor & T-Neck Album Masters: 1959-1983, released by the Sony catalog's Legacy division, is a corrective measure in the form of a compact 23-disc box set. It doesn't cover the Isleys' brief '60s stints with Wand, United Artists, and Tamla, but it is remarkably generous with dozens of bonus tracks -- mono versions, single edits, instrumentals, and so forth -- and LP-replica sleeves for each album. As an extra enticement for those who dutifully rounded up those late-'90s Legacy and early-2010s BBR reissues, there's Wild in Woodstock, a previously unreleased recording of the Go All the Way-era band performing at Bearsville Studios. Intended for release with overdubbed crowd noise that was thankfully never applied, the set alternates between blistering and gliding and deserves a separate physical issue outside the box. ~ Andy Kellman
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Soul - Released December 15, 2014 | RCA Records Label

Hi-Res Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Sélection JAZZ NEWS - Grammy Awards
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R&B - Released January 1, 2013 | CP Records

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R&B - Released January 1, 2013 | Blue Note Records

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R&B - Released January 1, 2012 | Savoy

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$16.49

R&B - Released June 17, 2011 | Blues Babe Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélection Les Inrocks
Jill Scott has been through many changes since 2007's The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3: a divorce, a brief but intense love affair that produced a child, acting roles in Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Hounddog, her starring role in HBO's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and signing with Warner Bros. The Light of the Sun is a record of the rocky road to empowerment. Scott and Lee Hutson, Jr. are the album's executive producers; they also collaborate in songwriting and arrangements on numerous selections. Opener "Blessed," produced by Dre & Vidal, kicks it off in slippery, hip-hop soul style; a harp, strings, and a fluttering dubwise bassline underscore the shuffling rhythm. Scott expresses spoken and sung gratitude for and about her new baby, career, life, and support system. Poetry and song are woven with elegance in a nocturnal groove. The hit pre-release single "So in Love," produced by Kelvin Wooten, is a modern Philly soul fan's dream, with its lithe, fingerpopping bassline, shimmering drums, and seeming bliss arising between Scott and Anthony Hamilton, who turn in a grand duet performance. "Shame" (featuring Eve & the A Group), is grand, old-school funk with killer backing vocals that range from P-Funk-esque vocal choruses to doo wop with sampled classic ska as Scott raps defiantly with Eve. One of the sleepers on the set is the stunning "La Boom Vent Suite," a sultry number produced by Scott and Hutson. It's a militant, funky soul, kiss-off tune, that declares: "I've been waiting for so long/but somebody else has been sniffing at my dress." "Hear My Call" is literally a prayer for healing; with its elegantly arranged strings, it's as heartfelt and humble as desperate need can be. There is one misstep here: "So Gone (What My Mind Says)" didn't require Paul Wall's tired, generic, boastful rapping to work. That said, the rhythm collision with human beatbox Doug E. Fresh on "All Cried Out Redux," complete with ragtime piano sample, is a novelty number that works. After the album's first third, it's all Scott, and (mostly) all sublime. The sparsely produced "Quick" (produced by Wayne Campbell) records the heartbreak in the brief relationship that produced her son. "Making You Wait" is another self-determination anthem that addresses romance, with spacious Rhodes and synth strings weaving beats together. Scott lays down the spoken word "Womanifesto" that recalls the poetry of her early career, just before the steamy, sexual "Rolling Hills" touches on jazz, blues, and late-'70s soul with effortless ease to close it. On The Light of the Sun, Scott sounds more in control than ever; her spoken and sung phrasing (now a trademark), songwriting, and production instincts are all solid. This is 21st century Philly soul at its best. ~ Thom Jurek
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R&B - Released June 17, 2011 | Blues Babe Records

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Sélection Les Inrocks
Jill Scott has been through many changes since 2007's The Real Thing: Words & Sounds, Vol. 3: a divorce, a brief but intense love affair that produced a child, acting roles in Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married? and Hounddog, her starring role in HBO's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, and signing with Warner Bros. The Light of the Sun is a record of the rocky road to empowerment. Scott and Lee Hutson, Jr. are the album's executive producers; they also collaborate in songwriting and arrangements on numerous selections. Opener "Blessed," produced by Dre & Vidal, kicks it off in slippery, hip-hop soul style; a harp, strings, and a fluttering dubwise bassline underscore the shuffling rhythm. Scott expresses spoken and sung gratitude for and about her new baby, career, life, and support system. Poetry and song are woven with elegance in a nocturnal groove. The hit pre-release single "So in Love," produced by Kelvin Wooten, is a modern Philly soul fan's dream, with its lithe, fingerpopping bassline, shimmering drums, and seeming bliss arising between Scott and Anthony Hamilton, who turn in a grand duet performance. "Shame" (featuring Eve & the A Group), is grand, old-school funk with killer backing vocals that range from P-Funk-esque vocal choruses to doo wop with sampled classic ska as Scott raps defiantly with Eve. One of the sleepers on the set is the stunning "La Boom Vent Suite," a sultry number produced by Scott and Hutson. It's a militant, funky soul, kiss-off tune, that declares: "I've been waiting for so long/but somebody else has been sniffing at my dress." "Hear My Call" is literally a prayer for healing; with its elegantly arranged strings, it's as heartfelt and humble as desperate need can be. There is one misstep here: "So Gone (What My Mind Says)" didn't require Paul Wall's tired, generic, boastful rapping to work. That said, the rhythm collision with human beatbox Doug E. Fresh on "All Cried Out Redux," complete with ragtime piano sample, is a novelty number that works. After the album's first third, it's all Scott, and (mostly) all sublime. The sparsely produced "Quick" (produced by Wayne Campbell) records the heartbreak in the brief relationship that produced her son. "Making You Wait" is another self-determination anthem that addresses romance, with spacious Rhodes and synth strings weaving beats together. Scott lays down the spoken word "Womanifesto" that recalls the poetry of her early career, just before the steamy, sexual "Rolling Hills" touches on jazz, blues, and late-'70s soul with effortless ease to close it. On The Light of the Sun, Scott sounds more in control than ever; her spoken and sung phrasing (now a trademark), songwriting, and production instincts are all solid. This is 21st century Philly soul at its best. ~ Thom Jurek
$12.99

R&B - Released January 1, 2010 | EMI Gospel - Tell It Productions (TIP)

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
$10.99

R&B/Soul - Released November 23, 2009 | Wagram Music Cinq 7 Derriere Les Planches

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Victoire de la musique
The cover of Oxmo Puccino's sixth album indicates that it’s no party-like affair. The French-language MC’s sixth full-length is, unsurprisingly, his most somber and reflective release yet, enhanced with sparse, elegant productions like “Soleil du Nord,” “Sur la Route d'Amsterdam” (featuring Olivia Ruiz), and “L' Arme de Paix” (featuring K’Naan). ~ Andy Kellman
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R&B/Soul - Released March 23, 2009 | Cinq 7

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Victoire de la musique
The cover of Oxmo Puccino's sixth album indicates that it’s no party-like affair. The French-language MC’s sixth full-length is, unsurprisingly, his most somber and reflective release yet, enhanced with sparse, elegant productions like “Soleil du Nord,” “Sur la Route d'Amsterdam” (featuring Olivia Ruiz), and “L' Arme de Paix” (featuring K’Naan). ~ Andy Kellman

Soul - Released January 19, 2009 | Naive

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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