Soul - Released February 10, 2019 | This is Acoustic


Soul - Released February 10, 2019 | This is Acoustic


Soul - Released December 14, 2018 | Motown

Soul - Released October 26, 2018 | Ace Records

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Soul - Released October 19, 2018 | Craft Recordings

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
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

Soul - Released October 12, 2018 | Sounds Of The World


Soul - Released September 28, 2018 | Rhino Atlantic

John Hammond couldn’t repeat with Aretha Franklin what he had pulled off with Billie Holiday and Bob Dylan. This was his only big failure, in a way… At Columbia (label), the producer felt he needed to turn her into a jazz, or even pop singer, while Jerry Wrexler knew full well that eternal soul would be the only way for the charismatic singer from Memphis. After signing her on Atlantic in 1967, after she had strung together a dozen unsuccessful albums for Columbia, Wrexler knew he had to send her to his native South to have her record with some of the local greats in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, in Rick Hall’s studio. The results were immediate, and with I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) recorded on January 24th, 1967, the gamble had already paid off! Wrexler understood that Aretha was a gospel artist first and foremost, and that he had to use that DNA and mix it with contemporary rhythm’n’blues, blues, and soul music. What followed, if we put it simply, was the greatest chapter in soul music history. The singer released a handful of albums recorded in New York, in Atlantic’s studios, where the whole gang from Muscle Shoals joined her. As its name suggests, this 34-title compilation features all her singles recorded between 1967 and 1970 and some handpicked tracks from her albums I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You) (1967), Aretha Arrives (1967), Lady Soul (1968), Aretha Now (1968), Soul ’69 (1969), This Girl’s In Love With You (1970) and Spirit In The Dark (1970). Absolutely brilliant. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

Soul - Released September 14, 2018 | Rhino

Between their first and second albums, Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band taped a May 18, 1968 performance at the Haunted House night club in Hollywood for possible future use. Edited versions of a half-dozen of the songs appeared on their 1968 album Together, and an edited version of another ("Bottomless") was issued as a B-side. But this two-CD set, issued on Rhino Handmade a good 40 years later, has about two-and-a-half hours from the performance, with complete and uncut versions of the aforementioned songs. On the one hand, it's a valuable historical document; there aren't all that many live recordings of significant late-'60s soul-funk bands, and this one has both very good sound and very tight performances. On the other hand, it's not the group at their most interesting, since all but three of the songs are covers. Granted, they sound like one of the best cover bands you could have possibly heard at the time, playing with both guts and precision, and taking some liberties (some improvisational) with the source material, though not too drastic or lengthy ones. They're certainly versatile as well, taking on hits from Motown, Stax, James Brown, Sly Stone, the Impressions, Jackie Wilson, and others, as well as the occasional surprise or relatively obscure tune, like Willie Bobo's "Fried Neck Bones" and Otis Redding's "Sweet Lorene." Yet the hit-dominated set list just isn't the place to hear the outfit at their most original and innovative, though they offer fair original instrumentals in Wright's "The Joker" and Gabriel Flemings' "Bottomless." It does, however, also include the jam that grew out of "Funky Broadway," "Do Your Thing," that with some editing turned into their first hit. As usual, Rhino Handmade's packaging of this archival release is excellent, with lengthy historical liner notes. ~ Richie Unterberger

Soul - Released September 14, 2018 | Rhino Atlantic


Soul - Released August 17, 2018 | A&r Music


Soul - Released July 27, 2018 | Dockland Music

Soul - Released June 22, 2018 | Rhino Atlantic

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Soul - Released May 18, 2018 | Rhino Atlantic

In 1967, Otis Redding is a king who even managed to sneak onto the stage of the pop festival of Monterey. Back in Memphis, he thinks about new directions for his next disc. The rest is as legendary as it is tragic: he dies in a plane crash on December 10, 1967 at only 26… Even if only Otis knew what this “new album” would sound like, Dock Of The Bay Sessions tries to answer this question. Conceived with Roger Armstrong from the label Ace Records and with Jonathan Gould, the singer’s biographer, it doesn’t offer any new title (every track present here had been already released on a posthumous album or on a compilation), but rather an original track list. It shows a new Otis Redding. The one who impressed the European crowds with his atomic concerts and got himself a new American audience thanks to the Monterey episode. We hear all of this on the stripped-down funk of Hard To Handle, as can be felt Bob Dylan’s influence—whose music was loved by Redding—in Gone Again’s superb lyricism. His cover of the hit Amen from the Impressions also shows us that he was far from having abandoned his gospel roots. Otis Redding also doesn’t forget to make his audience dance like on the powerful Love Man carried by the striking drums of Al Jackson and a 100% Memphis fiery brass section. Finally, he reminds us that he can also be a God of ballads on I’ve Got Dreams To Remember, with its lyrics adapting a poem from his wife Zelma. As for the hit (Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay which opens the ball, everyone knows it was his final song recorded before his death. Released in January 1968, the single reaches the first place in the charts on March 16, sells more than four million copies and will be the first posthumous album of an artist to reach this position… © Max Dembo/Qobuz

Soul - Released March 12, 2018 | Sharp Music


Soul - Released January 26, 2018 | McGhee Entertainment

Soul - Released November 24, 2017 | Ace Records

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Soul - Released November 10, 2017 | Rhino Atlantic

This type of album brings on the eternal debate: why fix a masterpiece if it ain’t broke? This is definitely the kind of metaphysical interrogation that you could ask when listening to A Brand New Me: Aretha Franklin With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. The idea is simple: take the vocals from the mythical recordings by the great soul singer for the label Atlantic in the ‘60s and ‘70s and place them on new arrangements performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Recorded in the Abbey Road studios in London, all the classics including Respect, Think, Don't Play That Song (You Lied) and I Say A Little Prayer resonate here in a symphonic version. We find Nick Patrick and Don Reedman hiding behind the creation, the same producers who conceived If I Can Dream: Elvis Presley With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Some will find this scandalous. Others, rather futile. And others will enjoy this new staging of careful arrangements that at least has the merit of not damaging the heart of this nuclear powerhouse of groove: the voice of Aretha Franklin herself. © CM/Qobuz

Soul - Released August 18, 2017 | Rhino Atlantic


Soul - Released July 14, 2017 | WM Italy


Soul in the magazine