Review: UK soul tour de force Michael Kiwanuka enjoys his first live album. A punchy five track selection with recordings from the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and London Palladium we glide and slide from the tenderness of "One More Night" and the dreamy symphonic blues of "Father's Child" to the all out fusion of "Black Man In A White World". This captures Kiwanuka at his most delicate, honest and powerful.
Sandy Barber - "I Think I'll Do Some Stepping On My Own"
Bill Avery - "Disco Fever" (re-edit)
Spooky & Sue - "I've Got The Need"
Vessie Simmons - "I Can Make It On My Own"
Scarbrough - "Make Love To You"
The J's - "When Did You Stop"
Larry Brown - "Breaking Training" (parts 1 & 2)
Review: In recent years we've become accustomed to disco compilations appearing at a furious rate. While many of these compilations are undoubtedly worthy of attention, the volume of releases can sometimes be bewildering. This eight track selection from Al Kent, the second in his Disco Love series, ticks all the right boxes, however. Even by the highest crate digging standards, these tracks are pretty obscure; many won't have had much of an airing since their original release. Those into the rich, soulful side of disco - that brand of string-laden dancefloor material most associated with the Philadelphia International label and studio -will find much to enjoy. Perhaps the most noteworthy is Scarborough's delightfully sweet "Make Love To You", an epic of biblical proportions that lasts longer than most drunken one night stands. See also Valerie Simmons' super sweet "I Can't Make It On My Own" and the rousing orchestral manoeuvres of "I've Got The Need". This luxurious gatefold double album also comes replete with extensive track notes from compiler Al Kent.
Review: No less than 45 years since she recorded her first single, the legendary Chaka Khan with a new album as relevant and up to the minute as anything pretenders a third of her age could dream of. "Hello Happiness" finds Khan drawing on the legacy of her roots while keeping things fresh, upbeat and contemporary, with THAT voice front and centre. Lead single "Like Sugar" has been tearing it up all over the place for good reason - with Switch on production chopping up classic Fatback Band break "The Bus Stop," Khan sounds as fierce as ever.
Review: London singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka builds on the success of his first two albums by drafting in Danger Mouse and Inflo to produce the beats that house his hugely expressive voice. That voice is of course front and centre - and whether delivering tender moments of intimacy or more breezy soul, it is always wrought with tension and emotion, slow burning and buttery smooth. The production feels timeless yet contemporary whether offering gauzy, guitar laden textures "Hero" or soaring pop ("Final Days") and makes this an album that touches on all forms of soul with equal originality.