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Blues with Balls

Blues with Balls

This week I heard someone refer to the freethinking movement as being about ‘Northern music’. While I’d plead guilty to music from The Old Country getting more than its fair share on these pages, I don’t think that a few articles in praise of the sounds of Manchester really qualify (or condemn, depending on your […]

Lee Fields = JB. The Expressions = The JBs.

Lee Fields = JB. The Expressions = The JBs.

I’m just going to put this out there: it’s going to take a lot – a lot – for an album to top ‘Faithful Man’ as the best of 2012. Lee Fields and The Expressions follow up to 2009’s ‘My World’ is an absolute stunner. As a slab of soul, it’s just immediate. Album opener […]

Hitting the mainstream in style

Hitting the mainstream in style

People of the UK: I applaud you. While you may be responsible for all manner of horrors, such as Britain’s Got Talent and the unintentional election of a sham of a coalition government, sometimes you’re bang on… Last September, I put forward a simple point: that people like good music – given the chance. While […]

2010: Top Ten Albums

2010: Top Ten Albums

So that’s 2010, then. A year of staggering comebacks, of fine funk, and of exciting new music. Sitting here on a flight back to NYC after a Christmas break in the UK, it’s probably as good a time as any to fully reflect on the year, and to take the time to acknowledge the albums […]

Joel Van Dijk: Truthseeker

Joel Van Dijk: Truthseeker

Backing bands rarely get the limelight. There are exceptions, of course. Like The Headhunters, stepping out of the shadows cast behind Herbie Hancock, and unleashing expansive jazz-funk on the world. But there are also those bands that just stay in the background, laying down the tracks while the front person takes the glory. Consider, if […]

Aloe Blacc: real soul

Aloe Blacc: real soul

Finding good gigs in New York is like shooting fish in a barrel. Even so, this year I must have had a machine gun. Paul Weller at the Apollo. Gil Scott-Heron at the Blue Note. The Specials at Terminal 5. Spiritualized at Radio City. Everything Everything at Arlene’s Grocery. Beth Orton in Rockefeller Park. The […]