Eric Bibb ‘Global Griot’ 2CD (DixieFrog/Stony Plain) 4/5

Acoustic blues guitarist and vocalist Eric Bibb returns for a double helping of the blues, but this time his global mission is enhanced by some unusual and highly successful blues-fusion hybrids, often with surprisingly positive results. It is the eclectic sound of Taj Mahal that immediately springs to mind when Bibb attempts to combine the blues with reggae elements, but Bibb pulls it off immaculately with the help of roots reggae greats. A case in point is the terrific ‘Grateful’ that features none other than the wonderful Glenn Browne on bass and that authentic reggae flavour is aided by the keyboard and co-production talents of Stephen Stewart. Indeed, others in the past such as Eric Clapton have covered reggae songs with ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ being the notable hit single, and reggae legend Ken Boothe takes centre stage to offer lead vocals on the intricate, ‘Mole on the ground’, that starts off in an instrumental acoustic blues mode for the first part, but one and a half minutes in, is suddenly transformed into a rousing reggae number, and it has to be stated that Boothe has the ideal voice to sing the blues just as Toots Hibbert has an innately soulful voice. Indeed, one could say that of several of the reggae greats from Alton Ellis through to Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs and beyond. Why not, then, devote an entire album to a ‘reggae meets blues’ album? Willie Nelson was critically acclaimed for his pioneering take on roots reggae from a country perspective and even though it did not fare commercially that well to begin with, times have changed and listeners are more at ease with different genres blending together. Elsewhere, Bibb gets moody on the acoustic guitar plus horns number, ‘All Because’, and this writer foe one would certainly like to hear more of this side of the leader’s wide repertoire. Likewise, the reposing fusion of the blues with West African music, and more specifically the mellifluous combination of kora and vocals contributed by Senegalese singer, Solo Cissokho on, ‘Picture A New World’, are a joy to behold. Gospel and blues are natural bedfellows and Linda Tillery contributes some lovely vocals on ‘New Friends’, with subtle accompaniment on a three-pronged guitar accompaniment. Not everything is as impressive and some of the other pieces are a tad too glossy in the production stakes for these ears. As a whole, however, this fusion works and when the music is pared down to just guitars, as on ‘Black, Brown and White’, the instrumentation wins through handsomely. Indeed, just listening to the guitar prowess of both Eric Bibb and those guesting is worth the investment on its own.

Tim Stenhouse

TEAM VIBE: Best of 2018 – Tim Stenhouse pt.3

Tim’s Best of 2018 pt.3 – Various Artists/Compilations:

1. Spiritual Jazz 8: Japan Pt 1+2 (Jazzman)
Review here

2. J Jazz – Deep Modern Jazz from Japan 1969-1984 (BBE Music)
Review here

3. Disques Debs International Vol.1 (Strut)
Review here

4. Svensk Jazzhistoria Vol. 11 (Caprice)
Review here

5. Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs Present State Of The Union – The American Dream In Crisis (ACE)
Review here

6. African Scream Contest 2 – Benin 1963​-​1980 (Analog Africa)
Review here

7. Ernesto Chahoud presents TAITU – Soul​-​fuelled Stompers from 1960s – 1970s Ethiopia (BBE Music)
Review here

7. Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs present Paris in the Spring (ACE)
Review here

8. If Music Presents: You Need This – World Jazz Grooves (BBE Music)
Review here

9. Dur-Dur of Somalia Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (Analog Africa)
Review here

10. The Meaning of the Blues: The Legacy of Paul Oliver 1927-2017 (Jasmine)
Review here

Tim Stenhouse

Jamie Saft Quartet ‘Blue Dream’ 2LP/CD/DIG (RareNoise) 5/5

New York born pianist/composer/producer Jamie Saft has had a busy and productive 2018. Earlier this year RareNoise released “Blue Dream”, an incomparable acoustic jazz quartet album from the musical virtuoso. With Bill McHenry on tenor sax, Bradley Christopher Jones on acoustic bass and Nasheet Waits on drums, this is one of those rare albums that for me, pushes all the right buttons in all the right places.

The album features 9 originals and 3 standards/covers. It’s intense, it’s emotive, it’s beautiful. There’s a depth of fulfilment to Saft’s music, with a transcendent nature that burns with a unique spirituality, glorious soundscapes creating waves of emotion as this astonishing quartet ride the flames of some of the most vibrant and blazing contemporary jazz that I have heard.

The sound on this recording is worthy of special mention. Recorded by Saft with Brian Gunn, then mixed and mastered by Christian Castagno, the ambiance perfectly mirrors the music, where high production levels are seamlessly integrated with a natural, organic acoustic sound to create a deep resonance within the listener’s auditory, physical and mental senses. And then there’s Bill McHenry’s tenor sax sound. Just wow. Listening to that alone is a spiritual experience.

The 12 tunes presented here are more like 12 linked pieces of one musical journey. There’s a connection throughout, not just from the music, but from the four musicians performing it. The artistry and humble interplay between the quartet is astounding. Saft seems to have that knack of bringing the best out of others, and the focussed lyrical nature of the compositions gives rise to some awe-inspiringly stunning moments, time after time after time.

The album’s opener “Vessels” commands the listener’s attention immediately. Saft’s intelligent use of time and space speaks volumes as the tune evolves. An almost languid approach lulls us into a false sense of security, whilst an unnerving yet thrilling tenseness pervades. The music and the band gather momentum as it builds to a near crescendo of emotion… just holding back…and a little more…and a little more, until the elasticity breaks and a depth of satisfaction follows as Saft hits those bass notes on the piano…and then it begins again.

And so it goes throughout the entire recoding. The title tune features Bradley Christopher Jones on bass, startlingly inventive playing. The more contemplative yet none the less mind-blowing “Equanimity” could be as spiritual as spiritual jazz gets, with Nasheet Waits drumming his way into the subconscious through a mixture of skillful use of sound and his imaginatively fertile style. This is artful expression at its best, and with Bill McHenry on tenor sax, it lifts us out into the cosmos and beyond. His playing is quite simply impeccable. Whether it be subtle undertones adding atmosphere as on “Decamping”, free, soulful, modal jazz as on “Infinate Compassion”, or an avant-garde edged declaration as on “Words and Deeds”, his creative playing courses it’s way through the mind, body and soul like a gift from the musical gods.

Of the three standards recorded, “There’s a lull in my life” stands out as one of the finest pieces of music I’ve heard anywhere this year. It closes the album perfectly, and is just so sweetly fulfilling that it kind of rounds off all the preceding intensity with a sigh of relief and pure unadulterated satisfaction.

Music this good doesn’t come along all that often. But when it does, it can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding pleasures in life. “Blue Dream” is a truly remarkable album from a group of musicians at the peak of their creative powers.

Mike Gates

TEAM VIBE: Best of 2018 – Damian Wilkes

1. Spirit Fingers – Spirit Fingers (Shanachie)
Review here

2. Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange – Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange (Wax Museum)

3. Muriel Grossmann – Golden Rule (RR Gems)
Review here

4. Tenderlonious Featuring The 22archestra – The Shakedown (22a)

5. Makaya McCraven – Universal Beings (International Anthem)
Review here

6. James ‘Creole’ Thomas – Omas Sextet (22a)

7. Jaron Lamar Davis – My View Through The Lens Of Music (Self-released)

8. Web Web – Dance Of The Demons (Compost)
Review here

9. Butcher Brown – AfroKuti: A Tribute to Fela (Self-released)

10. Menagerie – The Arrow Of Time (Freestyle)

11. Emma-Jean Thackray – Ley Lines EP (The Vinyl Factory)

12. Darkhouse Family – An Extra Offering (First Word)

13. Mabuta – Welcome To This World (Afro Synth)

14. Yazmin Lacey – When The Sun Dips 90 Degrees (First Word)

15. Rogério Boccato Quarteto – No Old Rain (Red Piano)

16. Kamaal Williams – The Return (Black Focus)

17. Chip Wickham – Shamal Wind (Lovemonk)
Review here

18. Marquis Hill – Modern Flows Vol. 2 (Black Unlimited Music Group)

19. Maisha – There Is A Place (Brownswood Recordings)

20. Medline – Solstice (My Bags)

Damian Wilkes

TEAM VIBE: Best of 2018 – Tim Stenhouse pt.2

Tim’s Best of 2018 pt.2 – Artist/Group re-issues and previously unreleased:

1. Michel Polnareff ‘Pop Rock en Stock’ (Universal France)
Review here

2. Cesar Camargo Mariano ‘São Paulo Brasil’ (Mr. Bongo)
Review here

3. The Staple Singers ‘The complete Epic recordings 1964-1968’ (SoulMusic)
Review here

4. Léo Ferré ‘Paris mai ’68’ (Barclay/Universal)
Review here

5. John Coltrane and Miles Davis ‘The Final Tour: the Bootleg Series Vol. 6’ (Sony Legacy)
Review here

6. Eric Dolphy ‘Musical Prophet. The expanded 1963 New York Studio Sessions’ (Elemental)
Review here

7. Charles Mingus ‘Jazz in Detroit/Strata Concert Gallery/46 Seldon’ (BBE/Strata/Sue Mingus Music)
Review here

8. Hugh Masekela ’66-’76’ (Wrasse/Chisa)
Review here

9. Harold Vick ‘Don’t Look Back’ (Pure Pleasure)
Review here

10. Justin Hinds and The Dominoes ‘Travel with Love’ (Omnivore/Nighthawk)
Review here

11. Wes Montgomery ‘In Paris: The definitive ORTF recording’ (Resonance)
Review here

12. Ethiopians ‘Reggae Power’/’Woman Capture Man’ (Doctor Bird)
Review here

13. George Russell ‘Four Classic Albums’ (Avid Jazz)
Review here

14. Kay-Gees ‘Three Classic Albums’ (Robinsong)
Review here

15. Sun Ra ‘Astro-Black’ (Sundazed)

16. Woody Shaw ‘Tokyo ’81’ (Elemental)
Review here

17. Robert Nighthawk ‘The Robert Nighthawk Collection 1937-1952′(Acrobat Music)
Review here

18. Gordon Beck ‘Jubilation! Trios, Quartets and Septets in session: 1964-1984’ (Turtle)
Review here

19. Grant Green ‘Funk in France: from Paris to Antibes 1969-1970’ (Resonance)
Review here

20. Bob Andy and Marcia Griffiths ‘Young Gifted and Black’/’Pied Piper’ (Doctor Bird)
Review here

Tim Stenhouse

TEAM VIBE: Best of 2018 – Brian Goucher

Brian Goucher’s Best of 2018 (In no order):

1. Walter “Wolfman” Washington – My Future Is My Past (Anti-)
Review here

2. J.P. Bimeni and The Black Belts ‎– Free Me (Tucxone)
Review here

3. Charles Bradley – Black Velvet (Dunham/Daptone)
Review here

4. Peabo Bryson – Stand for Love (Perspective/Caroline)
Review here

5. Willie Hightower – Out of the Blue (ACE/SoulTrax)
Review here

6. The Suffers – Everything Here (Shanachie)
Review here

7. Mark IV – Signs Of A Dying Love (Cordial Recordings)
Review here

8. Ural Thomas and The Pain – The Right Time (Tender Loving Empire)

9. Show Tyme – Love Truth (W.A.R. Media)

10. Eric Debonair McNair ‎– This Could Be Love (Self-released)
Review here

11. Darrian Ford – New Standards (Self-released)
Review here

12. Clif Payne – Too (Soulmusic)
Review here

13. Jr. Thomas and the Volcanos – Rockstone (Colemine)

14. Crystal Thomas – Drank of My Love (Gooba Sac Music Publishing)
Review here

15. Ms Zeno the Mojo Queen – Back in Love (Blue Lotus Recordings)
Review here

16. NayCole – Cause and Effect (Soulmop Music Group)

17. Tucka – Working With The Feeling (Hit Nation)

18. Roy Roberts – Back in Love (Rock House)
Review here

19. Isaiah Sharkey ‎– Love Life Live (Self-released)

20. Cornell C.C. Carter – One Love (CDC Productions)

Brian Goucher

TEAM VIBE: Best of 2018 – Tim Stenhouse pt.1

Tim’s Best of 2018 pt.1 – Albums:

1. Kassin ‘Relax’ (Luaka Bop)
Review here

2. Trygve Seim ‘Helsinki Songs’ (ECM)
Review here

3. Chet Baker ‘Live in London Vol. 2’ (Ubuntu Music)
Review here

4. Sons of Kemet ‘Your Queen is a Reptile’ (Impulse!)
Review here

5. Elina Duni ‘Partir’ (ECM)
Review here

6. Enrico Pieranunzi and Thomas Fonnesbaek ‘Blue Waltz’ (Stunt)
Review here

7. Van Morrison and Joey de Francesco ‘You’re Driving Me Crazy’ (Sony)
Review here

8. Jakob Bro ‘Returnings’ (ECM)
Review here

9. Valia Calda ‘Methexis’ (Self-released)
Review here

10. Various ‘We Out Here’ (Brownswood Recordings)
Review here

11. Brad Mehldau Trio ‘Seymour Reads the Constitution’ (Nonesuch)

12. Esbjörn Svensson Trio ‘Live in London’ (ACT)
Review here

13. Julian Siegel Quartet ‘Vista’ (Whirlwind Recordings)
Review here

14. Henry Lowther’s Still Waters ‘Can’t Believe, Won’t Believe’ (Village Life)
Review here

15. Bill Frisell ‘Music Is’ (Okeh)
Review here

16. Bobo Stenson Trio ‘Contra La Indecisión’ (ECM)
Review here

17. Jamison Ross ‘All For One’ (Concord)
Review here

18. Idris Ackamoor ☥ The Pyramids ‘An Angel Fell’ (Strut)
Review here

19. Nostalgia 77 ‘Fifteen (Best of)’ (Tru-Thoughts)
Review here

20. Yelena Eckemoff ‘Better Than Gold and Silver (L&H Production)
Review here

Tim Stenhouse

Notable Deaths 2018

Donald “Jumbo” Vanrenen (Music industry executive), 69
Galt MacDermot (Canadian-American composer/pianist), 89
Arthur Maia (Brazilian composer/musician), 56
Nancy Wilson (Grammy winner American jazz singer), 81
Jorge López Ruiz (Argentinian jazz bassist/composer), 83
Perry Robinson (American jazz musician), 80
Calvin Newborn (American jazz guitarist), 85
Jody Williams (American blues musician), 83
Gary Haisman (English musician), 60
Roger Neumann (American jazz saxophonist), 77
Johnny Maddox (American pianist), 91
Imrat Khan (Indian sitar player), 83
Roy Bailey (English folk singer), 83
Roman Grinev (Russian jazz bassist), 41
Roy Hargrove (American jazz trumpeter), 49
Cornelius “Sonny” Fortune (American jazz saxophonist), 79
Elder Roma Wilson (American gospel singer), 107
Raúl Marrero Quiles (Puerto Rican singer/composer/conductor), 92
Theresa Hightower (American jazz singer), 64
Hamiet Bluiett (American jazz saxophonist), 78
John Tyrrell (British musicologist), 76
John Von Ohlen (American jazz drummer), 77
Geoff Emerick (English recording engineer), 72
Charles Aznavour (French-Armenian singer/lyricist/actor), 94
Jerry González (American bandleader and trumpeter), 69

Angela Maria (Brazilian singer), 89
Otis Rush (American Hall of Fame blues guitarist/singer), 84
Tito Madi (Brazilian singer and composer), 89
Sergei Mosin (Russian jazz musician), 59
Joseph Hoo Kim (Jamaican record producer), 76
Wesley Tinglin (Jamaican reggae singer), 75
Big Jay McNeely (American R&B saxophonist), 91
Max Bennett (American jazz bassist), 90
María Magdalena Pavón (Ecuadorian singer), 77
Wilson Moreira (Brazilian sambista/singer/songwriter), 81
Randy Weston (American jazz pianist/composer), 92

Zé Béttio (Brazilian composer), 92
Aretha Franklin (American soul singer/pianist/songwriter), 76
Count Prince Miller (Jamaican-born British singer/actor), 83
Queeneth Ndaba (South African jazz singer), 82
Alberto Tosca (Cuban singer-songwriter/guitarist), 63
Guilherme Lamounier (Brazilian singer-songwriter/composer), 67
Irvin Jarrett (Jamaican reggae percussionist), 69
Tomasz Stańko (Polish jazz trumpeter/composer), 76
Henry Butler (American jazz pianist), 68
Bill Watrous (American jazz trombonist), 79
Roy Carr (British music journalist for NME), 73
Big Bill Bissonnette (American jazz musician), 81
Lowrell Simon (American soul singer-songwriter), 75
Rebecca Parris (American jazz singer), 66
Wayne Dockery (American jazz double bassist), 76
Bob Dorough (American vocalist), 94
Charles Neville (American R&B and jazz musician), 79
Lorraine Gordon (Club owner for Village Vanguard), 95
Brian Browne (Canadian jazz pianist), 81
Norman Edge (American jazz musician), 84
Jalal Mansur Nuriddin (The Last Poets), 73
Clarence Fountain (The Blind Boys of Alabama), 88
Eddy Clearwater (American blues singer/guitarist), 83
Mikhail Alperin (Ukrainian-born Norwegian jazz pianist), 61
John “Jabo” Starks (American drummer for James Brown), 79

Roy Young (British singer/pianist), 81
Stuart Colman (English musician/record producer/broadcaster), 73
Jim Caine (British jazz pianist/radio presenter), 91
Dona Ivone Lara (Brazilian singer/composer), 97
Stan Reynolds (British jazz musician), 92
Gyula Babos (Hungarian jazz guitarist), 68
Yvonne Staples (The Staple Singers), 80
Cecil Taylor (American jazz pianist), 89
Audrey Morris (American jazz singer/pianist), 89
Olly Wilson (American composer/musicologist/jazz musician), 80
Jerzy Milian (Polish jazz musician), 82
Eddy Amoo (British soul singer), 73
Harriet Fier (American magazine editor for Rolling Stone), 67
Didier Lockwood (French jazz violinist), 62,
Boyd Jarvis (American music producer), 59
Al Garner (British jazz musician), 88

Algia Mae Hinton (American blues singer/guitarist), 88
Leon “Ndugu” Chancler (American jazz drummer), 65
Dennis Edwards (American soul and R&B singer), 74
Asmund Bjørken (Norwegian jazz musician), 84
Coco Schumann (German jazz musician), 93
Floyd Miles (American blues musician/singer), 74
Tommy Banks (Canadian jazz pianist/composer/senator), 81
Cliff White (British music journalist), 72
Hugh Masekela (South African jazz trumpeter/composer), 78
Preston Shannon (American blues singer/songwriter/guitarist), 70
Terry Evans (American blues and soul musician), 80
Bill Hughes (American jazz trombonist), 87
Marlene VerPlanck (American jazz singer), 84
Denise LaSalle (American blues singer), 78
Betty Willis (American soul singer), 76

Ayanda Sikade ‘Movements’ CD (Self-released) 5/5

It has to be said Ayanda Sikade cuts a somewhat reluctant figure as a bandleader. This impression isn’t just inferred from the front cover, in an interview with Metro FM’s Nothemba Madumo he explained that “I’ve dedicated my life to be a disciple..of this music, other than to be someone who leads a band or.. a project”. Sikade did not become a musician in search of fame and fortune then.

This sense of diffidence is even more apparent in the back story to the album. Recorded, mixed and mastered in 2010 it has remained on the shelf until this year. Sikade has not been idle during this time, far from it, recording and performing with top South African artists like Nduduzo Makhathini, Herbie Tsoaeli, Simphiwe Dana, Andile Yenana, Thandiswa Mazwai, Tete Mbambisa, Kenya’s Aaron Rimbui and in Europe with Bänz Oester and The Rainmakers. No, it seems that it took Sikade some time to appreciate his art; we shouldn’t see this in a negative light and I for one am thankful that he has recognised the merits of this thoughtful, captivating recording.

The “Movements” in question are described by Sikade as the stages of his “development as a human being and improviser”, people, events, and places that have shaped his musical creativity. This biographical account is music of identity through which we learn of the role of music in Xhosa traditions learnt through his grandmother, of rites of passage, of time spent as a boy observing the local Jazz bands, before being allowed to play the drums, and of the influence of the inimitable Zim Ngqawana, with whom he spent 8 years playing, learning his craft and so much more. The importance of Bra Zim cannot be underestimated, during this time he was not only exploring music, but through Zimology, a much broader philosophy regarding personal freedom and inner self.

Like Ngqawana and “fellow traveller” Nduduzo Makhathini a lot of these ideas crystalise in the music of John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, a touchstone recording for all three, and it’s the openness to explore spirituality, tradition and freedom that we should see and hear “Movements”.

For the recording date, Sikade brought together an intergenerational group of musicians – in the rhythm section he is aided and abetted by fellow Zimologists, Makhathini (Piano/Rhodes) and Herbie Tsoaeli (Double Bass). Horns make up the front line with Mthunzi Mvubu (who plays with Shabakah and the Ancestors) on alto and soprano sax, the under-recorded Nhlanhla Daniel Mahlangu on tenor and soprano sax, as well as contributions from Sydney Mavundla and Feya Faku on trumpet and Malcolm Jiyane on trombone.

Compositional duties are shared amongst the group with an emphasis on thoughtful, instinctive soul-searching. In truth there isn’t a weak track. “Ilungelo” bursts forth with joy, rousing solos by Mavundla and Mahlangu before exiting on the beefy exuberance of Jiyane on trombone. There’s a real sense of camaraderie through this piece as there is running through the album. “Sensible Soul” opens with slow, somewhat ominous drumming, picking up from the album’s opener, “Dedication”. Mvubu’s beautifully accented alto breaks the tension if not the brooding mood, with expressions lingering in the air, completed by Makhathini’s punctuation, intensity slowly building.

Makhathini’s contributions, “A Little Prayer” and “Kindred Spirits” give us a taste of what was to come in his own recordings, the former gentle like rain falling to ground, the latter a more muscular spirituality encapsulating the ethos of the album as a whole.

“Blues for Abadala” shows Sikade in a smaller setting with two of South Africa’s Jazz elders, Tsoaeli and Fezile ‘Feya’ Faku. Sikade doesn’t just see the drums in terms of rhythmic meter but as a voice in it’s own right making the drums sing, around Tsoaeli light, skittish bass and Faku’s chirpy, talkative trumpet.

The album closes with “I Remember Somagwaza”, a visceral recollection of male initiation and the song that forms an integral part of the ceremony. This time it’s Mvubu on Soprano Sax, leading a sombre evocation with Makhathini on Piano and Rhodes.
Forget that this album was recorded 8 years ago, it sounds as fresh now as I’m sure it did then. Whilst the inspiration and narrative is distinctly South African it fits within a broader context of what we call Spiritual Jazz.

For all the good news there is a downside I’m afraid. At the time of writing “Movements” is only available on CD in South Africa. I had delayed the review hoping that it might get a digital release, but with the year slipping by it’s too special an album to leave undocumented. Hopefully there will be wider distribution next year.

Andy Hazell

Various ‘Running The Voodoo Down Vol 2: Explorations In Psychrockfunksouljazz 1965-77’ 2LP/CD/DIG (Festival) 3/5

This is the follow up to the seamlessly interwoven first volume that took in Buddy Miles and Miles Davis, grouped together the Undisputed Truth and Sly Stone, and made the connection between Jimmy Hendrix and Don Cherry. Sadly, the second volume fails to live up to that heady billing and comes across as something of a left-overs compilation, with a few extra numbers that are questionable in being bracketed as ‘psychedelic’. That is not to say the listener will make some interesting discoveries along the way. Any compilation that includes the input of Tony Harlow and Dean Rudland will have content worthy of musical merit and Sonny Sharrock’s ‘Black Woman’ is a lovely piece from a vastly underrated musician. However, several numbers are already familiar (Dr. John and his psychedelic era or Shuggy Otis) and one wonders whether they needs to appear on yet another compilation when they are already readily available elsewhere. For example could an alternative version of ‘Love Supreme’ by John Coltrane be found (Elvin Jones recorded a 1970s interpretation that would fit comfortably into the psychedelic jazz bag), and do not most readers already possess ‘Sweetback’s Theme’ by Malvin Van Peebles on any one of a multitude of blaxploitation soundtrack anthologies, or even on the original soundtrack? This is the ongoing dilemma of any compilation: the desire to open up new discoveries while simultaneously pandering to the commercial prerogative of having to sell and not be too obscure in the process.

With this caveat in mind, there are nevertheless interesting items that this writer had not heard before. Pride of place goes to Chairmen of the Board and their highly unusual and soulful piece of psychedelia in ‘Life and Death In G and A” (Parts 1 & 2)’. That directly precedes the offering from the Temptations who were arguably the most consistent soul band to fuse their harmonies with psychedelic rock accompaniment, largely thanks to the highly innovative work of writer and arranger Norman Whitfield. Here the socio-political commentary of, ‘Ungena Za Wilmewengu (Unite the world)’ marks a clear departure in the Motown story and one that deserves to be followed up on. A pity, then, that the sub-genre soulful psychedelia was not explored in more depth. Instead, the soulful content within tends to get confused with a smoother brand of soul, which, although of merit in its own right, does not automatically or even justifiably qualify as ‘psychedelic’. There is no doubting the prowess of Isaac Hayes on ‘Do Your Thing’, but is it actually psychedelic in nature? Even less so the admittedly left-field soul of ‘To The Establishment’ by Lou Bond, fine examples of mid-1970s soul though these two songs undoubtedly are. The first half of the compilation does follow a coherent logic with the cross-fertilisation of jazz, pop, rock and soul, but loses its thread in the second half. An excellent idea, however, and one that needs to be further encouraged by all means, provided that the execution can fully deliver the goods.

Tim Stenhouse