Various Artists - Luxury Soul Family (2021)

Various Artists
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Various Artists - Luxury Soul Family

For going on four decades, Expansion Records has worked to fulfill a mission of keeping Soul and R&B music vibrant and alive. They have continued to fulfill that mission at a time when many cultural critics have claimed that R&B and Soul music is anything but alive.

Some artists run from the R&B genre, while others collaborate with other genres, making R&B only an ingredient in the finished product. That's not the way the folks at Expansion Records do things. The label has always been proudly and unabashedly soulful, bluesy and funky. Expansion Records is a label that embraces the history and diversity of Soul music and that comes through eloquently is Luxury Soul Family.

Various Artists - Luxury Soul Family

For going on four decades, Expansion Records has worked to fulfill a mission of keeping Soul and R&B music vibrant and alive. They have continued to fulfill that mission at a time when many cultural critics have claimed that R&B and Soul music is anything but alive.

Some artists run from the R&B genre, while others collaborate with other genres, making R&B only an ingredient in the finished product. That's not the way the folks at Expansion Records do things. The label has always been proudly and unabashedly soulful, bluesy and funky. Expansion Records is a label that embraces the history and diversity of Soul music and that comes through eloquently is Luxury Soul Family.

Some of the tunes featured on Luxury Soul Family like Joe Leavy's "Inside You" will be familiar to SoulTrackers (Leavy scored a Soultracks Readers' Choice Award Male Vocalist of the Year nomination). However, most of the tracks have never been on any CD and those who listen to Luxury Soul Family will likely be hearing them for the first time.

You'd be hard pressed to tell which tunes are getting their first close-up because the consisten quality of the tracks is one thing that distinguishes Luxury Soul Family. Another quality that sets this compilation apart is the way it celebrates the diversity that exists with the genre. The album features steppers cuts such as "One Life," by Regi Myrix feat. Hil St. Soul and conscious anthems from artists keenly aware of what was happening on the streets in 2020, such as Darryl Anders Agape Soul's “Bulletproof."

The track list also includes creative covers of R&B and Soul classics with a standout being Citrus Soul feat. Noel McKay's remake of “California Soul,” a tune done famously by Marlena Shaw and the Fifth Dimension. Citrus Soul's version fusion of funky percussion and bass, rock influenced guitars and tight harmonies.

It's really hard to name every standout track on this project, so I will highlight a few, "I'm Good" by The Parkmans; Mama's Gun's "This is the Day," "Fall Into My Love" by Francisca Thomas feat. Incognito, and "Dance Again," by J.D's Time Machine, feat. Trina Broussard. If I didn't mention your song, charge it to my head (and a lack of space) and not my heart, because it’s all good. Highly Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
Choice Cut - Gary Palmer - "Let's Ride"
Song of the Month - Acantha Lang - "Lois Lang"
Album of the Month - Will Downing - "The Song Garden"
Choice Cut - Will Preston - "Never Knew Love"

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