Some years ago I approached Ralph Tee, the head honcho at Expansion Records with an idea for a compilation album based on my somewhat eclectic tastes in world soul or what I now prefer to call groove oriented music. The music was lined up but the project did not get off the ground due to the sheer amount of work involved to bring it all to fruition on top of everything else that I was doing at the time. Thus, the fact that we have now reached the eighth album in this particular compilation series is no mean feat in itself given the amount of work that is involved to track down and license these gems.
From the opening track of Finland's Tuomo with its swirling MFSB type backing and jazzy electric piano break to the closing bars of DJ Jazzy Jeff's Bobby Caldwell's influenced 'My Soul Ain't for Sale' you have 15 tracks that ooze quality and are absolutely timeless covering every genre of the music that we love from Gospel through jazz funk to modern soul. Whilst the album delivers newish tracks from soul legends such as Billy Griffin and One Way's Alicia Myers, it is the tracks from Europe that make the most impact and make you realise that our music is still alive and well, you just have to work harder to track them down! Check Mo and Grazz who hails from the medieval city of Brugge in Belgium for a modern soul classic, the unique jazz funk flavoured 'Let Love Shine' from Parisians Tassel and Naturel and Switzerland's Seven for more philly influenced soul steppin'.
Picking a favourite is impossible because the standard is so high though the catchy, Kirk Franklin-ish happy gospel singalong number from Norman Hutchins comes close as does Germany's Wahoo with the building rhythmic uplifting horn driven anthem'Don't take it personal' Released in the UK at the end of October and for some reason currently being offered at a bargain price on the HMV website this is one album that you have just got to purchase. Essential for all soul groovers everywhere.