Various Artists - Soul Unsigned Volume 3 (2009)

Various Artists
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Does Ricardito love Soul Unsigned Records? Yes.  Does SoulTracks love Soul Unsigned Records? Yes.  Is Soul Unsigned Volume 3 better than Volume 2? YES! Phil Driver serves up another batch unsigned artists from around the world; I guarantee there will be at least one track on here that you'll love.
Does Ricardito love Soul Unsigned Records? Yes.  Does SoulTracks love Soul Unsigned Records? Yes.  Is Soul Unsigned Volume 3 better than Volume 2? YES! Phil Driver serves up another batch unsigned artists from around the world; I guarantee there will be at least one track on here that you'll love.

"Time of Your Life" is the perfect opener to album.  The gentle beat, subtle horns, and warm vocals of Tyrone are a beautiful match, as he instructs us "don't be shy (get up) and have the time of your life".  You start swaying and before you know it you are dancing, and truly having a good time to the track.  This is a very radio friendly track, very similar to Incognito.  There is a welcome return from the group Excellent Gentlemen on this collection, although after hearing their track "Funky" I wonder if they would change their name to Freaky Men.  "I wanna freak witchu girl" are the opening chants to the 80s-style track, and by the end of it you are chanting in unison with them.  Other 80s inspired tracks are "Get Up" by Unified Tribe and "Chanana" by Skalp.  The former invites you "get up everybody on the dancefloor and shake your thing" over a very familiar bass line.  The latter asks you to feel "the shine", over an 80s beat that sounds so fresh.    

As always there is a stand out track for me in these collections, and for the third time running it comes from a male solo vocalist (ladies you need to step your game up).  That aside, I dare any woman to tell me that the ballad "In Love With You" by Chris Youngblood is not one of the sweetest songs you've heard this year.  The song is very reminiscent of "For the Love Of You" by the Isley Brothers.  Check this out: "When I am feeling down because of my frustration, you turn my grey skies blue/when I'm with you. I'm in love with you".  I might steal that line myself.  The next track, Give Love A Chance" by Candycream, continues the theme of romance: "Heaven only knows what lies within our future. I need you right by my side, and although our worlds often collide this is where I want to be right here loving you".  The cut has great vocals, great instrumentation, and fantastic groove you can't help but fall for.  This is German soul music at its best; a truly beautiful track.  "Love" by The Constituents has a refreshing 60's R&B sound to it.  It's very slick, it's very simple, it's groovy, and it's from New Zealand. 

If you don't want to get caught up in all the love on the album, then look to the truly outstanding instrumental track, "Amber Lady."  It's been a while since I heard such great jazz funk; my only wish is that there would have been more flute and woodwind on the track.  "Fire" by Jalley is the next track, which is high energy disco-infused house.  Whilst vocally it could have been better, there is no doubt that this track is hot. 

Interestingly, Phil Driver writes in the liner notes that he knows that only few people will love every track, which is very brave of him. I can honetly say there was only one track that I didn't really take to, and that purely because someone didn't tell Richard Davis that "less is more."  Vocally Richard was very good, and the actual lyrical content and vibe of the track "You've Changed" were great; however to have a 1 minute intro and 2.27 minute outro of you repeating the chorus had me changing to the next track.  Did that ruin my appetite for this album, and the series that Phil Driver is producing? Absolutely not. Where else will you find such a fine collection of unsigned artists from USA, Britain, Germany, New Zealand, and Italy? For that alone, Mr Driver, SoulTracks salutes you, and recommends this album.  Now please get working on the next batch of goodies. 

By Ricardito
 

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