Various Artists - Soul Unsigned Volume 1 (2008)

Various Artists
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It may have taken a while to arrive, but the debut album from Soul Unsigned Records has finally been served, and it is a delicious selection of soul cuts from some truly talented unsigned artists. The label is the lovechild of Phil Driver, a familiar name to listeners of the internet radio station Solar Radio. In essence, the label took some of the finest unsigned soul artists in the world, and gave them a platform to have their music heard. Two amazing EP's later and Mr Driver has just released a full length album simply entitled Soul Unsigned- Volume 1.

It may have taken a while to arrive, but the debut album from Soul Unsigned Records has finally been served, and it is a delicious selection of soul cuts from some truly talented unsigned artists. The label is the lovechild of Phil Driver, a familiar name to listeners of the internet radio station Solar Radio. In essence, the label took some of the finest unsigned soul artists in the world, and gave them a platform to have their music heard. Two amazing EP's later and Mr Driver has just released a full length album simply entitled Soul Unsigned- Volume 1.

There are 14 gems on this album, and although some stand out more than others, this is still modern soul music at its best. None of these songs will be on commercial radio stations that repeatedly pump out mindless songs with heavily sampled interpolations and hooks from classic songs from yesterday. Instead this collection of international musicians supplies fresh music that will have you singing and dancing along.

New York Feeling by Al Campos became one of my favorite tracks within the first 30 seconds. Singing about showing his baby the sights of New York, it invokes visions of being on a sexy date in Manhattan late on a Saturday night in the middle of summer. Beautiful vocals and a simmering groove that I wished could have lasted 10 minutes. Were it not for the album bio that highlighted that Al was California born and raised I would have sworn this man was a native New Yorker.

One group that is based in New York though is Dreemtime, and the track "Sisco" is a funky song for you to sing along, and should bring a smile to your face as you sway left to right and forget you cares to the sweet vocal talent of Maya Azucena. "What The Rhythm's 4, which celebrates the powers of music to help you shake your blues and uplift you, is performed by a UK based group called Kaldera and is definitely worth a listen. It's followed by the most sensual song I have heard themed around a computer, called "Love ESC." Just listen to the second verse and the chorus and tell me whether or not your view of IT experts has suddenly changed. "Intrafusion" by Moses Mayes is a soulful funky instrumental track full of tight guitars, big horns, and keyboards like Stevie Wonder from the 70s, with a soundtrack quality. Other tracks to check out the husky vocals in "Womanizer" by Majahba, "Closer" by The Black Style Mood and "Gently" by Groove's Back Productions featuring AmariM.

Overall this is a quality album and deserves to be in the record collection of all serious SOUL music lovers. Phil Driver and his new partner, Leigh Fry, have produced an amazing album full of live instrumentation, with artists from UK, USA, Italy, France, Japan, and places where I didn't think a soul group could survive, like Poland. If you like acid jazz, funk, smooth jazz, and artists like Jamiroquai, James Taylor Quartet, Stevie Wonder and then you will like this album. Mr Driver, hope you are already cooking up volume 2.

By Ricardito

 
Album of the Month - Juewett Bostick - Shades of Blu
Song of the Month - Bryan Andrew Wilson - "Only You'
Choice Cut - Kea Michaels - "Not My Friend"

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