14.9.05

SOULSHAKER Vol.2

Various Artists 'SoulShaker Volume 2' Record Kicks
The opening track by The Voodoo Trombone Quartets 'Your Pleasure Is Our Pleasure' is not awful but reminds me too much of that 'Big Beat' Wall Of Sound/Skint Records mid 90's sound. Big Boss Man's 'Kevin Stardust' is surprisingly good for a band I usually consider well below par. Speedometer deliver a typical foot to the floor funk number, much better is band leader Leigh Gracies other offering on the compilation Sting Ray Davies & The Organites 'Upstairs On Boston Road' - that bitch is mighty frisky! Masterful and deeply soulful as usual is Sharon Jones performing her own take on the Kenny Jones classic 'Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In'. While she does little to the Betty LaVette interpretation it does make the competition herre appear pale in comparison. That is until Spanky Wilson and Quantic pull the rug from underneath it with the mother of all new-funk tracks - 'Don't Joke With A Hungry Man' - James Black/Bobby Williams drums a go-go with Spanky sounding as good as she never did! This is a track they'll be still listening to in 10 years time. Next up is Lemon's 'Hell Yeah' a cool space-jazz groover that sits somewhere between Freakpower and Henry Mancini. From Jazzman Gerald's Stark Reality label comes Kahuna Kawentzmann's 'Gogo Star', an organ and sitar led number that would benefit immensely from having the sitar louder in the mix but nevertheless is absolutely stunning! Acid Jazz is represented with Smoove's 'Coming Back' an excitable and soulful stomper that won't blow your mind but should keep folk dancing on the floor. The Link Quartet mix things up a bit with the best track I've ever heard from them - the previously unreleased 'Sweet Little Apples' - imagine The Spencer Davis Group and The Small Faces knocking out a furious Hammond B3 soaked instrumental together. Nick Rossi Set's 'Foolkiller' takes the Mark Murphy mod-jazz sound and shoves a rocket up its arse. Sting Ray Davies & The Organites kindly donate a hysterical funky workout titled 'Upstairs On Boston Road', a definite highlight of the CD, and one to buy it for alone. This is the standard others should rise to! Next up is one of the best live bands in the UK - Scotland's The Boogaloo Investigators with a killer rhythm n' blues banger 'If You Reap', top stuff. A band that's a real hit or miss outfit is The Diplomats Of Solid Sound here they are represented with 'Loaf And Jug', clearly this is a tight competent band but they just seem to lack a magical spark to ignite their sound. Funxplosion's 'Love Jet' is barely even noticeable and leaves no lasting impression whatsoever. A real blast from the past is Sharon Jackson's 'Fakin' It', a storming funk beast with dynamite drumming from legendary funk collector Malcolm Catto. This band was extraordinarily good live, what happened to them!!! Nottingham's Stoned Soul Picnic draw us close to the end with 'Doctor Gonzo' a previously unreleased instrumental and to round the show off we have The Slow Slushy Boys quirky take on the Ike Turner track 'I Can't Believe What You Say'. All in all a pretty strong compilation, one or two duff tracks here and there but packed with plenty of goodies and one or two real treats.