Slice of Soul – ‘Mariana, Mariana’
June 9, 2009, 3:27 pm
Filed under: Breaks, Slice Of Soul

Maria Bethania – ‘Mariana, Mariana’
taken from A Tua Presença (Universal, 1971)

It’s not long until I’m able to fill y’all in on exactly why FDB has fallen into such a stagnant state over the last few months, but I’m assuming you’re not losing too much sleep over it.  If you are, just end yourself right now because there’s not gonna be a significant change any time soon.  At the moment real life continues to beat my digital existence into a whimpering, bloody pulp and it’s showing no signs of letting up just yet.  In fact, it just pulled a mallet out…

Still, a swift counterblow has provided me with just enough respite to share this jewel of a track that hasn’t left my headphones in a minute.  I’m really starting to get a taste for this 70’s Brazilian material, and Maria Bethania’s ‘Mariana, Mariana’ is just one of the reasons why.  Enjoy: I’ll see ya when I see ya.


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Slice Of Soul – ‘Rainy Day’
March 1, 2009, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

Shuggie Otis – ‘Rainy Day’
taken from Inspiration Information (Epic, 1974)

Thanks to the magnificent O-Dub I’ve broken my Shuggie Otis duck and am finally getting into a catalogue of truly great music.  Inspiration Information seemed the obvious jump-off point due to the presence of ‘Strawberry Letter 23′, but the whole album is breathtaking.  The irony of picking ‘Rainy Day’ on the most beautiful day of the year so far was the only reason for its selection: it’s all amazing.

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Slice of Soul – ‘How Can I Love You’
February 5, 2009, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

The Olympians – ‘How Can I Love You (Now That You’re Gone)’
taken from How Can I Love You/Stand Tall 7″ (Truth & Soul, 2009)

More goodness out of the Truth & Soul camp.  Toby Pazner has been sessioning for the label for a while now on vibes and keys, but this is the first 7″ released under The Olympians guise, an amalgamation of the usual cool Brooklyn funk elite headed up by himself.  With members of the Menahan Street Band, El Michels Affair and The Expressions on board it’s no surprise that this is really, really good.

If this stuff wasn’t so absolutely fantastic then you could complain about the fact that a lot of it is teetering dangerously on the edge of sounding hopelessly generic.  However, as it stands my thirst is yet to be quelled for this particular brand of instrumental retro soul.  Give me more!

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Slice of Soul – ‘A Smile Can’t Hide (A Broken Heart)’
January 21, 2009, 3:54 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

William Bell – ‘A Smile Can’t Hide (A Broken Heart)’
taken from The Best of William Bell (Stax, 1991)

William Bell is quickly becoming one of my favourite artists who recorded material on the legendary Stax imprint.  Having said this, I’m still lurking in greatest hits territory before diggin’ deeper in, a fallacy I intend to correct as soon as the day job stops ethering me.  ‘A Smile Can’t Hide (A Broken Heart)’ is currently carressing my inner ear on repeat and my suspicion is that after hearing it you’ll fall victim to the same fate.  Smile people: predetermination never sounded so sweet.

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Slice of Soul – More Barry
January 11, 2009, 3:57 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

Barry White – ‘Love Serenade’
taken from Just Another Way To Say I Love You (20th Century, 1975)

And so the obsession begins.  It’s not like Mr White has ever been off my radar, and I’ve enjoyed scattered bits and pieces in the past, but it’s only now that I’m beginning to fully appreciate his masterful touch.  Sure you have to wade your way through a fair amount of cringe-inducing disco anthems, but when Barry gets on his smooth tip and takes it slow his arrangements are out of this world.  Some may call them seductive.

‘Love Serenade’ is the track in current rotation.  Warning: playing it in female company may result in impulsive disrobement.  Bonus!

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New Year’s Slice Of Soul – ‘All Because Of You’
December 31, 2008, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

Barry White – ‘All Because Of You’
taken from Just Another Way To Say I Love You (20th Century, 1975)

So the turkey’s digested but I’m still hungover, and despite all the best intentions my year end ‘bonanza’ is going to have to wait until the very early stages of 2009.  Until then, soothe your ears with the delectable arrangements offered up by Mr White on the staggeringly brilliant ‘All Because Of You’, a song that has had me enraptured for days now and marks the end of my year’s listening habits.

Here’s wishing all of you a fantastic new year: big tings a gwan in ‘09…

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Slice Of Soul – ‘The Third Cup’
November 24, 2008, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

The Eddie Fisher Quintet – ‘The Third Cup’
taken from The Third Cup (Cadet, 1969)

Another installment of Slice Of Soul brings yet another artist to the table who’s completely new to me and may well be to you as well. Given that my knowledge of guitar-led soul/jazz is pretty much limited at this stage to George Benson and Wes Montgomery, it was a real treat to stumble upon this LP, Fisher’s first solo outing whose title shares this song’s name. Released in 1969 and long out of print, the album feels much more like something you’d expect to find on CTI during the mid ’70s due to its shimmering textures and lazy, atmospheric vibe. As such it’s a little surprising that it hasn’t been given the reissue treatment, but it is out there if you want it (read: yes, you can find a vinyl rip without too much bother) and it’s worth the effort because it’s an enjoyable record from beginning to end.

‘The Third Cup’ is the easy standout for me though, six minutes of luscious licks that’ll have you jazz stepping in next to no time. Maybe it’s just because I’m a complete sucker for this kind of soulful jazziness in 4/4 time but this has been in rotation all weekend and doesn’t look to be shifting yet. Wash away the Monday blues and keep things on a smooth tip readers: you deserve it.

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Slice Of Soul – ‘Winter Sadness’
October 19, 2008, 7:11 pm
Filed under: Breaks, Slice Of Soul

Kool & the Gang – ‘Winter Sadness’
taken from Spirit Of The Boogie (De-Lite, 1975)

(This post is dedicated to Travis as I know he’ll be feeling it. Can you hear me, yo?!)

I stumbled upon this track whilst embarrassing myself on The Breaks’ request forum and it’s been helping me keep things on a smooth tip on virtually every Sunday afternoon since. ‘Winter Sadness’ can be found on their 1975 release Spirit Of The Boogie, although you’ll have to be prepared to shell out if you want a physical copy on CD as this is long out of print and seems to be generally sought after.

Although this may not be classified as one of the group’s biggest releases it is very enjoyable, although I prefer Light Of Worlds and Wild & Peaceful. ‘Winter Sadness’ ends up being a bit of an anomaly on the album as the remainder of the songs are much funkier and harder hitting but I always tend to prefer the mellow, downtempo material from the legendary Jersey outfit anyway. Winner!

Treat yourself to this aural candy and indulge in that guilt-free chilling that you can only truly enjoy on a Sunday. Papers on the table, cup of tea in hand and a chicken in the oven: I’m killing it right now people.

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Slice Of Soul – ‘Aria’
October 5, 2008, 6:47 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

Marc Moulin – ‘Aria’
taken from Placebo Years 1971 – 1974 (EMI , 1999)

It’s Sunday. I’m feeling lazy. Is there any better accompaniment to lethargy than this?

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Slice Of Soul – ‘Too Late To Turn Back’
September 15, 2008, 6:38 pm
Filed under: Slice Of Soul

El Michels Affair – ‘Too Late To Turn Back’
taken from Sounding Out The City (Truth & Soul, 2006)

Despite lurking within the outer edges of my consciousness for a significant period time, it’s only within the last month or so that I’ve taken the plunge and actually decided to part with some hard cash and check out Brooklyn’s El Michels Affair for real. Up until this point I’ve only heard bits and pieces from their live Wu-Tang collaboration, the root of said lurk, so I was pleased when I received my copy of their first studio outing to find that it was brimming at the edges with the kind of beautifully executed retro soul/funk that has managed to find its place in a more commercial market over the last few years whilst staying admirably pure.

Not being any kind of aficionado means that I’ve really enjoyed listening to Sounding Out The City, although I can easily see how long-standing funk/soul heads may despise how blatantly derivative it is given that it is essentially an exact replica. It’s a damn good one though, and despite the band not really being able to maintain my interest over the course of an album that only just exceeds half an hour, plucking tracks out and enjoying them on their own merit is an easily achieved and joyful task. ‘Too Late To Turn Back’ is one of my current favourites and is representative of the album’s aesthetic as a whole, so if you dig it make sure to pick up the complete LP for more of the same sun-blissed musical goodness. Get me a late pass whilst you’re at it, will ya?

Just a shame the summer’s over. Oh wait, it’s OK, we didn’t have one anyway. I need to get my arse of this miserable island.

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