Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard
Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard Blues & Soul back in print August 13th 2010 Vintage at Goodwood 13-15th of August The Realm feat. Choklate:  I’ll Let It  (UK Papa) Fabriclive 52: Zero T Chus & Ceballos: Back On Tracks Richard Earnshaw: In Time (Groovefinder Records) Milky Disco 3: To.The.Stars (UK Lo Recordings) Michael Gray, Paul Harris & Kid Massive feat. Sam Obernik: Home (UK Phonetic)

Well, that’s another four years down the drain – England’s involvement in the World Cup is over (so tragic was it, that’s probably a good thing) and so I’m swiftly turning my attention to this column to take my mind off things!


It’s actually a short ‘n’ sweet Grooveyard this month, as the Blues & Soul team prepares for a special August HARD-COPY edition of the magazine to coincide with Vintage at Goodwood. Running August 13-15, this brand new annual festival will celebrate ‘creative British cool’ from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. Musically speaking, acts will include everyone from Faces (featuring Ronnie Wood and Mick Hucknall) and Earth, Wind & Fire to DJs Norman Jay, Dave Lee and Danny Rampling. Different arenas promise to enthusiastically re-live different soulful eras – mod, ‘casino’ soul, roller disco and Chicago house to name but a few.
It’s all going to be good, trust us. And, yes, you can expect a meatier round-up of Grooveyard news and reviews next month.


Anyway, on with July’s mini round-up…. It’s certainly good to kick off with the news that Fabric London has quickly bounced back out of receivership. Administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers had been brought in to sell the club after Fabric guaranteed a £3.2bn loan to troubled sister venue Matter, which subsequently closed its doors (and is reportedly now destined for liquidation.) A buyer, however, has been found and Fabric’s future is safe, as the following statement reveals:

“The Fabric family is delighted to announce that Fabric is no longer in administration. Fabric has been bought by a consortium who fully back founders Keith Reilly and Cameron Leslie's vision; nothing within the scope of the Fabric ethos or team shall change. The consortium has formed a new company called Fabric Life Limited. After 10 and a half brilliant years, we look forward to many more.”


Elsewhere, BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra will dedicate 12 hours of continuous programming to the sound of UK garage on July 24. The UKG Takeover will celebrate both the genre’s beginnings (think 90s, think TuffJam, Dreem Team and Todd Edwards) and recent sub-scene shenanigans. MistaJam’s 8-11pm show features appearances from the Dreem Team and Roll Deep, as well as pitting the four main current strands of UKG – dubstep, grime, funky house, bassline – against one another as part of a monster, audience-voted soundclash. Check in on for more.


And on the same evening, Ministry Of Sound will be hosting Defected Records’ rather ambitious Defected In The House LIVE event. There’s an absolutely fantastic line-up, with several original and A-grade recording artists performing their own dance classics – Candi Staton (You Got The Love,) Julie McKnight (Finally,) Barbara Tucker (Beautiful People, Most Precious Love) and Steve Edwards (World Hold On.) Backing comes from Defected’s specially commissioned live band, featuring Faze Action’s Robin Lee, percussionist Shovell and Basement Jaxx drummer Nathan Curran. Other familiar names on the line-up include The Shapeshifters and Copyright. Wow….

Some quick reviews:


The Realm feat. Choklate – I’ll Let It (UK Papa)

Trio Oli Lazarus, Toni Economides and Pete Kuzma have already brought us smoking soul-underground nuggets Once Chance, One Step and Time; latest outing I’ll Let It maintains the smooth quality thanks to neat percussive beats, cute bass and sharp keys (from Philly man Kuzma.) And then there’s Choklate’s smoky yet assertive vocals – really quite something. Great song-based package.

Michael Gray, Paul Harris & Kid Massive feat. Sam Obernik – Home (UK Phonetic)

Massive joins Full Intention disco don Gray and Dirty Vegas’s Harris for an uplifting house glide that smacks, blissfully so, of Ibiza. The mix of loose house beats, retro keys, mellow guitar and hand claps well suits Obernik’s charming, laidback vocals – ‘beechin’ house Pete Tong calls it. Remixes are equally strong, if harder in the case of Gray’s solo edit, and more Balearic in the case of Harris’s own revamp. Early supporters include Roger Sanchez and Axwell, which says it all - high-profile, high-quality.

Renn – Nights In Africa (UK Reel People Music)

A new acquisition to Oli Lazarus’ more than reputable Reel People camp, Renn drums out some rhythmically infectious afro-house. It’s gloriously crafted stuff, layered with warm melodies, lowdown b-lines and some slick spoken word. Reel People and The Layabouts add clubbier vibes on remixes utilising extra piano, guitar and house spice. Sizzling.

Various Artists – Milky Disco 3 (to.the.stars) (UK Lo Recordings)

London-based Lo Recordings have been at the forefront of the nu-disco revolution for some time now, thanks in large part to its cult Milky Disco compilation series. Milky Disco 3 is another triumph, serving up fresh and original space-funked nuggets from key names such as Soft Rocks, Black Devil Disco Club and In Flaganti, as well as talented upstarts Leo Zero and Telespazio. The variety is impressive – polished vocal flourishes rubbing shoulders with druggy grooves, acid beats and deeply percussive jams. A bonus un-mixed second disc surely seals the deal.

Richard Earnshaw – In Time (UK Groovefinder Records)

Ironic choice of title for Earnshaw’s debut album, being that it has taken a staggering seven years to bear fruit. Thank goodness then In Time is a fat, juicy peach of a record. Earnshaw demonstrates real confidence and production poise in gathering together this smart collection of warm, emotive and butt-shaking tracks. The downbeat and upbeat moments are perfectly judged; the special guests used frequently but with finesse; Earnshaw is also sensible in playing up his respected jazz-house roots. There are no standouts, because everything is standout – from the Roy Ayers-vibed title cut to the beautifully, powerfully vocalled Carleen Anderson number My Door Is Open. We’re promised new material at a much quicker pace from now on; let’s hope the timing remains perfect….

Various Artists – Chus & Ceballos: Back On Tracks (US Nervous)

Dynamic Spanish house duo Chus & Ceballos present their so-called ‘Iberican’ sound on this storming double-disc compilation album. Iberican means powerful tribal beats juxtaposed with soulful melodies, heated vocals and punchy tech attitude. On paper, it’s a winning recipe, but Chus & Ceballos do well to ensure that recipe comes alive on disc – mixes are tight, track selections sharp. Tracks from Dennis Ferrer, Steve Lawler, Danny Tengalia, Ralph Falcon and Oscar G feature; solid, engaging workout.

Various Artists – Fabriclive 52: Zero T (UK Fabric)

Irish producer Zero T (formerly Zero Tolerance) comes good with this considerate mix of deep, bass-y drum & bass and dubstep. Complex breaks and heavy speaker rumbles rule the roost but T ensures proceedings remain colourful – vocal cuts are included, so too soulful harmonies, some punchy four-to-the-floor and one or two suitably jagged hip-hop moments. A worthy, energetic addition to the Fabric canon – most welcome at a time when the club itself has been coming under pressure. As you were Fabric….

Till next time,

Still working the late shift...


Please feel free to contact Ben with any House & Dance news that you feel would benefit others - Thank you.

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