An R&B band that only played pop to get on the charts, Manfred Mann and its various permutations ranked among the most adept British Invasion acts in both styles. South African-born keyboardist Manfred Mann was originally an aspiring jazz player, moving toward R&B when more blues-oriented sounds became in vogue in England in the early '60s. Original Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones was one of the best British Invasion singers, and his resonant vocals were the best feature of their early R&B sides, which had a slightly jazzier and smoother touch than the early work of the Rolling Stones and Animals…
Perhaps the most telling tune on Shoulda Been Home is the T-Bone Walker-influenced "Renew Blues," not because of the style, but because the slow blues fades out after just one tiny minute. By contrast, the mellow soul sway of "Out of Eden" stretches out to over nine minutes. Robert Cray has been heralded as a savior of modern blues, but the truth is Cray's music is much closer to the vintage soul of O.V. Wright and Otis Redding than the 12-bar form of B.B. King or Albert King. Granted, his punctuating Stratocaster guitar riffs borrow from the books of all the blues masters, but his songwriting and arranging don't. Often backed by arpeggiated guitar chords, Cray's vocals are front and center here, passionately leaning into these predominantly slow or mid-tempo tunes. By contrast, only a couple of cuts are upbeat enough to really get the knees a-shakin'. The infectious opening cut "Baby's Arms" – the best tune on the record – could have been a hit single for Stax Records, and Sir Mack Rice's upbeat "Love Sickness" was a hit for Stax Records. Meanwhile, "Help Me Forget," with its mellow, candlelight mood, could have been a hit for Barry White.
Sometimes even the most consistent artists need to shake things up a bit. In Robert Cray's case, that means shuffling his lineup – he retained longtime bassist Richard Cousins but brought in drummer Les Falconer and keyboardist Dover Weinberg – and bringing in producer Steve Jordan, who last worked with Cray on 1999's Take Your Shoes Off. There's a reason this record is called In My Soul: Jordan assists Cray in moving toward Memphis soul, dedicating the entire record to slow, sultry burners that emphasize his mellow vocals and dexterous grooves. This may primarily be a mood record but the individual songs are also quite strong, whether it's the originals ("Fine Yesterday" is so gorgeous it makes heartbreak seem welcome) or sharply chosen covers. Among the latter is a cleanly funky reading of Otis Redding's "Nobody's Fault But Mine," which features Falconer on co-lead vocals, an unusual change of pace for Cray that also signals how the veteran guitarist has been revitalized by his change in companions.
Heavenly Recordings are thrilled to announce the release of Gargoyle, the new album from MARK LANEGAN BAND, on 28th April 2017 via the label. The 10-track LP features guest appearances from long-time collaborators Josh Homme, Greg Dulli and Duke Garwood. Lead track ‘Nocturne’ is currently premiering on Stereogum and can be heard HERE. An extensive European tour has also been announced throughout the summer, beginning in the UK with the below June dates which include a Glastonbury festival appearance.
The famous Traditional New Orleans-style Jazz band 'Preservation Hall Jazz Band' has been performing and recording music since the early 1960's. In 2013 they signed a deal with Sony Music Entertainment and on April 21st, 2017 they will be releasing their second album under the deal "So It Is".
The Brighton-based trio will release mini-album Mercury Fountain on April 21 via Small Pond Records. It is the band's follow up to their 2013 debut EP, Horizons/Rapture, and has been produced by Joel Magill and Raven Bush. The psych-rock group focused on experimentation throughout the recording and production process, with the band attempting to replicate the feeling of diving into a Mercury Fountain, as the album begins and ends with the same piece of music, with a reprise in the middle.