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The UK Soul Chart plays the top 30 new soulful tunes of the week & interviews with the artists. 
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News and Reviews

CD of the Month: Naturally 7 dazzles on "Hidden In Plain Sight"

Featured: 0In a music world rife with technological tricks of the trade, one vital commodity is getting lost in the shuffle: the beauty of the human voice. Enter Naturally 7. This seven-man crew is more than just your average singing group. Its members have perfected an intriguing a cappella style they?ve branded as ?Vocal Play??singing as instruments. In its quest to celebrate the voice, Naturally 7 not only sings but also creates every backing instrument heard on its songs. We?re talking drums, bass, guitars, horns, flutes ... even down to turntables.Facebook Comments: 1
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Song of the Month: Fella Soul gives a powerful "Testimony"

Featured: 0Born and raised in Chicago's south side, Johnny Louis aka "Fella Soul" grew up in the mean streets, was a high ranking member of the vice lords (a Chicago street gang) and was on a fast track to no where until he heard the voice of God. "I was on my way to committing another illegal act when Gods voice stopped me in my tracks and told me to pray."Facebook Comments: 1
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Artist: Bettye LaVetteFeatured: 0List Ranking: 0Review: One thing Detroit born and bred veteran interpreter of song, Bettye LaVette, has always been is worthy. Worthy of far more recognition and commercial success than most of her five decades in the music business has afforded her and her stunning vocal talents -- with almost peerless phrasing, spot-on inflection, and a bone deep blues permeating every standard rock, soul, and country tune she touches. When LaVette steps to the mic?all wiry, tight-bodied 68 years of her?and her fascinating, challenging life pours through that amplifier, every audience member is filled with the creaks, crannies, and deliberate cracks of LaVette?s form of song. She gives old songs new life. In the piercing storytelling blues that has come to personify latter years LaVette, Worthy caps a decade of a woman and artist who finally got her flowers while she?s still here to enjoy them, largely through the efforts of a small label called ANTI and her own resilient sweat and moxie. Regardless of any one album, single, or even label, some 52 years after her first hit, ?My Man, He?s A Loving Man,? LaVette has proven a living legend worthy of international praise. Worthy is symbolic in many ways. It is, after all, produced by Joe Henry (Solomon Burke, Ani DeFranco, Aimee Mann), the man who ten years ago produced I?ve Got My Own Hell To Raise, the critically-acclaimed album that brought Bettye LaVette back to mainstream fame (and one hopes a little bit of fortune) after decades without a hit,. The covers album named among the ?Best of 2005? by critics around the world launched the beginning of a winning formula of LaVette reinterpreting American and British classics, some famous, some obscure, all completely reimagined and made new in LaVette?s capable hands. Different from the originals of cult classic projects like Do Your Duty or Child of the Seventies, this covers formula threads LaVette?s millennial projects, including: 2007?s Scene of the Crime, 2009?s A Change Is Gonna Come Sessions, 2010?s Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook, and 2012?s Thankful N? Thoughtful in that the material belongs to someone else, but stripped of all fat through LaVette?s merciless musical vessel, the lyrics of freshly arranged cuts are always newly revealed and inexplicably owned thereafter as a new thing. She?s perhaps most famous for doing so with ?Love Reign O?er Me? at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to The Who, though millions more saw her perform at Barack Obama?s 2009 Presidential inauguration where she sang Sam Cooke?s ?A Change Is Gonna Come? with Jon Bon Jovi. These touchstones aside, what she should perhaps be most famous for is penning the most starkly honest celebrity memoir written in an age, the humorous and Who?s Who name-dropping of A Woman Like Me: A Memoir. Worthy is similar to her memoir in its no-holds barred honesty. If grittier, more bluesy and age conscious in song selection (lots of material reflective of a mature point-of-view, often looking back with various emotions, particularly regret), Worthy maintains LaVette?s formula of unobvious material. This project catalogs eleven songs composed by writers such as Bob Dylan, Joe Henry, Mickey Newbury, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Beth Nielsen Chapman and Mary Gauthier, among others in styles from rock to country to blues. Collectively these songs serves as the other very sound anniversary bookend for the celebrated I?ve Got My Own Hell To Raise, but it also in some ways ignores the artistic growth and dare I say musical variance LaVette experienced with producers like Craig Street or on projects like her #1 Billboard Blues Album, the bestselling Interpretations: The British Rock Songbook. Preferring instead to recapture the lightening in the bottle of that seminal Joe Henry project, Worthy is indisputably a fine work, it just feels like one heard from LaVette before. On cuts like Chris Youlden?s sage ?When I Was A Young Girl? with its dark groove and electric guitar solos and JH Brown Jr.?s emotionally spent, near seven-minute opus, the bruising ?Just Between You and Me and The Wall, You?re A Fool,? you?re nonetheless reminded that LaVette on cruise control is still better than 90% of what else is out there in terms of interpretive abilities and selling a truthful story. The unvarnished title track and Linwood Detweiler?s reflective ?Undamned,? like ?Old? on LaVette?s Thankful N? Thoughtful, are gutsy knockouts and feel less like songs and more like priest confessionals on which you?re ease-dropping. In the win column, LaVette and Henry pick up the jazz funk on Dylan?s ?Unbelievable,? making the original almost unrecognizable as this one positively thumps with life. Drummer Jay Bellerose, guitarist Doyle Bramall II, bassist Chris Bruce, and keyboardist/organist Patrick Warren all make sure LaVette is expertly supported and help to paint a series of indigo, often world-weary portraits lush in emotionalism, like Newbury?s melancholic ?Bless Us All? and occasional drive as with The Rolling Stone?s ?Complicated? and Joseph Lee Henry?s ?Stop.? Cleanly engineered and produced with cohesion in mind (perhaps overly so, lending to too much similarity in overall feel), the songs performed on Worthy may come from various eras, but this album belongs to no particular time and place. It?s kind of eternal and enduring, much like the tough Detroit lady sitting squarely in the driver?s seat, her bouquet of flowers finally in tow. Recommended.  By L. Michael GipsonAlbum Image: Click on CD cover to listen or purchaseAlbum Buy Link: Comments: 1Title: WorthyASIN:  var amzn_wdgt={widget:'MP3Clips'}; amzn_wdgt.tag='soultracks-20'; amzn_wdgt.widgetType='ASINList'; amzn_wdgt.ASIN='B00R1UMKF0'; amzn_wdgt.title='Worthy'; amzn_wdgt.width='250'; amzn_wdgt.height='250'; amzn_wdgt.shuffleTracks='False'; amzn_wdgt.marketPlace='US';
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Revelations (2015)

Artist: K. AvettFeatured: 0List Ranking: 0Review: K. Avett the artist is a bold, beautiful, full-fledged woman with a capital ?W,? and every aspect of that womanhood gets explored on her independent soul music debut, K. Avett: Revelations - from her spiritual to her sexual to her romantic. The auspicious indie testimonial also does some minor genre hopping to flesh out the various musical angles of the multi-dimensional K. Avett?s kaleidoscopic prism, jumping from urban adult contemporary to country funk to ragtime jazz with equal technical aplomb. It?s a smoldering yet often dazzling display of a young artist hitting the ground running with a rock solid debut that lends itself to repeat listening for days on end by soul and R&B traditionalists needing something real. With a soulful album this cohesive and filling, one hoped for greater fan fare and response for this Spring 2014 release. However, it was imperative for us that readers get introduced to this skilled alto with the gospel runs, jazz riffs, and soulful crooning and emotionally impactful lyricism, regardless of the release date. K. Avett is just worth the second look. It?s not a perfect project, but as debuts go, K. Avett: Revelations credibly vies for a slot among new R&B artist introductions that usually causes critics to pull out such predictive terms as ?promising.?     The singer/songwriter from Texas pens nutritious meals with traditional song structures and occasionally weighty subjects. One of the project?s more spiritual cuts, ?Heaven,? proves a subtle song about earning passage to the afterlife, here lyrically delivered in more inspirational than theistic language. An ode to music and what it means to the prodigious Avett, ?Music (Never Out of Reach)? is a piano ballad set against sophisticated street sounds, a wash of strings, and smooth supporting vocalists. A pitch perfect interlude, ?We Ain?t Talkin,?? is a brief showcase of K. Avett delivering a bit of ragtime and Broadway jazz about the communication challenges in a relationship. ?Alone? finds K. Avett taking on the role of observant storyteller about a lost woman who has turned to the arms of multiple strangers to help her deal with her loneliness and the emptiness of her life. In ?Can?t Stand,? the debut single and one of the album?s strongest moments, K. Avett explores the complete journey of a woman who finally comes to grips with the fact that a relationship has turned sour; she no longer buys her callous lover?s excuses, coming into herself in the process. In her emotionally devastating performance on ?Can?t Stand,? we feel every bit of the tension, the love, the lust, the desire to go back to that love you know, to believe the foolishness yet understanding that to do so one mo? ?gin would be to disrespect and dishonor herself?again. It?s a penetrating moment on a project that glides easily on cruise control. That K. Avett does this work with few big note moments, but rather through her phrasing, technique, and heartfelt sentiments is a testament to her training.  A singer?s singer, Avett?s jazzy gospel style works on both the leads and background work she does throughout the project, especially on the sleeper ballads. In seductive night sounds and call and response choruses, ?In My Dreams? is an introspective observation about meeting that fantasy lover who could be too good to be true (?Do I relax and flow/let it go??). Sweet romance is the bed of ?Luv 4 Life,? a candlelight and you affirmation sung to a soulmate about what her man means to her and their written-in-the-stars future together. An intimacy cut, ?Take It Slow? brings nuance and subtlety to the dance of making love without ever getting coarse or profane, but is clear about its subject. The romantic fun of ?Fall N2U? taps into her country funk, with its organ thump and harmonica accents, but keeps it chic in its intricate harmonics. In a project of largely consistent feel, a standout moment comes in ?Find A Way,? a powerful plea to a lover to meet her halfway and address her relationship needs, as she?s giving him the best that she has, but isn?t getting that back. Where Avett has growth potential as a writer is perhaps in the need for catchier, more melodic hooks, so that the story arrangements and song memorability match the vocal and lyrical talent. For instance, a simmering slow jam like ?Show Me? is well sung, but is almost too derivative of the kind of early ?90s ballads made signature by artists like Milira, Chante Savage, or Angela Winbush. Even as a nod to tradition, there is little unique that makes the cut stick. Of a different tract, of these otherwise well-considered songs, the aggressive ?Too Late? feels an outlier on this sultry album. Unlike the soulful church infused style of all the other mature material, the more mid-tempo cut is sung in a totally different, more hip hop-meets-rock sing-talk vocals, and its tone and approach are more vengeful and biting. ?Too Late? is well-produced, but the vocals feel forced and it jars in its bitter tone and aggressiveness in a set whose overall sound is anything but. As the project?s other prominent swinging, mid-tempo groove, the funky ?80s era Chaka Khan flavored ?U N-Me? works better, with messaging both more generous, complicated, and dimensional regarding the difficulties of maintaining a relationship and its earnest desire to get back to the love. ?U N-Me? is representative of K. Avett: Revelations as a whole: layered, grown, dynamically produced, with well executed vocals that standout. I can?t wait to hear it live on the road, and after a listen, neither will you. Won?t you save me a seat? Highly Recommended. By L. Michael Gipson Album Image: Click on CD cover to listen or purchaseAlbum Buy Link: Comments: 1Title: Avett: RevelationsASIN:  var amzn_wdgt={widget:'MP3Clips'}; amzn_wdgt.tag='soultracks-20'; amzn_wdgt.widgetType='ASINList'; amzn_wdgt.ASIN='B00KQPNO6Q'; amzn_wdgt.title='Avett: Revelations'; amzn_wdgt.width='250'; amzn_wdgt.height='250'; amzn_wdgt.shuffleTracks='False'; amzn_wdgt.marketPlace='US';
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Watch Unsung: Meli'sa Morgan

Featured: 0She is a native of Queens, New York. She  attended Julliard School of the Performing Arts and also attended the famed Lee Strassberg acting school.  She was a background singer for both Whitney Houston and Chaka Khan. But it was her string of hits in the late 80s and early 90s that cemented Meli'sa Morgan's place in music history. "Love Changes," "Do Me Baby" and "If You Can Do It I Can Do It Too" are all now classics, and so it their singer, who is a former SoulTracks Readers' Choice Award Winner.Facebook Comments: 1
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