Gary Clark Jr. – Blak And Blu

Although not usually appreciative of music artist comparisons, claiming that Gary Clark Jr. is like a combination of Marvin Gaye and Jimi Hendrix is a quick and honourable way of describing him at a glance. This means Gaye’s vocals coupled with Hendrix’s guitar talents of course. Gary Clark’s music and vocals are diverse and genre-spanning through sweet soul, rock & roll and blues as his guitar playing ranges from heavy solos to classical-style picking. A BBC review criticises the diverse aspect and range of styles of latest album Blak And Blu, I suppose just disappointed that an artist would produce genuine, true music, rather than the same old shite. In my opinion, getting criticism these days is often a good thing. The first clip above shows a stand out blues track ‘Next Door Neighbor Blues’ played in session on a resonator guitar, and demonstrates the artist’s quality and creativity. Then ‘Please Come Home’, also in acoustic session, proves Gary’s voice is perfect for live, and definitely, studio performances. The official video for ‘Don’t Owe You A Thang’, the live performance of ‘Things Are Changin” and album track ‘Breakdown’ are all fantastic and tracks featured on the latest album. The next clip shows his love for playing blues and you can hear him say “I could just sit here and do this all day”, at the end. For the big finish, the title track from the ‘Bright Lights’ EP (also featured in Blak And Blu), carved into 3 clips to present the full song whilst progressing from his raw, acoustic talent, through his live performance at Crossroads Festival, to his official recording and video (any of these can be viewed in their entirety if preferred).

Breakbot – The Lazy Sunday Selecta

A smooth concoction of grooves mixed by Breakbot perfectly for a lazy Sunday. A very nice listen but funky enough to eliminate any hints of boredom with almost too many great tracks teased into the mix not to be heard again. It has a brilliant track list for guessing, and if you get stuck, every track is listed under the YouTube video here. For example, a small instrumental snippet of Gap Band track ‘Yearning For Your Love’ is included! Find Breakbot music on amazon below, albums ‘By Your Side’, ‘Baby I’m Yours’ and mp3 ‘One Out Of Two’.

Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate – FAYA

First impressions after hearing Joe Driscoll & Sekou Kouyate were excitement and the instant thought that they could be a potential favourite in the future. Having seen them on 15th March in Newcastle, the initial high expectations were very well placed upon them as they performed brilliantly and produced one of the best atmospheres in an intimate venue I’d seen for a long time. They have real spirit and true talent, creating only quality, uplifting sounds. Elements of reggae, folk, rock, afro-beat, hip-hop and more are combined to make beautifully different music. The pair compliment each other extensively, distinct vocals from both in English and French, Joe often rapping his meaningful lyrics whilst strumming the guitar. Sekou adds the rare, quality sound of the kora, an African harp instrument, and he is referred to as the “Jimi Hendrix of the kora” due to his amazing skill and effects he uses. Their new album and title track ‘FAYA’ was explained by Joe as descriptive of the fire shared, back and forth, between them and the audience during their performances (first track above). The next tracks are also featured on the album; ‘Passport’ and it’s official video, and ‘Wonamati’ & ‘Zion’ both in live sessions above. These are followed by ‘New York’, Joe’s very own ‘Mixtape Champs’ and a promotional video for Sekou’s Sekou Kouyate Experience (click for more). Go to joeandsekou.com for info and free track downloads. Click below for FAYA, and Joe’s previous solo albums Mixtape Champs & Origin Myths.

Harry Mycock – March Podcast

artworks-000043358711-j7dczb-t200x200Harry Mycock is a promising DJ based around the Yorkshire area of England. The ‘March Podcast’ is the first set on his Soundcloud, but we advise you remember his name (that shouldn’t be difficult). His skills as a DJ and knowledge of music produces a great House beat throughout whilst making it more interesting with traits of Disco, Funk & Tech. The most recognisable parts of the mix below include the “One night in the disco” and further parts from Sister Sledge‘s ‘He’s The Greatest Dancer’ in the 6th minute. Also, towards the end, The Quantic Soul Orchestra’s ‘Pushin On’ and Rosie Gaines’ ‘Closer Than Close’. Find albums featuring these tracks below. 
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Mother’s Day Music – Chaka Khan, Candi Staton, Gabrielle.

(For Mum) Gabrielle, Chaka, Candi & similarly cool, feminine music is significantly iconic for a lot of people, who can probably sing their songs from start to finish, without knowing the title of the track. This may be because your Mother played this kind of soulful, meaningful music relentlessly whilst cleaning up after you when you were a little sh*t. These 3 artists are prominent in the mind due to their stunning vocal ability and uplifting sounds, especially Chaka Khan‘s classics. The bass guitar in many of Chaka’s tracks make them timeless grooves, such as the above tracks ‘I Feel For You’, ‘Some Love’, ‘Hail To The Wrong’, ‘Best In The West’, ‘Super Life’, ‘What Cha Gonna Do For Me’ & ‘Love You All My Lifetime’. Candi Staton has always spoke to women with her fearlessly truthful music, sweet voice and songs as good as, if not better, than the popular first song of hers above, ‘Young Hearts Run Free’. These are; ‘He Called Me Baby’, ‘The Best Thing You Ever Had’, ‘Too Hurt To Cry’, ‘Do It In The Name Of Love’, ‘I’d Rather Be An Old Man’s Sweetheart’ & ‘Stop And Smell The Roses’. Gabrielle produced Mother’s favourites due to the touching lyrics and emotion-provoking songs such as ‘Dreams’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Rise’, ‘Out Of Reach’ & ‘I Wish’.
Playlist in order of mention, listen or skip! Click below for Chaka Khan (5 albums), Candi Staton (26 tracks) & Gabrielle (Greatest Hits).

Let’s Do It Again – Soundtrack by Curtis Mayfield with The Staple Singers

Bill Cosby & Sidney Poitier play two men needing money to save their religious group’s building in Atlanta. They decide to invest the $20,000 of the group’s treasury into two swift bets with the two kingpins of New Orleans. How will the skinny “Farnsworth” beat “40th Street Black”? And if he does, they still need to successfully settle the debt, and return home safely… The 2nd clip shows an old style advertisement to match this classic film. The comedy is old school and fun, such as Bill dropping the gun down his trousers when trying to come across as a rich NYC big-shot “Mongo Slade” (3rd clip above). ‘Let’s Do It Again’ is the name of the film and the first song above, playing over the opening scene. The Staple Singers provide the vocals for all the film’s music. Curtis Mayfield skilfully wrote the soundtrack, which is jammed full of classic, cool sounds such as his trademark rhythmic muted electric guitar strums. Tracks featured at the end of the playlist are: ‘Funky Love’, ‘New Orleans’, ‘I Want To Thank You’, ‘Big Mac’ & ‘Chase’. Click below for: Soundtrack/Film, Curtis Mayfield Original Album Series & The Staples Singers’ It’s A Family Affair.