Friday 28 February 2014

My Funky (In)Disposition Make Believe MashUP Series [No.01]

Wowweee, what an album this could be!  Ok, firstly, here’s my logic for wanting to put this together:  I take great pride in declaring myself a solid fan of Anthony Hamilton and remember being very excited at the eventual release of a major-label full-length album, ‘Coming From Where I’m From’ in 2003. [I remember playing ‘Hold Your Head Up’ where he provided backing vocals for Heltah Skeltah back in 1998 and trying to find something official from him since then.]

Subsequent album releases have I’d say paled in comparison to the gritty, gospel-infused, Southern soul he captured in his debut, and although it’s undeniable each follow-up album has contained some stunning songs within them (amongst others, see ‘The Truth’ and ‘Pass Me Over’ from ‘Ain’t Nobody Worryin’; ‘Please Stay’ and ‘Soul’s On Fire’ from ‘The Point Of It All’; ‘I’m ready’ and ‘Back to Love’ from ‘Back to Love’) – the total package of ‘Coming From Where I’m From’ and the timeless pieces of perfect soul captured in songs like ‘Charleene’, ‘Lucille’, ‘I’m A Mess’ and ‘Chyna Black’, as I say, have yet to be surpassed.

What I described earlier as ‘gritty, gospel-infused Southern soul’ seems to have evolved into something of a paint-by-numbers approach to a very neat and polished blend of R&B.  What’s even more confusing is that he’s working with mostly the right people (James Poyser, Questlove, Raphael Saadiq, Salaam Remi, Jack Splash, etc), yet something – for my tastes – seems to be missing.

Daptone Records to the stage please!

Now, this one is potentially cheating a little in that these two factions have in fact collaborated previously (for the ‘American Gangster’ soundtrack), but I think that full-length album release is the diamond we’ve been waiting for.  The musicians at Daptone, who mish-mash themselves in and out of various in-house bands including the Dap-Kings, Budos Band, Antibalas, The Expressions, have painted exquisite and quintessentially soulful backdrops for vocal powerhouses including Sharon Jones, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Al Green, Daniel Merriweather and Amy Winehouse.

I’m reluctant to use the much-maligned term of ‘retro’ soul so I’ll sub it with the word ‘authentic’ – headed up by head-honcho Gabriel Roth, the Daptone brand of authentic soul is the perfect combination to steer Hamilton back to that blend of soul music he initially captured our ears and hearts with.

Could it happen?

It’s certainly not outside the realms of possibility – as I say, they have worked together previously and I think each camp would raise a smile at the prospect of what the finished product could sound like.

To give you an indication of each act, from the 'Coming From Where I'm From' debut, as Exhibit A, allow me to submit, 'I'm A Mess':

It would be rude not to include something by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings so allow me to submit as Exhibit B, something from the group's brand new release: from the album, 'Give The People What They Want', this is 'Stranger To My Happiness':

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