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'Trying To Find My Way Back' is the latest album from veteran (he's 84!) blues man GUITAR SHORTY. Shorty debuted way back in 1957 with the Willie Dixon collaboration 'Don't Treat Me Right' for the Cobra label and he then went on to record prolifically and work with some of the biggest names in the business. His people tell us he's worked with (amongst others) Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner and Little Richard! Legend has it that the young Jimi Hendrix was so enamoured with Shorty's playing, that he often went AWOL from his army base to catch him perform. Shorty let Hendrix borrow one of his wah-wah pedals and the rest is, as they say, history.

The new album is produced by Jerry Williams Jr./Swamp Dogg and features Larry "MoogStar" Clemon, from the legendary funk group Cameo. Between them they cook up a proper old school, electric blues festival. It's bluesy (obviously), funky, gritty. soulful and contemporary and it's out now!

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Good news for lovers of classy modern soul in general and the wonderful CORNELL CARTER in particular...... CC is readying a new long player – due in September!

In the meantime, he's prefacing it with a sweet, new single – the stomping 'I See Love' (available from August 9th). Lush and soulful, Mr C's vocal is as powerful as ever and... well..... bring on the album!

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Urban Legends/UMC are reissuing two classic PARLIAMENT albums on black vinyl and in limited special vinyl editions: they are – 'Chocolate City' (released 21st June) and 'Up For The Down Stroke' (out now). The latter LP is also available in a limited translucent red vinyl edition, while 'Chocolate City' is also available in a limited picture disc vinyl edition.

More? Well acclaimed US chef Roblé Ali and cookbook author/blogger/artist Jerrelle Guy have created a 'Chocolate City' inspired recipe video. The video, we're told, shows Roble and Guy exploring some of the legendary album's complex themes, including the African diaspora and chocolate cities, the album's influence on current music and their own music tastes, as well as music's role in elevating the cooking/dining experience. Joining the conversation with Roblé Ali and Jerrelle Guy was Colleen Vincent of Black Food Folks and The James Beard Foundation, bringing her own vantage point of growing up in Brooklyn, her own chocolate city.

Sounds mighty interesting but as we often say its what's in the grooves that count and those two mighty LPs are worth seeking out ... in whatever format!

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Aussie all round soul muso LANCE FERGUSON is here, there and everywhere! He fronts the Bamboos, works solo as Lanu and has collaborated with each and every Aussie soul "name" – notably - The Putbacks, Cookin' On Three Burners, Hiatus Kaiyote, Kylie Auldist and more.

Last autumn he launched his ambitious RARE GROVE SPECTRUM. The project's aim was/is to dig out some ultra rare and classic soul and funk tunes and re-record them with a 21st century Aussie twist. It was a huge success and Ferguson's takes on stuff like Milton Nascimento's 'Brazilian Rhymes' and Googie Rene's mod classic 'Smokey Joe's La La' won plenty of radio and club play.

Lance now returns with a new 'RARE GROVE SPECTRUM... REMIXES AND RARITIES' EP that offers his version of Jimmy Smith's '8 Counts for Rita' , a Flow Lab Kid mix of Michael White's spiritual jazz track 'The Blessing Song', a revival of the Blackbyrds Theme and a new Alex Attias mix of James Mason's 'Sweet Power, Your Embrace ( a tune featured on the original 'Rare Groove Spectrum' project. )

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London-based blue-eyed soul man DANNY TOEMAN is being touted as a "new" artist turning plenty of heads with his latest single. 'She's Got Something About Her....'. Indeed the cut is worthy of head turning – a lovely, rolling, soul groove with some sweet brass work that will remind you of Tower Of Power in their more mellow moments. It's a great summer soul cut!

Danny, however, is no newcomer – certainly not to the discerning soul crowd. We first got to know about Mr. T back in 2014 when we enjoyed a double A sided single 'That Sinking Feeling'/'Layin' It On The Line' which we were told was from an "upcoming album". We never saw an album but there is one coming very soon... 'The Point Of No Return'. – and the aforementioned 'She's Got Something About Her....' is the lead single. If you like your soul with a retro feel – a kind of Mayer Hawthorne meets James Hunter with an extra dose of quirkiness and a dash of Paperboy Reed you could do worse than investigate. It's out next week.

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DEBORAH BELL'S 'Love Won't Pay The Rent' went straight to the top of the UK soul charts at the start of June and since then some tasty mixes have kept the tune right out there. Now proving you can never keep a good tune down, it's back in an in-demand "Weekend mix" that uses a well-known 80s weekender anthem sample as it chassis. The mix was originally serviced to select DJs but the response has been so great that Ms Bell is making it officially available via her web site.

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'Soulmate' is the first single from a new album by US smooth jazz keyboardist NICHOLAS COLE. It's not soul as we know it- rather a jaunty, smooth jazz instrumental that features tasty acoustic guitar from Chieli Minucci. There's no denying that it's catchy and it all bodes well for the parent album, 'The Weekend', which is due very soon.

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JERRY LAWSON – long-time mainstay of a-cappella group, THE PERSUASIONS died on Wednesday 10th July in Phoenix. He was 75. His death was confirmed by his wife, Julie. She said that Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological disorder, had compromised Mr. Lawson's immune system.

Jerome Lawson was born in Florida in 1944 but having relocated to New York he formed a vocal group with Joseph Russell, Herbert Rhoad and Jayotis Washington in Brooklyn in 1962. At first nameless, they eventually won a record contract as The Persuasions and went on to enjoy a measure of success mainly in the 70s when five of their LPs entered the Billboard top 100. Interestingly the group did not confine themselves to soul and R&B. Their repertoire crossed genres and indeed they worked with artists as diverse as Frank Zappa and Joni Mitchell.

In 2002 Lawson left the group and a few years later he joined a much younger group of San Francisco a-cappella singers. Named Jerry Lawson and the Talk of the Town. The new group released an album in 2007 and appeared on the NBC music competition show "The Sing-Off" in 2011. Known as one of soul's great but undervalued voices, Jerry released his first and only solo album, 'Just a Mortal Man,' in 2015.

In addition to his wife of 44 years, Julie (Hurwitz) Lawson, Jerry is survived by his father; two daughters, Yvette and Wanda Lawson; and a grandson. Jayotis Washington is now the only surviving original Persuasion.

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Jean Carn's 'Was That All It Was' is one of THE great soul anthems and it would take someone very brave to cover it. Well step up to the plate DJ SPEN and his Quantize team!

Mr Spen's soul roots are in the wonderful Philly sounds of the 70s and 80s and so, drafting in JOHN MORALES, THOMMY DAVIS and vocalist RICHARD BURTON to help out, he now offers his own take on 'Was That All It Was'... well five takes actually, if you factor in the four different mixes and the instrumental!

Spen is savvy enough not to stray too far from the original but offers some interesting new angles. The big bonus is the Teddy P sound-alike vocal of Richard Burton.... know nothing about him, but sure would like to hear more. Time wise the mixes go from six minutes to nine; that long one being the "next day vibe" mix, which, as is indicated, is heavy on the vibes –a key feature of the classic Philly sound. 'Was That All It Was' is shaping up to be one of the BIG summer tunes in any of the mixes! Out now.

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On July 19th, the Crimson label releases a new 3-CD anthology of SHALAMAR's work called 'Gold,' whose release will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the LA vocal trio's classic line-up of Howard Hewitt, Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel.  

It contains all their biggest hits - including their Top 10 UK hits 'A Night To Remember,' 'I Can Make You Feel Good,' 'There It Is,' and 'Dead Giveaway' - and much more besides.

Thanks to the good folks at Crimson, SJF has secured a copy of 'Gold' for one of our lucky readers to win.

For a chance to win it, all you have to do is answer one question:

What was Shalamar's debut UK hit?

Please email your answer to info@soulandjazzandfunk.com by Friday 19th July. We'll contact the winner for address details.

GOOD LUCK!

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