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Various Artists London Soul

Walking into the Co-Op Club in 2000 and hearing DJ sets by Seiji and Dego, followed by vocal trio BB Boogie live, opened up new dimensions of British soul for my ears, having previously known only acid jazz and trip-hop artists such as Soul II Soul and Jhelisa. Needless to say, London is a city where things never slow down, and neither does their indigenous take on soul and R&B, which Unisex provides a thorough primer on here. You‘ll hear the broken side of things (Bugz In The Attic, Alex Attias, 4hero), modern (and distinctively British) R&B (Omar, Lewis Taylor, Romina Johnson, D‘Nell), and soul that defies category (Sunburst Band, Alice Russell, Vanessa Freeman) with the common thread being lyrical sincerity and novel song arrangements. But don‘t expect starched shirts and polished leather loafers-this is emotional, back-up-singers-wailing, make-you-sing-the-hook quality soul music, the kind we‘d be hearing a lot more of in the U.S. if American radio wasn‘t under a corporate thumb. Unlike London, things probably won‘t change Stateside anytime soon, so be satisfied with this excellent overview.

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