November 4, 2014 by Nigel
It seems hard to believe that we are already in the final couple of months of 2014. The year has flown by and with it there have been a ton of quality releases in the Funk and Soul world.
Here are my Top 10 Albums of 2014 (so far). From the much anticipated return of Cookin on 3 Burners to new LP’s from the mighty Lee Fields, The Third Coast Kings and Myles Sanko to name just a few. Its certainly been a good year in music.
So in no particular order here are some of the very best funk and soul albums of 2014.
1.) The Getup – Straight From The Hob | Breakin Bread
London based Hammond/Funk band The Getup present ‘Straight From The Hob’ on Breakin Bread. This follows on from 4 very successful 45 RPM singles on the label.
Their sound is nothing short of authentic. Hammond-led funk with a dash of soul courtesy of vocalist Sabina Challenger. The band are reminiscent of Cookin’ on 3 Burners, the Aussie Hammond trio that also feature in this top ten.
Much like their counterparts Speedometer who re-versioned Happy by Pharrell Williams. The Getup also decided to cover a popular chart track. So the LP features their version of Get Lucky by Daft Punk. This could have been slightly cheesey but it actually works well as a tune in its own right.
2.) Lack of Afro – Music for Adverts | Freestyle Records
Album number four from Lack of Afro. Music for Adverts features vocal contributions from Jack Tyson-Charles, Juliette Ashby, Wax, Herbal T & EOM.
The stand out track on the album for me has got to be Recipe for Love with Jack Tyson-Charles on vocal duties. You can definitely hear northern soul influences on this track but in true LOA style he’s brought the sound bang up to date with production that is second to none.
3.) Cookin on 3 Burners – Blind Bet | Freestyle Records
After five years away, Cookin on 3 Burners have returned and the Hammond Trio from Melbourne, Australia haven’t disappointed. Featuring vocals from long-time contributor Kylie Auldist and Daniel Merryweather (yes THAT Daniel Merryweather) the instrumental tracks are broken up with a slice of soul.
Blind Bet recently won the Best Soul, Funk, RnB and Gospel album at The Age Music Victoria Awards. Enough said I think. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another five years for the next Cookin on 3 Burners LP!
4.) The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club, Vol 3 | Freestyle Records
The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club returns. Due out on 24th November, Volume 3 features the cream of the crop in the contemporary funk and soul scene.
19 personally selected tracks by Craig who hosts his weekly funk and soul radio show on BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC2 in the UK. Expect music from The Getup, Cookin on 3 Burners, Lack of Afro, Speedometer, The Mighty Mocambos and more.
5.) Myles Sanko – Forever Dreaming |Légère Recordings
Myles Sanko’s sound is unique. There’s a hint of northern soul and a bit of funk and a smattering of jazz all in the mix. Unsurprsing really when his main inflenecs include Bill Withers, James Brown, Al Green and Otis Redding. Myles actually reminds me of Gregory Porter, although Porter’s sound is certainly more steeped in jazz there is a vibe that seems to pour out of both these wonderful vocalists.
This is Myles’s debut album which was was crowd funded by his loyal fans and also received some support from funk & soul labels Légère Recordings & P-Vine Records.
6.) Lee Fields & The Expressions – Emma Jean | Truth & Soul Records
Sixty-Three year old soul singer Lee Fields is the real deal, having released his first album back in 1969.
Emma Jean is his 3rd LP for Truth and Soul Recordings. Once again Lee has teamed up with The Expressions a band of talented musicians that have provided backing for the likes of Aloe Blacc and Sharon Jones.
This is real, raw, down to the bone soul!
7.) Alexia Coley – Keep The Faith | Jalapano Records
Alexia Coley is West London’s finest export, in fact she’s one of the best singers to have come out of the UK for some time. Her debut album, Keep the Faith showcases a classic soul sound, with elements of jazz (Alexia has a background as a big band jazz singer).
8.) Third Coast Kings – West Grand Boulevard | Record Kicks
The Third Coast Kings are an eight-piece deep funk and soul band from Michigan, USA. Heavily influenced by the Godfather of Soul himself, Mr James Brown. West Grand Boulevard is their second album and showcases their commitment to producing an authentic sound.
Horns, Hammond and a tight rhythm section. This is head nodding stuff, definitely one for the B-Boys!
9.) The Shaolin Afronauts – Follow The Path | Freestyle Records
Afrobeat superstars The Shaolin Afronauts return with their third album on Freestyle Records. For fans of the bands first two albums you’ll know what to expect – impeccable production, raucous afrobeat and spiritual jazz.
The Shaolin Afronauts are masters of the instrumental! This album is a must for any self respecting funk and afrobeat fan.
10.) The Impellers – My Certainity | Legere Recordings
Hailing from Brighton, UK this 12 piece funk outfit and just going from strength to strength.
My Certainty their 3rd album includes the sounds of deep funk and heavy soul fans of the band have come to expect alongside a more laidback acoustic sound. The introduction of this new sound showcases band leader and songwriter Ed Meme’s versatility.
The star of the show of course is lead vocalist Clare Witcher.
What do you think of this list? What are you favourite albums of the year? Let me know in the comments.