The year is coming to an end and it was again a year of great new releases and discoveries. Of course, it was and is always impossible to limit a year to just ten albums, but the following records have left a lasting impression on us and accompanied us through the last months. It’s time to honour the best albums of the year: Here is the West Coast Soul.de Top 10 of 2022!
For their second album “Hidden Gem”, German band The Zenmenn teamed up with singer-songwriter John Moods to magnificently fuse sun-drenched, laid-back yacht rock harmonies with atmospheric ambient landscapes into a kind of cosmic West Coast AOR.
It has taken over 20 years, now finally the legendary American soul singer Lee Fields has released his first album on the New York Daptone Records label. With the support of label founder Gabriel Roth and the best musicians Daptone has to offer, the 72-year-old singer explores the essence of pure, true emotion on “Sentimental Fool” and impressively demonstrates his mastery. Soul music can’t get much deeper than this.
In the midst of the Cold War, when the Iron Curtain divided Europe, a music scene flourished in East Germany in the 1970s that, under the strict eyes of the SED regime, turned influences from the “class enemy” such as soul, funk and psychedelic rock into something unique. For the compilation “hallo 22 – DDR Funk und Soul 1971-81”, German hip-hop veterans Max Herre and Felix “Dexter” Göppel joined forces to search the archives of the East German label Amiga for musical treasures from this period. What they found is a testimony to the great musicality, creativity and hope of these artists.
There are concerts and there are Young Gun Silver Fox shows. We had to wait a long time to finally see Andy Platts and Shawn Lee live again. The buzzkill Covid had put a spanner in the works of the tour for their third album “Canyons”. Now, finally, they were back where they belong: in the spotlight, in front of an enthusiastic audience.
On his second album “Get On The Otherside”, now released on Big Crown Records, Finnish soul singer Bobby Oroza succeeds in transcending the personal existential crises of the past COVID years into forward-looking, positive messages, which he packs into marvellous analogue, atmospheric soul deeply rooted in the 70s. With this record, Oroza releases one of the most beautiful soul albums of the year with a clear message that never gets old: all you really need is love.
After nine years, Patrick Goldstein aka Goldstoned finally returns with a new album. On “You Do It Cause You Love It”, the Berlin-based artist blends Burt Bacharach with 80s-inspired British indie pop and Northern soul with such sophistication and connoisseurship that it’s a joy. A treasure trove of an album – not just for initiated pop aficionados.
Once a month we take a look back at the classics and rather unknown album highlights of West Coast music from the 70s and 80s. Join WEST COAST SOUL on a foray through our record collection and travel with us back into the past.
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