Reviews

Here you find our WEST COAST SOUL album reviews of the past and present – always subjective, but full of respect for the music and artists. Let’s talk about records!

 


THE FIVE WEST COAST CLASSICS OF THE MONTH – JUNE 2021

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. Our June reviews include albums by Boz Scaggs, Nick DeCaro, Robert Palmer, Michael Franks and Rickie Lee Jones.

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MUSIQUE DE YACHT – GARÇON DE PLAGE CELEBRATES HIS LOVE OF WEST COAST POP WITH HIS NEW ALBUM “AMOUR AVEUGLE”

Even the name that the talented Parisian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Greg Bette has chosen for his project – Garçon de Plage, the French term for “beach boy” – gives an idea of the music that influenced his work. And so it comes as no surprise that his second album “Amour Aveugle” is all about West Coast harmonies, sophisticated arrangements and French pop grandezza, in other words, smooth yacht pop à la France – somewhere between Michel Berger and The Doobie Brothers.

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THE FIVE WEST COAST CLASSICS OF THE MONTH – MAY 2021

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. Our May reviews include albums by Alan O’Day, Dane Donohue, Rhead Brothers, Chicago and The Doobie Brothers.

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RAM ON: THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY TRIBUTE TO PAUL & LINDA MCCARTNEY’S RAM

To mark this year’s 50th anniversary of RAM by Paul & Linda McCartney, over 100 musicians have come together under the direction of Denny Seiwell, the original drummer of Paul McCartney & Wings, and multi-instrumentalist and producer Fernando Perdomo to re-record this seminal album. The result is “RAM ON”, a generation-spanning labour of love that meticulously recreates the original and impresses with its attention to detail and great musicanship.

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THE FIVE WEST COAST CLASSICS OF THE MONTH – APRIL 2021

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. Our April reviews include albums by Bill House, Art Garfunkel, Katy Moffatt, Christopher Cross and Fleetwood Mac.

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THE FIVE WEST COAST CLASSICS OF THE MONTH – MARCH 2021

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. Our March reviews include albums by America, Kenny Loggins, Stephen Bishop, Lauren Wood and Lee Ritenour.

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SOUL, FUNK AND R&B CLASSICS FROM THE VAULTS – FEBRUARY 2021

Once a month we open the vaults of the WEST COAST SOUL record collection and take a look back at the classics of Soul, R&B and Funk from the 70s and 80s. Join us on a foray through a golden era of music history. This time with reviews of albums by Rufus & Chaka Khan, The Whispers, The Brothers Johnson, Earth, Wind & Fire and Kool & The Gang.

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“DISCODOR” BY DISCODOR

After two excellent EPs, Anglo-French duo Discodor finally released their wonderful eponymous debut album last month, full of lush arrangements, cinematic grooves, and slow funk that oscillates between French lounge plushness, library music sophistication, and hip, swinging 60s soundtrack grandeur. An album in cinemascope.

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“THE EXCITING SOUNDS OF MENAHAN STREET BAND” BY MENAHAN STREET BAND

After a nearly ten-year hiatus, the legendary instrumental soul group Menahan Street Band will release their third album “The Exciting Sounds of Menahan Street Band” on February 26th, via Daptone Records. The result is an album that you no longer expected, but now do not want to miss. Great cinematic instrumental soul-funk, with which the musical collective from Brooklyn seamlessly connects to old great deeds. Definitely one of the soul albums of the year.

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Overview about all our reviews

  • The Five West Coast Classics of the month – November 2021 - 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.
  • Review: “An Evening with Silk Sonic” by Silk Sonic - As Silk Sonic, Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak resurrect the symphonic soul of the 70s with finesse and passion and take us into a world of analogue emotions. Their just released debut album "An Evening with Silk Sonic" offers with its plush feel-good sound and perfectionist timelessness a safe haven in troubled COVID times and opens up a great era of music history for a new generation of music lovers. Definitely one of the albums of the year!
  • Review: “If Words Were Flowers” by Curtis Harding - On his third album "If Words Were Flowers", Atlanta-based soul artist Curtis Harding once again skilfully blends classic soul and R&B influences with elements of hip-hop and psychedelia, but also expands his sound with jazzy nuances, experimental arrangements and the emotional power of gospel. The result is a stirring plea for love and humanity in chaotic times and one of the most beautiful soul albums of the year coming to an end.
  • The five West Coast Classics of the month – August 2021 - 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.
  • Review: “Sgt Culpepper” by Joel Culpepper - With his unique voice and energetic blend of modern soul and funk, Joel Culpepper has been one of the hottest acts on the British R&B scene for years. On his debut album "Sgt Culpepper", the singer-songwriter from South East London, with a little help from friends like Swindle, Tom Misch and Shawn Lee, realises his vision of retro-modern soul music and sets a new standard for British R&B. Definitely one of the most exciting albums of the year.
  • Review: “For Free” by David Crosby - On his new album "For Free", David Crosby revives his legendary musicality shortly before his 80th birthday and, with the support of artists such as Michael McDonald, Donald Fagen from Steely Dan and Sarah Jarosz, creates an almost transcendent painting of Californian music between poetry, prayer and classic folk-rock harmonies.
  • The Five West Coast Classics of the month – July 2021 - 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.
  • Review: “Septet” by John Carroll Kirby - With "Septet", LA-based producer, pianist and composer John Carroll Kirby has released a jazz album that seems to have fallen out of time, full of warm grooves and spiritual jazz funk schooled in Herbie Hancock, George Duke and Weather Report. Everything sounds relaxed, warm and playful. One of the most beautiful jazz releases of the year.
  • Review: “Peace or Love” by Kings of Convenience - Twelve years after "Declaration of Dependence", the Norwegian duo Kings of Convenience are suddenly back and with "Peace Or Love" they manage to seamlessly continue the quality of their previous albums - sophisticated indie pop for the dawning summer.
  • The Five West Coast Classics of the month – June 2021 - 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.
  • Review: Musique de Yacht – Garçon de Plage celebrates his love of West Coast pop with his new album “Amour Aveugle” - Even the name that the talented Parisian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Greg Bette has chosen for his project - Garçon de Plage, the French term for "beach boy" - gives an idea of the music that influenced his work. And so it comes as no surprise that his second album "Amour Aveugle" is all about West Coast harmonies, sophisticated arrangements and French pop grandezza, in other words, smooth yacht pop à la France - somewhere between Michel Berger and The Doobie Brothers.
  • The Five West Coast Classics of the month – May 2021 - 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.
  • Review: RAM ON – The 50th Anniversary Tribute to Paul & Linda McCartney’s RAM - To mark this year's 50th anniversary of RAM by Paul & Linda McCartney, over 100 musicians have come together under the direction of Denny Seiwell, the original drummer of Paul McCartney & Wings, and multi-instrumentalist and producer Fernando Perdomo to re-record this seminal album. The result is "RAM ON", a generation-spanning labour of love that meticulously recreates the original and impresses with its attention to detail and great musicanship.
  • The Five West Coast Classics of the month – April 2021 - 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.
  • The Five West Coast Classics of the month – March 2021 - 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.
  • Soul, Funk and R&B classics from the vaults – February 2021 - Once a month we open the vaults of the WEST COAST SOUL record collection and take a look back at the classics of Soul, R&B and Funk from the 70s and 80s. Join us on a foray through a golden era of music history.
  • “Discodor” by Discodor - After two excellent EPs, Anglo-French duo Discodor finally released their wonderful eponymous debut album last month, full of lush arrangements, cinematic grooves, and slow funk that oscillates between French lounge plushness, library music sophistication, and hip, swinging 60s soundtrack grandeur. An album in cinemascope.
  • Review: “The Exciting Sounds of Menahan Street Band” by Menahan Street Band - After a nearly ten-year hiatus, the legendary instrumental soul group Menahan Street Band will release their third album “The Exciting Sounds of Menahan Street Band” on February 26th, via Daptone Records. The result is an album that you no longer expected, but now do not want to miss. Great cinematic instrumental soul-funk, with which the musical collective from Brooklyn seamlessly connects to old great deeds. Definitely one of the soul albums of the year.
  • “Mid-Century Modern Romance” by Dante Elephante - A homage to the disco boogie jams of the early 80s - funky and smooth
  • Album Review: “Magic Mirror” by Pearl Charles - With "Magic Mirror", LA native singer-songwriter Pearl Charles has released her second album and takes her listeners into a musical wonderland, where the 29-year-old lives out her preferences for ABBA melodies, Laurel Canyon hippie dreaminess, sun-warmed West Coast soft rock and 70's country-folk bliss. All this sounds very vintage, but never loses its current pop appeal. Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty would love this album.
  • “One Step Closer” by The Doobie Brothers - When "One Step Closer" was released in 1980, critics and many fans declared the Doobie Brothers' ninth release the worst album of their career. And it was true that the Doobies were never further away from their biker boogie rock roots than at the beginning of the 80s.
  • “West End Coast” by Young Gun Silver Fox - In 2015 the British singer, songwriter, producer, founder and bandleader of Mamas Gun, Andy Platts, and the American singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger, Shawn Lee, combined their talents, their love for melodic Californian soft rock of the late seventies and their penchant for catchy hooklines and rousing grooves on one album that nobody expected.
  • “Paradise Cove” by Misha Panfilov & Shawn Lee - London-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and "Silver Fox" Shawn Lee has long been known for his boundless musicality and versatility. After recently indulging his passion for West Coast music with Young Gun Silver Fox on the superb album "Canyons" and bowing to early 80's electro funk with "Shawn Lee's Incredible Leg Warmer Band", he has now teamed up with the energetic Estonian musician and producer Misha Panfilov to set the sails of creativity and cruise to the "Paradise Cove".
  • “City Pop” by Benny Sings - Dutch pop artist Tim van Berkestijn, better known by his stage name Benny Sings, shows with his album "City Pop" from 2019 that he is deeply rooted in 70s West Coast pop and one of the most talented music exports of the Netherlands.
  • “The First Coming” by Twylyte ’81 - Favorite Recordings has been a guarantor for many years when it comes to releasing long lost soul, funk, jazz and West Coast gems. This February the French label released the first official and first-ever reissue of "The First Coming" by Twylyte '81.
  • “Gaucho” by Steely Dan - Steely Dan's "Gaucho" is considered by many to be a megalomaniac work of two drug-fired perfectionists - and when you look at the facts, there seems to be a lot of truth in it. The album took two years to record, it devoured a thousand recording hours and over 40 studio musicians, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker spent $ 100,000 extra for the innovative processing of the drum beats - and all that for an album length of only thirty-seven minutes. If they hadn't runout of money, who knows how long they would have worked on it.
  • “It Is What It Is” by Thundercat - "It Is What It Is" is probably the album I listen to most at the moment. You follow Stephen Bruner alias Thundercat on his fourth album through grief, madness, teenage humour escapades and playfulness - and you get lost or rise up in this unique, complex jazz, fusion, funk, R&B, soft rock and manga cosmos, whose only constant is the musicality of this exceptional bassist.
  • “Hotel California” by The Eagles - "Hotel California" was the fifth album by The Eagles, released in 1976. Their biggest commercial success, with over 16 million albums sold in the USA alone, marked in some ways the swan song of the band and of an entire era.
  • “Yacht” by Fernando Perdomo - In times when we are unfortunately restricted worldwide in our freedom of movement, the new album "Yacht" by American multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer Fernando Perdomo comes just in time to at least mentally carry us away to the palm-lined sunny beaches of California.
  • “Ports of the Heart” by Jimmie Spheeris - "Ports of the Heart" by Jimmie Spheeris was originally released in 1976 and was the fourth and last album for Epic by the American singer songwriter with Greek roots.
  • “Straight From The Heart” by Patrice Rushen - The American jazz pianist, R&B singer, composer, producer and songwriter Patrice Rushen is a fixed star in the Jazz and R&B world for decades. One of my personal favorites is her 82's album "Straight From The Heart".
  • “Rhythm of Life” by James Mason - James Mason was a member of Roy Ayers' legendary jazz-funk band of the late 70s. His most prominent appearance as a guitarist was in 1977 on Ayers' classic cut "Running Away". In the same year Mason recorded his debut solo album "Rhythm of Life" for the New York independent label Chiaroscuro.
  • “Shawn Lee’s Incredible Leg Warmer Band” by Shawn Lee - Légère Recordings has pressed 200 copies of the electro funk masterpiece "The 37 Minute Workout" by Shawn Lee's Incredible Leg Warmer Band. Let's get physical!
  • “The Tales People Tell” by Kelly Finnigan - With "The Tales People Tell" the American soul singer Kelly Finnigan has released one of the best soul albums of the past years in 2019.
  • “The Nightfly” by Donald Fagen (1982) - While ex-bandmate Walter Becker tried to get clean in Hawaii, Donald Fagen and Steely Dan producer Gary Katz returned to the studio to record a ground-breaking masterpiece of the new decade.
  • Backtracks: “Aja” by Steely Dan - What makes an album to a classic? I think it’s a result of many ingredients. First of all the music: strong and memorable melodies, grooves and arrangements, real musicianship, the storyline of lyrics and an outstanding production. Not to forget a remarkable artwork. But real art arises from more: All great albums are surrounded by myths and stories (remember the Beach Boys' “Smile”), especially in pre-digital times when it was even more difficult to get information about artists and records.
  • The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco 2 - When Marcus Liesenfeld aka DJ Supermarkt released 'The Ladies Of Too Slow To Disco' in 2016, he not only created a long overdue monument to the female singers, musicians and songwriters who played a major role in shaping the sound of California in the 70s and 80s, but also compiled one of the most popular editions of the renowned series.
  • “AM Waves” by Young Gun Silver Fox (2018) - Only a few albums have impressed Yacht Rock lovers and West Coast aficionados as much in recent years as Young Gun Silver Fox's critically acclaimed debut album "West End Coast". With their sophomore album "AM Waves" Andy Platts (Mamas Gun) a.k.a. Young Gun and multi-instrumentalist and producer Shawn Lee a.k.a. Silver Fox consistently develop the unique sound of their debut album further and entice their listeners with well-crafted West Coast melodies into the heyday of the genre.