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Jul 1st 2002


Various Artists - Natural High Compilation: LP (WEA)


Last year 'Natural High' was one of the finest  soul compilations to be put out by a major label. So with its success it was only natural that a companion volume would be on the way. 

Sequels are often never as strong as the original but compiler Rick Conrad has dug deep into the WEA archives to produce a musical assemblage that's every bit as engaging as its predecessor (it also spans a similar time period too, 1974-1982). Commencing, appropriately enough, with the elegant Chic instrumental, "Open Up," from 1980's overlooked "Real People" album, "Natural High 2" mixes popular dancefloor grooves like Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" with more esoteric, Latin-tinged jazz-funk workouts like Chico Hamilton's delectable "Mysterious Maiden" and Airto's "Toque De Cuica." 

Gwen McCrae's dance floor groover from 1982, "Keep The Fire Burning," is also included as well as some other great cuts like Aquarian Dream  "You're A Star", Ronn Matlock "Feeling Something", Donald Byrd "Feel Like Loving You", Debra Laws "Something Special", Anglo Saxon Brown 'Call On Me', Ubiquity 'Simple And Sweet' and the great Leon Ware 'Rockin' You Eternally'. 'Natural High' is certainly one of if not the best soul compilation I've heard this year  - simply superb

Listen to Aquarium Dream's 'You're a star'  







 Various Artists - Giant Step Soul Sessions :LP (Giant Step)


As the first installment in its new series, Giant Step's  Soul Sessions has put together some of soul music's most promising tracks from it's vast library of established stars and legends. 

House Diva Ultra Nate gets things going with the 4 Hero-produced "Twisted", Donnie drops in with his latest single 'Our New National Anthem'. Sexy diva Jody Watley showcases her vocal chops with the moving "Saturday Night Experience". Atlanta soulsters Seek featuring Jiva appears with two tracks 'Love Chooses Lovers' and 'Ever After'. Poetry or spoken word (as it's known nowadays) is represented also in the form of Carl Hancock Rux down beat track 'Ground'.

Giant Step also gets to feature legendary musical heroes:
Herbie Hancock plays something wicked  with "The Essence" featuring the one and only Chaka Khan with remixes by Joe Claussell (Body & Soul, NYC) and Erykah Badu's former backup singer N'Dambi proves she can stand in the spotlight on her own with her song, "Call Me". Lots to choose from here and it doesn't disappoint regardless. Definitely one for your shopping list so do go out and get a copy money well spent (believe me) A TY-D Pick indeed. 

Listen to Donnie's "Our new National Anthem"




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