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Feb 1st 2005


Journey finally fulfilled - Otis and ShuggOtis and Shugg - Journey: (Expansion Records)


The 'journey' of Otis and Shugg is a somewhat travelled one that has come full circle with the final release of their debut album 'We Can Do Whatever' on Expansion. The half brothers of Otis Cooper and 'Shugg' David who make up the duo hail from Oakland, California and grew up in the same neighbourhood as Raphael Saadiq who happened to hear one of their demo tapes and liked what he heard. Back then Shugg did some road management for Raphael's then group Tony Toni Tone before they were signed to his label Pookie Records (distributed through Interscope).

Saadiq produced the album and in 1995 released their first single 'Keep It On The Real' and the follow up single 'Journey' followed in 1996. At this time the Tonies were souring on the charts and the single 'Journey' was garnering a phenomenum amount of airplay on the UK soul scene. The promotional plan was in motion for the album as selected amounts were put in the DJs and PDs. DJs in the underground circuit and clubs started playing selected tracks from the set including 'Thank You For My Baby', 'My Choice', and 'If You Want It' and so the release of the album was emiment - right?.

What they did not see was what was to happen in the near future and sadly an all too common occurance nowadays. Interscope changed distribution and Pookie went their seperate ways leaving the album in a limbo status.

During their hiatus the duo did keep busy recording a song for the soundtrack to the film 'The Rev. Do Wrong Ain't Right' the song being 'Give It To Me' and performed at the 1st Annual Hip Hop Awards at Harlem's 'Apollo Theatre'. Otis also released a solo set called 'O. Cooper' thats currently available on CD Baby.

Now that we know a bit more about the duo existance, let's get to the record at hand. The song 'Journey' is a materpiece of modern soul music that still holds it own some ten years later (hard to believe it's been a decade since the song was released) at a time the neo soul movement was taking flight so to see it get a revisit is a welcoming sight. The song starts with a strings intro and is led into the a nice baseline groove. The lads harmonizing is terrific from the get go and production is just top notch - just brilliant stuff.

So if you're a lover of neo-soul, if you're a lover of good soul music then you have to get this soul gem in your mits. An exquisite slice of soul music not to be missed, trust me a must have - a TY-D Pick.

Listen to Otis and Shugg - 'Journey'

Sir TY






Truly talented - Frank McCombFrank McComb - The things that you do (FMMcComb Music)


Frank McComb is one of my favourite artists to come out in recent years. The man simply put has not disappoint and since he appeared on the scene 12years ago when his motown debut and plain and simply put just doesn't make bad albums. The latest effort is the follow up to The Truth which came out last year on Expansion Records.

Frank has always been a firm believer in his craft and it shows in his music as he servers as songwriter as well as singer/producer. Born in Cleveland in 1970, he began playing piano at the age of 12 and formed his first trio five years later. He got his 1st professional break in 1991 when he was offered the job as musical director for the R&B group The Rude Boys and in 1992, he signed to the Mojazz label where he recorded his debut set but as mentioned in my previous review above suffered the same fate that Motown (for some unknown reason) shelved the project. He would collaborate with jazz trumpeter Branford Marsalis on his jazz-rap fusion project Buckshot LeFonque in 1994. He later left Motown for Sony and released Love Stories in 2000.

The song on display here today is a shining example of how talented a performer Frank is. Showing a passion for the art, Frank has devulged a classic upon us with excellent production and heart felt words that carrires the tune through. The Things That You Do tells a tale of love and devotion and really shines in all fachet of what a great song should deliver.

He has been compared to the very best, the cream of the crop in Americana music with names likes of Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder rolling out of peoples mouths which in truth is very much deserving. Frank McComb is talented, sincere in his craft and I will say - a genius when it comes to his music. The album is out now but only in a very limited quantity (best bet to get a copy is on Ebay) so I suggest you go and get a copy. A TY-D Pick.

Listen to Frank McComb - 'The Things That You Do'

Sir TY




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