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Steel Pulse

JUNE 2019 ISSUE

 

A sneaky peek of just some of what is in the June 2019 issue – OUT NOW!

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Steel Pulse

Steel Pulse recently celebrated their 40thanniversary. That’s a remarkable achievement for any British reggae band, especially one that’s never been afraid to address controversial issues – particularly to do with race – in their music. Steel Pulse “nah tek back talk,” as they say in Jamaica, and judging by their latest album, the band’s rebellious spirit burns just as brightly as always.
Mass Manipulationwas released on Steel Pulse’s own Wiseman Doctrine label last month. It was their first album in well over a decade, but the Birmingham band – now shorn of all but two original members – has never stopped touring, despite the dearth of new material. I spoke to Pulse main man David Hinds – he of the one-time chimney pot dreads – via Skype, and asked him why the delay? Was it because the band’s constantly on the road, and it’s hard to recoup the costs of making an album?
“It was a combination of many things,” he says, “but the reason for doing so much touring was to generate finances towards the making of the album. Major labels had previously put that money upfront… ”

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Philip Bailey

Philip Bailey is in a gym somewhere in Brooklyn, spending Saturday afternoon making sure his now 67-year-old body remains in shape to go out on tour. That’s not an Earth, Wind & Fire tour, you understand, but an upcoming series of solo dates in support of his own brand new album, Love Will Find A Way, issued this month by Verve Records. The release is his 12thproject outside EWF confines, though neither the passing years nor any prior solo successes – he’s already in possession of a Best Gospel Album Grammy for his 1985 set Triumph– have dulled his senses of either adventure or commitment on what has been a self-funded enterprise. Quite the opposite, in fact: this album is actually the product of a two-year effort and, as we gleefully revealed last month, finds our man satisfying his penchant for jazz by teaming up with a number of contemporary players from the genre: Robert Glasper, Christian McBride, Casey Benjamin, Kamasi Washington and more. It could easily be the best thing he’s ever recorded outside the obvious ‘day job’ – a [sincere] compliment that Bailey is naturally inclined to accept, as he finds a quiet corner to field my Skype call…

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Shaggy

Shaggy recently played a handful of UK tour dates with Sting. Here’s what the Daily Telegraph had to say.
“My goodness, it was fun. I was going to give this concert four stars because in the review world five stars are reserved for infinitely credible, genre-defining shows, but my ear-to-ear grin on the Tube journey home convinced me otherwise. Sometimes, it pays to let your guard down. Just ask Sting.”
Theirs is an unlikely alliance, between a Jamaican born former US Marine turned dancehall superstar and a Geordie rock icon who’s equally renowned for his support of good causes. Yet it’s a relationship rooted in genuine friendship and a case of “each one, teach one,” as one-timers would say. The album they made together – 44/876, named after their respective area codes – won a Grammy back in February and Shaggy’s wasted no time in issuing a new solo album Wah Gwaan?!, that some are calling the best of his career…

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Tony Momrelle

When Echoesarranges its free subscription CD giveaway each month, we don’t necessarily expect personal delivery from the artist himself. Tony Momrelle is that kind of bloke, though: his response was simply to jump into the smart car he uses to run around town and hand over a boxful of copies of his latest album, just like that. At least we got him to stay for lunch and a chat. [Even the dog liked him.] Best Is Yet To Comeis the singer’s second solo album proper after a career that’s now almost a couple of decades long and has famously included stints as either sideman or lead vocalist with Incognito [17 years and counting] and Sade [also 16 years plus]. More recent times have seen his profile as a frontman rise considerably: 2015’sKeep Pushing, issued in conjunction with Oli Lazarus’ Reel People set-up, was well-received and led onto various other projects, including an appearance at the 2017 London Jazz Festival launch gala alongside such as Seal, Lianne Carroll, Angelique Kidjo, Mica Paris and more [at the head of Guy Barker’s Orchestra], as well as last month’s BBC Salute To Motown, where he sang many of Marvin Gaye’s and Stevie Wonder’s best known songs [next to Heather Small and Tommy Blaize]. The Momrelle voice has never been in question, of course: when people frequently compare a vocalist to either Donny Hathaway or Stevie Wonder, then you know there has to be some real class under the hood…

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