Saigon Soul Revival has been on a quest to reawaken the raw, enchanting sounds of 1960’s and 70’s Vietnam; a time when passionate music resonated in Saigon’s streets and clubs with messages of love, heartache, hope and freedom. Amongst the turmoil of war, there was a rich cultural climate that fused popular genres of the day like rock, soul and bolero with Vietnamese music and lyrics. This fusion of sounds that bridged east and west became forbidden after the fall of Saigon in 1975 and almost vanished. Four decades later Saigon Soul Revival was born with the initial purpose of bringing these dormant sounds back to the stage. After numerous live performances over the last 3 years, the band has developed their own sound and now, with the release of their debut album “Họa Âm Xưa”, they are ready to share it with the rest of the world. The 11 track LP, including original compositions and nostalgic reinterpretations, blends traditional Vietnamese elements with modern concepts, featuring pre ‘75 and current artists, all while remaining firmly rooted in the “nhạc vàng” (golden music) of the time. Meaning “Old Harmonies”, Saigon Soul Revival is proud to present “Họa Âm Xưa” as a tribute to the artists and composers of the time that inspired them to create this marriage between past and present.
Even down to his personal look, Joel Sarakula has a 70’s vintage vibe. He offers two tracks of exceptionally good soul music that would not have sounded out of place 40 years ago, even with the much better studio recording equipment.
James Brown and the most amazing backup band in the world tear up two of his classic hits.
Some albums bear emotional scars of the artist and the listener equally well. I cannot recommend Tindersticks highly enough if you are having a drink of vodka and lime and either reminiscing about a lost love or wondering how the hell you managed to land into the situation you’re currently in. We need albums for wistful moments. This one should be filed next to your Chet Baker and Joy Division albums when a profound case of the blues hit you.
Think of a baritone-voiced Nick Cave with a more whiskey-drenched voice singing with a Stax Records house band. Dark, but full of soul. Recommended.
Lynn Williams may not be someone you have heard of but her pedigree is strong. Her father was Hank Ballard (of King and James Brown Fame) and her mother was 60s Miami Radio Personality and dance group leader Vanilla ”Miss Boom Boom” Williams. Lynn cut 5 Excellent 7”s for various Henry Stone owned Miami labels in the 70s here we present her two most collectable. The first ‘It Takes Two’ is a smokey deepfunk killer that would cost you £1000 any day of the week for good reason. On the flip “Don’t be Surprised” is one of Miami’s best ever deep soul records period, a dark serious ballad pulled off with amazing emotion considering her young years at the time of recording.
I have no idea what has gotten into the water over in Finland, but the country’s becoming a hotbed of amazing modern soul music. Timmion Records is releasing artists of astoundingly good quality like Willie West, Nicole Willis, and The Soul Investigators. You might want to check out some of their other brilliant artists over at their Bandcamp site here.