R&B / Soul
One of the original releases on Impulse! when the label debuted in 1961, the album emphasizes Ray Charles as a jazz instrumentalist. He also switched from his usual electric piano to a Hammond organ, brought in Count Basie's band and used Quincy Jones' hard-blowing arrangements. The success of the album and its single "One Mint Julep" helped put Impulse! on the map. Verve's Acoustic Sounds Series features transfers from analog tapes and remastered 180g vinyl in deluxe gatefold packaging.
The American Negro is an unapologetic critique, detailing the systemic and malevolent psychology that afflicts people of color. This project dissects the chemistry behind blind racism, using music as the medium to restore dignity and self-worth to my people. It should be evident that any examination of black music is an examination of the relationship between black and white America. This relationship has shaped the cultural evolution of the world and its negative roots run deep into our psyche. Featuring various special guests performing over a deeply soulful, elaborate orchestration, The American Negro reinvents the black native tongue through this album and it's attendant short film (TAN) and 4-part podcast (invisible Blackness). The American Negro - both as a collective experience and as individual expressions - is insightful, provocative and inspiring and should land at the center of our ongoing reckoning with race, racism and the writing of the next chapter of American history.
MP3 Album: $9.99 Download
Menahan Street Band, a veritable supergroup of some of today's most prolific songwriters, arrangers, and producers return with this beat-forward, cinematic masterpiece. If you have spent any time hanging out in bars, cafes, or casually tuning into NPR in the last 10 years you should be well versed in MSB's catalog. Their unique brand of instrumental soul has not only been the foundation for some of modern hip-hop's most successful beats, it has also become the perennial soundtrack and veritable vibe-generator for countless parties, art shows, and restaurants throughout NYC and abroad. While this album carries the aesthetic torch that MSB has skillfully woven into the tapestry of their DNA, it also delves deeper into the experimental, exotic sounds that fill many of the coveted Sound Library and Soundtrack LPs of the late sixties and early seventies - an amalgamation of moog synths, electric pianos, drum machines, and a bevy of analog instrumentation, that ebb and flow in lush swells of Morriconian grandeur.
"It is music to uplift, heal, and inspire listeners dealing with racial injustices as well as other social injustices. It's affirmation. It's recognition. It's elevation. It's music to go with a movement. Because the truth is, there is still so much work to do. Regardless of the outcome of the election, we need to make sure things do not return to the status quo. The intention of A Beautiful Revolution Pt. I is to channel all of our pain and outrage into something productive, inspirational, and good. It’s to help lead a movement into our next phase of the work to be done.” – Common
MP3 Album: $9.99 Download
Throughout their career, Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings remained in high demand both publicly and privately to recreate and often re-imagine songs by other artists. More often than not, these covers were recorded by request ' commissioned for placement in movies, television programs, tribute albums, or for samples. This album compiles some of their most popular as well as never-before-heard renditions.Though the band has mostly built their career on a prolific catalog of originals, these forays into other artists' compositions lay bare their gift for arrangement and the unmatched studio prowess that earned them their reputation as The Baddest Band in the Land.
Double vinyl LP pressing. Digitally remastered and expanded edition. The 3x platinum My Life was nominated for a Grammy for Best R&B Album in 1995. In ensuing years, Rolling Stone included the album on their 50 Essential Female Albums (#17), 100 Greatest Albums of the '90s (#63) and 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (#279) lists. My Life is the second studio album by American R&B recording artist Mary J. Blige, originally released on November 29, 1994.
Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection presents all of The Staple Singers’ studio albums released on the iconic Stax label, spanning 1968-1974. The final, seventh disc offers rarities, non-album singles, and several live recordings from the legendary 1972 Wattstax music festival. Housed in a slipcase, the collection also includes a deluxe booklet with archival photos and new liner notes.
- Featuring the biggest hits: “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself,” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me)”
- Faithfully replicated artwork on studio album jackets
Blackbirds features songs primarily popularized by women who were the “bridge she came across on.” The album finds LaVette in top form with powerful renditions of songs that touched her personally. From Dinah Washington’s “Drinking Again,” Nina Simone’s “I Hold No Grudge” and more, they are all delivered in LaVette’s rich & raspy tone. Blackbirds honors LaVette’s heritage as an R&B singer and the women who came before her. LaVette A&R’d and sequenced the record herself – her first true curation.
Multi-Platinum, GRAMMY-winning megastar Toni Braxton releases her latest album, Spell My Name, via Island Records August 28th. Includes hit single, “Do It” as well as a new version with Missy Elliot, and fan-favorite “Dance”. Braxton has sold over 67 million records throughout her career over the past three decades.
Vinyl LP pressing. 2020 release, the seventh album from the multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning R&B/pop singer, songwriter, and actress. B7 is her first studio album since Two Eleven (2012). The album was preceded by the release of "Freedom Rings" as well as lead single "Baby Mama" featuring Chance the Rapper. Brandy's collaboration with Canadian singer-songwriter Daniel Caesar, "Love Again" is also included on the album.
MP3 Album: $11.49 Download
Cool jazzy sounds spiked with pop, hip-hop, reggae, soul, calypso all in the service of positive vibes. Look beyond those seductive Surfaces where the musical depth of the band shines. On new album Horizons the duo challenges the concept album. Influences from warm older sounds are reimagined & repainted in a modern musical pallet. Each song is unique in feelings yet each belongs in this atmosphere, layer by layer forming the realm that is Horizons. LP pressed on red vinyl.
Thundercat is set to release his new album It Is What It Is on Brainfeeder Records on April 3, 2020, and shares the first music; 'Black Qualls (featuring Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington). The album, produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat, features musical contributions from Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox. It Is What It Is follows his game-changing third album Drunk (2017). That record completed his transition from virtuoso bassist to bonafide star and cemented his reputation as a unique voice that transcends genre. 'This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,' Bruner says. 'It's a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don't necessarily understand' some things just aren't meant to be understood.'
Craft Recordings is thrilled to announce the release of a vinyl box set celebrating one of music’s greatest gospel and soul groups, The Staple Singers. Set for a December 6th release date, Come Go With Me: The Stax Collection presents all of the group’s studio albums released on the iconic Memphis label, spanning 1968–1974, and features the Staples’ biggest hits, including “I’ll Take You There,” “Respect Yourself” and “If You’re Ready (Come Go with Me).” The six studio albums were cut from the original analog masters by Jeff Powell at Take Out Vinyl. The final, seventh disc offers rarities, non-album singles and several live recordings from the legendary 1972 Wattstax music festival. The seven discs come in heavyweight 180-gram vinylpressed at Memphis Record Pressing. Housed in a slipcase, the collection also includes a deluxe booklet with archival photos and new liner notes from American music specialist and curator Levon Williams (formerly of the Stax Museum and the National Museum of African American Music), and folklorist, ethnomusicologist and writer Dr. Langston Wilkins. The complete collection will also be released digitally, and the six studio albums will be available in hi-res 24-bit/192 kHz and 24-bit/96 kHz formats for the first time.
Charged up by gospel grandiosity, sun-kissed island grooves, and R&B soul, Nicole Bus wields such a voice. An empathetic writer, powerhouse vocalist, talented multi-instrumentalist, and impassioned performer, the Dutch-born multicultural songstress delivers a striking signature style on her 2019 debut for Roc Nation. It paved the way for her debut album, KAIROS, which Nicole co-executive-produced and co-produced along with Needlz who produced the entire album.
Rising superstar and multi-platinum singer Jacquees will release his second full-length R&B album, King of R&B, on December 20th on Cash Money Records. For the album, he attracted an A-list crop of collaborators, including Atlanta royalty T.I. who delivers an unforgettable verse on the aptly titled "King," Tory Lanez who lends his unmistakable vocals to "Risk It All." While Bluff City and Migos front-man Quavo appear on the heartfelt "All You Need."
Multi-platinum artist Trippie Redd defies conventions with lovelorn melodies and bulletproof rapping. Since emerging two years ago, Trippie has racked up platinum singles and 5 billion streams. His second official album ! is set to release on 8/09 (11/08 on Vinyl) featuring singles “Mac 10 (feat. Lil Baby and Lil Duke)” and “Under Enemy Arms” which alone drew over 32 million streams. The Source claimed, “[Under Enemy Arms] itself is a turn-up”. Features on ! also include Playboi Carti, The Game and Coi Leray.
Allen Stone’s “Building Balance” is his first new album in 4 years, spanning a time period spent figuring out how the old parts and the new parts of his universe were going to co-exist. For Building Balance he worked with Grammywinning producer Nasri as well as Jamie Lidell. Stone continues to draw inspiration from '70s funk and soul with current flexes, sitting amid D'Angelo in its sultrier moments, Stevie Wonder at its most melodic and the production of Mark Ronson at its most modern.
Mavis Staples returns with a brand new studio album produced and written by Ben Harper. Backed by Mavis’ critically acclaimed live band, We Get By features 10 songs of longing, strength, and spirituality, presented with simplicity, grit and sublime beauty. Highlights include the buoyant, “Anytime”, the cathartic, “Change”, and the title track, an uplifting duet with Ben Harper.
While he was working on Oxnard, the ever-ambitious Anderson .Paak was recording Ventura at the same time. As he explains it, both albums showcase the duality that has inspired the Grammy-award winning artist throughout his career. “Growing up in Oxnard gave me the grit and the church to find this voice of mine. One town over I went further and found my depth. [I] held one [album] back because that would have been too many songs to perform live!” Now with a more soulful sound representative of the beautiful, scenic Ventura, Anderson .Paak gives us “King James”, “Make It Better”, and more – with features including Smokey Robinson, André 3000, Nate Dogg among others. Welcome to Ventura!
Buoyed by the smashing success of his recent trio of EPs – The Monologue, The Paradox and The Boy Who Cried Freedom – Nigerian-born British singer-songwriter Jacob Banks released his eagerly awaited full album debut, Village, on Interscope Records. Jacob’s powerful vocals and genre-bending style quickly received widespread praise everywhere from Billboard, The FADER, Complex, Interview, PAPER and NYLON, and TIME Magazine. This fall Jacob will embark on the Village worldwide tour.
Charles Bradley's forthcoming LP, Black Velvet is an extraordinary collection of 10 tracks making their LP debut. In addition to fan favorites like Charles covers of Nirvanas 'Stay Away', Neil Young's 'Heart Of Gold', and Rodriguez's 'Slip Away' - this album features 4 never-before-heard tracks from Producer Tommy 'TNT' Brenneck's vaults.
If life was at all fair Ural Thomas would be a household name, his music slotted into countless sweet, seductive mixtapes between James Brown, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder (all of whom Thomas has performed with.) Straddling the line between hot soul shouter and velvety-smooth crooner, Thomas released a few singles in the late 60’s and early 70’s; most notably “Can You Dig It”, which featured backing vocals from soul luminaries Merry Clayton, Mary Wells and Brenda Holloway. Thomas played over forty shows at the legendary Apollo Theater before turning his back on an unkind business and heading home to Portland, OR. It goes without saying that a man practically built out of rhythm would never stop playing music. Thomas began hosting a regular Sunday night jam session at his home that ran for nearly twenty years. A de facto mentor to many of the younger players, Thomas reminds us all that “If you care about what you’re doing, you need to build those muscles and do the work. Don’t get discouraged, do it for love. Even if you’re digging ditches, do it with passion.” In 2014, local soul DJ Scott Magee sat in on drums. The two became fast friends and at Magee’s urging Thomas decided to give his musical career another shot. Magee became the musical director, they put together a band, and in 2016 released a self-titled album on Mississippi Records. In 2017 Thomas signed with Tender Loving Empire and began work on what, in many respects, will be his debut full length. Diving deep into lifetime of melodic creativity, Thomas and his band got to work. Recorded in Magee’s studio Arthur’s Attic, The Right Time features the air-tight work of Magee on drums, percussion, and backing vocals, Bruce Withycombe (The Decemberists) on baritone sax, Portland jazz scene fixture Brent Martens on guitars and vibraphone, Arcellus Sykes on bass, Steve Aman (Lady Rizo) on piano and organ, Dave Monnie on trumpet, Willie Matheis (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies) on tenor sax, and Jasine Rimmel, Joy Pearson, Sarah King, Rebecca Marie Miller on backing vocals. The Arco Quartet performed the strings, and the record was engineered and mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzman (Blitzen Trapper) and mastered by JJ Golden (Sharon Jones, Ty Segall). One might think after a sizeable taste of early success Thomas would be more than a touch bitter – yet the opposite is true. “We have to be positive if we want the world to get better” Thomas advises. “We’ve come a long way, but if you carry a grudge with the whole world you’ll stop your growth. We’re a family, all just brothers and sisters, descendants of Adam. You can’t get anywhere without an open heart.” A developing artist at nearly eighty years old, for Thomas music has always been about bringing people together. “If we play for twenty people we cook it like it’s twenty thousand” says Thomas. “If we make someone smile we’re satisfied. They’re ain’t no difference between us. It’s all love and brotherhood. If folks listen to my record and feel that I’ll feel very blessed.” Standing in bold defiance of the idea that aging is a reason to slow down and stop living, for Thomas the right time to get down is the next time someone plugs in a guitar or puts on a record. Ural is ready – are you?