SNOWBOY PRESENTS NEW VINTAGE VOLUME 1.
SNOWBOY PRESENTS NEW VINTAGE VOLUME 1.
When those little shiny discs drop through the door, it’s a bit like Forest Gump’s box of chocolates, “you never know what you’re gonna get.” With Snowboy’s new compilation Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, this is the ultimate box of chocolates, with every one a sumptuous soft center, and not a nougat in the box. After pressing play for the first time, I was transfixed, each track tantalizing me. Before long, I was totally hooked, mesmerised even, by the sheer eclectic nature and quality of music on Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, which will be released by BBE Music on 3rd July 2012. Of all BBE Music’s compilations released in 2012, this must be the most eclectic selection of music yet. It’s a compilation that will appeal to music lovers of all ages. Snowboy has compiled a collection of music from artists who are influenced by music from the past, music he refers to as vintage. Unlike many compilers, Snowboy eschews the term retro, preferring instead the word vintage. To Snowboy, and I agree with him, retro has negative connotations, believing the word refers to something from “the past.” On Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, Snowboy has collected twenty-one tracks ranging from swing, R&B, rockabilly, mambo, Northern Soul, rock ‘n’ roll and mod jazz. The artists range from Big Boy Bloater and The Limits, The James Taylor Quartet, Imelda May, Magnus Carlson, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and James Hunter. Truly, this is a veritable feast of vintage sounding music, from some of today’s artists. Before I tell you about the music on Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, I’ll tell you about Snowboy and the background to the compilation.
For anyone not yet familiar with the career of Snowboy, he’s a man with many strings to his bow. Not only is he a highly accomplished Latin percussionist, but a band leader, recording artist and DJ. His DJ career started back in the seventies, at the same time as he started learning percussion. He released his first single Bring On the Beat in 1985 as Snowboy and The G.L. Band. By the late eighties, Snowboy signed to Acid Jazz Records. As Snowboy and The Latin Section, Ritmo Snowbo his debut album was released. Since then, Snowboy has released over a dozen albums, plus compiling numerous compilations. Whilst working as a musician and band leader, Snowboy has maintained another career, that of DJ.
Snowboy has been a DJ for over thirty years, running the Hi-Hat Jazz-Dance Club at London’s Jazz Cafe in Camden Town. This long running and successful night survived and thrived despite the various musical fads and fashion. Since then, Snowboy continues to DJ and is a mainstay of the jazz-dance scene, something he’s also written about.
Back in 2009, Snowboy, using his “real” name Mark Cotgrove, wrote The History of The UK Jazz Dance Scene. This is perceived as the definitive history of the UK jazz dance scene. Snowboy is no stranger to writing about music. Previously, he’s worked as a music journalist and reviewer. In doing so, he’s put his encyclopedic musical knowledge to good use.
It seems that there are no ends to Snowboy’s talents. Indeed, back in 2010 he took on another role, that of curator to the first Vintage Festival at Goodwood, on the Sussex Downs. The invitation came from none other than Wayne Hemingway MBE, fashion designer and cofounder of the fashion chain Red Or Dead. This new role allows Snowboy to put his musical knowledge and thirty-thousand record collection to good use. He’s now curator of 1940s entertainment and music in the Torch Ballroom, and tasked with entertaining the two-thousand dancers who fill the dance-floor. This new role goes hand in hand with his new compilation Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1.
In keeping with his new role, Snowboy has compiled Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, an album of what he calls “period influenced music.” What this is, is music by modern artists who are influenced by vintage music. The twenty-one artists on the compilation, take their inspiration from the past. The music they love is from the thirties onwards, spanning swing, R&B, rockabilly, mambo, Northern Soul, rock ‘n’ roll and mod jazz. However, this music is lovingly recreated by artists of today, including rockabilly, mambo, Northern Soul, rock ‘n’ roll and mod jazz. The artists range from Big Boy Bloater and The Limits, The James Taylor Quartet, Imelda May, Magnus Carlson, Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings and James Hunter. Having told you about Snowboy’s career and the background to Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, I’ll tell you about some of the compilations many highlights.
The track that opens Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1 is Darrel Higham and The Enforcers’ Baby, Take Me Back. This is a delicious slice of rockabilly that gets the compilation of to a storming start. Instantly, you’re transported back in time. It’s a track that could just as easily have been recorded sixty years ago in the US, rather then in the last ten years. Everything about this vintage sounding track is totally authentic. Darrel’s vocal, sounds not unlike early Elvis, while The Enforcers with their standup bass, crystalline guitar and drums combo provide a convincing, authentic and rocking backdrop. Together, they get the compilation of to a storming and irresistible start.
Laura B and The Moonlighters’ That’s A Pretty Good Love sees the compilation head in the direction of R&B. This is a track from Laura B and The Moonlighters 2010 album Jump and Shout. With rasping horns, piano and drums combining, Laura’s powerful, impassioned vocal enters. Her vocal is similar to Big Mama Thornton’s, given her style and delivery. The Moonlighters play with a similar power and passion. Although horns are played powerfully, it’s with passion and precision. Meanwhile, a piano augments the horns, also playing a vital role. Later, the horns takes a diversion into jazz, before Laura’s vocal returns. Still, Laura’s delivery is impassioned and emotive. Together with her hugely talented band The Moonlighters, Laura provides an impassioned and heartfelt slice of vintage-tinged R&B.
Straight away, when I heard the first bars of Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed & The Trueloves’ The Satisfier I was hooked. It’s a track from Boston-born Eli’s 2010 album Roll With You. He’s a soul singer, who previously, has been compared to some of soul music’s greats. Given this stunning offering, I’m not surprised. Here, Eli fuses soul and funk, backed by his multitalented band The Trueloves. Chiming guitars, bursts of blazing horns, soaring and soulful female backing vocalists combine while a Hammond organ and rhythm section drive the track along. His band sprinkle funk and soul, as Eli’s vocal is delivered with power, passion and emotion, in the style of sixties soul stars like Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave. With an arrangement that takes its reference points from Stax, Fame and Hi Records, this isn’t just old school soul music for the 21st Century, but one of the highlights of Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1.
James Hunter’s Kick It Around was the title-track from his 1999 album on Ruf Records. Since then, he’s released a number of albums, with his music moving from the bluesy sound of Kick It Around to a more soulful style and sound. When the track opens, James’ voice sounds not unlike James Brown’s on his slower, more soulful tracks. He’s accompanied by punchy, growling horns give the track a blues sound. As usual, James deploys his trademark twangy guitar while the rhythm section that provide an old-style jazzy backdrop that’s spacious. His atmospheric, soulful vocal fills these spaces. Together with his band, James Hunter makes music from another era, music that will appeal to lovers of jazz, soul and blues.
Of all the tracks on Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, Ondrej Havelka and His Melody Makers provide a track that quite simply, sounds like it’s from another era. Sing, Sing, Sing quite simply takes you back to the thirties and the birth of swing. You’re transported back to the jazz age, the time of Art Deco, an age of elegance, big bands and Noel Coward. To take you on this journey, requires a full orchestra, complete with horns, strings and a lead vocalist whose delivery, like that of the orchestra, is convincing and authentic. His call is answered by backing vocalists, who combine and play their part in creating an absolutely joyous and uplifting track.
Probably one of the best known artists on the compilation is Imelda May. Over the last few years, she’s become one of the rising stars of the music scene with albums like Love Tattoo, Mayhem and More Mayhem. For anyone unfamiliar with her music, Stop Whistlin’ Wolf is the perfect introduction. It’s a fusion of jazz and rockabilly, with her vocal sassy, full of character and wolfish charm. Meanwhile bursts of jangly guitars, standup bass and drums accompany her, punctuated by regular wolf-whistles. Not only is it a cheeky track, full of humor, that will put a smile on your face, but one that will make you want to hear much more from Imelda May.
Crazy Cavan and The Rhythm Rockers takes you back to the days of Teddy Boys, quiffs and drainpipe trousers. Teddy Boy Rock And Roll is ninety-seconds of truly authentic slice of rock ‘n’ roll from Crazy Cavan and The Rhythm Rockers’ 1977 album Crazy Rhythm. Snowboy deserves every credit for unearthing this real gem. With jingly, jangling guitars, standup bass and drums accompanying a vocal that takes Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent as its reference point, the track quickly reveals its hidden secrets and charms. Sadly, all to soon, the track is over, leaving just the lasting memory of this hidden gem.
For anyone who doesn’t spot the wordplay, Rich Clifford and The Saddows is an anagram of Cliff Richard and The Shadows. Together, Rich Clifford and The Saddows create a sound that pays homage to early sixties sound of Cliff and his Shadows. Indeed, the sound is totally accurate. Listening to the guitar playing, you’re almost convinced that you’re listening to guitarist Hank Marvin in his prime. For anyone who grew up in the sixties, this will bring back good memories.
Many years ago, I saw Chaka Khan in Glasgow, and the support act that were The James Taylor Quartet. Truly, they lifted the roof off, with their own unique brand of Acid Jazz. Among the tracks they played that night was Blow Up, a single from 1987. It has the trusty Hammond organ at its heart, driving the track along. With a sound that references Booker T and The MGs, this is all that’s good about Acid Jazz. Think vintage Hammond organ players like Charles Earland, Booker T. Jones, Jimmy McGriff and Jack McDuff and this is what the track sounds like, but speeded up. For four minutes, you’re taken on a journey into Acid Jazz, by one of its most practiced purveyors, the brilliant James Taylor Quartet.
My final choice from Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1 is one of the best tracks on the compilation, Magnus Carlson and The Moon Ray Quintet’s Big Fat Trap. This was a single released in 2011 on the Acid Jazz label. It’s a joyous, uplifting track, where bursts of punchy horns, a myriad of percussion, handclaps and driving rhythm section combine. They bring the track to life, injecting energy and passion. Magnus’ vocal is full of emotion, impassioned and powerful. A Hammond organ drifts in and out of the track, adding an atmospheric and melancholy sound. Meanwhile, horns blaze and frenzied percussion help create four minutes of joyful, infectious and irresistible music.
Since I received Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1 I’ve hardly stopped playing it. Each time I listen to the compilation, I’m enthralled, transfixed from its opening bars to its closing notes. Every one of the twenty-one tracks tantalizes and is a winner. Snowboy unearths more than his fair share of hidden gems. Each of artists on Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1 are ones that Snowboy knows personally. These artists are hugely talented, with their talent deserving a much wider audience. They each have one thing in common, their music influenced from the past. The sound is described by Snowboy as vintage. That’s the perfect description of these tracks. It’s a journey from thirties swing onwards, taking in rock ‘n’ roll, rockabilly, mambo, mod jazz, Northern Soul and Acid Jazz. When you hear each of the tracks, you immediately think of several similar artists from the past. It’s like a trip down memory lane, triggering a multitude of musical memories. For someone like myself who has an eclectic taste in music, then Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1 is the type of compilation I enjoy. Both Snowboy and BBE Music, who will release Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1 on 3rd July 2012 have surpassed themselves. In securing the licenses to each of the tracks on Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, BBE music will release one of the most eclectic collections of music of 2012. Not only that, but Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1 is full of some amazing music, music that will take you on a journey back in time, through musical genres and memories. Standout Tracks: Darrel Higham and The Enforcers Baby, Take Me Back, Eli ‘Paperboy’ Reed & The Trueloves The Satisfier, James Hunter Kick It Around and Magnus Carlson and The Moon Ray Quintet Big Fat Trap.
SNOWBOY PRESENTS NEW VINTAGE VOLUME 1.
- Posted in: Acid Jazz ♦ Blues ♦ Jazz ♦ Rock 'n' Roll ♦ Rockabilly ♦ Soul ♦ Swing
- Tagged: Darrel Higham and The Enforcers Baby Take Me Back, Eli 'Paperboy' Reed & The Trueloves The Satisfier, James Hunter Kick It Around, Magnus Carlson and The Moon Ray Quintet Big Fat Trap, Snowboy, Snowboy and The Latin Section, Snowboy Presents New Vintage Volume 1, Vintage Festival