The Best of 2018

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Phillippa: Earth Child...Rebirth (Self-Released, 2002)

From 2002, smooth neo soul with big vocals from Atlanta-area musician Phillippa (Williams) who in 2005 appeared with an original song in the Tyler Perry movie Madea’s Family Reunion. She was later snapped up by UK producer Errol Henry (formally of the gospel duo True Solace) and signed to his independent label i2 Recordings but aside from one feature (from 2017) it seems she never really did anything else. The above album was supposedly re-released in 2006 (with the Tyler Perry track "Look In The Mirror" included) but either it never was or as in the case of the above CD is extremely hard to find.

Both the Tyler Perry track and Errol's feature "Because You Loved Me" are available to download on iTunes.

Earth Child (Intro)    2:47   
You Got Me Thinking    3:55   
Come On Over    4:55   
I Gotta Get Away    3:18   
Is He    3:07   
Why I Call    3:53   
Hey Love    4:23   
Gotta Go To The Studio (Interlude)    0:53   
Juicy's Got Yo Back (A Best Friends Story)    3:18   
We Gonna Party    5:16   
Blaze 1    3:53   
Earth Child (Outro)    2:42   
Bonus Track(s)    3:16   


Saturday, January 5, 2019

Akin: Akin (Promo Cassette) (WEA Records, 1998)

From the Warner/Electra/Atlantic label in the UK, a further female duo that never made it beyond 2 singles in the late 90s. Sadly, I cannot find any information about them anywhere but the larger known debut single "Stay Right Here" was produced by Cutfather & Joe and is pretty much synonymous with much of their work in the mid-to-late 90s ("Do You Have A Girlfriend" by First Class et al.) Other tracks are a mixture of 90s sophisticated laid back R&B and acoustic-driven folksy-soul numbers a la Tracy Chapman and Gabrielle. The album above is a test press and presents itself on a generic studio master. According to the inlay to the second single (which seemed to have only ever had a wide release in Germany), it was to be called "Private Party" but here it has been left untitled. I believe it was only ever released on this format and the validity of it being released in Japan is debatable. Many thanks again to Stuaaart for sourcing it at long last.

Stay Right Here 4:00
Private Party 3:42
I Can't Find My Way Back To You 4:32
You Give Good Love 4:16
It's Cool, I Still Have You 4:17
Keeps Getting Better 5:04
I Just Wanna Love You 4:25
Tell Me 4:17
Everything's Gonna Be Alright 4:19
You And I 4:01
Baby Crush 4:30
Haven't We Met Somewhere Before 4:55

Friday, January 4, 2019

Earth Gyrlz: Fully Equipped (Promo Cassette) (Capitol Records, 1995)

A further unreleased project from the 90s and not surprising, another female group. Brooklyn, NY natives, they released one single "Love Of Mine" which despite getting 172 spins at 24 radio stations on the week leading up to its release, only managed a mediocre placing in Billboard's Hot Black Singles chart at the end of 1995. A blend of jazz-infused R&B harmonies and smooth hip hop grooves, their failure was probably due in part to the label's insistence that they be an "album-driven group", focusing not so much on singles and being in no hurry to "pull out all the stops." Their album "Fully Equipped"went unreleased despite being as good - if not better - than similar albums by other more popular groups at the time. In addition to the top level production, another strong suit was definitely their close five-part harmonies. A lost gem for sure.


Got To Be Real 5:02
Fully Equipped 5:04
You're So Sexy 5:32
Love Of Mine 5:09
Do It Up Brown 5:10
Givin' Up The Good Lovin' 5:08
All I Want From You 4:25
What Would You Do 4 My Love 4:55
Come Into My Heart 5:26
Shower You With Love 6:04

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Zakiya: 7 Track Album Sampler (Promo CDr) (Seven Universal, 1999)

Touted as the next Brandy, Zakiya was signed to the A&M distributed DV8 Records in the mid-90s and released two singles (Love Like Mine & My Love Won't Fade Away) and an album. She had minimal success and a follow-up project was eventually shelved by the label after only one single. Sadly only this 7-track sampler (which was only ever pressed in the UK) and a further 12" featuring one other song are in existence. The style is predominantly smooth R&B with G-Funk and even some disco influences. Slightly out-dated when compared to the new style of R&B that was emerging in the late 90s but still a lost gem nevertheless...


One More Time 3:47
Easy Lovin' You 4:12
Miss Me (You're Really Gonna) 4:42
Meditate 5:51
Baby (Don't Call Me) 5:05
Lovely 5:43
Get Wit You 3:58

Monday, December 31, 2018

Familiar Face: Living Waters (O.Y.T. Records, 2001)

Another obscure male 4-piece group that I've never heard of before and a mixture of contemporary R&B, gospel, modern soul and a few club tracks. The lead singer and producer Wendell Noble was previously the lead singer of The Joneses (later The Platters) and has a classic soul tenor vocal range (another member Ramon Nobel may also have been a member of the former although I don't know for certain.) Though Noble's vocals more than compliment the gospel and modern soul on this album, I don't know as if he's really suited to contemporary R&B music. No mention of this particular endeavor appears anywhere in his biography. 

Break It Down 4:07
Love Song 5:20
Recipe 4:53
I Can't Wait To See You Again 4:32
Magical Love 6:06
Can I Get A Witness 4:15
Go For It 4:29
Can't Wait 4:29
Give Me A Try 4:13
Heavenly Love 4:18
Break It Down (Club Mix) 6:20
Recipe (Club Mix) 5:22

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Courtney Dennie: Bliss (DH Productions, 2005)

More obscure R&B from out the UK with Courtney Dennie, a former backing vocalist and writer and producer with major label connections (Joe, Jodeci, Keith Murray and many others he's worked with.) From the grime influences of "Cancel The Budget" to the orchestral samples in "Dirty Storm" to the smooth "quintessential" male balladeerring of  "Lady" and  his style is a mixture of hip hop, contemporary R&B and neo soul with light, melodic vocals. Sadly it doesn't appear as if he's done much since, despite being tipped to perform at Live Aid back in 2005, but is still on Sound Cloud where he seeks to "create", "unite" and "inspire" through sound. 

Intro 1:32
Cancel The Budget 4:04
Honey Child 4:12
Cant't Live Without You 2:54
Colder By The Flame 4:00
Dirty Storm 3:13
Ain't No Thing 3:35
Lady 4:02
Mo Fish's 3:01
Superficial Life 3:36
Sky's The Limit 3:44
Miracles 3:41