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MARTHA HIGH: Tribute To My Soul Sisters (2017)

Record Kicks must be feeling pretty smug having signed the late great James Brown’s legendary funky diva Martha High for an album of soul and funk covers of classics by High’s peers from back in the day. Well you would wouldn’t you? It gets better though, for High’s Tribute To My Soul Sisters LP finds her interpreting twelve bangers from back in the day with none other than Osaka-to-Tokyo transplants Osaka Monaurail as her backing band!

Any doubts as to whether High can still cut it in the vocal department should have been put to bed after her blistering version of Vicki Anderson’s No More Heartaches on her Speedometer collab. from 2012. And in fact material of similar quality is the order of the day here. The LP opens with Think – Lyn Collins’ 1972 sureshot – here conveyed in a slightly richer, infinitesimally slower version by High and OM, as is Marva Whitney’s Unwind Yourself later on. The torch songs include This Is My Story – a re-version of one of a track originally done in ’66 when High was still with The Jewels and You Can Make It If You Try (written in ’57 and covered by Sly Stone in ’69). The highlights though are the versions contained hereon of two cuts originally sung by Vicki Anderson – Answer To Mother Popcorn and the low-slung shimmy of Don’t Throw Your Love In The Garbage Can plus, best of all, a fat and funky version of Lyn Collins’ Mama Feelgood which trumps the cover of it that High once did with Speedometer and equals the original. And must, surely, if there is a god, become a seven inch single.
(Out 17 November on Record Kicks)

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