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VARIOUS: Feelin’ Kind Of Blue

I think Original Gravity is trying to break the monkey. The label seems to put out nearly as many releases as most of the other labels covered on MB put together. What’s even more incredible is (as MB regulars must by now know) that it’s 90% the musical output of just one man – label owner Neil Anderson! Anyway, here’s the next LP, Feelin’ Kind Of Blue – conceptually a break-up LP and featuring material from the label’s ‘roster.’ Mr A should probably get someone he knows to write the sleeve notes for that. Oh, hello – what’s this?

Ah yes – feelin’ kind of blue. It’s over between the two of you and it turns out all the classic lyrical cliches are true, stacking up neatly into two camps not unlike the stylistically opposed sides of an old soul 45. You know – the torch song for lost love on one side and the ‘get back on your feet’ party mover on the other? And now you think about it, maybe music could help – whether through the cathartic release of heartache or to soundtrack your sexual and romantic rebirth. After all, what have you got left now but music? In short you need a break-up album and Original Gravity Records might just have provided the very thing in the form of Feelin’ Kind Of Blue.

Oscillating between moodiness and optimism, the LP channels the best of sixties R&B, soul, funk and (of course!) blues in a bid to guide you through your misery. And if it isn’t quite the case that torch song slowie alternates with upbeat dance floor track throughout (the ‘moody’ cuts are nearly as likely to be movers as the ‘party’ numbers on this one), we should remember that the course of being in and out of love never did run smooth.

It’s the title track that opens the LP, an instrumental by the Original Gravity Allstars which combines forlornly smouldering organ embers with a feverish flute-led funk rhythm evoking what Burning Spear’s S.O.U.L. might have sounded like if its heart were broken. Up next, Raye Cole’s Find Myself Another Man is a cover of the Sonny Williamson number – here incarnated as a determinedly forward-looking Etta James-style R&B heater – while Rachel Maxann’s All Of This And Nothing (a cover of a track penned by Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan, no less!) stays in the same stylistic ballpark but relapses into thinking about the ex. as all of that determination collapses back into tears. Nestor Alvarez’ Ghosted then returns to the flute-led instrumental funkiness of the opener, finding the calm when you’re all cried out. Just as all seems lost however, side one ends on the scorchingly triumphant extended version of Floyd James & The GTs’ Sweet Sweet Soul. Whadya know? You’ve still got game!

New love is an up and down business though. Is it better than what you’ve lost? How will you move on if you can’t forget the past? How long will this last? Have you blown any chance of getting back with the ex? Enter the Latin-style, piano-led, funky boogaloo rhythms of Raye Cole’s Remember To Forget for those dancers with nothing left to lose. Help Me (another Sonny Boy Williamson cover) brings the tempo down slightly and finds Rachel Maxann deliver a yearning plea to an object of affection before Abramo & Nestor’s sax-led Where’s Wallace? returns to the R&B groovers of Side A. Penultimate cut Your Stone Cold Heart once again features Raye Cole and is the closest the set actually gets to a true sixties torch song (though even this has a foot-shuffling groove to it) which finally leaves the LP’s bluesiest number, Slim Harpo cover Shake Your Hips by Curtis Baker & The Bravehearts, to close the set with a title and groove that says ‘dancefloor’ and a tone that cries ‘heartache.’ Love. It’s complicated.
Words: Stone Monkey/
(Out now on Original Gravity)

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