Wembley Experience... Frenchies and Bluenoses in England Football Temple. Check the mini-blog.

The Wembley Experience, Carling Cup Final, the mini blog is here.

To watch live football in England, is to get a glimpse into what makes some of the working class tick in this country. Some people live only for watching their team on a weekend. It's a passion.

Mark "The Mumper" Baxter.


Soul code et Funky Clichés, Englishlike version. Lee Fields and Charles Bradley on stage.

Black Joe Lewis, Eli Paperboy Reed, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones, The Dap Kings, Menahan Street band, Aloe Blacc, Cee Lo Green, Naomi Shelton, Mavis Staples, Jesse Dee, Amy Winehouse and her « genre » album (Six songs with the Dapkings), Budos band, Nicole Willis and the soul investigators… So many names are now associated with a living new soul, contemporary, far away of the multi-repackaged “golden age of the soul” compilations. The kind of cds there’s a maximum tunes on it, very great some, but a compact memory is not an open wide commitment to the future…

February the 21 st, soul was absolutely live and alive, it was sweating, breathing, and glitters were on fire and got fever, the horns and brasses were blown by men, not cheap samples, so it added a lot to the sweat and the heat of our pelvises moving and rocking, with our secret agreement even if we tried to keep cool as cool cats should be!

On the amazing “Grand Mix” Stage, built for music, appeared the ultra sharp killers of the Menahan Street band in the very unique tradition of soul, playing two titles and then announcing the singer. It’s not only a gig, it’s not a gala, it’s a review, and we felt like the Ikettes were backstage in a corner of our brain laughing with The Vandellas dancing in the streets on the opposite corner.

The drummer is absolutely elegant, nothing seems difficult, he keeps the groove and you know the pulse, not too late, but very late on the tempo, to have that so special back beat, Homer Seinwess, backed up with a very awesome bassplayer, Nick, completely cool and relaxed, sending heavy grooves with a very impressive skill, just like bass were easy. James Jamerson, THE Motown Bassist was probably laughing, up there, to see that white guy paying his due by every bassline he was playing, and he also sounded like the James Brown’s Bootsy Collins circa 1971 and the legendary Paris live LP. It’s a pulse, right in your heart and stomach, direct to your soul. Soul music is also a kind of instruments school, you can’t be a soulbrutha’ just because you’ve decided it yesterday, there’s a code it’s sharp, sexy, bouncing back in time, sensual, lascivious. The guitarist plays chords and arpeggios, no solo, no sustain, no effects, it’s clear, simple and luminous. When the atmosphere has been settled down then came Charles Bradley, first LP at last released when he’s 62… Instant flashes of all the poor slums and third class clubs he had to play and tried to wake up with his powerful deep soul voice all his life long… He was dressed in an amazing black and red suit, in the pure soul stylists tradition. He could have the James Brown’s cape… The way this man was enlightened was beautiful and very moving. His life and the very very late success could have driven him to a bitterness attitude or the survivor’s gimmick (Hey Bettye…) and he was only love and joy, peace and soul. He had the right to be in the glimpse of a twinkling ray of light approved by the Wattstax’ gods, up there, taking at last care of the late prodigal son. His voice and soul are not the revolution, they’re tradition, faith and concerned way of looking at the world, the soul becomes an expression of all the love feelings. The world is going up in flames sings Bradley and his pain is absolutely authentic and sincere. You can’t cheat with that kind of voice.

Charles thanks and thanks again, maybe too much, he loses sometimes his soul and the mic’, completely stunned by this sold out venue and a true listeners audience. We’re moved for him, he could be so bitter. It’s not James Brown, nobody said it, certainly not himself and we can feel he’s a bit paralyzed maybe wondering if someone will send him back in the Brooklyn’s clubs… to do the same JB’s set three times for 50 dollars and the meal. We speak of a man who spent most part of his childhood in the streets, he’s been cook for nine years… The only light in this life? James Brown at the Apollo in 1962… He sang in all the Brooklyn’s clubs, he found his own brother shot by his nephew. The way to forge a voice…

A minute later Lee Fields came on stage and the Menahan Street Band became suddenly et without a single change… The Expressions! Lee is a bit more mellow, feline and he feels more comfortable in a lover style, probably less traumatized by the lack of success. Daptone helped him to be back in the saddle, in soul and on stages. The Lil’JB is better on the subtile art of playing with the audience, like a sweet bullfighter to let the people be a part of the show to get the Soul with him. He knew the perfect timing to sing “Ladies”, dance floor stomper, which made believe to the usual drunk ones (they’re at every gig I go…) that they could dance like cheap 40 something clubbers, pathetic, out of the tempo in a “daddy is cool too, girl” mood. Hate the people when they speak while the music plays...

Lee moves and swings, and wraps everyone with his velvet voice, with that extra soul touch than nobody could deny. That awesome night all the soul clichés were true and, checked, stamped by Daptone. It was wonderful. Not the Harlem’s Apollo, not the mighty Wattstax and the call of Jesse Jackson when he asked to the crowd to repeat after him “I am somebody” and no more “something”. “What time is it?” asked Jesse « Nation time!» answered the crowd.

They’ve been excellent ambassadors of the soul nation and they rise up the soul flag very high, where colours are not necessary anymore. Charles Bradley will be back in those awesome dungarees of the album’s sleeve, knighted by Lee Fields. Still so moved, still so moving…When he sings “love”, it’s not the stupid rime to fit with “dove” found by a dull lyricist, it’s all the human kindness and 62 years passing by. It was time to close the night, that awesome soul review, time to leave the last golden twinkles of the horn sections, so sad to let us alone, trying to shine as long as they could. We were one nation under a groove. Yes. Believe me, Belief is all.

Soul code et Funky Clichés : Charles Bradley et Lee Fields, Grand mix. Février 2011 (French Version, English one to come)


Black Joe Lewis, Eli Paperboy Reed, Lee Fields, Charles Bradley, Sharon Jones, The Dap Kings, Menahan Street band, Aloe Blacc, Cee Lo Green, Naomi Shelton, Mavis Staples, Jesse Dee, Amy Winehouse et et son album de “genre”, Budos band… Autant de noms associés à une soul vivante, contemporaine, loin des éternels repackaging dans le style “The Golden Age of Soul” où on claquera en masse compacte le plus de titres possibles... salvateur et mortifère… mémoire compacte sans vision d’avenir large.

Ce 21 février, la soul vivait… Exsudait, transpirait, les paillettes avaient de la fièvre et les cuivres rutilaient pour de bons, soufflés par des hommes, pas samplés cheap par des machines, ajoutant la dimension de la respiration à la moiteur de nos bassins chaloupant malgré nous mais avec notre accord tacite.

Sur la scène du Grand Mix, faite pour servir la musique, apparaissent les pointures ultra précises du Menahan Street band dans la plus pure tradition soul, on joue deux titres et on annonce le chanteur… Ce n’est pas un concert, ce n’est pas un gala, c’est une revue, les Ikettes en embuscade mentale dans un coin du cerveau pendant que Martha and the Vandellas dansent dans la rue et dans nos têtes… L’impeccable batteur est d’une rare élégance, rien n’est forcé, on joue tard sur le temps, calé dans le fond, sans pression martiale, Le bassiste envoie un groove énorme calé lui aussi dans une vélocité soul très impressionnante, James Jamerson, le grand bassiste de la Motown (prenez cinq minutes de votre vie pour écouter la ligne de basse de What’s going on ?, c’est Jamerson.) devait sourire tout là haut de voir ce petit blanc mouliner aussi souplement en lui rendant hommage à chaque pulsion, comme le Bootsy Collins du live de James Brown à Paris. La soul, c’est une école instrumentale, on ne s’improvise pas soulbrutha’ parce qu’on le décide, c’est codifié, précis, chromé, lascif, sensuel, bondissant, sexy. Le guitariste arpège, illustre, joue sans susatin et sans effet, on fait clair, on élague…Le temps de poser le climat et arrive Charles Bradley qui sort son premier album à 62 ans… On pense un instant aux bouges et autres rades à matelot que cet homme a dû tenter de faire vibrer de sa Deep Soul tout au long de sa vie. Ne lui manquait que la cape de James Brown sanglé dans un fantastique et assumé costume rouge et noir… Le ravissement de cet homme était magnifique à voir, comme si, enfin, il avait droit à quelques rais de lumière pailletée consenti par les dieux soul de Wattstax qui planaient là haut, vigilants et roublards. La voix de screamer de Charles Bradley et sa soul ne sont pas révolution, elles sont ferveur et tradition, la soul devenant sous l’organe chaud une modalité d’expression de toutes les nuances du sentiment amoureux. The world is going up in flames chante Bradley et sa douleur ne souffre aucun doute quant à son authenticité. Ce chant là ne dupe pas…

Charles remercie beaucoup, parfois trop, en perd sa soul et sa micro, ébahi d’une salle pleine et d’un public qui l’écoute. On est ému pour lui. Ce n’est pas James Brown, personne ne l’a dit, surtout pas lui et on le sent quelque peu tétanisé comme s’il se demandait si on n’allait pas le renvoyer dans un club où il ferait trois fois par soir le même set pour 50 $ et le repas. On parle d’un homme qui a passé l’essentiel de son enfance dans la rue et qui a été cuisinier une bonne partie de sa vie. La seule lueur dans ce tableau noir ? La vision enfiévrée de James Brown à L’Apollo de 1962. Il a écumé les clubs de Brooklyn et il a retrouvé son frère mort, abattu par son neveu. De quoi forger une voix…

Arrive sans temps mort Lee Fields, le Menahan Street Band devenant en un éclair et sans le moindre changement de personnel The Expressions ! Lee est plus souple, plus félin, plus à l’aise aussi dans un style lover très affirmé, sans doute un peu moins marqué par l’inconfort de l’insuccès. Daptone l’a remis en selle, en soul et en salles depuis un moment. Le Little JB maîtrise mieux l’art subtil de toréer le public en lui faisant de la place pour qu’il entre dans la danse et qu’il se soul avec lui. Il saura exactement quand lâcher « Ladies », tubesque stomper de dancefloor qui fera même croire à certains beaufs avinés que l’on pouvait se comporter comme dans un Macumba pour quadra esseulés swinguant à contre temps sur l’air trop connu de « Papa veut se la jouer soulman ». On fera taire les malotrus vertement par l’intermédiaire d’un spécialiste des arts martiaux peu porté sur le peace and love de Bradley le temps de la remarque. Je ne m’y ferai jamais à ces pécores, j’assume, qui parlent tout le concert… On peut aussi aller à un concert de Blues avec un drapeau confédéré tant qu’on y est…

Lee bouge et swingue, feule et pose sa voix sur tout le monde, comme un voile de ce supplément d’âme soul que personne ne pouvait contester. Ce soir là, tous les clichés de la soul étaient vrais, vérifiés, estampillés, labellisés Daptone. C’était merveilleux. Pas l’Apollo d’Harlem, non, pas le gigantesque Wattstax et les cris de Jesse Jackson faisant hurler à la foule « I Am somebody » et non plus « something », « What time is it ? Nation time ! », le Grand mix, au propre comme au figuré. D’excellents ambassadeurs de la Soul nation ont porté haut les couleurs de ce drapeau qui n’aime pas qu’on différencie les couleurs. Charles Bradley reviendra adoubé par Lee Fields dans l’incroyable salopette de la pochette de son album, toujours aussi ému, toujours aussi émouvant. Quand il chante « love », c’est toute l’humanité qui passe, ce n’est pas la scansion ânonnée d’un parolier bâté qui cherche une rime avec « dove », il y a une vie qui passe et 62 ans d’attente. De quoi clore cette soirée, cette revue aux derniers feux rutilants de la section de cuivres fous qui n’allaient s’éteindre que tardivement, follets et ennuyés de nous laisser seuls. One nation under a groove. Si.


4 Signed Ocean Colour Scene A4 to win, answer the questions...

1) Simon Fowler said Paul Weller was the first to show them some respect... He said it on a live LP, which one?
2) Famous bros' play with OCS on Day Tripper's cover, who are they?
3) Andy Bennett is also playing in a B'Ham's band. Which band?


By the way, Niels K. Petersen has won the competition to win a "We are the mods" DVD copy, courtesy of John Hellier.

Moseley Shoals reissue

1996. The year football was coming home. Brit Pop was at its most triumphant. The Beatles were back in the charts. Take That had split , Oasis were sewing everything up and Ocean Colour Scene, the legendary four-piece band from Birmingham, released Moseley Shoals, one of British rock’s greatest records.

Fast-forward 15 years and Universal release the all-conquering Moseley Shoals as a covetable deluxe version with 2 CDs featuring all the b-sides from the album’s four consecutive Top 20 singles, including fan favourite Robin Hood and an incendiary cover of Day Tripper from the Electric Ballroom, London in 1996 featuring Noel and Liam Gallagher.

Housed in a digipack packed with rare photos, it also features a booklet with brand new sleeve notes and contributions from Paul Weller, producer Brendan Lynch, Gary Crowley and Mani, amongst others.

Released on 7th March 2011, the Deluxe Edition will be available at all good stores, and Townsend Records will be offering an exclusive A4 artprint with pre-orders.

The album will also be available digitally, and the iTunes version will include the videos from the 4 singles plus a digital booklet.

Tracklisting is:

Original album
The Riverboat Song
The Day We Caught The Train
The Circle
Lining Your Pockets
Fleeting Mind
40 Past Midnight
One For The Road
It's My Shadow
Policemen and Pirates
The Downstream
You've Got It Bad
Get Away

So Sad - from The Riverboat Song single
Charlie Brown Says - from The Riverboat Song single
Robin Hood - from You've Got It Bad single
I Wanna Stay Alive With You - from You've Got It Bad single
Huckleberry Grove - from You've Got It Bad single
You've Got It Bad (Demo) - from You've Got It Bad single
Here In My Heart - from You've Got It Bad single
Men Of Such Opinion - from You've Got It Bad single
Beautiful Losers - from You've Got It Bad single
Mona Lisa Eyes (Feat. Jimmy Miller) - from You've Got It Bad single
The Clock Struck 15 Hours Ago - from The Day We Caught The Train single
I Need A Love Song - from The Day We Caught The Train single
Chicken Bones and Stones - from The Day We Caught The Train single
The Day We Caught The Train (Acoustic) - from The Day We Caught The Train single
Travellers Tune - from The Day We Caught The Train single
Justine - from The Day We Caught The Train single
Mrs Jones - from The Circle single
Cool Cool Water - from The Circle single
Top Of The World - from The Circle single
The Circle (Acoustic) - from The Circle single
Chelsea Walk - from The Circle single
Alibis - from The Circle single
Day Tripper (live) - from The Circle single

Lee Fields & The Expressions - Ladies (Lee played yesterday in Tourcoing) Mezzo TV

Deep Soul and very very dynamic Bass, total groove... Review later.


Nick Ward's interview, part 2. Monday, live in session, BBC Wales.

1) I think you work your lyrics to share personal experience BUT you let the right distance between you and the song to let the listener finds his place? Is it true?

Yeah, you have to draw the listener in but in such a way so they can make it relevant to their own lives. It’s not always easy to get the balance right.

2) “I can live in any tree I choose” (in Till the sun no longer shines), a discrete allusion to No one like me is in my tree (Lennon)?

Now there’s a song that is more personal to me, but it can apply to anyone who stays true to themselves & what they want to be despite what others may say. I wrote that line naturally, but obviously it was influenced by Strawberry Fields....even in a subconscious way. I kept it in anyway!

3) Guitars sound is very very clear, not that much effects… to play it live as they’ve been written?

We try to play the songs as naturally as possible. But they will obviously evolve over time. With new players the sound may change slightly. I think the live versions are always the best versions.

4) You write much about time, don’t you? It sounds like something you are a bit scared of? (Just look around you)

Yeah, well none of us is getting any younger. I’m not sure I’m scared of it cause the older you get the less you are worried of people’s opinions of you. Nearest & dearest excepted obviously. One good thing about time is that you get to hear more music that you haven’t heard before. More influences is always a good thing.

5) Who are “the fools in red coats and kinky boots” ? ;)

Fox-hunters. I wrote that song after the hunting ban was introduced. Immediately after I would see these people on horseback, in their clobber, with packs of dogs charging through the countryside looking for a fox to rip apart. How civilised!

6) You describe a beautiful world with lovers, very human people, dreamers, and another one, very dark. Do you agree with that?

Yes. It’s like the living with elements thing again. The natural world is the most interesting thing, beit humans or nature. Of course not all my songs are happy, dreamy type songs....but I agree that they are all ‘real’, not fake.

7) I’ve listened the LP many times and I have this feeling, it’s a bittersweet record, with a feeling between hope, love, happiness, natural elements and a cold one, wicked, you try to avoid with the soul power of music… What you think?

I think Pink Bay as a whole is a very ‘up’ record. There are lots of positive themes running through it. Even A Map & A Pin, with it’s violent, alcohol-fuelled storyline, has a positive message of moving on, finding a new life. Just Look Around You is about making the most of what you have......& enjoying it. In fact, as I look at the tracklist.....apart from Ferris Wheel, they are all songs about hope & forging ahead. It’s definitely not Tonight’s The Night – Neil Young.

8) So what the plans for the future? Where can we see you live?

I’m currently recording new songs, with a stripped down arrangement. The next release will be a solo record in every sense of the word. I’m also rehearsing with a new band, a younger band, with ambition & an open mind as to the direction of the songs. Hopefully we can get into the studio later this year & start recording another full on band album. My label, AudioFile Records, are arranging a couple of tours for this year. A solo tour before the summer, & a full band tour after that. I hope it’s gonna be a busy & exciting year!

Nick Ward music
Pink Bay I tunes Store

Tune shock promotions

Nick is playing a live session Monday on BBC Radio Wales from 7.30pm. Doing some new songs. If you miss it it will be available on the BBC iPlayer for 7 days.