James Holvay
Sweet Soul Song
Mob Town Records

A Delightful Homage to the Golden Era of Sweet S.O.U.L Music.

The older I get the more I’m drawn to Americana and Rootsy albums; but my first love as a young teenager was Soul Music; and I guess that’s true of James Holvay too as this delightful homage to the Golden Era certainly proves.
I certainly didn’t know what to expect when I first played this EP last week; especially as the cover shows a grey haired white guy looking a bit like Jeff Goldblum or even Tom Hanks …… so when the dancetastic Working On It came out of the kitchen speakers I couldn’t stop myself shuffling along as I buttered my toast (not a euphemism!). Man …… what a smooth and, cooool voice this cat has; and alongside producer Steve Cohen and engineer Cameron Lew can put together a melody and groove worthy of Stax, Atlantic and Philadelphia International too; with occasional nods to what I know as Northern Soul.
The title track, Sweet Soul Song comes at you like a warm wind a Spring morning; and while Holvay sings about being on the Southside of Chicago ‘dancing till dawn’ in 1963; this is the type of Soul Music I was dancing to in the Black Cat Disco (above an undertakers) in Stanley Co. Durham in 1975/6 …… but it; alongside the other four tracks here are absolutely timeless in my mind.
The only sad thing about this release is that I don’t know where it fits in any more; as all of the Soul Radio stations are ‘Golden Oldie’ based; and in my experience only seem to own one copy of That’s What I Call Soul and play it on random 24 hours a day; and the current resurgence of Modernist/Soul Clubs across the UK seem fixated the other way; unearthing genuine old treasure i.e. songs you never heard first time around …… but if James was to print up a 100 45 RPM copies of Love Has Found A Way with Talkin’ About It as a B-Side; plaster a white label on them and knock them out on E-Bay with subtle hints to them maybe being rare songs by Curtis, Major Lance, Don Covay or in the case of the latter ….. my personal favourites; The Tymes …. the DJ’s would crawl over each other to buy them!
Speaking of The Tymes; that’s who I thought of when I first heard the bum-hugging smoocher, Still The Fool; which made me go weak at the knees. Remember when we used to have a ‘last song of the night’ at Discos? Well; my friend this would have been a nailed on floor-filler; and later when you got home (alone) you’d melt the vinyl playing it over and over again thinking about ‘the one that got away’.
Hence; Still The Fool is by far my Favourite Song here; and as I type I can’t help thinking about …… no ….. you don’t need to know her name….. it was half a century ago …….. sob.
Seriously, obviously coming from a group of musicians etc. who love and loved this type of Soul Music this is a peach of a release; all hits ….. and no sh**!

Released April 16th 2021


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