Life and Soul Mixtape 1

Life and Soul Mixtape 1 October 2009

Now available for Download – Please email me for the link or lower quality version available here –



1. Back on the Block – Imessiah Soul
2. Lost without you – Soulem
3. Angel – Colie Williams
4. Take Time – Chris Rob
5. Gotta be me – Innosphere
6. Complicated – Steve Wallace
7. All an illusion – Speek Greene feat Kenny Wesley & Kev.O
8. Obsession – Jeremiah
9. So Inspired – Big Brooklyn Red
10. Let’s Run Away – Darnell Kendricks
11. Transitions – Julie Dexter
12. Right On (Club Remix) – Michaux
13. Trust You – Heather Park
14. Guilty – Mo Molokwu
15. Mad Love – Nikki Wade
16. Emotional – V-Rich
17. Billyclub (Remix) – Wayna ft Wale

Artists Websites
Soulem Productions –
Colie Williams
Innosphere –
Big Brooklyn Red
Heather Park
Julie Dexter
Mo Molokwu –
Darnell Kendricks
Imessiah Soul
Steve Wallace
Chris Rob
Kenny Wesley
Jeremiah (launching soon)
Nikki Wade

Thanks to all the above artists and their management teams –
Fiona Bloom – The Bloom Effect –
Hasan Brown – Puzzle Marketing –
Steve Francis – Stush Music –
Keyonne Brooks –
Mathieu Karsenti- Soulem Productions –
Mike Dawson – Ketch a Vibe Records
IcreeUPree – Joli Harris

Drops – Lenora Jaye, Monet, Darien, Heather Park, April Hill, Lorenda Robinson, Steve Wallace

Life and Soul Promotions are responsible for: –
Website –
Indie Soul Mixer Concept and Events
Soul Freedom – Radio Programming and DJ Outlet – Radio Cardiff – Rhythm and Soul Radio
Development of new Independent Soul Artists
Bristol – Cardiff – Atlanta – New York – Los Angeles (2010)

Leela James – Let’s Do it again

New music from the wonderful Leela James!

Leela James “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”:

Let’s Do It Again, is Leela’s long-awaited follow-up to her powerful debut which scanned over 200 000 units. The new album delivers a powerful set of soul music, recorded with her own band in the studio. Highlights include Leela’s interpretation of such well-known songs as Etta James’ “All The Way Down” and John Legend’s “We Don’t Have To Change” as well as previously unexposed gems.

Leela James Celebrates the Enduring Power of Soul Music on Shanachie Debut “Let’s Do It Again”

When Leela James decided to call her new album LET’S DO IT AGAIN, it wasn’t necessarily because she happened to record a profoundly soulful version of that Staples Singers classic. There was a deeper meaning involved for her as one of the most acclaimed soul singers of the new generation. It was all about pursuing her vision of music, the kind she sang about on the song simply titled “Music” on her best-selling debut CD, on which she name-checked Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan and wondered “where’s the music gone?” For LET’S DO IT AGAIN, Leela was determined to make music the old-school way, just like they used to do at Stax, Motown and Muscle Shoals, recording live in the studio to capture the spontaneous magic and raw emotion that can only come by recording an in-the-moment performance where the singer feeds off the energy of the musicians. It was a courageous move but Leela was up for the challenge as
she translates classic soul into her own contemporary style with unique interpretations of a wide-ranging set of songs. The results leap out of the speakers, making LET’S DO IT AGAIN an irresistible experience of joyous, organic, funky, soul music that is all too rare these days. Slated for March 24th on Shanachie Entertainment, LET’S DO IT AGAIN, is a triumphant sophomore effort from one of the most electrifying singers on the scene today.

“I love real music,” Leela explains, “meaning I love instruments, I love real musicians playing. I most enjoy performing with my band because I get energy from the crowd and the instruments; it really does something for
me. So the opportunity to go into the studio and combine that live energy with the studio was just a blessing.”

The spontaneous nature of the music-making on LET’S DO IT AGAIN, which Leela produced, can be heard on the session multi-tracks. When Leela and the band kick into a funk version of The Rolling Stones classic “Miss You”, a song she has been performing at concerts for some time, the groove initially is tight but not exciting enough for her taste. “I want you to slow it down, make it FONKY, more dirty,” Leela instructed her musicians. They hit it again and you can hear Leela singing to the engineer, Marc Fuselli: “Marc I want you to hit the record button and let it roll…let it roll…let it roll…we tryin’ to figure it out right now…but let it roll.” She continued some wordless wails and then began singing the familiar verses as the groove got deeper. It evolved into a tour-de-force performance. On her version of Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman,” as the familiar opening lick is played by her guitar player, Leela sings the “oh, oh, yeah” intro to another classic song, “Mr. Big Stuff.” It acts like a sample except of course she was creating it live spontaneously. She had told the  band on this one to speed the groove up, make it more “hip hop.” Those alterations transform the song into something fresh. Leela’s version of Womack & Womack’s obscure gem “Baby I’m Scared Of You,” the “steppers” groove had folks dancing in the studio as background singer Andrea Martin spontaneously dropped a Jamaican-style dance-hall rap into the tag. None of these things were planned.

Leela hand-picked all the songs on the album, choosing ones that had particular meaning for her. She decided to do “Nobody Knows you When You’re Down And Out” in the style of Bobby Womack’s recording because her father had a particular love for his version of the song.
Her take on Bootsy Collins’ “I’d Rather Be With You,” on the other hand, had been getting great reaction at her shows. But many of the songs were selected because of Leela’s desire to pay tribute to the artists who originally did them—Al Green, Betty Wright, Phyllis Hyman, Angela Bofill, The Staples Singers and James Brown among others.

“We were blessed to open up for James Brown on tour in Europe,” Leela relates. “I was elated after a show to go meet him backstage and talk with him. He pulled me into an interview on camera and said ‘this is a great
singer’. This was the King, the Godfather talking about little ‘ol me! He said I should carry on the tradition. He gave me a lot of advice. I feel a personal connection with him and an obligation to keep the funk tradition

Many of Leela’s fans may be surprised that she chose to do songs previously recorded by Phyllis Hyman and Angela Bofill, singers known for a more jazz-inflected delivery than Leela’s.

“Phyllis Hyman was an amazing, incredible singer, “Leela gushes. “She had an incredible voice and an amazing range but she wasn’t the biggest artist that she could or should have been. I wanted to do SOMETHING by her. I decided to do “You Know How  To Love Me” because it was her breakout record and it’s uptempo, with funk in it, so it’s right up my alley. It’s my way of paying tribute to an incredible artist who never truly got the acclaim she deserved. Angela Bofill is still around (though recovering from two recent strokes). Her tone is very distinctive. I can relate to that. People when I was young would say certain things I did reminded them of her. I didn’t hear her much because I was on the West Coast. I was just taken by the beauty of her voice. She’s another person I wanted to pay homage to. Some singers aren’t as known as they should be and as a young singer I wanted to pay respect.”

Leela James’ deep connection with soul music tradition comes naturally.  Born in Los Angeles, gospel music was a natural part of her church-going childhood as was the blues, funk and R & B that she heard in her home, thanks to her father’s vast record collection. Her performances on the indie live circuit as well as her appearance on hip hop legend Pete Rock’s SOUL SURVIVOR II album and stints as opening act on national tours by The Black Eyed Peas and Macy Gray generated a tremendous grassroots buzz. So while her critically-acclaimed debut album A CHANGE IS GONNA COME seemed to come out of nowhere, to those in the know, it was one of the most anticipated albums of the year. With production by Kanye West, Raphael Saadiq, Wyclef Jean, James Poyser and Chucky Thompson, and Executive Produced by Commissioner Gordon, A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, boasted a striking slate of original songs co-written by Leela as well as impressive interpretations of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” and No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” and bits of acoustic blues. Dubbing the raw, soulful sound of her music “back porch soul,” Leela was immediately compared to such luminaries as Gladys Knight, Aretha Franklin, Chaka Khan and Mahalia Jackson. “Music,” the first single from the album, hit the adult urban contemporary charts. VH-1 embraced Leela as their first “You Oughta Know” artist and played her videos in heavy rotation.

The tremendous momentum that followed the release of A CHANGE IS GONNA COME, afforded Leela James the opportunity to tour relentlessly for three consecutive years, playing virtually every prestigious festival on the international circuit. She even appeared at the Montreux Jazz Festival twice and on one of those occasions, was handpicked to open for BB King during his “Farewell Tour.” The legendary bluesman even invited the young chanteuse onstage to perform alongside him!

Over the years, critics, fans and musicians alike have recognized Leela James extraordinary gifts as a vocalist, storyteller and keeper of the great soul tradition.  Leela had the distinction of being selected to duet with Ray Charles on a version of Les McCann’s “Compared To What” on the posthumously-released Ray Charles album GENIUS AND FRIENDS and was a guest vocalist on Robert Randolph And The Family Band’s 2006 album COLORBLIND, proving that Leela’s talent ranges across many musical genres. Leela James also toured Japan and was invited to perform with singer/songwriter John Legend in South Africa.

LET’S DO IT AGAIN is at once a celebration of the enduring power of soul music and assertion of its contemporary relevance for a new generation. It reveals new aspects of Leela James’ artistry and range as a singer.

“I don’t know what I fit a current mode of category,” Leela muses. “I try to just do me. I’m a soul singer but there’s a lot of music in me, a lot of variety. I love all kinds of music and people may not know that about me.
I can’t really be pigeonholed. I’m a singer. I just happen to be soulful. I don’t limit myself because whatever I do is going to be me. It could be a pop song but once I get through with it there’s gonna be some “stank” on

Modern Musings………grooves from the Modern Side with Mark Randle

DJ Spinna & Ovasoul7 You Should Be Loving Me (Original Organic Vocal) (US Wonderwax 12”)

I make no apology for starting the reviews with what is for me, quite easily the best of the recent soulful house vinyl. I’m led to believe that this track originated a few years back, but that certain parts of it had, until recently, been mislaid. The good news is that these came to light otherwise we may never have got to hear this superior slice of deep, soulful house. My immediate reaction on hearing this (once I’d picked myself up off the floor!!) was that it’s TOO good. Maybe I need to explain what I mean. Whilst some soul traditionalists maintain the stance that house music is “banging shite” (I know, such informed opinion eh?), the irony is that there is a whole strain of the genre that will never get soul club exposure because it doesn’t have the kind of heavy 4/4 beat required by those that do actually accept some house music in their soul club. The result: a void left for achingly soulful, musically superior productions like this one to fall right through into obscurity. I’m not going to attempt to describe the beauty of this cut to you, as the whole equals much more than the parts. For instance, there’s no strong, wailing vocal, but the whole thing just washes over you in waves, proof if ever it were needed that soul is best described as A FEELING!! Check this tune out please.

Raphael Saadiq Never Give You Up (US Columbia CD/LP “The Way I See It”)

Now then, those of you reading this that may be already familiar with this album will surely be thinking “has Randle lost the plot, only singling one cut out from this fine album?” Permit me to explain. It was clear from the late 80’s, when Saadiq first appeared as part of Tony, Toni, Tone on Wing/Polydor Records, that he was a cut above and had that extra something. His work since as a solo artist has only served to reinforce that view. Only when he chooses to release this album of 60’s influenced productions do certain factions of the UK soul fraternity decide he’s worthy. So what we have is a situation where, for me as a follower of contemporary soul, as good as this album is I’m left disappointed as I would rather hear the man using his talent to take things forward. Yet those that care little for contemporary soul have gone for this. Do these talents have to do this to be accepted by “soul fans”? Answers on a postcard, but I hope it doesn’t become the norm. I do fear it that it will though, as recently more artists have released material in this vein. The fact that this has also been released on 7 x 7” singles too says it all to me!! Regression ahead of progression or so it seems. Anyway, to the track in question: it’s brilliant, features some bloke Stevie Wonder on harmonica, and is singled out here as the cut that I believe will appeal most to those of similar musical persuasion to I. Check the album out to see if it suits your taste, don’t misunderstand me, it is top quality at what it attempts to do.

Eric Benet Most cuts (US Warner Bros. CD “Love & Life”)

I’m reviewing this CD immediately after the Saadiq offering in the hope that you will listen to these albums side-by-side too. Benet is another super talent from the Saadiq generation, and is here back on great form after his lack-luster previous album. The difference here relative to the Saadiq album is that Eric keeps it contemporary, and as such, whilst it would be difficult to say that this is a “better” album, it is certainly more representative of where I like to see artist’s energy directed in 2008. The killer for me is “You’re The Only One”, a lilting below mid-tempo stepper, with lovely use of strings and subtle horn work…………you get the idea, classy BUT contemporary. “Weekend Girl” is the real dance floor winner from the set, a catchy number with Eric in soulful R&B territory, again well produced with thoughtful use of real instruments throughout. There’s some nice piano work here, and great brass stabs. All told this is a quality set, with a nice mixture of mainly mid-tempo’s and ballads. Welcome back Mr. Benet…………..more like this please!!

Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band feat. Leroy Burgess Survivin’ (Joey Negro Club Mix) (UK Z Records 12”)

Our second slab of vinyl this time around, and I have to confess that it is getting harder to review quality 12” releases as time marches on. However, one or two do still filter through, and we’ll always try to bring you the best of ‘em. Believe me, this is an example of the very best of ‘em. Lifted from the recent CD “Moving With The Shakers” (did we review that recently?), but presented here in a remixed form, is this sure-fire slice of 80’s boogie influenced soulful dance from UK maestro Dave Lee, aka Joey Negro. Negro has his finger firmly on the pulse and consistently delivers the goods, here joined by the legendary Leroy Burgess on vocals. This is a dance floor cert, being infectious, aided by a great hook, which is lyrically uplifting. Good time soulful dance straight out of good ‘ol Blighty too! Essential.

Before I sign off for 2008, a few quick spins to end with. Those of you into the retro feel of Raphael Saadiq could do worse than to check out the new albums from Jazzanova (“Of All The Things” on US Verve) and The Bamboos (“Side-Stepper” on UK Tru Thoughts). The latter features a great cut “Make It Real” featuring the vocals of Kylie Auldist, with the former containing “Let Me Show Ya” with the excellent Paul Randolph on vocal chores, which is also available on 12” vinyl for you vinyl junkies. The Bennson cut reviewed last time out can now be found on CD (EU Raw Fusion), and very good it is too, with the killer title cut “Let The Love” also now making it on to the big black round stuff. The new John Legend CD (US Columbia) has its moments, but is largely disappointing compared to his previous efforts. It will win him mucho plaudits elsewhere though, as there is a lot of crossover potential therein. On the hairy-chested tip, volume 2 of the “Southern Soul & Party Blues” CD’s (US CDS Records) is now on the streets, containing the pre-release bubbler “Time” by Kashious and a few other goodies if southern soul is your bag. Also Will Easley has a new set “Sweet, Sexy Soul” for the same label, with some fine vocal performances included, and the added bonus inclusion of his hitherto sought after CD single cut from the late 90’s, “Don’t Ya Like It”. The Marc Evans CD “The Way You Love Me” (UK Defected) must get a quick mention, only not making the main reviews due to many of the cuts having already received much attention on vinyl. This is pretty essential if you don’t have the 12’s. “Essential Street Soul 2008” (UK Urban Essentials CD) is the latest in the series compiled by DJ Bigger and is the most consistent yet and worth checking out. The new Kloud 9 CD “Enjoy The Ride” (UK Expansion) is cool, with a brilliant Realm remix of one of the cuts “Love’s Just Better With You” taking things into soulful house territory. Rounding things off in that vein then, and our friends in Japan deliver a few real treats with albums from M-Swift (“Evening Sun” on Pony Canyon), and Yukihiro Fukutomi (“Contact” on Avex) hitting the mark, the latter having some great moments from one of my fave ladies, Lady Alma. On Jap vinyl, Especial bring us “Never Let Me Down” by Jose Carretas feat. Dani: more class from this reliable imprint. Finishing with a couple of European releases, and again Jose Carretas is involved, this time featuring Marcus Begg on the great “Cutting Me Up” (UK Jus’ House), which sounded real good loud at the Prestatyn Soul Weekender, and finally the essential Richard Earnshaw remix of “Make It Alright” from Lenny Fontana and Joi Cardwell, sounding like a sure-fire dance floor winner from the Stalwart label. Don’t sleep on this one!

Mark Randle’s Starpoint Radio playlist for November 2008:

Jazzanova feat. Leon Ware & Dwele – Rockin’ You Eternally (US Verve CD)

Yukihiro Fukutomi feat. Lady Alma – That Music (JAP Avex Entertainment CD)

Oli Silk ft. Donnell Spencer Jr. – That Kinda Love (US Trippin ‘n’ Rhythm CD)

Formation Soul feat. Nova Starr – Enjoy (Original) (UK Centric 12”)

Tracy Cruz – Let Me Sing (US Ivory Sky Productions CD)

M-Swift feat. Hazel Sim – Make It On My Own (JAP Knife Edge/Pony Canyon CD)

Jon B – Paradise In U (US Arsenal Records CD)

Deborah Cox – You Know Where My Heart Is (US Deco Recording Group CD)

Yukihiro Fukutomi feat. Lady Alma – Time For Change (JAP Avex CD)

Keni Myles – 4 This Love (US Keni Myles CD)

Jose Carretas feat. Dani – Never Let Me Down (JAP Especial 12”)

Slique – Your Body (JAP Toy’s Factory CD)

DJ Man X and Albert Sterling Menendez feat. Blaze

Quasimode feat. Carmen Lundy – Sounds Of Peace (JAP Geneon CD)

Love Can Change Your Heart (Blaze Vocal Mix) (US Deep Haven MP3)

Jazzanova – Theme From Belle Et Fou (Danny Krivit Edit) (EU Sonar Kollektiv 12”)

Kashious – Time (US CDS CD)

M-Swift feat. Donna Gardier – Set You Free (JAP Knife Edge/Pony Canyon CD)

John Legend – Good Morning (US G.O.O.D. Music/Columbia CD)

Kadice – Ready, Ready Love (UK Urban Essentials CD)

Sam Bostic – Still Missing U (UK Soul Jones/Expansion CD)

Willie Clayton – I Feel A Cheatin’ Coming On (US Malaco CD)

Tonya (Baker) – Joy Of Forgiveness (US Kingdom Records CD)

Doktu Rhute Muuzik (Roy Hightower) – Don’t Feel Sorry For Yourself (US CDS CD)

(w/c 24/11/2008)

1. Incognito – Step Aside (Dimitri & DJ Meme Remix) (UK Dome 12″)

2. M-Swift – Evening Sun (JAP Pony Canyon CD)

3. Various – Essential Street Soul 2008 (UK Urban Essentials CD)

4. Jazzanova – Of All The Things (US Verve/Universal CD)

5. Family Of Eve – I Wanna Be Loved By You (Remix) (US Kaydee 12”)

6. Main Ingredient – Evening Of Love (Re-Edit) (US Path 12”)

7. Slique – Rhythm & Ghetto Soul (JAP Toys Factory CD)

8. Blu-Swing – Revisions (JAP Columbia CD)

9. Various – Southern Soul & Party Blues Vol. 2 (US CDS CD)

10. Bennson – Let The Love (Remix) (EU Raw Fusion 12”)

Web –

Tel / Fax – 0116 237 5461

Email –


Mark (December 2008)

Tracy Cruz – Feel’osophy


A strong and consistent album with multiple good tracks, such is the quality of indie albums these days, you just gotta deliver…..and this one does.

Emotional Love for me is the top cut, great instrumentation and beats, lots going on without being overcrowded, plenty of drive with a neo come r’n’b feel.

Can’t Change Me is also a great track, jazzier and funkier but still against an R’n’B backbeat, and one that is capable of appealing to different generations and genres.

The duet I breathe you is a love ballad full of emotional contact.  A better day is also stong, upbeat and optimistic,

Let Me Sing, a lighter kind of tune, maybe more instant is not far behind either.

The song writing is strong and covers lots of emotions, thoughts and feelings, some of them personal I would suggest.

Great contemporary R’n’B/ Soul for now.

Tracks -1 Nothing in this World2 Let Me Sing3 Emotional Love4 My Valentine 5 I Breathe You 6 Son-Shine 7  Expression Sensation 8 Your Dreams 9 Blue Eyes 10 Can’t Change Me11 Weathered Down12 A Better Day 13 Amigo 14 Waited For You 15 Take Me  16 Don’t Leave
Links –

Info -From her presence to her music to her life’s path, Tracy Cruz has become one of the most galvanizing, all-natural wonders. Wherever she goes, she wows and astounds. Strong melodies, catchy hooks, introspective lyrics, and lush arrangements characterize Tracy’s soul/jazz/R&B creations. At knee high, Tracy started blessing stages at the age of twelve, competing in talent competitions and coming home with trophies. 15 years later, she continues to capture the hearts and ears of many through her powerful voice and memorable melodies. As a mother, wife, songwriter, and performer, some wonder how she managed such a sweet comeback; but she didn’t do it alone.

Through the musical inspirations of Jill Scott, Lauryn Hill, Sarah Vaughn, and Ledisi, Tracy Cruz has blended her favorite distinctive vocal styles to create her own rare sound. As the primary songwriter, she brings her personal observations and experiences on love and life with eloquent storytelling and vivid imagery to her songs. Her album “Feel’osophy” – (released September 23, 2008) – is the study of emotions through musical words and sounds. The 16 track album encompasses all layers of feeling such as joy, sorrow, anger, excitement, and hope.  Tracy Cruz and executive producer Allen Ross purposely used different vocal styles and musical arrangements to truly capture a world of emotion. Listeners will take an emotional journey of wonder through “Blue Eyes,” hope with “Don’t Leave,” and passion with “Expression Sensation.”  All songs were either written solely or collaboratively by Tracy Cruz or Allen Ross, with Ross remaining the musical producer. This album is a clear cut statement about the true power of divine love through the journey of life. The past few years have been a whirlwind of sorts for Tracy. This album serves as tremendous representation of a struggle that she powerfully deems “beautiful.” Despite the trials and tribulations of her personal life, Tracy Cruz has simply not lost her “spiritual being.”

Lead siren Tracy Cruz and luscious band “Smooth Session” have graced many stages such as the 102.9 FM KBLX Soul Music Festival at the Chronicle Pavilion, Maxwell’s Lounge, Voodoo Lounge, Straits Restaurant, Santana Row, Marilyn’s on K, San Jose and San Francisco’s Juneteenth Festival, Ninhonmachi Street Festival, Agenda Lounge, Hotel Valencia, Temple Bar,  Sofa Lounge, MACLA Theatre, Fanny and Alexanders, and many more. The strong, eclectic army never fail to rock the party and seductively charm a crowd. Though a young lady, Tracy is already a seasoned veteran of the industry.  She was a background vocalist for soul singer Ledisi (Verve/Universal).  She has opened up for Apl de Apl of the Black Eyed Peas at the 4th Annual Asian Heritage Festival in San Francisco. In April 2005, Tracy released an EP entitled “ILLUMINATE LOVE,” which was entirely produced by Allen Ross. Her song “For You,” featuring Kanetic Source, former emcee of Grammy Award winning hip hop/latin group Ozomatli, has accumulated national recognition and over 50,000 plays on internet websites like Myspace and Soundclick. She was a special guest vocalist for “World Musikahan with Ryan Cayabyab” show which was shown globally on ABC-CBN television network.

Tracy has rocked the stage alongside Martin Luther, Crown City Rockers, the Fingerbangerz Crew, Breakestra, Pep Love, Living Legends, and Zion I. Tracy is featured as a guest vocalist on Esoin’s (hip hop artist) album “Overdue Books”, Allen Ross’ Christmas compilation “Keys to Christmas” and Lil’ Lala’s (hip hop artist) album “Life After Death: My Life, My Story.” She has been a background vocalist for neo-soul artist Adesha and the band “Seven.” Honing her writing skills and developing a unique vocal style, she has come up with an album that has the ability to captivate the emotions and attention of listeners of different ages and all walks of life.