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Tuesday, Apr 21 2009 | 12:50 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

4422“Antique Soul” is the sound of one of the finest beat producers in the UK hitting his stride. That man is Smoove and this is his second full album release – his first having been snapped up by the legendary Acid Jazz label. Ask anyone on the funk or breaks scene who’s dropping a rocking beat and “A man called Smoove” is the earnest reply. So far so good. A nu-funk legend is dropping his latest album – should be good.

But it’s not just good, it’s career making good and the reason why is that in John Turrell, Smoove has found his vocal match. Throwing down somewhere between Otis Redding and Animals frontman Eric Burdon, Geordie Turrell is the epitome of blue-eyed soul. A working class family man with a voice that takes him and everyone who hears it to a place so far away from everyday life – it’s like a door to a different world is opened in your ear.

Known mostly for uptempo, northern soul influenced, funk and beats jams, on this album Smoove finds someone who can roll with him on those lofty highs but then provide the gravel voiced soul for the comedown. Songs like “Darker Dayz” and “Without You” mean that this is an album with depth from a soul that can be as twisted and dark as it is joyful.

Not that you’d know that from sitting in the pub with them. Then it’s two lads with warm accents and infectious laughter who light up a room and make everyone wonder who the hell it is that’s turning a drab local boozer into the funniest place in the world.

Their first collaboration was “I Can’t Give You Up” – a track that was never meant to go beyond a 500 edition run of a 7″ on an obscure German label. When the last copies of that run reached the heady heights of £166 on ebay with northern soul and funk fanatics in a bidding frenzy the boys knew they had found something a bit special in each other.

The BBC’s funk afficionado and occasional hellraiser Craig Charles certainly thought so. He has heavily supported tracks from Smoove & Turrell on his radio show and has even put pen to paper to write the liner notes for “Antique Soul”.

Smoove – even his mum now calls him that – describes this album as having an “old dusty feel to its production mixed with fresh contemporary edges”.

“I wanted a retro feel while keeping hip-hop production values in my beats. It reflects the different styles I play in my DJ sets – soul, latin, funk, jazz, easy listening, northern soul and hip-hop. I’m a real crate digger and only play vinyl in my DJ sets. I found an amazing track by 70’s songwriter Lynsey de Paul that we sampled for “You Don’t Know”. Normally samples take forever to clear but someone played it directly to Lynsey and she loved it. We got everything cleared the same day”.

The lyrics that Turrell brings to the game reflect his own life experiences, from his relationship with his wife and family to his binging habits over cigarettes and alcohol. But while he deals with everyday subjects, his lyrics are never mundane, finding beauty in the ordinary and elevating the everyday to poetry. John Turrell is a singer and lyricist who defiantly wears his heart on his sleeve whether it involves belting out his angst on dance floor fillers like “I Can’t Give You Up” or bearing his soul on the deep and funky “Darker Dayz”. Brought up by family members on a diet of Steely Dan, Free, Joni Mitchell and Cream he takes influences from all of those but as he grew older it was the soulboy delivery of Stevie Wonder, George Benson and Donald Fagan that started to inform his musical education. Coupled with a vintage crate digger like Smoove and that delivery is turned into a funk weapon of the highest order!

“Sure to be one of the best albums of 2009. This should be the future of soul music in my book!” DJ Andy Smith (Portishead)


01. Hammond
02. I Can’t Give You Up
03. You Don’t Know
04. The Difference
05. Hypnotised
06. You Got Me Bad
07. Beggarman
08. Don’t Go
09. Darker Days
10. Latin Groove
11. Without You

The album Smoove & TurrellAntique Soul” (Jalapeno) is going to be released April 24, 2009.

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