Archive for January, 2008

New Ace Records releases

by Modculture 31 January, 2008

It’s probably fair to say that ‘various artists’ rhythm & blues compilations are not issued with enough regularity to satisfy most blues fans (often insatiable) appetites. So when one does get released it is always worth stopping and taking note. Ace Records can always be relied upon to anthologise the output of great, small US labels, and this is what they are now doing with Dolphin.

On With The Jive! 1950s R&B From Dolphin’s Of Hollywood Volume 1‘ is Ace’s first release since acquiring the rights to the back catalogue of John Dolphin’s many labels based in downtown LA. This first volume, compiled by Tony Rounce, contains many unreleased versions of songs released on the Dolphin of Hollywood label. Pure, unadulterated west coast r’n’b joy!

Also, 2008 sees the 20th anniversary of Eddie Piller’s Acid Jazz label, and Ace Records imprint BGP continue their repackaging of the labels best and most important work with the release of an extended version of The James Taylor Quartet album ‘In The Hand Of The Inevitable‘. The label’s biggest signing and the band biggest album, it contains a number of modern soul classics that still get played out today (e.g. ‘Stepping Into My Life’). If you haven’t heard it before then perhaps now is the time to check its fine pedigree out.

On With The Jive! was released on Monday and is available from here

In The Hand Of The Inevitable was also released on Monday and is available here.

Chess Records story to be made into film

by Modculture 31 January, 2008

The legendary blues label Chess Records were responsible for some of the best blues and rock’n’roll records of last century. Established by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess in Chicago in 1949, artists that appeared on their releases included John Lee Hooker, Elmore James, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and Etta James. And now the story of Chess Records is to be turned into a Hollywood movie.

The picture, entitled Cadillac Records (a reference to when the Chess brothers would
sell records from the trunk of their car) will see Beyoncé once again on the big screen (following her appearance in Dreamgirls), this time playing Etta James! Also signed up for the film is Adrien Brody will play the role of Leonard Chess, and Jeffrey Wright will star as the one and only Muddy Waters.

The film, produced by Sony BMG Film, begins shooting
in March in New Jersey and Mississippi (although why it isn’t being shot in Chicago is baffling), with an expected released date of early next year. So plenty of time to get excited and once again listen to those old records in anticipation. May we recommend you start with Etta James, and perhaps some Chuck Berry too.

Set The Tone 67 new dates

by Modculture 30 January, 2008

Continuing to pack in the skins and mods, Set The Tones 67 is the night to satisfy your ska and reggae cravings on a regular basis. The "rogues in brogues" have a monthly Saturday residence at The Social in London’s West End, with resident selectors Dean Thatcher, Stephen Saunders & Nick Avinit joined by a guest DJ each month. They have just announced the latest batch of dates and guests:


It’s free to get in and runs from 7pm – 1am. Arrive early to guarantee entry as the night is very popular!

For more information check the Set The Tone website here and the Myspace page here.

The Alan Bown Set story

by Modculture 30 January, 2008

The release of Alan Bowns’ biography has just come to our attention. The Alan Bown Set were a popular club ‘soul revue’ style band in the mid-60s and were regarded as an incendiary live act. Signed to Pye Records initially (the singles from this period are still highly sought after), they progressively developed their sound and began writing more of their own material and releasing, for various labels, some great psychedelia-tinged music into the early 70s.

The Alan Bown Set: Before and Beyond contains many never before seen images, and along with contributions from many of their musical contemporaries Bown lays bare the personal and musical story of his band.

The 230 page book is only available in hardcover,  so you’ll have to stump up £18.99 for it. Though any fan of the band will tell you it’s worth every penny we’re sure.

To buy the book visit the publisher Badland‘s website here.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings UK tour

by Modculture 29 January, 2008

Everyone’s favourite modern-day vintage soul/funk outfit Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings are touring the UK and Ireland, throwing in an appearance on Jools Holland’s Later… as well.

The dates are all in April, where you’ll catch them at:

10th Button Factory Dublin
11th Mint Lounge Manchester
12th Concorde 2 Brighton
13th Yardbird Birmingham
15th The Sage Gateshead
16th 17th 18th Jazz Café London
19th Fiddlers Bristol.

Find out more at the Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings website

Via Electric Roulette

New wild blues bands

by Modculture 29 January, 2008

It seems to us here that a few new bands are forming around Europe recently who are executing a wild take on 1960s rhythm and blues. From London we have King Salami & The Cumberland Three, who recently released their first single on Butterfly Records. In King Salami they have a fantastic showman (who passion and knowledge of r’n’b is exemplary) and a frantic backing band, all of whom have worked in several hot rockin’ London combos over the past few years – and know how to put on a show. And indeed you can catch their live act most weekends somewhere in the capital and often beyond too.

And following the recent coverage of The Branded, here is another dose of heavy r’n’b from Sweden in the shape of Stockholm’s The Vanjas. Mixing blues covers (e.g. ‘Shake’, ‘What I’d Say’) alongside their own material, they are ready to showcase their music all over Europe very soon. You wouldn’t want to miss them, for The Vanjas are sharply dressed, incendiary groovers.

Do keep us informed of other similarly styled bands forming out there; we maybe seeing the birth of a new scene!

See King Salami & The Cumberland Three on Myspace here

See The Vanjas Myspace page here

Glasgow mod scene anthologised online

by Modculture 29 January, 2008

For those north of the border this should be of great value; Glasgow Mods, a website dedicated to documenting the Glasgow mod scene from the late 1970s through to today.

The site is still in its infancy and is heavy on YouTube footage and photos that illustrate the development of the mod scene through the years, but we’re sure much more will be added in the upcoming weeks. On that note the Glasgow Mods  site encourages people to contribute, so do get in touch if you are or were once involved in that scene. There is a monthly newsletter to sign up to as well.

Perhaps other regional cities will take inspiration from this and set up a similar site dedicate to their particular stories…

See Glasgow Mods here

David Barrow Mod/Soul paintings

by Modculture 28 January, 2008

David Barrow
has exhibited his paintings at some of the country’s leading galleries, counts Paul Weller amongst his fans and designed the cover for Ocean Colour Scene’s Live At The Jam House album. He also has prints of his mod and soul-based work available on is website.

The two series probably of most interest are his Northern Soul and Mod paintings. The Northern Soul images are based around the Wigan Casino (Barrow was born in the town), with the Mod paintings being more generic ‘parkas and scooters’ images.

Many of the images of display are in private or museum hands, but you can purchase prints of the work on 300g card, signed by the artist in either A4 or A3 sizes. Prices range between £9.99 and £19.99. Or if you have the money to purchase an original, contact the artist.

Find out more at the David Barrow website