28 February 2007

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators


Good music has a way of finding you. Sometimes it has to bump into you a few times in order to register, but eventually it’ll get through. So it comes as a great surprise that I didn’t notice Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators sooner…

Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – Feeling Free
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators – Holdin’ On

I heard “Feeling Free” for the first time this month via a compilation, and it promptly knocked me for six. It’s effortlessly brilliant and bursting with soul. The album proves to be no different evoking memories of northern soul & motown classics at every turn. Just like ‘Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings’, looking to the past can be just as fresh as constantly moving forward.

The only track that has any hint of modernisation is “Holdin’ On” which, truth be told, I have real trouble categorising. It remains a favourite mainly due to some heavy organ work.

Nicole Willis hails from New York and started out as early member of Deee-Lite. Currently she lives in Finland with musical husband Jimi Tenor and recorded a number of solo albums before hooking up with the 10-strong Soul Investigators for this release.

“Keep Reachin Up” was released in Finland in 2005, but didn’t see wider distribution until 2006. Plenty have picked up on the release with “Feeling Free” gaining top position in Giles Petersons 2006 Listeners Poll.

However, it still seems to be poorly distributed in the UK with a direct purchase from Timmion or Amazon (or Marketplace) as your best choices.

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