Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.
From way back when – 1993 to be precise – Be With Records have somehow dug out, with the help of The System’s vocalist Mic Murphy, a studio supergroup featuring Prince’s bassist Andre Cymone, St Paul Peterson – vocalist with Prince offshoot The Family, Mic himself and Gardner Cole – who has worked with Madonna, amongst others. That’s a hefty bucketload of talent in one room. Safe to say the results reflect the high-class heritage of the participants.
Purple-ish influenced vibes are most definitely the order of the day, then, for four swinging, party-starting, cuts that have been remastered for vinyl, and that frankly sound pretty darn sweet all these years later. It`s as poppy as hell, of course, but done with a flair and a joie de vivre that is infectious. You could happily drop these in a warm up set or a back room get down, and feet will be heading straight to the floor for sure.
I Wanna Be The One leads the way: slick, bumping pop-soul with a killer mile-high hook, built on classically crafted keys. Its super-charged funky R&B that should have been a chart-bothering hit: instead its languished virtually unheard for thirty years. Go figure. The gods of well-crafted luxurious pop music must have been looking the other way, again.
Back In The Day drops the tempo for an old school shout out that takes on multiple levels of nostalgia. It`s a head-nodding, Curtis Mayfield-referencing, jam that stays just the right side of maudlin: slow dance central. Superfly indeed.
Blue Tuesday is the standout cut for me: kicking off with a huge keyboard riff over a loping drum groove, before dropping into a mid-tempo vibe that wouldn’t be out of place next to, say, the wonderful Eddie Chacon outing from last year. Its pop, its soul, its heartfelt: its entirely wonderful. A break-up tune to enter the canon of timeless break up tunes: ‘it happened to me, it could happen to you…’. Dancing through the tears, the show must indeed go on. A minor classic in the making.
Private Time rounds things off via a detour to the boudoir for, yup, a little private time. A little more straight up than the other left-leaning cuts. The E.P. is a fascinating peek into what might have been – more gems from the extended palace of Prince and his affiliates. With an LP scheduled to follow, things are looking good for the Mighty Soulmates. Last word goes to Mic, recalling the original sessions:
‘It had the feeling of recovery, in a circle with my dudes, making music, sitting around catching up on life – it felt like living a second childhood. We just wrote what we felt. I don’t remember ‘aiming’ at anything but a great song, melding all our different influences from throughout our lives. We had no restraints.’
And there you have it: four great songs, and plenty more to come – another crucial musical excavation from Be With. The Mighty Soulmates. Poppin’ off, you could say.
The Mighty Soulmates E.P. is up for pre-order over at the Be With Records, which is also only place you can currently listen to clips.