At the beginning of the second quarter of 2016, David Pattillo (aka Strange Majik) released ‘Raised On Rock ‘n’ Roll’, an exploration of rock and blues styles that celebrated a love of music. It was arguably the best album released that year.

As he then set about busying himself with other extra curricular projects, it seemed fair to think there wouldn’t be any more new music from Mr. Majik for a time. …And then, in March 2017, he dropped a new EP without any real prior warning. Why the need to follow up such a great work so quickly? Simply put, the awful political climate in the US inspired Pattillo to make his thoughts public. In his own words: “We got a soul crisis. USA 2017. A white power machine in the white house and a protector seems nowhere in sight. Don’t let the demagogue get you down. Get out and represent your people, show your love, and keep the faith.”

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BONGO & THE SOUL JAR – What Have You Got To Lose

bongo soul jar lpThe Black Milk Project released their debut EP ‘Holes‘ in March 2016. By the time the recording had been made available for streaming and purchase via Bandcamp, it had already been a case of all change for the Sheffield based jazz poppers with vocalist Delia Taffler having moved on. Guitarist Kris McAdam had other projects and interests on the go, however, and his funk pop outfit Bongo & The Soul Jar had already set about recording their debut full length. That debut, ‘What Have You Got To Lose’, is a brilliantly professional work with it’s core sounds culled from a late eighties and early nineties vintage. While the musicianship is strong, it’s never overly showy: each play of the album uncovers the work of a very natural sounding musical unity; the funk grooves that lie at the core of the best tracks possess an almost timeless quality.

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strange majikStrange Majik mainman David Pattillo is a well known studio hand from New York, whom between 2011-2013 was most often seen as half of garage blues duo The Dead Exs.  After two excellent albums in that stripped back and distorted style, his Strange Majik project finds the multi-instrumentalist spreading his wings.  Pattillo’s Strange Magik guise is primarily a vehicle to experiment with a world of music that largely would never have fit The Exs straight ahead mood and also allows him to work with a revolving cast of musicians and vocalists.   The end results straddle funk and r ‘n’ b, with a swathe of old fashioned psychedelic guitars beefing up the sound – the message here is to close your eyes, open your mind and feel the majik.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Dan Reed Network – Islington Academy, London 10/06/2014

In their original lifespan, the Dan Reed Network left the world three albums of superb funk rock. Poppy yet sophisticated, the band’s best work – though very of the period in which it was conceived – remains much loved by their cult of fans.  During those seven years, the band also released a string of should’ve been hit singles, though rarely troubled the charts.  Why DRN never really made it past cult status is a mystery – a multiracial act with a magazine-friendly image; backing from a major label; a tour with The Rolling Stones…surely they should’ve had the world on a plate. Most importantly, though, they had those songs: so accessible, so hooky and yet so overlooked.  Following their split in 1993, frontman Dan Reed ventured into with acting, appearing in a Red Shoes Diaries production and a couple of other things (including a self-written movie named ‘ZigZag’, which may or may not have started life as a project called ‘The Ocean’) and also owned a nightclub.  He dabbled with music, too, recording an album with Adrenaline Sky – including members of defunct funk-rock band Maggie’s Dream – and later released solo works, though nothing quite hit the heights of the Network’s peak.

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Hear new track from upcoming Booker T. Jones album

On August 12th 2013, Booker T. Jones unleashes his new album ‘Sound The Alarm’. Featuring collaborations with Estelle, Gary Clark Jr. and others, reports suggest the album marks a return to the gritty sound with which the legendary Stax musician originally made his mark.

As part of the launch for the album, Mr Jones is set to play a four night residency at London’s Ronnie Scott’s between August 14th and 17th.

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