wait, that’s not sam cooke! the ovations’ “I’m livin’ good”

April 19th, 2010

I love Ace Records’ oldies/ R&B compilations so I’ve picked some up without really knowing much about them. Some I listen to pretty frequently while a few have fallen by the wayside.

The other day this song, from the waysided Goldwax Story, vol 1, came on and I was blown away. Sam Cooke’s voice is among the top two male vocalists in pop history (with Smokey Robinson being the other), in my opinion. I knew this wasn’t Sam Cooke but if I closed my eyes, I could almost be fooled. Louis Williams does a pretty spot-on (and purposeful) Sam Cooke impersonation and with the rest of the Ovations produces a convincing and compelling track in “I’m Living Good”.

The Ovations – I’m Living Good (mp3)

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You can pick this track (and the rest of the compilation) up at amazon.

isbells make pretty, lushly vocaled folk music

April 12th, 2010

There’s not that’s gotten me out of my music blogging hibernation, but on a tip from Slowcoustic, I checked out the Belgian band Isbells (myspace).

Their self-titled album from 2009 struck me immediately. Fairly simple acoustic songs with lush vocals, often in falsetto ala Bon Iver, dominate the album. (But I think it would be a mistake to dismiss this band as a Bon Iver knock-off.) The songs are melancholy and beautiful, filled with yearning.

While the album isn’t perfect–there are a couple weaker songs–and it sits as much as a collection of songs as an album, it’s still very much worth getting and listening to, perhaps on your ipod as you walk through streets as it rains, clearing your head and sorting out your own yearnings.

Isbells – As Long as It Takes (mp3)

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Isbells – Reunite (mp3)

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You can get the album from amazon mp3 or get the CD from Belgium.