In 2008, the UK’s Southport Weekender or “soulful music festival” was headlined by King Britt and Ashley Beedle. It’s a pretty impressive bill. As Black Science Orchestra among others, Beedle was one of the pioneers of 1990s UK house music. Britt, a Philadelphian, was the original DJ for progressive hip-hop pioneers Digable Planets. Since then, he’s been responsible for bringing the classic Philly Soul sound into the 21st Century, and has had his hand in hip-hop and house music as well.
This two-disc release then invites some pretty big expectations. Both men stick to the Southport Weekender ideal, which means eclecticism rules. Beedle leans more toward soul music both old and new, throwing in a couple of his own compositions. The result is a smooth, dynamic and extremely groovy selection of soul, disco, funk and house sounds. The high point of either set is the run of vintage soul and rare groove, anchored by Isaac Hayes toward the end of Beedle’s disc. Britt’s mix adds African, Latin and Caribbean sounds. If you like a little ragga, salsa and samba with your soul and house, this is the disc for you. It’s certainly more adventurous, but it doesn’t hang together nearly as well as Beedle’s. Still, if you’re looking for a bit more spice, variety and soul in your dance mix, Southport Weekender Volume 8 should more than do the trick.