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King Britt & Ashley Beedle

Southport Weekender Volume 8

(Fabric; US: 24 Mar 2009; UK: 16 Mar 2009)

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.

Rating:

John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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