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Piaggio Soul Combination and Lakeetra Knowles - Soultimate

  by Dave Goodwin

published: 1 / 3 / 2022

Piaggio Soul Combination and Lakeetra Knowles - Soultimate
Label: Area Pirata
Format: CD


Stunning Northern Soul-influenced album from Italian mods The Piaggio Soul Combination and Arkansas-based singer Lakeetra Knowles

Firstly, I have to ask myself who is this sound aimed at? Or is it not aimed in any direction at all? I ask the question because it has my beloved Northern Soul written all over it. Over the years many groups have tried to emulate the earlier sound of that genre and the ones who have won are few and far between, but Italian mods The Piaggio Soul Combination have gone straight for the jugular here and let fly an arrow directly into Northern hearts. The first single ‘Hang On’ is described as a “joyous retro-soul floorshaker”, so I am taking it from that it is meant for that market. One has only to view the video to this single and my suspicions are confirmed as it shows some nice moves from the Northern dancefloor. This is the band’s first album for punk and garage label, Area Pirata. and finds them collaborating with American singer Lakeetra Knowles. Pisa born keyboard wizard Marco Piaggesi and his crew recorded the album with UK producer, musician, writer and Blow Up club DJ Andy Lewis along with some of the best Italian soul/blues musicians including Sugar Blue, Fiona Boyes, Bob Stroger, and Dona Oxford. So, we have the sound and its direction. Now add the vocals of Lakeetra Knowles, native of Little Rock, Arkansas, and a Southern woman whose background is not just from Arkansas but also other states like Dallas and Louisiana, where her upbringing in church and theatre has done her no harm at all it seems. Her grandfather and uncle were pastors, which accounts for the influences, but she is not a one trick pony. She is a professional actress and singer on Broadway and of film and TV for many years. The highlights are the single ‘Hang On’, which along with ‘No Longer’ and ‘Newly Born Love’ (which despite a horrible talky intro) are Motown sounding pounders of distinction. ‘Hitman’ is a crossover gem amongst more mod style numbers, and ‘Facts of Life’, ‘I Can’t Believe’ and ‘Do it’ are Frank Popp type dance tracks ( not my cup of tea ), but there is even some Latin boogaloo on here too with ‘Se Llama’. All in all a fine addition to what is a very hard genre to sound authentic in, and I am sure the DJs will have a field day with this one especially with the more Motown outings.

Track Listing:-
1 Hang On
2 Do It
3 The Facts Of Life
4 Newly Born Love
5 There Is A Blind Man
6 No Longer
7 Borderline Breakaway
8 Hitman
9 Se Llama Boogaloo
10 Dome Slow
11 Scooter Runnin'
12 I Can't Believe
13 Hard Times State of Mind
14 By Then I'll Be Gone

Band Links:-

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