PLAYERS From Six Corners Sanctuary DQFCD017 (2005)
Players have an interesting pedigree with organist Mick Talbot and drummer Steve White working together since a gig with Paul Weller in Style Council days. I remember in the 90's they released an excellent jazz-funk album of their own, 'Off The Beaten Track', still well worth tracking down.
This is the second album under the 'Players' moniker and it features Kelly Dickson on vocals. The band's brand of soul-jazz-rock has some affinity with, er, Affinity, the band that featured Mo Foster in their line-up back at the turn of the sixties.
Kelly has a white soul sister delivery not dissimilar to Linda Hoyle on those seminal Affinity albums, at times evocative of the great Jenny Hahn (Babe Ruth), Lydia Pense of USA seventies band Cold Blood, but not quite as bluesy as Maggie Bell.
The album is locked in a soulful, bass heavy and decidely cool vibe with excellent musicianship throughout and some standout tunes including the opener 'What's Your Problem', 'No Big Deal', 'Wonderful' and the bustle of 'Find Your Way'. This is white soul but with plenty of balls.
Guitarist Ken Papenfus takes the mic for 'It's Not Over Now' which slows the tempo in best Average White Band tradition. 'All The Good Things' is essentially instrumental, and provides a nice touch of contrast whilst 'Alone' is more urgent, with a fine vocal performance from Dickson against an insistent funk beat. 'Isaac's Boogaloo' is a good showcase for Talbot and harks back to the classic soul organ combos such as Booker T and could even be an update of the late great Billy Preston's 'Billy's Bag'.
Lots of references, then, but a consistency in the grooves makes this worth investigating.