Sophia Darcell - Soul Eclectic

(Groove Craft)
Sophia Darcell

Review by Brad Walseth

From the first conga beat, you can feel the heat rising from the pavement down Miami way - see the tanned and bikini clad bodies striding past on South Beach - sense the simmering sensuality of the disco dance floor. The lonely-bull trumpet floats in the neon burn while the guitar snakes about your ankles like an angry cobra - then Sophia Darnell's voice - tough and sexy comes in and you are transported there to a place where tropic heat meets Motown grit and the swaying of bodies mirrors that of the palm trees in the trade winds.

Finding a niche where no one has seemingly ventured, Sophia Darnell's latest release - Soul Eclectic, melds the Carribean stylings of Sade with the super-flying of Curtis Mayfield '70s soul - and it's a combination that succeeds nicely. Over a solid funky-jazzy band, swinging percussion propulsion, bull-fight horns by Ken Watters and the wacka-wacka, wah-wah pedal of Steve Cunningham, Darcell provides a luscious spread of tangy and spicy vocal delights. She is never less than convincing in her portrayal of a modern Latin lady in (and out of) love.

"7 Seas" is the first single and it charms and delights with its breezy island approach and nylon string feathery graces. "Make Up Your Mind" and "Who's it Gonna Be" features the singer telling her man (or ex) the way it is, and you'd better listen. "Through the Desert" comes straight from the mean streets - you can almost hear the sirens wail in the steamy night. "Charades" is funked-up fun, "Senor Alverez" is a wonderful little pop ditty with an infectious chorus, while "Crazy Alone" is another soulful gem that should be a hit - dammit!

If you are a fan of Latin funk and/or '70s soul I think you will enjoy the spicy combination Sophia Darcell and her band have whipped up on Soul Eclectic. For those of us stuck in the coming winter chill, this is just the recording to help us heat up those cold winter nights ahead.

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