If you are new to a particular genre and want to get more familiar with its various forms and functions, its ins and outs, usually you buy a stack of compilation albums or fire up Spotify and hop through its recommendations to immerse yourself. It may be a bit unfocused but you have to start somewhere. If the genre you are looking to better familiarise yourself with happens to be soul then listening to My Soul Kitchen provides a much more effective in-road. For what Ida Sand has done here is create an album that criss-crosses the genre exploring every stylistic byway and every sub-genre route from the broad and bustling main thoroughfares to the hidden and scenic back roads and everything in between.
On a personal level Ida admits that the journey to get to this album has been a bit of an pleasant and unexpected surprise. In making this her fifth album, the musicians she surrounded herself with, “The Stockholm Underground”, contained many of her idols, musicians she would sneak into clubs as a teenager to marvel at. In particular many of the musicians found here, Henrik Janson, Lars DK Danielsson, Per Lindvall and Jesper Nordenström were part of Nils Landgren’s famous Funk Unit. It isn’t everyone who gets to work with their heroes.
My Soul Kitchen covers a lot of ground, it is why it works as a wonderful sampler for the genre, and is chock full of the coolest original music alongside some iconic standards given a new coat of vibrant sonic paint. Crash and Burn feels like it is already part of the esteemed musical canon and If You Don’t Love Me is a gorgeous and subtle boy-girl duet which shimmers with spacious perfection. And along side those original compositions there are some brilliantly reworked stalwarts too. CCR’s Born On The Bayou moves from roots rock to uptown jazz infused sleekness, It’s Your Voodoo Working replaces punchy R&B for sultry soul and Take Me To The River manages to retain all the passion and emotion of the Al Green original.
If you thought that soul music was a fairly narrow bracket then you need this album to help you collect your thoughts, work out the different takes on this very broad genre and use this new found knowledge to explore further.
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If you already know your way around the subject then you will appreciate what a fantastic job Ida Sand does in both keeping the flame alive and ensuring the genre moves confidently into the future.