That quickly turned into the desire to reissue some of his vast catalog on our label for the rest of the world to hear. We got in touch with Sunny and his son David and brought the idea to them. After getting to know each other well enough Dave said, "You have been calling us non-stop for more than three years, you MUST mean what you are saying" and with that, we signed a deal to do a reissue project on Big Crown. We then flew out to San Antonio again, this time with a scanner and a videographer. We sat down with Sunny to interview him, went through his vast collection of photos, and talked about his life and career. Sunny was even kind enough to let us film him performing acoustic versions of a few songs.
We used all of that material for our 2017 compilation, Mr Brown Eyed Soul. That release is our highlight reel of Sunny's Soul tunes. We also made his rarest records readily available to collectors at a price that wouldn't empty their pockets. The concept for Dear Sunn came to us right after we signed the deal. We wanted our artists to cover his music as a tribute to him. Three years later we released the digital album on Sept 4th to coincide with Sunny's 77th birthday. The response has been nothing but love and now we are ready to press this up on vinyl with the addition of Liam Bailey's scorching cover of "Give Me Time". Everyone here stepped up to fill very big shoes doing these covers. Bobby Oroza teamed up with Cold Diamond & Mink and made a smashing version of "Should I Take You Home". The Shacks took on the anthemic "Smile Now, Cry Later" while Holy Hive covers "If I Could See You Now" building off the uptempo dance floor energy of the original. Paul & The Tall Trees bring a crooning vibe to "Rain Makes Me Blue" and Brainstory turned "Runaway" into a haunting ballad reminiscent of early Lee Hazelwood productions.
Some of these turn out to be covers of covers. Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band takes on the funk collector's holy grail from Sunny, his cover of War's "Get Down" while 79.5 take Sunny's version of "My Dream" and change the vibe from a floating love song to theme music for the brokenhearted. Mr. Lee Fields does "The One Who's Hurting Is You" and the latest addition to the Big Crown Roster, Lizette and Quevin, do a rendition of the song that brought Sunny to Dick Clark's American Bandstand in 1963 and catapulted him to fame; his cover of Little Willie John's "Talk To Me". So as the letter begins, "Dear Sunny.." we hope that you enjoy this homage Sir. Thank you for all the music you have given all of us, it has been a pleasure to work with you and to get a chance to know you and your family. We hope everyone enjoys this homage to the living legend, San Antonio's finest, Mr. Brown Eyed Soul, Sunny Ozuna as much as we do
1. Smile Now, Cry Later - The Shacks
2. Should I Take You Home - Bobby Oroza
3. My Dream - 79.5
4. If I Could See You Now - Holy Hive
5. Get Down - Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band.
1. Give Me Time - Liam Bailey
2. The One Who’s Hurting Is You - Lee Fields & The Expressions
3. Talk To Me - Lizette & Quevin
4. Rain Makes Me Blue - Paul & The Tall Trees
5. Runaway – Brainstory
In 2017 in between producing, playing, and recording on other artists’ records Leon Michels began creating compilations of short interludes intended to be sampled by hip hop producers. Some of these wound up becoming songs by Jay Z & Beyonce, Travis Scott, and Don Toliver. These minute-long snippets were inspired by the dense moody work of ‘60s composers like David Axelrod, and Francois de Roubaix, as well as Moondog’s brand of classical jazz. Michels was having so much fun creating these instrumental / orchestral nuggets that he decided to expand on some of the ideas and create what would become the soundtrack for a movie that has yet to be made, an imaginary film entitled “Adult Themes.” The album plays like the colors on an artists pallet. Songs like “Rubix” and “Villa” are densely orchestrated with the hard-hitting drums that El Michels Affair is known for. On “Life of Pablo”, Leon’s son makes his first appearance on record and intros a song with an epic arrangement and a moving mood. “Hipps” is a drum heavy ballad that could’ve easily fit on EMA’s debut record, Sounding Out the City. Other compositions like “The Difference” and “Kill The Lights” are bare, melodic mood pieces with sparse drums and sophisticated chord movement. All of these tunes come together to make perfect backgrounds for dialogue and action. One of the beautiful things about instrumental music is that the listener can decide what the narrative is. With Adult Themes El Michels Affair has created a “choose your own adventure” in musical form.
2. Adult Theme No. 1
3. Kill The Lights
5. Adult Theme No. 2
6. Life Of Pablo
7. Adult Theme No. 3
2. A Swift Nap
5. Adult Theme No. 4
SIDE A: 1.Smile Now, Cry Later
SIDE B: 1. Runaway
It Rains Love is the 2nd album by Lee Fields & The Expressions on Brooklyn’s Big Crown Records and gives us yet another masterclass in soul. Teaming up again with frequent collaborator and producer Leon Michels and his devoted band, The Expressions, they have managed again to take a classic approach and update it. Traditional soul sensibilities are mixed with a hip-hop tinged, sample ready sound that is as much an homage to the old as to the new. Some of the songs sound like they could belong to any of the last 4 decades without it feeling like a throwback, while others are 60’s soul through and through. Lyrically, Lee runs the gamut from gushing admonishments of love to politically charged calls to action, from proclamations of God’s existence to love letters written to his wife. This record marks the fifth studio album from Lee Fields & the Expressions and we are very proud to add it to the already impeccable catalog they have created together. Another strong offering by a man many people consider to be a national treasure, the professor of love himself, Mr Lee Fields. It’s all love baby!
STAFF COMMENTSMillie says: Lee Field’s is on top form and dominating the soul genre with his distinctive and bold vocals. It Rains Love is a monumental album which sets him apart as a pure talent, taking all things soul and putting his own stamp on it.
1. It Rains Love
2. Blessed With The Best
3. Two Faces
4. You’re What’s Needed In My Life
5. Wake Up
6. Will I Get Off Easy
7. Prisoner Of Love
8. A Promise Is A Promise
9. God Is Real
10. Love Is The Answer
11. Don’t Give Up (Cd Bonus Track)
Musically, it has the infectious attraction that all of El Michels productions do. A poppy melody balanced out by the rough and tough rhythm section made this the perfect match for Shannon’s subtle and sweet vocals. The B side, “Sand Song” is a beautiful tune about an ugly subject; global warming. The hauntingly beautiful guitar melody that the Shrager produced track begins with is met with the equally somber vocals from Shannon. Reverb drenched background vocals and organ flourishes follow suit with the arrangement showcasing The Shacks razor sharp musicianship. A stand out tune from the album and the embodiment of what made iD magazine call The Shacks “classic American sounds…simultaneously recalling Sesame Street and David Lynch’s nocturnal crooners”.
“When I record, I make every song like I actually mean it. I mean every word I say. On Special Night I’m talking to my lady — literally, expressing the way I feel.” says Lee Fields. “You can tell if a song is real or not, and every moment I’m recording, those moments are real, this is a record about what people do in real life”. For one example, he cites the song “Work to Do,” which tells the story of “a guy going to counseling, drinking too much, apologizing to the old lady and trying to keep family together, doing the manly thing.” On “Make This World”, Lee makes a nod back to his early funk roots with a cautionary tale about the health of the planet. The world was designed to last indefinitely,” says Fields. “We’re the only living species on Earth who can alter that process. I’m hoping that song has a chain reaction, helps somebody put into action whatever contribution they can to change what the world is going through.” As always, sticking to the formula but pushing the boundaries “Never Be Another You” from the first note doesn’t sound like something you would hear on a Lee record, that is until he starts singing anyhow. A low tempo ballad with a head nodding drum track, sparse piano lines, and all the space Lee needs to lay down what is sure to be one of the flyest love songs of 2017.
A1. Special Night
A2. I’m Coming Home
A3. Work To Do
A4. Never Be Another You
A5. Lover Man
B1. Make The World
B2. Let Him In
B3. How I Like It
B4. Where Is The Love?
B5. Precious Love
2 NEW ITEMS
173 NEW ITEMS
Various ArtistsMusic Is The Healing Force Of The Universe - Höga Nord Rekords Singles Collection Vol.4
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