Review: If you're a talented soul vocalist who wants an authentically fuzzy late 1960s sound, you could do worse than join forces with Timmion Records' in-house backing band, Cold Diamond & Mink. They're in fine form here providing admirable backing to rising star Carlton Jumel Smith. "Love Our Love Affair" is undeniably attractive, with Smith's confident and emotion-rich vocal rising above the band's hazy horns, languid trumpet solos, sun-bright guitar licks and lolloping, hip-hop style funk-soul beats. As is customary, the band's tidy instrumental version can be found - and enjoyed - on the flip.
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Let's Get Together" (instrumental) (4:22)
Review: We just love hearing new soul and funk. Sure, a rare single from the 60s or 70s goes a long way in satisfying our needs, but how good is it to hear NEW music!? That's why we rate Finland's Timmion imprint so highly; they always come through with the goods, and there isn't a single EP they've put out that hasn't interested us... or flown off our shelves! This time, Jonny Benavidez, Cold Diamond and Mink team up for the absolute sexiness that is "Let's Get Together", a seductive soul ballad that is bound to lit up the room instantly! The instrumental is rather fine, too.
Review: Back in 2017, we aptly described the Jukka Eskola Soul Trio as "the Finnish horn boss's newest project". The combo is now not so new, of course, but the trumpeter and flugelhorn player's outfit remains a go-to source for quality jazz and jazz-funk material. There's more than a little Latin flavour to be found on "Tiny B", a Hammond-powered shuffler rich in South American drum rhythms and the kind of sticky trumpet solos that were once a hallmark of Herb Alpert's records. Flipside "Stick Of A Branch" is a far more up-tempo affair, with Eskola's punchy playing riding fluid vibraphone motifs and floor-rocking jazz drums.
Review: Giving Nicole a rare night off, inimitable troupe The Soul Investigators team up with killer flautist Ernie Hawks for two impeccable instrumentals. "Scorpio Man Theme" is all slinky 70s cinematica with a wry nod towards Lalo Schifrin while "Journey To The Bottom" adopts a more languid perspective with slower beats, a smouldering groove and a flute line that takes us right down to the bottom of our souls and right back up again. Beautiful.
Review: Longstanding horn boss Jukka has been cooking up rare gold for over 10 years now in various troupes and forms. The Soul Trio is his latest project, having sparked the fire last year on We Jazz. The fire now heating up with every toot, this Timmion 45" is a jazz funk inferno. "Introducing The Soul Trio" is a snare-rattling, organ-snapping entry tune while the clipped, hooky riff on "Martha's New Movement" is the finishing move. Victory is Jukka's.
Review: Finland's Timmion Records should, by now, be categorised as leaders in the leftfield soul game. Their catalogue contains a wealth of both old and new talents and, whenever we see that famous 'TRI' sign hit our shelves, we just know we're in for the good shit. Thankfully, this new collaboration by the mysterious Cold Diamond and Mink is right up there with the rest of the label's wacky, soulful mind-melters, except that here we head into even deeper quarters. The 7" contains two parts of "Queen Of Soul", a rough, wavy piece of lo-fi strumming that uses its wonderfully exchoing guitars to guide the listener into a state of total psychedelia. We love it, and we suggest you to cop one now before it pops up for the triple the price in a decade's time. Bliss.
Review: Ernie Hawks & The Soul Investigators return to Timmion with a pair of brand-new soul scorchers, and this ain't no reissue business. For real. As per usual, the imprint know exactly where to source the very best in the contemporary gear while everyone else is looking to the 70s for that adrenaline rush. As it turns out, this is some marvellously constructed soul music, right from the heart and soul, with "Cold Turkey Last Time" and "Trackin' Down" containing all the elements of fine ballads that are both future-proof and utterly stand-out. Check it and don't wreck it.
Emilia Sisco - "Don't Believe You Like That" (with Cold Diamond & Mink) (4:47)
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Don't Believe You Like That" (instrumental) (4:45)
Review: Timmion house band Cold Diamond & Mink have provided stellar backing for all manner of artists over the years, including vocal combo Thee Baby Cuffs, funk veteran Willie West and, most recently, sometime soulful house singer Carlton Jumel Smith. They're at it again here, this time providing the musical foundation for debutant Emilia Sisco. Her vocals - sweet, occasionally strong, always passionate - take center stage on "Don't Believe You Like That", a Dap Kings style revivalist heartfelt and emotional soul number. Turn to the flip to revel in Cold Diamond & Mink's simple, effective and dustily produced backing track, which remains the beating heart of the whole shebang.
Review: Finnish revivalist funk combo the Soul Investigators are no strangers to collaboration, having previously provided backing for Nicole Willis, Myron and Ernie Hawks. Here, they once again join forces with the latter for two more chunks of instrumental funk and soul goodness. A-side "Scorpio Walk" is the kind of cut that should come with its own named dance; a shuffling, mid-tempo funk affair that layers Spaghetti Western guitar solos and fluttering flute lines over a backing track rich in flanged guitar licks, bustling bass guitar and on-point drum breaks. Flipside "Message of Love" is an altogether deeper and more dewy-eyed affair, with woozy backing vocals and electric piano solos rising above a shuffling groove.
Review: One of Finnish funk imprint Timmion's most enduring stories; Pratt & Moody and Cold Diamond & Mink's 2017 "Lost Lost Lost" gets an update with Gerald McCauley. Not particularly known for his singing or songwriting (but very much active in other aspects of the industry) the original's raw blues struck a chord so strong in him, he put pen to paper and dulcets to tape to provide a new perspective on the track. The results speak for themselves. There's no wondering here... It's a full blown heartache conclusion.
Thee Baby Cuffs, Cold Diamond & Mink - "My My My Baby" (4:46)
Cold Diamond & Mink - "My My My Baby" (instrumental) (4:46)
Review: The latest hot-to-trot missive on Timmion subsidiary Stylart pairs the label's house band, Cold Diamond and Mink, with Thee Baby Cuffs, a three-part vocal harmony group from California whose only previous release was an ultra-limited seven-inch single last year. The group's classic-sounding vocals - reminiscent of famous male soul combos of the early 1960s - act as a focal point on the side A original version, though it's the studied retro brilliance of Cold Diamond and Mink's on point backing track that stands out. The band's authentic production - all rising horn lines, rich bass, loose-limbed drums and '60s style hard stereo separation - can be heard even more clearly on the fantastic flip-side instrumental take.