Various Shawn Lee Presents: Soul In The Hole

Soul In The Hole is Shawn Lee's tribute to his favourite soul sounds from the late '60s to the early '80s and fuck me if he doesn't get it right. All 11 tracks on this short but sweet set are not only heartfelt but inspired. With everyone from Nicole Willis to Paul Butler to Darondo representing, this set cooks. Admittedly, a collection of retrofitted soul jams may not be the most original offering in 2009 but what sets Soul In The Hole apart is the utter sincerity of the performances. The variety of styles is also notable: "Jigsaw" featuring Willis is a tense Northern soul stomper, while "Something" featuring Karime Kendra and "Whatever Side You're On" featuring Butler are slow-burning Southern soul forays paying tribute to the Malaco and TK labels, respectively. The standout of Lee's revue has got to be Darondo. "Playboy Bunny" is a moving and hilarious lament from a player who's been played. Sounding like Al Green crossed with "Bishop" Don the Magic Juan, the song's laconic bounce complements Darondo's wounded assurance that he's "still the mack, baby." Soul In The Hole won't take you anywhere new but it's still a refreshing trip through classic territory. (Ubiquity)