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Echo - Bought Not Souled

(Plankton Records)

The idea of taking worship out of the church and into streets, pubs, parks, theatres, festivals and more is not new, but East London/Essex band Echo have devised a refreshing new twist on it.

Essentially, they take classic Motown and soul songs and deliver them faithfully, with top quality musicianship, adding a lyrical twist to make them God-focused. The result, on this album's evidence, is a joyful celebration of some of the great music from Motown, Atlantic, Stax, Chess and more made famous by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, Jackie Wilson, but turned into a dance/worship celebration.

Standout tracks include (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher, Say A Little Prayer, I'll Take You There, Something Inside (So Strong) and Dancing In The Streets.

Great vocal performances from Marie Da Silva, Juliette Georges and Marion Rowe, are propelled by tight and soulful arrangements from the band: Paul Crick (piano/keyboards), James Bardwell (guitar), Greg Nash (bass) and Jamfool (drums/percussion). The mix of live and studio tracks is a reminder that ideally you want to experience Echo live, on a dancefloor.

Yes, occasionally the sound is a bit 'thin' compared to the classic Motown/Stax sound, and it would have been nice to have a brass section rather than the digital equivalents, but overall this is a fun and uplifting listen. You'll be singing along and dancing around the kitchen, I bet.

Russ Bravo

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