The latest edition of the Late Night Tales series is effectively the DeLorean that can whisk you back in time to the blue-eyed soul era that birthed some of the most laid-back, summer friendly soundtracks in existence. Assembled by Tom Findlay of Groove Armada fame, the man has done himself proud in putting together a compilation of smooth as hell classics just in time for summer.
His choices of songs are all commendable, and blend into one another seamlessly as though they were recorded back to back in one studio session. His talent for making mix tapes (what was once thought of as a lost art) is clear here as he exhibits flair whilst using very little mixing and a fairly subtle re-edit approach altogether. Compared to, say, Back To Mine by Findlay and his Groove Armada cohort Andy Cato, this is seemingly made in as lovingly a fashion, with showings of clear passion and enthusiasm for the songs on offer here. You never once feel as though his choices have just been fudged together like you sometimes get on this sort of release; each song has been chosen meticulously and assembled together with grace.
As someone born way after the release of many of these tracks, the album serves both as a piece of borrowed nostalgia as well as, on certain tracks, highlighting just where all those hip-hop samples I find all too familiar came from after all. Michael McDonald's 'I Keep Forgetting' inspired Warren G's 'Regulate' and, having listened to them both a number of times, it's hard to decide just who comes out on top (for the sake of this review, we'll say its McDonald). Toto and Devin the Dude also traded notes with 'Georgy Porgy' and with Devin's 'Georgy.' The album helps put a few names to the songs that would otherwise be forgotten about, I dare say; Ambrosia, Player and Boz Scaggs that have fortunately been given a whole new lease of life by this new compilation as it should hopefully open up a new generation to just who the hell they are.
Concluding with Findlay's own Balearic re-edit of 10cc's 'I'm Not In Love,' with its emphasised drop and a beautiful slight return, this is the past - today. Made to suit the tastes of the champagne swigging yuppies of the French and English Riviera as well as happy hard-corers recovering from a come down on a sunny summers day by the Ibiza coast, this labour of love is to be enjoyed both as a guilty and easy listening pleasure.
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