‘There is something rejuvenating about watching The Hempolics live’ – those the words of Leftlion correspondent Martin Gascoine after watching the London-based reggae outfit win over a packed house in Nottingham last month. The soulful reggae outfit – led by producer Grippa Laybourne and fronted by vocalist Nubiya Brandon – released their debut LP Kiss, Cuddle & Torture: Volume 1 last year and are garnering widespread acclaim. Reggae veteran Cedric “Congo” Myton has even been pictured posing with the album – showing his appreciation for its rocksteady grooves, dubwise production and soul-steeped melodies.
With The Hempolics in fine form, this month’s Craig Charles Funk & Soul club is shaping up to be a special one. Funk fanatic Craig Charles steps up to the booth having recently announced a ‘Space Funk Odyssey’ for the final night of this year’s Bluedot Festival and celebrated thirty years of Red Dwarf affiliation last month. Proving he likes to dig a little deeper, Charles recorded a special edition of Trunk of Funk to coincide with the Oscars this week too. He explained his intentions to swerve tested favourites like Across 110th Street and Shaft, opting for some outside film soundtrack picks, including beautiful tracks by Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and The Isley Brothers among others.
Craig’s desire to dig deeper is one that goes back a long way. In a recent interview celebrating Acid Jazz’s Leroy Hutson anthology, he discussed his futile search for early New Tones singles, having heard that the group was Hutson’s first (it transpired that the group never actually recorded together). His passion for Funk & Soul music is unwavering and he’ll be back behind the decks after the might Hempolics have performed at the Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club on 31st March. Get your tickets while you still have the chance!