[From Excellent Reception : Episode 1]
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators are a band based out of Finland who specialize in the retro funk and soul sound. The lead singer, Nicole Willis, is a Brooklyn native who cut her teeth singing in various bands throughout the mid-80’s and 90’s. She has been a part of groups like Leftfield, NuSpirit Helsinki, and an early incarnation of Deee-Lite. She even performed a duet with the legendary Curtis Mayfield as a member of The Repercussions. She has made music of various genres, from acid jazz to house.
I first got introduced to the band from the hit single “Feeling Free”. I was really blown away by it’s authentic 60’s northern soul sound. You have to remember…this was well before Amy Winehouse reintroduced the retro-soul style to the mainstream with her Back To Black album.
Fast forward to today. Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators have just released their 3rd album, Happiness In Every Style. This album is a solid listen, as expected. But, the standout track isn’t part of the main album…it’s a bonus track “Hot Sauce” that captured my attention. The B-side always wins. Unlike the “sing-song” style vocal tracks that make up most of the album, this is a solid instrumental groove, with a little help from Nicole, who hangs in the background to provide some spicy moans and a little bit of dirty talk. The Soul Investigators are totally in the pocket as they hit us with six minutes of 70’s style funk bliss.
This is an excerpt from the Excellent Reception podcast. Each episode our host, lil’dave, talks about the stories and influences around a group of carefully selected songs. Subscribe to the podcast now via iTunes.