Reviews Zone

Bella Brown & The Jealous Lovers: Soul Clap (LRK Records) 2nd February 2024

* Album Of The Month (February 2024) *


5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



January can be a bit of a downer after the (excesses!!) joy of gathering with family and friends for the festive season, and when it is all over for another 12 months, it is back to the grindstone and dreading the bills due in the first part of the new year. However, the anaesthetic to that pain is the arrival of great new music – and for me it has started early with this retro soul and funk gem.

L.A. diva Bella Brown is a sparkling new find for me. Her new album “Soul Clap” offers up 10 cracking tracks that sound like a long lost crate-digging find from the vaults, but is in fact 10 brand new original tracks which connect the dots between past and present of the best funk and soul, and more than prove the timeless power of music.

If you are a fan of the late and great Sharon Brown and Tainted Love star Gloria Jones, then this is 100% one for your ears – 10 tracks, not one dud; opening with the title cut and closing with the radio edit of same.

Born from the creative genius of Grammy-winning vocalist/songwriter Carol Hatchett, Bella Brown emerges as a diva with a fiery stage presence, channeling the empowered female leads of 70s Blaxploitation films.

Carol Hatchett is a singer, songwriter, dancer, actress, and choreographer based in Los Angeles, since moving from her native Chicago. Carol was one of the infamous “Harlettes”, Bette Midler’s backup singer/dancers, touring the world and appearing in Bette’s Emmy-winning “Diva Las Vegas” HBO Special. She has recently been a credited on Jon Batiste’s Grammy-winning album “We Are” as a background vocalist.

Carol has been featured in the films “Ali”, “Legally Blonde” and “Legally Blonde : Red, White and Blonde”, and has worked with recording artists Beyonce, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds and Brian McKnight.

She has also recorded with recording artists Nick Waterhouse and Dave Stewart, and choreographed for musician/recording artist Sheila E. and Snoop Dogg, worked with directors Tom Hanks, Debbie Allen, George C. Wolfe and choreographers Toni Basil and Fatima Robinson.

Carol performed in “The Showgirl Must Go On” with Bette Midler at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and was featured in the ensemble cast of “A Night With Janis Joplin”. Carol is also one of the founders and lead singer of the EDM group “The BareRoot”.

Led by producer/bassist/songwriter Daniel Pearson, The Jealous Lovers assemble an impressive ensemble of A-List musicians, boasting pedigrees that include names such as Mick Jagger, Elton John, Whitney Houston, Prince, and Stevie Wonder – infusing soul and funk with elements of jazz, rock, and Afro-Caribbean influences. [I have to say, the horns and their arrangements across this record add huge value. Bravo.]

“Coming For You” is Bella‘s audacious response to the breaks classic “Apache”. “I Found You” takes a Northern Soul love song approach, reminiscent of Gloria Jones with a touch of modern influence.

“Bang Bang Bang”, an uptempo number with a funky Motown groove reflects on American gun culture. “Lady Time” takes a driving Afrobeat groove, employing brassy horns and reggae-like echoes to address the issue of homelessness.

“Fast As Lightning” celebrates a cleaner future by imagining Jimi Hendrix joining Ike and Tina Turner’s band to create a classic Chuck Berry car song. “There Is Love” blends horns, strings and vocals reminiscent of The Stylistics over a Chi-Lites-style rhythm section, to create a lush message of support to those with mental health issues.

“What Will You Leave Behind” is a revamped version of the group’s sold-out vinyl 45 release. This track serves as a powerful call to action for a better future, delivered over a straight-up Motown groove with a funky Sly Stone finish.

I’ll have worn this out by the time you guys get your mitts on a copy in February, but trust me when I say that this one is well, well, well worth waiting for. When we call this a really great Hatchett job; it’s meant as a compliment!


By Sally Fox


1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5) ‘Dull Zone’
2 out of 5 stars (2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’





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