There are a lot of great labels doing soul, funk, afrobeat and a million other variations on these horn and drum fueled genres. None hold my attention like the small Ohio label, Colemine Records. Terry Cole and company consistently bring out exciting and often unexpected treasures, sometimes in the form of a single from an established act like the Monophonics or Orgone, other times it is a 12 inch masterpiece, as is the case with The Sure Fire Soul Ensembles self titled first LP.
I have been a fan of The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble for some time as they released occasional singles. I had very high expectations for their first album and they do not disappoint. I immediately fell under their rhythmic spell and happily stayed there through each horn driven, organ backed dance magic.
Each song takes you someplace in your past. There is a familiarity with every track even as it is something brand new. The album showed up the morning of a local festival in Austin so I was able to listen to it between other horn bands like Hard Proof and Golden Dawn Arkestra. I can hope The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble join us here for one of our many music festivals.
I tried to do a little research on these guys and there isn’t more than a couple paragraphs which mention that if you like The Menahan Street Band, you will like these guys. I can’t argue with that but they stand all on their own.
Of interest to collectors, I pre-ordered the deluxe edition packaging. This is the exact same 180 gram album everyone else got but it was packaged in a handmade case, included a California and an Ohio soul button, a sticker and a CD copy of the album. The handmade heavy paper cover was sealed with a very cool, wax seal and numbered, mine being 11 of 50.
The physical album and packaging are a higher quality than many of Colemine competitors are using these days. I give high praise for spending extra for audiophile sleeves and better cardboard. To many of us, that means a lot and speak volumes about Terry and those who work with him.
This album is a must have and grab a few dozen singles from the Colemine store while you at it.