Album Reviews

Jamiroquai – Late Night Tales

(Whoa) UK release date: 10 November 2003

The Late Night Tales compilation series is picking up steam, largely because of its very simple formula: Take an artist, get him or her to select their very favourite songs and throw them on a mid-priced CD. So far we have enjoyed glimpses into the music collections of the likes of Groove Armada and Zero 7, and this Jamiroquai selection is promising to be the biggest yet.

As you’d expect, Jay Kay has put together a collection of songs that reveal the influences of the funk-driven, strings-twinged, groove-building Jamiroquai (particularly their earlier albums). From the offset, words like “classic” and “vintage” spring to mind, and the album seems likely to soundtrack all sorts of late night shenanigans.

The Pointer Sisters‘ Happiness opens proceedings. Liner notes reveal this particular selection is down to Jay Kay’s tendency to be a “traditionalist” for the tracks he loved as a teenager. In fact, the liner notes continue in this pattern, though they are far from boring and provide a valuable guide to the tracks on display.

You can be both entertained and educated as you groove to the likes of the Commodores (“Where do you hear tunes likes these any more?”), Johnny Hammond (“The reason why I’m in the business”) and Dexter Wansel (“Please, I don’t want to go to Ibiza and hear some dodgy version of that next year”). Indeed.

The album takes us on a sonic journey from the soulful to the downright devilish, sitting undeniable classics like Marvin Gaye‘s Here, My Dear next to comparative upstarts such as Skyy‘s disco-beautiful Here’s To You or Kleeer‘s bass-oriented Tonight’s The Night.

The collection certainly provides a special winter treat for Jamiroquai fans in particular, but also serves as one of the best funk / soul / disco / jazz compilations available today. Where else could underplayed delights like Jose Feliciano‘s cover of The Mamas And The Papas‘s California Dreaming be blessed with new life?

It’s a concept so simple that you wish you had thought of it yourself, and can’t believe you didn’t. The beauty of Late Night Tales compilations such as this lies in its appeal – you don’t have to be a Jamiroquai fan to enjoy this admittedly addictive selection of tracks, but if you are a fan, then you have, on top of a great album, a fascinating insight into the world of your favourite funksters.

People make mix-tapes all the time, be it to introduce friends to new music or otherwise, so imagine your favourite artist making one especially for you. In other words, you can’t go wrong.

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Jamiroquai – Late Night Tales