Craig Charles dwarfs the competition with his shit-kickin' bass thumping Soul and Funk Album

Actor, stand up, poet, radio presenter and club DJ Craig Charles has been a dedicated soul boy from a tender age, in fact he was raised on the sounds of sweet soul music.

Craig Charles

Such was his old man's love of music that when he came over from Guyana in the West Indies; he brought his record collection with him, and in the mid to late 60's when Liverpool swung to the sound of The Beatles, The Charles residence grooved to a different beat.


There was always Ray Charles playing in the house, The Platters, Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding. My Dad would play all this old stuff. In fact I was very close to getting called Otis when I was born!  Says Charles

One of my earliest memories is my mum and dad dancing around the kitchen to Ray Charles' I've Got A Women. I remember the look of sheer joy and exhilaration on their faces. I was hooked! Craig Charles

For his debut CD Craig has teamed up with Freestyle Records, together they've created a 19 track compilation album that best represents the music he plays on his Saturday night BBC 6 music show and down at his Band on the Wall club night.

I play shit-kickin’ bass thumping - songs to get the party started. he enthused.


Testament to the quality of the compilation the cuts are genuinely timeless; I can't tell if the tracks are originals from the 60’s 70’s or present day recordings; I confessed.

A lot of them are new recordings, some are done in the old style and the covers are brilliant, the Seven Nation Army track by Alice Russell and the incredible Bongo band’s cover of satisfaction – man; when those bongos take off it’s just brilliant, when you play that live and loud in a club - people go crazy. It’s an exciting album, it’s exciting music, I’m really proud of it.

This release represents the first of 3 compilation albums planned for release on Freestyle records.

I imagine there are a lot of people who find the genre a bit deep and heavy but one thing I notice about your compilation is that it has a real commercial tone & it offers a great introduction to the genre. Was that the intention?

Exactly, that’s what we try and do with the radio show, we work hard to make it all encompassing.


When you come to our Band on the Wall night there’s a great mixed age audience, you know from 18 year old girls and boys mixing it up with funk and soul fans in their 40’s 50’s and 60’s.


We really do try to appeal to everyone without compromising the music. I think we’re dead lucky that we focus on music that’s based on the golden era of Black American Music; because it's difficult to find a bad tune.


Funk and soul has moved on, it’s edgier,
it doesn’t have to be slick and smooth - it can be a lot grittier.

I was a Dj for over 10 years; playing mostly soulful house in Ibiza and Africa and I would have loved to have dropped some of these cuts...

Oh thank you, it is good, I’m glad you like it man. I might be a bit biased because its music I love and I want to share it with as many people as I possibly can.


Lots of people think Funk and Soul is what I would describe as RnB which is really just black pop music, they think it’s people like Lemar, or Marvin Gaye and the reverend Al Green and alike, don’t get me wrong; I love Marvin Gaye but funk and soul has moved on, it’s edgier, it doesn’t have to be slick and smooth and it can be a lot grittier.

The genre is huge and I’ve just tried to marry as many of the different styles as I can into the album, there’s a bit of Ska in there and a bit of Reggae, I thought that was important because I do like to drop those styles into the club sets.

We wanted to make the Album a journey, we start off high tempo; Bang - here we are!  And we really raise the roof and get everyone up and excited but you know you can only maintain that red hot maximum pace for a certain amount of time, people need to chat, have a drink at the bar, that’s when we drop it down by introducing a bit of Ska like track 7 (A time for) and Seven Nation Army - then slowly bring it up again, throw in a few instrumentals, keep building it up and up and up until the roof’s come off!


Craig's gaining a solid reputation as a real music aficionado, his radio show is the longest-running show on BBC 6 Music and has had the highest audience share of any programme on the network. All the while he's been working five days a week on 'Corrie' playing the taxi driving, soul music fanatic Lloyd Mullaney and this year he's also recorded Red Dwarf X. He's the living embodiment of someone who loves what they do.

I don’t see playing music as a job, people are amazed I work all week and then I’m out playing music at the weekend but I don’t see it as work, I get to go to all the cool parties and I get to choose the tunes that everyone’s listening to. I like to think I’d be going to the club anyway, at least this way; I’m getting paid for it!


Craig Charles


I've listened to the album more than a few times and i'm gonna throw it out there and say my favourite track is the Smooth and Turrell cut 'Hard work' - what's your favourite? Maybe one that has a special meaning for you?

That’s difficult for me, it really is like trying to choose your favourite from 19 children… They are all really special for me in one way or another. I do love the Incredible Bongo band – Satisfaction; and I love Lack of Afro – A time for and I’m loving Price Fatty’s version of insane in the membrane and Shaft in Africa from The Mighty Showstoppers is just wicked that was so close to being the opening track.


Any plans for a launch party?

Yes for Manchester it’s the last Saturday 24th November at Band on the Wall and i’m also planning a record signing nearer the time, If people want to bring any other merchandise down i’m happy to sign anything for them.


The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club is released on 26th November 2012 on Freestyle Records. We reckon it's guaranteed to tear the roof off any venue, festival or house party in the known universe. Enjoy and remember sleep till bedtime!


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