Smoove had met keyboardist Mike Porter through the local music scene in Newcastle and recruited him for his ‘Smoove Live’ project for the label Acid Jazz. Around Mike’s house one day they overheard a neighbour singing sublime melodies in his garage with friends which turned out to be none other than a young John Turrell practising in a band called ‘The Stevies’. After a couple of further sessions ‘scouting’ him they finally knocked on the door and had a chat and hit it off straight away.
A man of many facets, John Turrell was a skilled carpenter, working and teaching the trade to apprentices at a local college as well as his musical endeavours. After the trio performed several gigs together with various other guest musicians it was agreed they would create some new material and so they started to write and arrange a clutch of tracks that Smoove would record and produce.
Their first track was the now classic ‘I Can’t Give You Up’ recorded at Mike Porter’s house as his Hammond Organ was immovably wedged in his utility room! If you listen closely to the (now extremely expensive) original 7-inch recording released on the German label Club Tikka you can still hear Mike’s mum retrieving a pack of peas from the freezer… The track was so popular in the underground Mod and Northern soul scene all initial 500 pressings of the record sold out, resulting in online bidding wars, with the record going for as much as £166.
The first few tracks were received with a rapturous response and their newfound northern soul style demanded that a Smoove & Turrell live band was formed so they swiftly filled out their ranks with a crack team of like-minded Geordie musicians. Now as a full soul band they were creatively allowed to really stretch their legs both live and in the studio and their debut, Antique Soul was released in 2009 on Jalapeno Records.
As always though with Smoove & Turrell the highs and the lows of life are represented and the hard time realism of some of the lyrics is tempered by the irrepressible dancefloor euphoria of others.
Never one to rest for long, the Georgie soul crew return with a stunning fifth album Mount Pleasant, after the success of Crown Posada, which gave the band multiple BBC Radio 2 playlists and 6 music spins. An album which true to their style draws on subject matters which are aimed to make us stop and think, with songs such as the politically charged ‘Hate Seeking Missile’, balanced fittingly with uplifting stompers, such as ‘I Feel Alive’, guaranteed to get even the most resistant of dancers toe-tapping.