Papa Bear & His Cubs: Sweetest Thing on This Side of Heaven

Founded in 1963 by Eddie Disnute Sr, Papa Bear & His Cubs was a family band—Disnute Sr and his six kids—from Hampton, Arkansas. The group toured, recorded at SugarHill Studios and produced an LP—though only two tracks ever surfaced from those sessions. Our favorite, “Sweetest Thing on This Side of Heaven,” is a rich and soulful gospel-influenced track. Disnute Sr taught the kids to sing …

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From Brazilian bossa nova to Australian dreampop and beyond

Sampa The Great: OMG From Zambia-born and Sydney-based Sampa The Great’s forthcoming debut album, Return (out 13 September), “OMG” is an upbeat and eclectic anthem. The track’s artful video, which was directed by Sanjay De Silva, is set in South Africa and is an apt accompaniment to Sampa’s cadence. Dripping in confidence, she reminds former friends, forlorn lovers and foes that you never know what …

Willie Scott & The Birmingham Spirituals: Keep Your Faith to the Sky

The Time For Peace Is Now, indie label Luaka Bop’s second installment in their World Spirituality Classics compilation series, features a soulful number by Willie Scott & The Birmingham Spirituals. This ’70s-era secular gospel track, “Keep Your Faith to the Sky,” calls upon spirituality—not religion—and addresses how we exist with one another. Soul DJ Greg Belson compiled all of the secular gospel tracks on the album, …