Arts and Entertainment

Let’s talk about sex, baby – and nothing but sex

Album: Beverley Knight, Soul UK (Hurricane)

Beverley Knight's survey of British soul highlights from the 1980s reminds one of what an underrated era that was, too easily overlooked in deference to the genre's US roots. Comparisons are inevitable – and if "Southern Freeez" here sounds like Britain's own "Funky Nassau", there's no shame in that, nor in Knight's version of Junior Giscombe's "Mama Used to Say" coming across like the UK equivalent of a Jam & Lewis casual funk strut.

Janet Jackson, Royal Albert Hall, London

A Jackson who's still a real thriller

Album: Beverley Knight, Soul UK (Hurricane Records)

Wolverhampton's finest revisits some favourite home-grown soul from her youth, making a strong case for her argument that this genre always gets overlooked when the media gets nostalgic about the 1980s and 1990s.

Album: Daniel Taylor, Shakespeare: Come Again, Sweet Love (RCA Red Seal)

Accompanied by the voices and period instruments of the Theatre of Early Music, celebrated countertenor Daniel Taylor here presents a collection of songs drawn from, or influenced by, Shakespeare, composed by the likes of Gibbons, Purcell and Dowland.

Album: Candi Staton, Evidence: The Complete Fame Records Masters (Kent)

Rick Hall, the owner and producer of Fame studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, liked to push his recording-meters well into the red, creating a slightly distorted sound-print that gave an extra grain of grit to his late 1960s/early 1970s, country-soul stylings.

How We Met: Jaki Graham & Beverley Knight

'I knew her as a singer who lived locally and I saw her in our local store when I was 10'

Plan B joins Novello A-list

Plan B was crowned king of the Ivor Novello Awards last night after picking up three honours, including the best album award for the chart-topping release The Defamation Of Strickland Banks.

Marvin Gaye: Mixed messages heard on the grapevine

A biopic of Marvin Gaye is set for the screen, but the singer's family are not happy about it, discovers Geoffrey Macnab

Aretha Franklin getting ready for birthday bash

Aretha Franklin is planning a huge star-studded bash to celebrate her 69th birthday tomorrow.

Adele's father too upset to watch her sing

Adele's "rotten" father has never seen her perform.

Album: James Blake, James Blake (Atlas/A&M)

Pity poor Jamie Lidell. You struggle for years to get across your groundbreaking blend of glitchy, fractured electronica and unorthodox soul stylings, then some young chap comes along doing much the same thing, and people acclaim him as the pioneer.

Album: Adele, 21 (XL / Columbia)

Her label has thrown the works at the second album by croak-voiced Brit-School brat Adele Adkins, with top producers from both sides of the Atlantic (Rick Rubin, Paul Epworth) and a roll-call of songwriters you’ve never heard of but who wrote half the top 10, conspiring to create a more rootsy sound for 21 than her debut 19.

Ten best erotic Christmas gifts

Marvin Gaye once said "I'm hot just like an oven, I need some lovin'". And with that, went to find some sexual healing.

Mavis Staples, Jazz Cafe, London

Small of stature but colossal of voice, Mavis Staples is a potent reminder of the Civil Rights era, her power undiminished in her seventies.

Soul singer Solomon Burke dies age 70

Soul singer Solomon Burke, who wrote "Everybody Needs Somebody To Love" and recorded the hit "Cry To Me" used in the movie "Dirty Dancing," has died at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. He was 70.

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