Debut album as Stefan Taylor plays Horsham
The debut album has been hovering like a light at the end of the tunnel for Hackney-based singer Stefan Taylor who brings his ten-piece band The Signatures to Horsham’s Rec Rooms on September 4.
Run For Cover came out on August 1, the long-awaited first album for a band heavily influenced by the Northern Soul movement and 1960s US soul.
“The past year has been pretty tricky for the band,” says Stefan.
“We usually spend most weekends together which is a community of ten or 11 and there is also the community with the fans, and so we really missed that.
“We had our first gig this last week, our first gig in 16 months, and it was really special.
“We were doing what we really loved again and you could see it in everyone’s faces again.
“It just felt so right to be doing it again.
“Some of the guys have lost jobs during the lockdowns, and a lot of them have really struggled. I have said a few times that the album was the little light at the end of the tunnel. We have been working on it over lockdown and we have been progressing the tracks. I am so excited to finally get the album out there.
“It is an album that has been in the pipeline for the last couple of years and then of course we had the pandemic and we didn’t get around to finishing it.
“We have never released an album before. This is our first full album of ten tracks, and I am genuinely so proud of it and excited about everyone hearing it.
“We have had fans and audiences clamouring for an album for a long time, and honestly I think we have taken our time to get it right and to hone it. One of the main things about the album is that we wanted an audience to recognise our sound from our live performances. We haven’t overdone the production. We haven’t added all bells and whistles. We have recorded it in a very similar way to the way those Northern Soul songs in the 60s and 70s would have been recorded.
“I grew up listening to American soul music. My dad was a Motown and soul DJ through the 70s and 80s.
“Having worked with these artists and knowing how significant the lyrics and themes of the songs are in regard to race, poverty, heartbreak, these songs are incredibly meaningful. One of the things I find fascinating is how the hardships experienced by black Americans in the 60s resonated so intensely for those in northern England in the 70s.
“Now, almost 50 years later, the message still cries the same. Hardship and oppression haven’t gone away and that’s why this music is still so valuable. The messages they delivered still hold true today, especially looking to the unrest happening at the moment in the US.”
The album is an album of covers of “obscure old 60s and 70s tracks that we have found and honed and put our own spin on.”
Among the songs is a track by Nolan Porter (1949-2021), the American R&B singer and songwriter who passed away in February this year.
“He came over a couple of years ago and played with us. We had the pleasure of working with him.
“He was an unbelievable man. He released a couple of albums in the 60s and never really had any success over there, but it just blew his mind when he came over here and there was this guy was in the audience who had his lyrics tattooed on his arm.
“It just absolutely blew his mind!
“He didn’t realise that the songs had come over here. He didn’t realise that he was a cult figure over here. He had no idea.
“He goes back to America and lives this incredibly humble life in California and he comes over here and he sells out shows. We wanted to record the song as a tribute to him.”