Sometimes, as listeners, it can happen that we are moved by two different impulses. On the one hand, the desire to participate in the current debate and sniff the air around, and on the other, the desire to return to one’s own “happy islands“, capable of refreshing as only returns home can.

As far as I’m concerned, a record like “Reflections Of a Soul Dimension” by Edgar Jones belongs to the second category, full as it is of references to that soul scene that developed in the north of England and to those clubs where people danced all night to the sound of misrecognized American singles brought back to life. 

The echoes of those nights have never ceased to resonate, winning over – today as yesterday – new fans moved at the same time by individualism and the desire to share, by propagandistic ostentation and cult depository jealousy.

Edgar is a cult hero, who has been around more or less since 1992; the year when, at the head of The Stairs, he released the extraordinary “Mexican R ‘n’ B“, a record that lined up several garage-blues apocrypha, imagining some Rolling Stones imprisoned in the 1965-1966 two-year period of singles such as “Get Off Of My Cloud,” “Mothers Little Helper” and “19th Nervous Breakdown.” 

Despite such high-level work, the band could only achieve cult success and ended up disintegrating while engaged in a difficult second record, later never released, that aimed to accentuate the more psychedelic sides of their formula. 

Thus, the traces of the group were lost, but especially of that singer/bassist capable of recalling the lascivious impertinence of Mick Jagger, declining it with a natural weirdness capable of saving him from macchiolicious imitation.

THE STAIRS - Flying Machine

But in truth, Edgar Jones has never been out of the loop: he has been involved in a myriad of projects (nicely summarized in the 2021 Cherry Red box set “The Way It Is: 25 Years Of Solo Adventures,” in which bands and monikers as diverse as Isrites, Big Kids, Edgar Summertyme, E.J. Free Peace Thing, E.J. & The Joneses…) and has lent his bass guitar as a turn player to the likes of Ian McCulloch and Paul Weller.

And just as with the Modfather, a love of soul has come to prevail in Edgar’s music: the Liverpool boy has increasingly purged himself of the (splendid) garage-rock grime that represented the other major direction of his career and has focused on a northern-side soul, full of sixties spirits that, in a manner not unlike Amy Winehouse’s, aims to transcend the categories of past and present, projecting himself into a temporal elsewhere in which this music sounds neither old nor new, but simply has existed forever. And indeed, that is precisely the trick that “Reflections Of a Soul Dimension” succeeds at: lining up twelve songs that could have existed forever.

From the xylophone riff that introduces a “Place My Bets On You“, in which the voice climbs between melody, horns and female choruses (while in “I Still Believe In You” it becomes sinuous, thanks to a son-of-a-bitch falsetto), to the Burt Bacharach-esque trumpets of “Coming Back To Me“, which inturgidly plump an exquisitely pop sixties melody; from an “Ooowee (Is This The End Of Our Road)” that’s a Negro epic pimp soul strolling poshly down the country’s main street, to the quick-take pop soul of “What’s The Matter Baby” from the beat(lesian) riff, with an early Terry Callier melody, of “This World Today“, to the Northern Soul triumph that comes with “Reflections (of You and Me)“, a perfect apocryphal that would have sent exhausted Wigan Casino allnighters into raptures with its driving rhythms, organ riff and chorus that opens melodically and memorably, without sacrificing a subtle line of poignancy.

Reflections (Of You And Me) - Edgar Jones - Album Pre Release

The program does not contemplate relenting and also indulges in important homages, as in “Nothing Can Change“, where Edgar starts with the low tones of the soul ballad, but by the time he reaches the refrain he pays due tribute to his passion for early Scott Walker, producing a noteworthy crooneristic grandeur.

In addition to the solidity of the writing and the sincerity of the interpretations, the attention to detail with which the songs are adorned is striking: the doubling of the female backing vocals of “Nothing Can Change“, the rhythmic interlocking of the riff, unhinged and sinuous, of “The Shape We’re In“, also embellished by fluttering strings, or the simple but effective crescendo of guitars of “I Still Believe in You“. 

In short, Edgar Jones succeeds in breathing new life into well-known harmonic and melodic turns, and I really don’t know what else to say to convince you to listen to him… perhaps because – like all fans of certain music – I am moved by conflicting impulses: individualism and a desire to share… propagandistic ostentation and cult depository jealousy… Enjoy your listening.