Reel People is the brainchild of Oli Lazarus and Tom Davidson who also have released Hear Me and Fire on Estereo Records as Samson. The first release under the Reel People moniker was Spiritual in 2001 on Oli's own Papa Records label. The second release was Reeltime and a few weeks ago the first 12" from Second Guess has been relased, Can't Stop.
The list of guest musicians for Second Guess reads like a who's who of West London's broken beats/soul scene with contributions by Phil Asher, DJ Spinna, Mike Patto, Nathan Haines, Seji, Vanessa Freeman, Angela Johnson or Dyanna Fearon, who sang a few songs on D'Influence's D-Vas project.
So it's no surprise that Second Guess offers a very good mixture of soul, funk broken beat and house elements.
There's of course the great Can't Stop with Angela Johnson on vocals, that has already been praised on these pages as a 12" release.
The title track, Second Guess, features Jag on vocals, Nathan Haines on sax and Scott Baylis on trumpet. It comes in three versions, a nearly seven minutes version that's just a fine modern day soul song and two reprise-like versions called The Journey and The Destination.
Dyanna Fearon sings on Back 2 Base, yet another fine soul midtempo soul song. Dyanna also sings on the jazz influenced Washing Away, on the urban groover Steppin' (which features some rapping by Krim) and the house inspired Butterflies, that features Nathan Haines on flute. The only song with Dyanna that unfortunately somehow misses the point for me here is Runaway that includes too many guitar play for my taste.
Vanessa Freeman is another singer here. She's features on The Light, a very good soul/broken beat song.
And since Second Guess is a musically very diverse album there's also a dub/reggae inspired song with Feel Free (with yet another singer, Peter Nelson) and a hip hop song (Positive Over Negative with Dynas singing and rapping), but I'm still the wrong person to judge a rap song.
On the whole Second Guess is a very good album with a lot of variety and Reel People couldn't have come up with a better album debut release for Papa Records.
(for more information visit paparecords.co.uk or and grooveattack.com)