Many consider soul music to be a product of the most glorious chapter in American music history, the 60’s. It birthed from the vigorous brass sections of jazz, matured with the smooth harmonies of gospel and transcended with the rhythmic groove of blues. Soon after iconic legends like Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin dominated pop charts in the 70’s, a metamorphosis of soul music led by the likes of Sly and the Family Stone and James Brown slowly took shape. The music industry then traversed into a psychedelic realm, and never quite again embodied the true essence of this unforgettable musical genre, not until 20 years later.

In the 90’s, as R&B and hip-hop rose to the top of pop charts, soul music finally made a victorious return in neo-soul, sung in a variety of languages, amongst which was (believe it or not) French. But never would the forefathers of American soul music have figured that this subculture of African music would one day come from a city that is renown for nurturing the purest elements of French culture. Yet, it did. With two of soul music’s most iconic recording labels, “Motown” and “Stax”, tattooed to each of his wrist, Benjamin Dueterde (a.k.a. Ben L’oncle Soul – the uncle of soul) was born in Tours, France, with a dire passion for 60’s soul music. He is the new face of this timeless genre, and he is here to stay.

When you listen to his music, it’s like listening to Bruno Mars and John Legend singing a duet. When you put on his records, it’s like the aura of Marvin Gaye and Nina Simone never left us. Every one of his tracks brings back a flash of the rawest and oldest memory of soul music; yet, somehow they remain to sound so fresh and refined. His debut album, eponymously title Ben L’oncle Soul, was released in 2010, a year many considered to be a tough time for album sales. Despite the environment, he still managed to sell half a million copies with his debut, and received invitations to perform at countless music festivals worldwide.

In order to further polish his soul music and draw inspiration from the best, Ben L’oncle soul teamed up with Californian psychedelic soul band, Monophonic, and released an incredible sophomore album four years later, A Coup de Reves (With Dreams). This new record not only lived up to every expectation of his fans (myself included), but reached new heights in its ability to bring back the 60’s nostalgia and the best of soul music.

Intertwining between funk and blues-based uptempo tracks like “Hallelujah!!!”, big-band style brass cuts like “Ailleurs” and gospel-heavy melodies “Walk the Line”, this album will make you wish you had kept that hand-cranked gramophone and the bell-bottom pants so you may once again venture into the lost memories of soul music. Whether he is singing in English or in French, Ben L’oncle sings straight to your heart. A Coup de Reves is a rare 100% bona fide pure soul record of the 21st century, for its reincarnated originality, weeping nostalgia and heart-wrenching delivery.

I wouldn’t say that I’m an expert in the field, but as a long-time avid fan of soul music, this record gets a 10/10 from Joey.