IT’S absolutely fair to say that Big Crown Records, which has been down in the crates bringing you some incredibly fine cuts out of its Brooklyn base for the past four years, is deeply involved in a heartfelt romance with San Antonio, Texas, Chicano soul legends Sonny & The Sunliners. Mind you, a quick listen to those deep classic cuts they put out since they formed pretty much out of high school and you can see why.
The label has put out a compilation, reissued albums and a quintet of 7”s from the ‘king of brown-eyed soul’ down the past couple of years; and the romance proved infectious. Artists from the Big Crown roster also swooned as they swung past the office, gettin’ the bug.
A few weeks ago we wrote about and loved The Shacks and Brainstory’s split 7” for the label, in which they took on and adored Sonny’s “Smile Now, Cry Later” and “Runaway”, respectively (and if you don’t fall hard for The Shacks, then I fear for your soul …).
And now, the whispered full Big Crown covers album, entitled Dear Sunny … is ready and poised for a September release.
As a taster, the label has just dropped a digital cover worldwide to entice you through the door: 79.5, the Big Apple’s funk/soul/disco groovemasters, have entwined themselves with “My Dream”, which Sonny himself took on as a cover in 69; the original original, if you like, coming out on Atlantic in ‘68 by The Harvey Averne Dozen.
It’s a beautiful and languid, heartfelt plea for a better life, powering along on a descending piano arpeggio, cooing flutes and woodblocks. There’s all that reverb and space and sheer atmosphere of a classic 60s’ soul cut. “Workin’ has to be the wrong thing / Lovin’ and groovin’, that’s my thing” it yearns. They don’t, they really don’t, make them like this anymore*
(* unless you’re on Big Crown).
It’s a beautiful come-hither for the full covers set, which is dropping on digital on September 4th, just before Sunny’s birthday. There will be vinyl later; stay tuned for news of that.
Big Crown said: “Shortly after we signed a deal with Sunny to reissue some of his records we came up with the idea to do this. We are very happy with how it turned out.
“We hope everyone enjoys this as much as we do, but most importantly, Sunny, we hope you enjoy this. Thank you for all the music you have given us, it has been a pleasure to work with you and get a chance to know you and some of your family.”
Big Crown’s Various Artists – Dear Sunny … will be available digitally from September 4th. Pre-order you copy here.