Ministry of Sound: When Cool Was King
Ministry of Sound
A 3-CD set of jazz, soul and cool-crooner classics (plus some crud from Michael Buble and Robbie Williams) this was the Ministry of Sound label’s Christmas compilation – its easy-listening gift to an audience of dedicated compilation-buyers (presuming said audience still exists?)
It’s hard to argue with most of what is here – Reet Petite and That’s Amore and Puttin on The Ritz provide the kitsch-but-cool singalong moments, Stevie Wonder’s For Once In My Life, Otis Redding’s Try A Little Tenderness and Ella and Louis duetting Summertime provide (just some of) the (actual) ‘cool’ and though to get to princes of jazz and soul such as Sammy Davis Jr, Ray Charles and Frank Sinatra you might have to give a peck on the cheek to such frogs as Jamie Cullum and the aforementioned tux-flunkies Messrs Buble and Williams it’s all good-enough, though most often it’s great.
Sure you don’t really need this – or shouldn’t. You should already have it – or can dial it up on the YouTube or Spotify or whatever if and when and as you need it, and so it comes across as a sort of 40-something housewarming present for your cousin’s friend, perfect gift for a tagalong to offer to a person you will (fingers crossed) never see again it’s still one of the better/best comps from a label better known for recording traffic lights on the fritz or lawnmowers left running in shallow puddles of muddy water.
So, the end result is akin to getting a really great cup of coffee from Starbucks. Cry snobbery all you like, it’s simply a case of the brand somehow transcending its hallmark-of-shittiness – of course by fluke as much as anything.