Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations. Photo by Joanne Adams

Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations. Photo by Joanne Adams

Wow. Has anyone seen my socks? They were knocked clear off by the new album from Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations, and I haven’t seen them since. Not that I’m complaining, because “Little Bit of Fun” is a spectacular assemblage of five original and seven soul and R&B covers that flow seamlessly together and show off the vocal chops and musicianship of the band’s nine members.

The band is made up of guitarist and lead vocalist Colwell, vocalist and percussionists Julie Ouellette Ward and Laura Hudson, keys player Robin Worthley, bassist and vocalist Dave Thibodeau, drummer and vocalist Ronnie Bouffard, Carlos Hayes Jr. on tenor saxophone, Will Martin on baritone, tenor and alto saxophone, and Blake Peachey on trumpet.

There are also some special guests on the album, including horn player Brian Desmond Graham and singer Larissa Smith, a former band member.

I’ll try and stop singing and dancing long enough to unpack a little bit about this album.

Their take on the 1975 Tavares hit “It Only Takes a Minute” alone is worth getting excited about. Colwell sings lead, with vocals that bring to mind both Tom Jones and John Hiatt. The track is a four-minute party with flashy disco dance moves, funky keys and groove for days. I had completely forgotten about this song. Reunited, and it feels so good.

Kicking it back to 1965, the band blows new life into the 1965 tune “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch”), made famous by The Four Tops. The original version hasn’t lost any of its magic, but it sounds superb with Colwell on lead vocals and Ward and Hudson backing him up.


Then there’s “Baby I Need Your Loving,” also by the Four Tops, another tune that had slipped onto the back burner for me. The 1964 hit came rushing back into my ears with fresh glory bursting with a sturdy bass line, tremendous vocals and the entire band contributing to the overall perfection of the song.

I also adore what the band did with Martha and the Vandellas’ 1965 signature tune “Nowhere to Run.” Sassy and poppy and a joy to hear. Straight up!

But let’s not forget about the Colwell-penned originals, including the title track. Featuring Smith on lead vocals, the song’s a slam-dunk winner with a clear nod to the 60s. Bonus points awarded to Abbott for his horns.

“Sometimes You Do” has a slower groove and is all about, as Colwell sings, “grabbing pleasure when you can.” He helps his own cause with some flashy guitar licks.

“All Cried Out,” written by Colwell and Worthley with Ouellette on lead vocals, is a delicious spin on getting over someone. It’s catchy the first time through and gets better with every subsequent listening. “There’s nothing left for you to say/It make no difference anyway/It’s way past time for me to say goodbye,” sings Ouellette as piano dances and horns sweep in.

Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations was formed in 2015 by Colwell, who was born in Machias and now lives in Bath. Hallowell is the band’s headquarters. Previous releases include “Take It!” in 2018 and 2020’s “Motown Christmas.”


Although born in Maine, Colwell was raised in Galveston, Texas, before moving to Gardiner. He grew up listening to Ray Charles and a slew of artists on the storied Motown, Stax and Volt record labels. Major influences include guitarist and songwriter Steve Cropper, guitarist Jimmy Johnson and soul singer-songwriter (and legend) Wilson Pickett.

“Little Bit of Fun” was written, arranged and recorded from June 2020 to June of this year.

“It was definitely a pandemic project and much of it was done remotely via Dropbox (file sharing),” Colwell said.

Colwell recorded guitar and vocals in his Bath studio and sent the files to Worthley, who lives in Strong. He would work his magic and send them back. From there, they’d to go drummer Bouffard and the rest of the band. Colwell said the biggest challenge was getting the background vocals and horns done.

“I had to wait until we all got vaccinated before I felt comfortable with the aerosol effect in my studio,” he said. “Eventually, it became a more normal project, but the first year was something else.”

The reason for making the album? That’s easy.


“All in all, we were searching for a little bit of fun to see us through, just like everyone else in the world,” he said.

Oh, and what fun indeed it is to listen to this record!

“Little Bit Of Fun” by Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations. Graphics and album design by Daniel Murray

Keep tabs on the band at and get ready to mark up your calendar with these shows:

Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations
Friday at Le Club Calumet 100th in Augusta
Oct. 14 album release show at Cadenza in Freeport
Oct. 28 at Chocolate Church Arts Center in Bath
Oct. 29 in downtown Augusta (part of Halloween festivities)
Nov. 26 Motown Christmas show at Chocolate Church in Bath
Dec. 3 Motown Christmas show at Somerset Abbey
Dec. 10 Motown Christmas show in Hallowell
Dec. 17 Motown Christmas show at Cadenza in Freeport

You can purchase a physical copy of “Little Bit Of Fun” at Niche, Inc. on 307 Water St. in Gardiner and at select Bull Moose Music locations soon.

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