Review: Outta Sight's latest monthly rare soul missive contains hard-to-find and overlooked classics from "hard-hitting" New Jersey vocal group Soul Brothers Six and New Orleans Rhythm and Blues man Willie Tee. It's the former's wonderfully sweet and loose "I'll Be Loving You" (first released in 1966, fact fans) that takes pride of place on the A-side, serving up a lightly sauteed soul take on the rhythm and blues template. Willie Tee's 1967 jam "Walking Up A One Way Street", a summery affair blessed with a superb horn section, leisurely groove and brilliant lead vocal from the man himself, can be found on the B-side.
Review: While he lived a musical life that spanned from boogie to gospel before he passed away in 2016, Nairobi's David Waciuma didn't get to record much. He was known much more for his live performances with bands such as The Monks Experience then, later, Rapture Voices who he recorded these two records in the mid-70s. "Devil Go" is a thumping rhythm and blues call and response piece while "Jesu Kristo" hits with more of a frazzled bluesy funk. Both make you wish he recorded much more.
Review: Back in the autumn, Wack Wack Rhythm Band launched the WWRB label, in the process dropping their first single in six years. This speedy follow-up is similarly impressive. For us, it's all-about A-side "Madras Express", a speeding, funk-fuelled journey through meandering saxophone solos, punchy horn breaks, fast-fingered electric bass, spacey Moog motifs and all manner of layered additional percussion. That said, there's also much to admire about Hammond funk workout "Stay Pressed", where jammed out solos and lead lines come accompanied by sharp guitar riffs, Mod-era lead guitar solos and the kind of stomping beat that would excite even the most miserable of Northern Soul enthusiasts. It also contains an absolutely killer drum solo, which is something we at least can't get enough of.
Review: Gene Washington, a modern US soul man, appears here for Colemine alongside The Ironsides in what is perhaps the label's best single in a good while. "Next To You" is a gorgeous song, the sort of soul slinger that instantly turns the heads and lifts the moods without any fancy tricks, just powerful vocals. "I Still Love Them All" is equally stunning, but it's moodier, a more pensive soul tune that evokes feelings of euphoria in moments of self-healing and self-reflection. Recommended.
Review: In 2016, Family Groove Records released a 12" of previously unheard 1979 demo recordings by Webster Station, a boogie-funk band from Dayton, Ohio whose studio efforts were initially binned by Warner Brothers for not being commercial enough. Demand for Family Groove's limited 12" of their recordings has remained high, so the label has decided to do a reissue. There's much to admire throughout, from the high-octane thrills of opener "Are You For Real" and the spacey warmth of the super-soulful "Can You Feel My Love", to the sugary sweetness of the Latin tinged ballad "Lady" and righteous closer "If You Feel Like Dancing", a killer combination of spacey synths, crunchy drums, urgent vocals and killer Clavinet lines.
Review: Since launching last year, the Dynamite Cuts has delivered a string of killer seven-inch singles featuring sought-after cuts from fantastic old albums and this is another must-have along the same lines. It boasts two tracks from Clarence Wheeler and the Enforcers' 1970 debut album, "Doing What We Wanna Do", neither of which have appeared on a "45" before. You'll find a riotous Hammond funk explosion rich in energetic, break-driven drumming and wild trumpet and organ solos on the B-side, with the similarly sweaty title track nestling on the A. This insatiable number is altogether deeper and looser in feel, with tasty group vocals rising above bustling drums, warm Hammond lines and punchy sax solos.
Review: Having bubbled away in the LA funk scene since forming in 2015, the trio comprising drummer Michael Duffy, organist Frank Carey and guitarist Matt Hornbeck finally unleash their debut recording and it's a serious mission of funk intent. "Get To Steppin'" fulfils its motivational title with rapid boogaloo pace and wild jazz fusion in both the organ and guitar leads. "Blinded" is more of a classic instrumental funk piece with yet more wily organ adventures taking the lead over an insanely tight groove. Blinding.
Jaye Williams - "Let Me Be The One" (vocal) (4:52)
Semi Automatic - "Let Me Be The One" (instrumental) (4:36)
Review: The rebirth of 1980s UK soul and reggae imprint Local Records continues apace with the reissue of another John Collins-produced gem from 1984. In signature Collins fashion, the A-side Jaye Williams version of "Let Me Be The One" portrays many of his reggae influences - think liberal use of delay and reverb, as well as a distinctive lilt to the super-sweet vocals - while basing the musical action around a sharp, rubbery backing track rich in fizzing electronics, spacey synths and post-boogie, electro-influenced drums. The flipside Semi-Automatic version is basically Collins' intergalactic soul rhythm track smothered in snaking saxophone solos, which is no bad thing.
Review: During the "rare groove" boom in London during the 1980s, Linda Williams' 1979 album track "Elevate Our Minds" became something of an anthem. Curiously, it was never released as a single at the time, making this surprise 7" edition something of a bonus for those still searching for the track. It remains a fine song, with Williams' brilliant vocals rising above bossa-influenced beats, warm bass, luscious boogie orchestration and gentle Latin style horn lines. The flipside features "City Living", the title track from the very same 1979 LP that "Elevate Our Minds" was taken. It's far funkier and more elastic in feel, with horn arrangements and a chunky groove reminiscent of some Teena Marie tracks from the same period.
Review: Mushi 45 is a new, limited-edition 7" series aimed at those DJs who wish that their favourite obscure funk and soul tracks came with longer drum breaks. On the A-side you'll find a "Break Edit" of Ricky Williams' sought-after 1971 cut "Discotheque Soul (Part II)". In keeping with the vibe of the original, the tasty re-edit is a whirlwind trip through Hammond-laden party funk territory - all wild instrument solos and extended percussion workouts. On the flip, the un-credited editor takes his or her scalpel to Les Baxter's "Hogin Machine", a harmonica-heavy rhythm and blues slammer that first appeared on the artist's 1969 soundtrack to the largely forgotten film Hell's Belles. Since Baxter's original version is little over 90 seconds long, this extended, break-driven re-edit is arguably much needed.
Review: Japanese imprint Ultra Vybe is midway through a seven-inch series focusing on some of the many gems tucked away on albums released by legendary U.S "funky jazz" label Groove Merchant in their early 1970s. Their latest picks are taken from pianist Larry Willis's 1973 set "Inner Crisis". You'll find the album's title track - a warm, mesmerizing and surprisingly melancholic fusion of restless organ lines, jammed-out electric piano solos, classic jazz horns and fussy grooves - on side B, with "Out On The Coast" on the A. This jaunty jazz-funk affair is far more hard-hitting, thanks in no small part to some rousing sax lines, blistering funk drums, razor-sharp jazz guitars and a seriously heavy bassline.
Review: For their latest on-point reissue, the Dynamite Cuts crew has raided the bulging back catalogue of soul organist Reuben Wilson. Or, to be more specific, the Cadet-released 1975 set "Got To Get Your Own". Sadly, there's not enough space for the full version of the album's celebrated title track, so Dynamite Cuts has prompted for the no less essential seven-inch edit instead. It remains a stone cold killer that no soul or funk DJ should be without, even in its shortened form. The lesser-known "Tight Money" is no less essential - or heavy, for that matter - with Wilson and pals strutting through a heavyweight Blaxploitation funk cut whose lyrics riff on poverty and Black America's mid-'70s financial crisis.
Review: 40 years young: Wood, Brass & Steel's eponymous debut album enjoys a highly timely reissue and it still sounds every bit as funky ("Theme Song"), soulful ("Working On A Dream") and emotional ("My Darling Baby") as it did in 76. Complete with cult dancefloor hit "Funkanova" and the crossover disco hit "Always There", this LP has aged with real maturity and clout. Considering what the members did next (Tackheads, Sugarhill and Fats Comet) Wood, Brass & Steel was something of a supergroup in hindsight... And this album is where it all began.
Review: Classic funky soul in the true sense of the word and now presented with a Japan only exclusive edit from hip hop don J Rocc intended for the japan only market ! Nice pic sleeve too. What yo waitin for ? !!
Review: Rare Betty Wright sup[er soulness reissued with artwork for the Japan market on a tasty little 45. not many stores got this outside of the land of the rising sun ....Don't sleep on this beauty !