Review: Releasing five albums over five years on labels such as Salsoul, Dream and 10, Ohio-based Slave-offshoot Aurra recorded this in 1984 but it never saw the light of day. Until now... Oozing MOR soul and funk, polished with distinctive 80s production techniques, Family Groove have done these lost tapes justice. Highlights include the Estefanesque slap-bass jam "Perfect Date", the electro-influenced late night star-gazer "Turn The Lights Down Low" and the soulful vocal harmonies and subtle soft rockisms of "Maybe I'm Wasting My Time." Satisfaction guaranteed!
Review: Although nowhere near as celebrated as some of her contemporaries, Odia Coates was one of the finest vocalists of the disco era. Over a short career, she released two albums and a swathe of singles on labels such as Epic, United Artists and Buddah Records. Family Groove Records has scored something of a coup by uncovering a wealth of unreleased material, most of which will be showcased on a forthcoming album. First, though, there's this teaser single, which boasts a mighty slab of punchy disco-soul. "Chump Change", which boasts slick production, killer horns and classic disco instrumentation, is a fine song about life on the breadline (a theme frequently explored during the period). It's rather surprising that it wasn't released first time around, to be honest, but fair play to Family Groove for making it available now.
Mary Holmes - "Living In A World Of Make Believe" (3:29)
Review: Family Groove continues to unearth serious gems in the archives of obscure American soul and disco labels. This double A-side affair is the result of this privileged research. On the A-side you'll find a previously unreleased disco-funk workout from Goodie that was discovered in the master tapes held in storage by Total Experience Records. It's a fantastically driving but groovy affair rich in rubbery electric bass, warm electric piano and some particularly hazy vocals. On the flip Capricorn Records has shared a previously unheard end-of-night slow jam from Mary Holmes entitled "Living in a World of Make Believe". It's as slick, sugary and loved-up as you'd expect.
Review: Family Groove Records have a history of unearthing previously unreleased material from the '70s and '80s. Their latest impressive find is shrouded in mystery. According to their sales notes, the five tracks showcased here come from a 1981 recording session by the previously unheralded Hall & Floyd, hidden away since on dusty demo tapes. There's much to enjoy, not least the Earth, Wind & Fire style goodness of "Sunrise" - all mazy Moog solos, sweet vocals and sumptuous roller-disco grooves - the punchy disco-funk of opener "Let Us Take You There", and the loved-up, pitched-down sugariness of "You Make Living Wonderful". They've only pressed up 300 copies, so you'll need to be quick to secure one.
Review: Two previously unreleased cuts from 1977, HOWEEFEEL is an earlier version of cult Chicago soul act Davis Import. Emphatic, harmonic and full bodied, quite why "People Of The World" remained unreleased is mind-blowing, it's got every possible hallmark of the late 70s sound and its delivered with raw authenticity and full groove command. "Lookin' For A Love", meanwhile, is way ahead of its time. Hinting at 80s funk elements you'd associate with the likes of Prince, it's a smouldering synth and slap-bass heavy track designed especially for smooching. File in the same essential playlist as Faze-O's "Riding High".
Review: A couple of years ago Family Groove Records offered up a tidy seven-inch single featuring previously unheard music from Latrell, an overlooked and obscure artist who briefly recorded solo material during the boogie era. Here they go one better by delivering an album of long-hidden and unreleased cuts recorded by the American electrofunk artist in 1983 and '84. The standard is dizzyingly high throughout, with Latrell and his musical accomplices giddily sprinting through an octet of kaleidoscopic synth-funk jams that sound like a dream studio collaboration between Prince, Parliament, Roger Troutman and Rick James. In a word: essential.
Just Be Yourself (KON aka King Of Nothing remix) (7:47)
Just Be Yourself (extended mix) (6:34)
Review: Another royal re-edit by the one and only KON, here we find him going to town on 1974 soul classic from Pat Tandy's The Pretenders. Flipping the arrangement so each section gets a chance to shine (notably the raffish walking bassline and sweeping strings) the lead remix pays full respect to the original while giving it a completely fresh new life. Complete with the extended original for the more purest fans, KON's delivered gold once again.
Review: We've had less than two years to recover from the unearthing of Hidden Stash by Athens Of The North when along comes Family Groove with the promise of another lost album from the debauched Chicago funk crew Rasputin's Stash. Entitled Stash it's due in April and the hype starts here with these two beautiful soul funk adventures. "Make Up Your Mind" rides on a sleazy fuzzy groove and peppy horns while "You Are My Everything" hits more of a classic triumphant horn and harmony led vibe not dissimilar to "I See Your Face" on their second album. April can't come soon enough.
Review: After the previous Three Dimension recordings dug out of an Alabama studio by Family Groove, we're more than happy to hear something else from this no-hit-wonder from '83. Two more unreleased gems here, leading in with the Rick James on a shoestring nastiness of "Freak Call" - it's loose and unpolished, but there's so much energy locked up in this jam, it's like it made itself get discovered all this time after it was recorded. "I Want You Back" is the consummate sensitive B side - a sweet soul number for a slow dance after all the freaky business is done with.
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.