Review: When popular 1950s singer Jaye P Morgan first released this eponymous album in 1976, she would undoubtedly have hoped it would reignite her career. Sadly it didn't, but the album - a curious but hugely enjoyable mix of saccharine, synth-laden slow jams, disco-fired dancefloor workouts, Broadway style torch songs and fuzzy funk - went on to become a cult classic amongst Balearic-minded diggers. As this essential reissue proves, much of the material has aged rather well. Check, for example, the laidback AOR disco chug of "Can't Hide Love", the Barry White style seductiveness of "Here Is Where Your Love Belong" and the spine-tingling rush of Morgan's killer disco cover of Detroit soul staple "You're All I Need To Get By". Don't sleep!
Review: Wewantsounds' 2019 Record Store Day release takes us back to 1978 and a hard-to-find 12" single from Lebanese composer, pianist, playwright and political commentator Ziad Rahbani. "Abu Ali" is perhaps not Rahbani's best known work - in the Arab world his various albums are far more celebrated - but it is one that has chimed with Western audiences thanks to its assimilation of elements of American disco, soul and funk. The title track is something of a beast: a 10-minute epic that wraps Arabic orchestration, mazy horn refrains and prominent piano motifs around an atmospheric disco groove and intergalactic synthesizer lines. It's bonkers but brilliant, making this reissue more than welcome. On the flipside there's a chance to enjoy "Prelude (Theme from Mais El Rim)", an epic example of Rahbani's 1970s soundtrack work.
Review: In recent years, demand for vinyl copies of Japanese keyboardist Hiroshi Sato's 1979 jazz-funk classic Orient has rocketed. Given that few have the means to pay several hundred pounds for an original copy, this reissue - the first vinyl edition in 39 years - is more than welcome. It remains a delightful set, full of fluid and ear-pleasing tracks that variously doff a cap to disco, Brazilian boogie, classic jazz-funk, low slung early electrofunk and the kind of woozy, laid-back soundscapes more associated with early '80s New Age and ambient sets. Naturally, Sato's playing takes centre stage throughout, but the standard of the musicianship elsewhere is incredibly impressive, too. Shigeru Suzuki's guitar playing, in particular, stands out.
Review: Having previously issued Akiko Yano's 1976 debut "Japanese Girl" - an eccentric set of East-West pop fusions marked out by the artist's distinctive vocals - Wewantsounds has returned to raid her vaults once more. "Iroha Ni Konpeitou" first appeared in 1977 and garnered great hype in Japan thanks to the success of its predecessor. It's a similarly eccentric but inspired set, with Yano confidently flitting between synthesizer-heavy instrumental soundscapes (see superb opener "Kawaji"), drowsy country-inspired songs ("A Long Wait"), seductive jazz-funk ("Hourou"), head-nodding reggae-boogie ("Hai Hai Gasa") and breathy, post-soul ballads ("On The Way Home", a song that boasts both pedal steel and synthesizers).