Steve 'Doc' Willoughby - "All My Life" (long version) (5:22)
Review: Those in the modern soul scene should already be familiar with Expansions' "Soul Togetherness" series; after all, the label has been putting out annual compilations of the best contemporary dancefloor-focused soul jams under that name since the dawn of the century. The 2019 edition contains plenty of soulful heat, from the synth-sporting '80s soul revivalism of DCR's "Positive Vibes" and the head-nodding, boogie-flavoured R&B of Shaila Prospere's "Plus One", to the Loose Ends-inspired warmth of Magoo's "Still Really Love" and the anthem-like sing-along that is Rockie Robins' "Good Life". SolatiMusic's stripped-back and seductive "Tell Me" is also brilliant.
Review: "Give Me Your Love" was produced by Roy Ayers and James "Jaymz" Bedford in 1981, this digger's delight was the one and only single by American singer Sylvia Striplin. It is an irresistible serving of soulful disco that really captures the spirit of the times. The track has been sampled on numerous occasions, but most famously on the classic track by Junior M.A.F.I.A. (Notorious B.I.G. production) on their song "Get Money" in 1995 and also by Armand Van Helden on "Full Moon" in 2000. On the flip is the sexy and lo-slung "You Can't Turn Me Away" featuring some sexy funk guitar licks and bass beneath Striplin's powerfully seductive vocals.
Review: Destination 78/79: Expansion take us deep into the illustrious back cat of revered boogaloo fusionist Willie Bobo for two of his many fiery delights. Side A is his feel-heavy cult instrumental take on Ronnie Laws' disco classic "Always There" while Side B throws us into the heart of his 1979 album Bobo with gutsy raw soul power (and just a few cheeky funk slap bass twangs for good measure) Two stone cold classics together for the first time on 45.
Review: At the tail end of the '80s, Sylvia Striplin quit Norman Connors' jazz-funk group Aquarian Dream in order to pursue a solo career. Joining forces with producers James Bedford and Roy Ayers, she recorded 1981 debut album "Give Me Your Love", a well regarded but largely overlooked set that has since become a sought-after item amongst soul collectors. This Expansion reissue presents the album on vinyl for the first time in two decades. As with many soul albums of the period, it sashays between jazz-funk, boogie and heartfelt slow jams, contrasting memorable dancefloor workouts (see stone cold classic "Give Me Your Love" and a stellar cover of Roy Ayers favourite "Searchin") with more saccharine, loved-up fare.
Review: To mark Record Store Day 2018, London store Love Vinyl pressed up a tasty 12" containing the best of the disco-era work of Ohio-based soul combo Timeless Legend. Tucked away on the B-side was "I Was Born To Love You", a soaring chunk of sweet and punchy disco-soul from 1980. Here that track gets the reissue treatment from Richard Searling and John Anderson's admirable Expansions imprint. As with the original Dawn-Lite seven-inch single, the inspired A-side vocal version (Part 1) is accompanied by a slightly wilder, largely instrumental flipside take (Part 2) that's worth the entrance price on its own.
Review: Released in celebration of Expansion's recent re-serving of two of Leon's early 80s albums - Rockin' You Eternally and Leon Ware - here's a delightful 45 that reminds us of his finest solo moments. "Why I Came To California" is a sun-kissed soul boogie groove with big horns and even bigger chorus. "Rockin' You Eternally" (which is, let's face it, one of the smoothest song titles to ever come from the 80s) showcases Leon's softer side. A ballad steeped in sentiment, play this loud enough and everyone in a five mile radius will stop and get smoochy.
Review: Expansions' latest essential reissue takes us back to 1980 and the much sought after seven-inch edition of singer Ty Karim's collaboration with lesser-known soul man George Griffin. "Keep On Doin' Whatcha' Doin'" was written and produced by Karim's other half Kent Harris and, like the original seven inch, appears here in two parts. The glorious A-side version is a lolloping chunk of disco-era sweet soul rich in soaring orchestration, fluttering flutes and Marvin Gaye/Tammi Tyrell style duet vocals from Karim and Griffin. Part two focuses more on the killer groove and the duo's impassioned improvised vocalizations, with a variety of tasty solos helping to whip things into a mid-tempo dancefloor frenzy.
Review: It would be fair to say that Timi Yuro's "As Long As There Is You" is a sought-after single. Something of a "holy grail" amongst soul collectors, original copies of the 1969 7" on Liberty Records regularly change hands for upwards of 1,000 quid. Happily, you can now acquire a fresh copy for a fraction of the cost thanks to this facsimile Expansions reissue. Fuzzy, heartfelt, stomping and blessed with wall of sound style production, "As Long As There Is You" is the kind of sad-but-happy track that used to make Northern Soul dancers go weak at the knees. Yuro's Central American influences can be heard loud and clear on "It'll Never Be Over For Me", where Mariachi style trumpet lines and sweeping strings rise above a heavy, bossa-influenced groove.
Review: Expansion's latest must-have release brings together two killer cuts from Sylvia Striplin's brilliant 1981 album "Give Me You Love", which originally appeared on Roy Ayers' Uno Melodic label. Ayers produced and arranged both cuts alongside regular collaborator James Bedford. "Give Me Your Love" is, of course, something of an anthem in underground disco circles, with Striplin's breathy and emotionally rich vocal rounding off a superb cut that's rich in crunchy Clavinet lines, walking bass, snappy drums, sensual synth doodles and rising horns. Flipside "You Can't Turn Me Away", meanwhile, is closer in sound and vibe to Roy Ayers' jazz-funk cuts from the period, which is no bad thing.
Review: When Leo and his Sunshipp crew asked for the sunshine way back in 1980 they meant it. And with a tune as beautiful as this, they deserved it too. Released in 1980 in various forms (and also on the funk trio's only album in 1978) the most sought after was the 45" that came with the gutsier, more upbeat traditional soul cut "I'm Back For More". But let's face it, this is all about the lead track. A cult Balearic soul funk jam and one of the coolest summer cuts ever pressed to wax, reissues have been on request for over 30 years... Like the summer itself, this won't hang around.
Review: Having appeared on several EPs throughout the late '70s and early '80s on labels like Westbound and Capitol, most people think of Erasmus Hall as one person. Rather, they were actually a collective of artists that were given the name by grandmaster George Clinton of Parliament / P-Funk. This might not be immediately audible on the gentle waves of "Just Me & You", but the song does contain a certain air of oddity and conniving funkiness that rendered that period of disco just so damn enticing. The flip contains "Your Love Is My Desire", another gentle heart-warmer to stick on in those more intimate moments... What a delightful little 7"!
Review: Here's something rather tasty: a joint release between Expansions and Philadelphia International that brings together two hard-to-find tracks from Philly Soul group The Futures. On the A-side you'll find rare groove scene favourite "Ain't No Time Fa Nuthin", a typically sumptuous and musically rich affair that places the group's inspired soul vocals at the centre of a sugary-sweet Philadelphia Soul groove. B-side "Party Time Man" is a more traditional vocal soul stomper from the turn of the '70s, with sweeping strings and punchy horn lines tracking the group's sweet, sweet harmonies, which is great for getting the dancefloor going.
Review: A reissue of American singer Debra Laws' 1981 single here on Expansion. She made her debut as a solo recording artist in in the same year, with the release of her album titled Very Special. This album, produced by her brothers Hubert and Ronnie, was a success with the singles "On My Own" (a lovely neon-lit disco-funk groove) and "Very Special" (a super sensual ballad on the slo-mo tip) being featured here. Up until the beginning of the '90s, Laws worked with her three siblings, recording and doing many live performances in the United States and abroad. Samples from "Very Special" can be heard in Jennifer Lopez's 2002 hit single of "All I Have".
Review: This more than handy 7" single brings together two classic disco-era cuts from soul legend Willie Hutch. A-side "Easy Does It", which was originally featured on 1978's In Tune album, features Hutch in full-on Curtis Mayfield mode, singing passionately over a jaunty, jazz-funk influenced backing track laden with swirling strings, choral backing vocals (think Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" album) and Dexter Wansel style synthesizer solos. It's undoubtedly one of Hutch's finest moments and deserves to be in any serious soul head's collection. Flip for 1979's "Kelly Green", a sumptuous soul slow jam in which Hutch pines over a lost lover.
Review: If you haven't heard Gloria Taylor's "Deep Inside You", possibly 1973's best soul tune - and one of the best soul tunes ever made - you haven't lived life to the full. That's our honest opinion. And, if that is true, you are still in time to change that with this glorious little 7" reissue from Expansion. The title tune is a blissful segment of music, always cutting through deeply for us, but "World That's Not Real" is only less appealing by comparison. Relative to the huge amounts of soul music out in the public sphere, it is certainly still an absolutely winning B-side. Recommended.
Review: What with their super-rare rare groove album "Synchronised" fetching four figures and some of their key singles rocking similarly big price tags, Columbus soul troupe are renowned for their sought-after wax collectables. It's not hard to hear way. Gossamer smooth with just hint of boogie on both sides, "Do You Love Me" is a yearning end-of-night smoocher that doesn't cut on the weight while "You're The One" flexes a much more upbeat groove with slap bass and keytars running off pure positivity. Only once reissued before, this Expansion excursion will be more than welcome news to many.
Review: A lot of us have to thank Expansions for switching us on to Matlock in the first place, thanks to them unearthing him for their Soulchasers collection way back in the early 90s. Here they return to two of Glenn's finest, silkiest soul diamonds. Written for the romantics, produced for the dancefloor right at the very end of the classic 70s sound, "You Got The Best Of Me" has an upbeat Barry White feel to its delivery and sentiment while "I Can't Forget About You" has a lighter touch and flightier flow. The former previous super-rare on 45, the latter never press to 45 before... Both supreme and timeless.
Review: Back in 1976, Retta Young - previously a member of 60s soul group The Superbs - recorded and released her sole debut album, Young & Restless. For some time, that set has been in-demand amongst soul and disco collectors, with pristine copies changing hands for hundreds online. Happily, Expansions have put together this licensed reissue. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the simmering strings and heart-aching vocals of slow jam "Now or Never", to the ultra-sweet bliss of "We're So in Love", via the Philadelphia International style brilliance of "My Love is on His Way" and emotion-rich "Let's Make Up For Lost Time".
Review: Splash down to 1978-80: influential Philly funk troupe Breakwater gave the world two albums over two years.Full focus on slow jams and soulful fusion, the Breakwater melting pot is just as strong in jazz and Latin as it is soul and funk. Here we're treated to a selection of the best moments from Breakwater and Splashdown (minus the famous Daft Punk-sampled "Release The Beast") such as the unforgettable Floydian chorus of "That's Not What We Came Here For", the soaking wet bass and tight bright horns of the raunchy boogie jam "Do It Till The Fluid Gets Hot" and the sunshine soul of the sublime "Say You Love Me Girl". A sharp insight into a band that was criminally short-lived at the time..Rumour is there is a new album on the horizon and they still play live -there were two live uk dates in Jan 2017 already !