Otis Redding - "(Your Love Lifted Me ) Higher & Higher" (Soul Flip edit) (4:03)
Gerri Granger - "I Go To Pieces" (Soul Flip edit) (3:33)
Review: Sometimes you just can't beat the golden oldies and so it is that Soul Flip turns his attention to a couple of raw soul bangers. Up first is Otis Redding's classic "(Your Love Lifted Me ) Higher & Higher" with a rousing bass section which drives along the original version.The hits hit hard, the vocal is given room to breathe and the swing in the drums is infectious. The flipside houses a soaring tweak of Gerri Granger's "I Go To Pieces", with its clattering keys and rolling soul all quickly finding a way into your affections.
Review: Dr Rubberfunk (AKA long-serving DJ/producer Simon Ward) may have reached the start of middle age, but he's showing no signs of succumbing to a typical "midlife crisis". In fact, his recent releases have been among the strongest of his career to date. The third part of his ongoing "My Life At 45" series is another belter, with opener "A Matter of Time" - featuring talented, fast-rising vocalist Izo FitzRoy - being a particularly strong exercise in revivalist 1960s soul. Elsewhere across the EP, "Slim's Mood" is a fine chunk of hazy rhythm and blues featuring some awesome, Peter Green style jazz guitar solos, while closing cut "Moody Drums" is a chunky beats track tailor-made for funk and hip-hop DJs who like to get busy in the mix.
Etta James & Sugar Pie Desanto - "In The Basement" (Soul Flip edit) (3:20)
John Gary Williams - "My Sweet Lord" (Soul Flip edit) (3:59)
Review: On their latest limited edition salvo, the hardworking Soul Flip crew (AKA experienced DJs and producers Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo) gets to work on two more stomping dancefloor cuts from the golden age of soul. First up on side A is a gently tooled-up and tightened up take on Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's 1966 floor-heater "In The Basement", a hybrid soul-jazz/rhythm and blues jam rich in rubbery double bass, bustling drums, restless handclaps and brilliant lead vocals from the two legendary soul singers. On the flip they tackle Memphis musician John Gary Williams' 1972 cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", which brilliantly re-imagines the former Beatles' spiritual song as a sweaty gospel-soul stomper.
Miele - "Melo Do Tagarela (Rapper's Delight)" (instrumental) (4:10)
Review: Although Brazil's Banda Black Rio remain infamous for the albums that they recorded in the late 1970s, two beautiful LPs that rode that singular wave of samba-ridden jazz dance, 1980's "Miss Cheryl" is an outstanding tune, and we can hear why RCA picked it up back in the day. Mr Bongo provides us with the reissue here and, if you haven't heard it, it's an absolute delight which switches between disco, psych, and something inherently Brazilian - there's even a wacky synth in there, for good measure. Compatriot Miele appears on the flip with "Melo Do Tagarela (Rappers Delight)", a sublime slice of early, electronic boogie that sounds as fresh today as it did back at the tail end of the 70s. A devious little reissue that you should own...
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: Wow, classics don't come much more special than this. A like-for-like repress of the 1970 RCA release, both sides here are soaked in Scott Heron's raw troubled soul. The endlessly sampled, hugely powerful and perfectly funky "Revolution" remains almost as poignant and prophetic as it was the day it was penned. "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" is much more personal and reveals his talent as a singer as much as the lead track boasts his poetry and ability to deliver a strong message.
Review: Originally written by Richard Evans, instrumental track ''Burning Spear'' was subsequently covered by S.O.U.L, turning up as a standout on their debut album What Is It? in 1971; with its funky flute and heady bass it is nothing less than a bonefide golden classic. On the B-Side we're treated to the breakbeat heavy, vocal led "Do Whatever You Want To Do" from S.O.U.L's second long player Can You Feel It ?
Review: Time for some Brazilian psychedelic boogie straight from 78. Erstwhile lead singer in Os Mutantes, with a personality thrice as big as the soaking wet bassline on "Agora E Moda", Rita Lee is no stranger to her motherland - even now. Flip for a huge soul injection courtesy of Pete Dunaway. Sounding English in every direction (from his name to his lyrics to the stunning, string-coated arrangement) he's actually Sao Paulo born and is a renowned multi-instrumentalist. Check this and you can tell in an instant. Stunning.
Review: Soul Brother present two sublime cuts by Carolyn Franklin, younger sister to Aretha, for their debut appearance on the seven inch format. On top of her significant body of work as a songwriter and background artist for Aretha and several other acts of the 60s and 70s, Carolyn Franklin record four solo albums and several singles for the RCA label. Rare groove heads favour Franklin's fourth LP If You Want Me in particular, issued in 1976 but originally recorded three years earlier, and Soul Brother have licensed two highlights for this 7" which demonstrate Carolyn's range for anyone not familiar with her work. "Sunshine Holiday" is a psyche delight akin to Linda Lewis' "Reach For The Truth" whilst "Deal With It" is pure funk.
Review: New Zealand-born Lance Ferguson has been the beating heart of Melbourne's modern funk and soul scene for the best part of two decades. It's this that allowed him to gather many of the city's best musicians together to record "Rare Groove Spectrum", an album of fresh covers of rare and classic funk, soul and Latin jams. This sampler seven-inch contains two killer covers. On the A you'll find Ferguson and company charging through the deep funk brilliance of "Egg Roll", an instrumental track that first rose to prominence when Keb Darge reissued an un-credited test pressing of mysterious origin. Over on the flip, Ferguson's charges deliver a heady, exotic and intoxicating interpretation of "The Dump" by Soul Vibrations.
Review: The Allergies' debut album introduced the world to the way they effortlessly fuse funk, soul, disco, hip-hop and breaks into dancefloor-ready nuggets of ear candy. Taking classic sounds and reshaping them for the modern age is the signature that won them plaudits across the globe. Not ones to rest on their laurels, it hasn't taken long for them to deliver more of the goods on their second full-length album. As well as taking the successful formula of the first record and expanding on their sound, the band enlisted two giants of underground hip-hop to bless mics on the album as well. After a hugely successful collaboration on their debut LP, once again the dynamic lyricism and production skills of the inimitable Andy Cooper (Ugly Duckling) are present and correct in this new collection.
Review: The latest missive from crate-digging reissue imprint Rocafort Records shines a light on the halcyon period of Evasion Disques, an imprint founded by members of rebellious French rock band Les (Faux) Freres in the late 1960s. Comprising 12 little-known cuts released on the label between 1970 and '73, the collection does a terrific job in highlighting the wide-eyed, psychedelic era brilliance of some of the label's now forgotten artists. Listeners can expect to hear a mixture of bluesy psychedelic rock, low-down Gallic funk, dream pop, Ramsey Lewis style excursions (see Hand's brilliant "Shifting Leads") and slightly kitsch instrumental workouts guaranteed to put smiles on faces.
Review: Earlier in the year, Kutiman took his brand of psychedelic fusion to Wah Wah 45s for the very first time. Here he returns home to Siyal Music with Turkish vocalist Melike Sahin in tow. "Sakla Beni" is wonderfully odd and exotic - a spaced-out psych-funk affair that wraps mazy, Moog style motifs, mind-altering orchestration and Sahin's wide-eyed vocal around a skewed, low-slung groove. It's brilliantly hallucinatory, as is the accompanying "Karaoke Version" - a superb instrumental take that allows listeners a chance to revel in the intricacy of Kutiman's arrangements. In this context, "Sakla Beni" sounds like it should be gracing the soundtrack of a particularly odd late 1960s Turkish film
Review: Mr Bongo recently reissued the obscure - but also thoroughly brilliant - 1975 debut album by Los Angles soul/rock fusionists Spaceark. Here they continue to mine the band's slim body of work by offering up a new edition of 1976 single "Don't Stop". Available in vocal and instrumental variations, the track is a wonderfully warm and inviting affair, with sweet male and female vocals rising above a grandiose backing track rich in sustained Hammond organ chords, soaring instrumentation, snaking saxophone solos and an unfussy but tight groove. While the vocal version is undeniably great, there's something extra special about the thrusting solos and urgent backing vocals that surge from the speakers during the Instrumental mix.
Review: For the latest release on their on-point Brasil 45s sub-label, Mr Bongo takes a trip back to 1977, and the early days of legendary fusion outfit Banda Black Rio. Both the cuts here are taken from the band's brilliant debut album, Maria Fumaca, and see them fusing Brasilian samba and jazz sounds with the righteous, dancefloor-friendly grooves of funk and disco. "Maria Fumaca" itself is a deliciously sunny and sweaty affair, with punchy horns, eyes-closed guitar solos and jazz-funk electic piano lines rising above a carnival-ready samba-funk groove. The U.S funk influence comes to the fore more on flipside "Mr Funky Samba", which sounds like Azymuth jamming with members of the T.K Disco, Philadelphia International and Salsoul house bands. Yep, it's that good.
Review: Another essential history lesson here from the Peoples Potential Unlimited camp. "Super Breaker" is an early production by Miami bass legend James McCauley, better known as Maggotron,DJX or Basstech. It was originally released by the super obscure Bound Sound label in 1984, but was quickly forgotten. As one of McCauley's earliest works, it arguably marks the point where electro began to morph into Miami bass. There are vocal and instrumental versions on this must have 7", both featuring a mix of long synth chords, oh-so thick synth bass and a healthy dose of vintage drum machine breaks.
Review: Late last year Los Angeles-based synth obsessive Nicholas Benedek made his PPU bow with a untitled album filled with untitled tracks, executed with the sort of lo-fi panache that fit the label to a tee. Here Benedek returns to PPU as RX, a rather surprising self-styled 'smog prog' project with LIES artist and LA Club Resources boss Delroy Edwards. Taking shape in a signature PPU 7 inch, both "Strung Out" and "Prescriptions" sound like a fine balance between the hazy boogie of Benedek and the tape degraded grit that's been a hallmark of Edwards work since his emergence on L.I.E.S.
E Man Boogie '83 (Jimmy Castor/Gerry Thomas 12" mix)
Review: Larry Levan remix - v.e.r.y. r.a.r.e.! 12" Import pressing of the extremely rare Larry Levan remix of 'It's Just Begun'.
On the flip is the original Jimmy Castor/Gerry Thomas 12" mix 'E Man Boogie 83'. We found these Salsoul 12"s in
a warehouse and have hardly any, once they are gone - they. are. gone.
Review: Two more rare grooves purloined from Cultures Of Soul's Brasileiro Treasure Box Of Funk & Soul and delivered on a sweet 45: Celia's "A Hora E Essa" is a steamy Latin funk workout from 72; all horns, cuicas and soft, honeyed vocals. Franco's "Ei, Voce, Psiu!" takes a more US funk idea with Franco's spoken vocals giving off a strong air of bandleader as the band lock down a tight groove beneath. Watch out for samba flip towards the end. Blink and you'll miss it.
Review: Since 2003, Record Kicks has been the "explosive sound of today's scene" and, by the looks of this latest nugget from Martha High, they're right on track to fulfill that promise! The talented US vocalist was on the front row of James Brown's hits in the 60's and 70's, but she's since then focused on her own glorious soul material. "A Little Taste Of Soul" comes as a ray of shining light on a wet October afternoon, full of funky sensibility and heartfelt vibes, making for the perfect dance number for those looking for that groovy thang. For the B-side, "Unwind Yourself" slows the tempo down, breaks up the groove, and unleashes High's Goddess-like voice amid those tasty breaks - what a winner!
Review: Hot on the heels of "Outta My Head / Give Me Something" the Haggis comeback is in full effect as they drop another sure-fire brass-blasting blunderbuss: "Take It Back" features slippery lyricism of writer/comedian/MC extraordinaire Doc Brown alongside their signature tight groove and rolling sense of playful funk. Loaded with an instrumental on the B, this one is guaranteed to sizzle your summer.
Review: Two powerful soul sessions from Alice Clark's eponymous debut 1972 album. "Don't You Care" is a hard-hitting soul standard (that became very popular in acid jazz scene in the early 90s) where Alice opens her heart for all to see while her incredible band ebb and flow with Clark's emotions. "Never Did I Stop Loving You", meanwhile, languishes in sentiment at a slightly lower tempo that allows her to really dig deep for those low notes. The real fun happens as we reach momentum towards the end and every band member brings out their A-game and bounces off each other - backing up Alice every step of the way. You will care about this.
Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - "Foolish Girl" (feat Alex Ligertwood)
The New Mastersounds - "Tantalus"
The Getup - "Hush"
Orquesta Akokan - "Mambo Rapidito"
Gizelle Smith - "Scared Of Something"
Menagerie - "Spiral"
Review: Craig Charles' annual "Funk & Soul Club" compilations are fast becoming as much of a Christmas tradition as turkey, dodgy decorations and ill-advised snogs at office parties. As with its predecessor, this sixth volume does a good job in showcasing the best in modern funk, soul, Afrobeat and heavy Latin jams, with a few stone cold classics thrown in (see the Mighty Ryeders' peerless "Evil Vibrations"). Look out for deep and heavy funk gems from the Bamboos, the New Mastersounds and Lance Ferguson's Rare Groove Spectrum, some suitably smooth fare from Courtney Pine and Omar, a scintillating, salsa-focused cover of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by Scotland's Grupo Magnetico, and a dash of dancefloor goodness from funk breaks scene stalwarts Smoove and Turrell.
Review: Two premium Latin funk documents on one limited 45, Mr Bongo deliver once again: Marcos Valle needs no introduction to Brazilian music enthusiasts. "Mentira" is a self-cover as Valle takes his 69 classic "Mentira Carioca" and develops the dynamic with a vocal style that's highly reminiscent of Donovan. Flip for Toni Tornado's Black Rio anthem "Me Libertei". Fusing sleazy rock n roll with jazzy Latin soul, madly this is the first time it's ever graced a 45!
Review: Two powerful bossa nova workouts from 1972: Brazilian chanteuse Rose Maria delivered two incredible funk jams on Tapecar which escaped her prolific album releases and never enjoyed a repress. Until now... The Afro-Latin soul of "Deixa Nao Deixa" is all about the sudden dynamic from purring verses to emphatic, harmonic chorus while "Avenida Atlantica" takes a more straight-up funk route with its dominant horns and heavy boss break. Instant party material.
Review: Samba flavours do not come more authentic than this. The sixth in Mr Bongo's Brazil 45 series, here they unearth two foundation pieces from Rio collective Os Origianais Do Samba. Forming in 60s Rio, they're still highly active today and have a discography peppered with Brazilian gold. This 45 does well to showcase their breadth... "La Vem Salgueiro" is quintessential samba. Heavy rhythm, punctuated vocals and a dynamic that leaps from bold and delicate in a flash, it charms you instantly. "Tenha Fe" has a softer soul as it strums and sways and more of a folky sensation, tight harmonies and alluring naked instrumentation.
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing Brazil 45s series, Mr Bongo has decided to change tack. The two tracks showcased here are from the golden age of Brazilian boogie. On the A-side you'll find Marcos Valle's "A Paraiba Nao E Chicago", a largely overlooked cut from his 1981 full-length Vontade De Rever Voce. While not as instantly as infectious as some of his better-known singles, it's still superb; a breezy, blue-eyed soul cut full of rising horns and sweet Portuguese vocals. On the B-side, you'll find Don Beto's 1978 disco-funk jam "Nao Quero Mais", a superb track that was seemingly inspired by the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running".
Review: Rich gutsy soul from a man who's regularly described as Brazil's James Brown, "O Journalerio" is a blueprint funk jam. Released in 1971 (on his hyper-rare album BR-3) it's all about the orchestrated swing, bluesy groove and Hammond licks so lavish you need to towel on every listen. Flip for Som Tres... An off-shoot of the Sambalanco Trio, it's the sound of Cesar Camargo Mariano controlling a restrained rolling slice of filmic instrumental funk where horns, keys and drums gather momentum with big band drama. Neither have been released on 45" before, making this all the more special.
Review: Sporty Cat Dwight Sykes lets loose with a brand new original and super spacy track from last year's album Songs Volume One for the ever excellent Peoples Potential Unlimited!! "If You Want My Love" is straight out of the '80s playbook thanks to its gossamer synths and on-point female rap (that's delivered by his daughter Valerie Sykes). Flip for the filmic synth boogie introspection of "You That I Need". Another must grip 7" from the PPU crew.
Review: The Great Revivers continue their unassailable 2014 assault on the record boxes of funk selectors everywhere with yet another killer seven for the Funk Night label. Brashly titled "Don't Mess with GR" may be, but this Russian quartet always prefer to let their musicianship do the talking and you can't fault the Great Revivers funk here as three odd minutes of prime dirtiness unfolds driven by a killer drum beat. It's complemented well by the more uptempo jam that is "Hard Way To Go" and lays down a marker for what to expect from the Great Revivers forthcoming album.
Review: A limited yellow vinyl funk odyssey from Record Store Day, "I Get Lifted" is taken from KC & The Sunshine Band's second album (1975) Still sounding shiny and floor-minded, the original stands the test of time incredibly well. Todd Terje's edit, however, takes it to another level; upping the tempo (and, possibly, the key), he's extended the right places, added a little more emphasis on the kicks and made sure we can't miss the breakdowns and instrumental sections.
Review: Spinners frontman, Wilson Pickett and Curtis Mayfield affiliate and fantastic solo singer in his own right, John Edwards' rich range and emphatic delivery carries some serious show-stopping motifs. Here Kent Soul represent some of his rarer, non-album work. "Cold Hearted Woman" is a heart-wrenching lament where Edward really puts his heart on the line over a wet guitar-heavy groove. "Ain't That Good Enough", meanwhile, is a much more upbeat jam where the swooning strings and glistening glockenspiel are given some cool time under the arrangement spotlight.
Review: vKeen Africa 45 followers should recognise Eshete's name as he's appeared on the series before. Mr Bongo call him the Ethiopian James Brown and the Abyssinian Elvis... And they're not far off. This 74 rarity shows him crooning and crying at full pelt over a solid funk groove that's powered by piano and guitar. Flip for an equally rare vocal track from fellow Ethiopian Girma. Recorded in 69, full focus is squared on the lavish organ leads while the horns provide a soft but sturdy backdrop.
Review: Afro 45's / Mr Bongo show no signs of stopping their tireless run of form and, 7" after 7", they just keep on producing the goods. There's yet more '70s goodness with this new little scorcher: the A-side is 1973's "Tessassategn Eko" by Bahta Gebre Hiwot, a pensive Ethiopian pop hit for all sorts of music fans to enjoy, but "Ayalqem Tedqem" by Alemayehu Eshete on the B-side is where it's at... just listen to that bass and you'll instantly recognize this wonderful little cover.
Review: Straight from 68; Diane Lewis's Wand double-A has passed hands for well over L300 in the past, and it's really not hard to understand why... Northern soul anthem "Without Your Love" comes with gutsy vocals, full spectrum backing vocals and drums so lively and crisp they sound like they're marching out of the speakers. "Giving Up Your Love" plays the consummate soother; a raw soul ballad with strings and delicate harmonies, it's the ultimate antidote to the emotional frenzy on the A. Highly limited.
Review: Legendary bandleader Eddie Palmieri took a rare groove excursion from his Latin legacy in the early 70s for two albums as Harlem River Drive. Criminally overlooked, Soul Brother have dusted off two of the many highlights from his self-titled debut; "Idle Hands" is a sleazy, Gaye-style message with an almost spoken word quality to the vocals and a smoky wooziness to the horns while "Seeds Of Life" is a real end-of-set belter that rises and rises with tight orchestration between the guitar, horns and drums. Incredible... This can't be slept on this time round.
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.
John Turrell - "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Basement Freaks remix) (4:20)
Review: Fizzing funkateers Basement Freaks can usually be relied upon to bring the dancefloor goods. That's certainly the case on this dancefloor-focused seven-inch. On the A-side they rework one of their own classic cuts, offering a punchier and heavier take on 2016 Kylie Auldist collaboration "White Hot". Rich in flash-friend funk guitars, crunchy breaks and life-affirming horns, their new revision is undoubtedly more DJ-friendly than the original album version. Turn to the flip to hear their tidy new take on Smoove collaborator John Turrell's 2013 cut "Won't Get Fooled Again", which they cannily refurbish as a wobble bass-propelled chunk of P-funk flavoured dancefloor soul.
The Lively Set - "Blues Get Off My Shoulder" (2:48)
The Three Dudes - "I'm Beggin You" (2:45)
Review: The unstoppable Big Crown label is back with what is, once again, a rare find. In fact, we have two previously impossible tunes to get on this tidy 7" - first up, The Lively Set's excellent "Blues Get Off My Shoulder" roars a deep wave of glorious vintage soul, putting the very best of James Brown material to the test. As a follower, The Three Dudes' "I'm Beggin You" is one for the swings and the shakers, storming out of the speakers with that inimitable Mo-Town glory. An unmissable little 7" from the heart of the 60s!
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues its consistently rich vein of form with two more beautifully contrasting - and previously difficult to track down - Brazilian soul jazz fusions from the 70s. Side A is inhabited by one of the era's most interesting individuals. Infamously censored and eventually exiled, Taiguara's chaotic flute, guitar and piano arrangement is a tight weave of melodies, counter melodies and start dynamics. Flip for the classically soul-oriented "Deixa Eu Te Amar" will bright horns, brash drums and a bold vocal from Marisa Rossi. Pow.
Review: Taken from Lee's brand new album Special Night "Make The World" is Fields at his finest, fieriest and funkiest - a message of clear unity delivered with his signature gutsy vocals over a beautifully tight groove from The Expressions. Rolling with a real sense of momentum and cool drama, Fields and his troupe still have heaps of love to give. The feeling's mutual too.
Review: Originally out in 1985, Peoples Potential Unlimited reissue this soul boogie jam from Uku Kuut (who was born In the Soviet Union, raised in Sweden and now lives in Estonia) featuring Marju Kuut on vocals. On the flip is a mellow instrumental in homage to Uku's home for the past 20 years, now available for the first time on cute 7" vinyl. Top release!
Review: Feeling lucky? With grooves as raw, sizzling and energetic as these, there's a strong chance you might be. Hot on the heels of their "Mesquite Beat" 45 comes this equally earthy and frank doublet. "'Bout To Blow" is a big pant swinging blues affair while "Saints & Beggars" takes us up a notch with a whirling 6/8 signature whirling waltz where the horns and drums take the lead and we follow in their every dreamy footstep. Look out for the album Mesquite Suite coming on Tramp very soon.
Review: Ubiquity's super-collectable Luv N Haight series continues with immaculate aplomb. Here we find Kon applying his crafty edit knife to Twilight's 1986 soul boogie smoocher "You're In Love". The remix carries the full honey-coated vocals while the dub switches the focus to the groove with subtle flourishes of the vocal. A spotless contempory rework.... And, as the seventh volume, it's fittingly the first in the series to be served on 7". Nice touch.
Review: Following their surprise reunion and Strut-release album We Be All Africans last year, Idris and The Pyramids return... This time on Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon imprint. Laying down a spiritual arrangement so frenetic and full of its own life it takes up two parts, Idris's sax plays duet with Philophon's own vocalist Guy One. Gutsy, raw and full of surprises, it's another out-of-body experience from the longstanding jazz troupe.