Review: Big Crown bring the beat heat once again with two raw funk / soul gems. The Sonics' rare-as-hens-teeth northern soul anthem "Find Myself Another Girl" gets liberated from its high ticket collector price with this much needed reissue while an old master tape prowls to life on the B as Texan troupe S.C.A.M's take on the well-covered Classics IV 1968 standard "Spooky" enjoys a release for the first time. Divine.
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: Shots fired from the 37th chamber... The El Michels Affair's long-standing love for the Wu legacy continues on hot 45" with two more perfect covers from their last album. First up GZA's "Shadow Boxing" gets a hazy Booker T-style shakedown with those dreamy hammonds breezing through like top-down caddies. FlipGhostface Killah's "Iron Maiden" gets the swooning, woozy treatment with a breakdown that flips like a wild dream. No one does Wu covers like Leon Michels' troupe.
Review: Leon Michel's El Michels Affair has always grabbed our attention, since the very early days of the Juno website, back in the early 00s. The New York outfit, an instrumental collective that seems to change every decade, have been experimenting with jazz and all sorts of ethereal styles from across the globe. This new single, out through the trusted Big Crown label, is perhaps one of their most memorable outings of the last 5 years. The title track, "Unathi", is a mystical voyage across time and space, with psyched-out vocals riding high above a solid trip-hop groove and a marvelous array of trippy atmospherics. On the flip, "Zaharila" is a slower, moodier piece that speaks to the heart, spewing horns and tough beats from every angle, making it instantly recognizable and, yes, as seductive as most of El Michels Affair's music. Excellent.
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: Throughout the 1960s and '70s, Sunny and the Sunliners were one of Texas's most successful groups. They specialised in "Tejano music", a Tex-Mex fusion of popular American and Latin American styles. "Should I Take You Home", which was first released on 7" single in 1969, is arguably one of the group's "straightest" tracks; a sweet, laidback soul ballad full of Stax style horns, close harmony backing singing and a sublime, emotion-filled lead vocal. Flipside "My Dream" is similarly heartfelt and saccharine in feel, with bandleader Sunny Ozuna's vocal alternating between impassioned sweetness and world-weary melancholy.
Review: Excavated from the personal collection of one Lamont Dozier, little is known about The Fabulous Dynamics besides the sounds found on a one-off acetate six-track demo record. Here are two Big Crown's favourites from the demo; the stripped back, vocal-heavy swoons and harmonies of "Get Hip To Yourself" and the pedigree balled "Every Time I See A Pretty Girl". Raw, honest, and full of promise, this is a pure snapshot of 60s soul, discovered in the collection of one of the most influential songwriters of the time. What a document.
Review: Deep into his chamber-lurking follow-up Wu odyssey, Leon Michels stumbled upon shy New York twosome The Shacks and convinced them to record this hazy summer-primed 45". Singer Shannon steals the show with softness and honesty as the band weave a psychedelic bed of sliding guitars and faraway harmonies. Both laced with a woozy 60s edge and beautifully playful lyrics, the whole EP sparkles with soul and talent from both The Shacks and Leon's ever-reliable troupe.
Review: Taken from Big Crown's recent homage compendium Mr Brown Eyed Soul, "Put Me In Jail" and "Open Up Your Love Door" are two quintessential examples of Sunny Ozuna's powerful Latin soul allure and ability to stop your heart at 20 paces. The former is a real swooner with crisp plucked bluesy guitars and full band harmonies while the latter takes more of a ballad tact with sincerity dripping off every word Sunny confides. Backed with sublime Sunliner harmonies once more, this is an exceptional taster from the Big Crown's detail-rich collection.
Review: Still scorching from the heat of their debut album 55, Hamburg's mysterious steel pan handlers return with a dope little 45 that features one of the excellent covers from their album plus an exclusive that we guarantee will drive your next floor crazy... Dennis Coffey's "Scorpio" takes the lead with its instantly distinctive break and pace. Flip for Sugarhill's "8th Wonder" that's riddled with confidently swung drums, smoky trumpets and a groove so funky you might just have to drop it twice. Give the drummer some.