Review: "Mothership Connection (Star Child)" by funk legends Parliament was the third and last single released from the group's highly acclaimed 1975 album of the same name. After six years and much fanfare (including some from George Clinton himself), this sought-after KON remix is finally on 7" with a new EQ on the A side and a handy instrumental dub on the flip titled "Mothership Konnection" (see what he did there?). According to the man himself, "another sure shot rework from the stems ... recognizing the pure genius of George Clinton and crew, P-FUNK. So many layers in this session, it's amazing how much is really going on musically".
Still In Love (feat Navasha Daya - The Man 45 edit) (5:16)
Look Ahead (feat N'Dea Davenport - The Man 45 edit) (4:32)
Review: Second time around for Kyoto Jazz Massive man Shuya Okino's "Still in Love", a swelling, string-drenched slab of life-affirming disco-soul, featuring the fine vocals of sometime Fertile Ground chanteuse Navasha Daya. This version is not the same as the epic - and now insanely in-demand - original 2011 version, which came out on legendary Japanese label Especial. This time round, it's been given the seven-inch edit treatment by storied scalpel fiend Ryuhei The Man. His chops, nips and tucks are naturally well-judged, allowing the track's chunky, DJ-friendly drum breaks a chance to do their thing before dropping in Daya's vocal and Okino's stirring strings. It's a suitably respectful and on-point edit, as is the rework of original B-side "Look Ahead" featured on the flip.
I Don't Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky (Fashion remix) (3:56)
Review: Legendary 70s funk band Ripple are back with two original members making new music again. Curtis "Kazoo" Reynolds & Keith "Doc" Samuels now go by the name of Ripple 2.20 and their first work is a new version of John Edwards' "Exercise My Love." It is a cover, but not as we usually know it - they lay down an incredible new vocal and play the parts with a real sense of sensuousness. On the flip is a new remix of some of Ripple's original material in the form of Fashion's take on "I Don't Know What It Is, But It Sure Is Funky", a raw, dirty, sleazy jam to get you in a sweat.
Review: In recent times we've been treated to plenty of reissues of classic lover's rock gems, including an Athens of the North-released collection of lover's rock covers. It's therefore rather exciting to hear some brand-new lover's rock in a similar vein from Crucial Rockers, a studio band formed by producer Jamie Searle. The track given the cover treatment is Womack & Womack classic "Teardrops". While that was fiendishly uptempo, this version is sweet, slow and effortlessly soulful, with Searle's warming riddim offering a perfect match for the un-credited vocalist's fine delivery of the Womacks' weary and emotional lyrics. The flipside dub is rather tasty, too. Sadly there aren't many of these around, so act fast if you want to secure a copy!
Review: The people behind the Made To Dance re-edit series keep their cards close to their chest, offering up little information about their identities or aims other than some admirable words about drawing on "different musical traditions going beyond classifications". It would be nice to know a little more, because their occasional releases - and this tidy "45" in particular - are really rather good. A-side "Lothar" sees the mystery scalpel fiends make merry with a Latin jazz number, to which they've added squelchy acid lines and a little more dancefloor weight. Arguably even better is percussive and funky flipside "Bad Bad Puma", a tooled-up disco-jazz number that cleverly blends glistening guitar solos, wild Hammond organs, loose-limbed drum-breaks and locked-in, house-style kick-drum patterns.
Review: This is a sure fire reissue of a classic jam from Super Lover Cee & Casanova Rud, the eighties hip hop and rap duo whose matching tracksuits and perfectly sharp flat tops tell you all you need to know about their lovably old school style. Both cuts here are snatched from their debut album Girls I Got 'Em Locked in 1987 and immediately take you back to those golden glory days. The titular cut is a chest pumping anthem with big stabs and the flip is a more smooth broken beat with perfectly timed flow.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: It would be fair to say that the Egyptians are not one of the more celebrated soul acts from Cincinatti, Ohio. They released a smattering of seven-inch singles on tiny labels during the early-to-mid 1970s, none of which made much of an impact outside of their local scene. In recent years these 45s have become collector's items, with "Thanks To You" - a super-sweet soul slow-jam rich in harmonic group vocals and effortlessly fluid and jazzy guitar parts - being the most in demand of all. Here the record is finally reissued, with facsimile labels and the same track listing (vocal version on the A-side, instrumental take on the flip). If rare, life-affirming 1970s soul loveliness is your thing, it's well worth a listen.
Review: To our ears, there are few greater golden era dancefloor hip-hop workouts than Main Source's "Looking At The Front Door", a stone-cold classic that remains a much-played anthem decades after it was originally released. Here the 1990 jam gets the reissue treatment. It's available in both vocal and instrumental versions, with both sides doing a great job in showcasing the duo's killer beat - a fine mixture of crunchy drums, woozy electric piano chords, scratched-in samples and toasty bass. Naturally it's the vocal version that we'd reach for more often than not - the trio's flows are particularly good on 'Looking At The Front Door' - but the instrumental is nevertheless a useful tool to have at your disposal.
Review: The third missive from crate-digging reissue specialists Discs of Fun & Love offers up a new pressing of a suitably obscure and hard-to-find private-press gem, Maggie Epting's sole single as Mandisa, 1981's "Summer Love". The song itself is superb: a wonderfully breezy and sun-kissed slab of dewy-eyed soul that sees Epting deliver an emotive lead vocal over a jazz-funk influenced smooth soul groove and plenty of spacey, intergalactic synthesizer sounds. Over on the flip you'll find original B-side "Love's Dream", a quirky, sax-laden slab of electric jazz that features an even bolder and more ear-catching Epting vocal. It's very good, though the real killer resides on the A-side.
Review: Mathew Halsall's Gondwana label out of Manchester is one of contemporary jazz's finest. His own work forms the vital backbone, but his A&R skill also brings on board the likes of Mammal Hands, a band driven by piano, sax and piano. Their ethereal sound captivates the mind and takes it on heavenly trips that can be loose and freewheeling and more tight and kinetic. Both of those styles are showcased on this latest and greatest 7". "Chaser" is a high tempo adventure on slick drums and urgent sax playing while "Prism" suspends you in clouds of pillowy sound.
Review: Second time around for Afro-Kreole artist Grace Barbe's surprise collaboration with Afrobeat legend Tony Allen, which was first released on seven-inch way back in 2016. Allen handled production and remixing duties on "Afro-Sega", a wonderfully humid and tropical number in which the late drummer's distinctive polyrhythms provide a killer base for Barbe's superb lead vocals and all manner of accompanying musical heat (think undulating funk bass, effects-laden Clavinet riffs and punchy sax). Just as good is flipside "Fatige", an even more colourful and vibrant affair in which the Seychelles Islander explores the tropical sounds of her home archipelago in serious sonic style. Only 160 of these have been pressed in total, so act fast if you want to secure a copy.
Pink Family - "Don't Give Your Life Away" (AI-Tone extended mix) (5:00)
Review: Rain & Shine's "Soul Is My Salvation" project is something of an epic: an eight-part series of "dancefloor friendly gospel songs" curated by veteran Chicagoan DJ Tone B Nimble (real name Anthony Fields). This first part - "Chapter 1" - opens with a sublime, gospel style sing-along cover of Sister Sledge classic "We Are Family" that sounds like it was actually recorded in church. It's brilliant, life-affirming stuff. Over on side B, scalpel fiend Al-Tone offers up an extended version of obscure New Zealand group The Pink Family's 1979 cut "Don't Give Your Life Away" - a warm-hearted - some would say righteous - disco workout that's almost as good as the A-side. We await the next volume in the series with baited breath.
Review: A-grade diggers, label, shop and reissuers Mr Bongo are back with another of their essential offerings, this time in the form of a 7" taken from Swedish artist Sven Wunder's debut album Do?u cicekleri on new label Piano Piano. The resulting record is a seamless fusion of bright colours and bleeding pigments, real instruments and synthetic sound that is as worldly as they come. "Magnolia" here is the intoxicating a-side with its freewheeling drums and big lead lines, while "Lotus" takes us into a more oriental sound, with gypsy funk and dark-soul stylings making it delightfully hard to pin down.
All I Do (Ryuhei The Man 45 edit instrumental) (4:05)
Review: Japanese live outfit, A Hundred Birds has a thing for creating classic covers. Over the course of their career, they've recorded countless covers, including organic, string-laden interpretations of techno scene staples such as "Blackwater" (originally recorded by Octave 8) and "Knights of the Jaguar" (The Aztec Mystic). Last year they offered up another warm and wonderous cover, this time of Stevie Wonder classic "All I Do". Here it gets a new lease of life courtesy of scalpel fiend Ryu The Man, who has delivered tightened-up, floor-friendly vocal and instrumental edits of the warm, rich, soulful and undeniably summery cover version. Both are rather good, though it's the vocal version that will win over dancers.
Review: Tastemaking US jazz label International Anthem serves up this special 7" from Angel Bat Dawid in response to Emma Warren's 2019 book "Make Some Space", which told the story of London DIY music space Total Refreshment Centre. Featuring clarinets, keys and drum machines, both tracks are hugely conversational, with emotional pain and power ebbing and flowing through both originals pieces. A-side "Transition East" overflows with ideas and narrative while "No Space For Us" is more cautious and subdued, but both leave a lasting impact. The track features Angel with Ben LaMar Gay and Brazilian talents Edbrass Brasil, Romulo Alexis, Tadeu Mascarenhas, Nancy Viegas and Germano Estacio.
Review: Canadian beat maker Citizen Kane mixes up the golden era sounds of his production heyday with elements of soul and funk from years gone by. "Soul Survivor" here first came in 1995 on a full length, then got pressed to 7" in 2018 and now gets erupted by Treehouse. It's a laidback joint with bottomless kicks, swirling pads and free flowing vocals that sink you in nicely. "Scartown Beats" is a little more upright, with horn stabs and xylophone melodies colouring in the airwaves nicely. Both tracks are the sort of timeless tunes any hip hop head needs in their collection.
Peaches Mann - "Get In Rhythm With God's Love" (3:43)
Review: By now, you should be familiar with the "Soul Is My Salvation" seven-inch series, which sees gospel-loving DJ Tone B Nimble showcase some of his favourite gospel-soul, gospel disco and gospel boogie gems. This fifth 45 in the series is just as essential as its predecessors. On side A you'll find Fay Hill's 1981 single "I Know Who You Should See", a languid, jazz-funk era shuffle through glassy-eyed gospel soul pastures blessed with one of the most addictive choruses we've heard this year. Over on the flip there's a chance to enjoy Peaches Mann's synth-heavy, ultra-soulful gospel boogie number "Get In Rhythm With God's Love", a more upbeat affair whose many highlights include killer slap-bass, D-Train style synth solos and an infectious rhythm.
Review: The always excellently go slow and tropical sounds of Big Crown now look to Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band for covers of two classics. Up first is Grace Jones' nightclub classic "My Jamaican Guy" while on the flip is Erykah Badu's tribute to the legendary J Dilla, "The Healer". Both retain the essence of the original but come with loose hand claps, shimmering steel drums that bring coastal breezes, sand and sun into the equation and leave you laying horizontal. These are fine interpretations of top notch source material.
Review: When it comes to delivering party-starting funk and soul 45s, Jorun Bombay has an impressive track record. His latest seven-inch is rather fine, too. On the A-side he joins forces with a trio of musicians to offer up "Peas In An Alternate Universe": a riff on JBs classic "Pass The Peas" that layers extended organ and trombone solos over a groove dominated by crunchy breakbeats and virtuoso bass guitar. Flipside "Mister Magic" is a deeper, warmer and more laidback affair, with tidy electric piano parts, toe-tapping drums, occasional string-laden disco samples and warm bass being joined by a simply wonderful new vibraphone solo.
Review: George Btp has many strings to his bow, from his work as Dan Piu to his Allstar Motomusic aliases and his deepArtSounds label. His Zarenzeit band with Robert P has been quietly cruising since the mid 90s, although first surfaced on deepArtSounds in 2016 with the Black Inside album. Now the project returns with a limited 7" release for fellow deep house traveler Dubbyman's Deep Explorer label, and the results are as seductive and subliminal as you would expect. "Before Midnight" fuses swirling galaxies of high end synth work with a snappy electro funk backbeat, which Dubbyman reworks on the flip into one of his trademark deeper than deep dancefloor cuts.
Review: By now, you should know Devon Russell's sought-after 1984 cover of Curtis Mayfield classic "Move On Up", a incredible, post-disco era reggae-soul revision that just oozes sun-splashed positivity. It's virtually impossible to pick up the original 45 so this dinked reissue from Mukatsuku Records is most welcome and has been lovingly remastered. The seven-inch is also notable for including another overlooked gem from Russell's even lesser-known 1993 album of Mayfield covers, "Darker Than Blue". His rendition of "Give Me Your Love" here presented for the very first time in a 45 format is blissfully glassy-eyed, colourful and hazy, giving the Mayfield classic a decidedly Balearic reggae feel via head-nodding grooves, fluid synthesizer lines and jazzy guitar solos. In a word: brilliant.Supported so far by DJ Koco & DJ Muro from Japan and Craig Charles BBC 6 Music, The Allergies,Mr Thing, Andy Smith & Boca 45 from the uk....
Review: ZamZam Sounds has been killing it of late, with Rider Shafique, Ishan Sound and Kahn's recent "When Shall We Rise" single arguably being one of their most potent releases yet. Here they continue that fine run of form via another must-check "45", this time via the artist formerly known as Deadboy, Al Wooton. A-side "Request" offers a deliciously contemporary take on steppers/dub fusion, with ricocheting electronics, humid aural textures and echoing vocal snippets jumping around above a killer bassline and bustling drums. He continues on a similar theme with "Philo", which is the kind of weighty, club-ready dub excursion that would sit well in many house and techno sets.
Falling Deep In Love (Joey Negro 7" Disco Blend) (4:06)
Review: For the last two years, legendary London crew Horse Meat Disco has been teasing the release of its long-awaited debut album via a series of scintillating singles featuring guest vocals from the likes of Amy Douglas and, even more impressively, Kathy Sledge. Here they offer up their second collaboration with the legendary disco diva. "Jump Into The Light" is little less than a tribute to the Chic sound featured on the greatest Sister Sledge records, with Kathy Sledge delivering a typical fine lead vocal over Bernard Edwards style bass, Nile Rodgers-esque guitars and glittering orchestration. Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy Joey Negro's cut-down "Disco Blend" of previous single "Falling Deep In Love", which adds a little house flavour whilst retaining the crew's disco instrumentation.
As The Sun (feat John Arnold & James Simonson) (5:06)
Entardecer (feat John Arnold) (5:18)
Review: John Beltran is welcomed into the MotorCity Wine Recordings family with his sun-drenched and soulful debut entitled "Back To Bahia". Titled after his MCW residency of the same name, the release combines Deep House, Jazz, Boogie, and, of course, musica popular Brasileira flavors to welcome the sunshine into your life. Housed in the MotorCity Wine 7" company jacket.