The Love I Found In You (feat Chuck Edwards) (4:15)
Review: During the 1970s, San Francisco-based family band The Edwards Generation released a handful of obscure singles that are now sought by funk and soul collectors the world over. These very same collectors should enjoy this tidy seven-inch on Cordial, which offers up two previously unheard recordings from the Chuck Edwards-helmed outfit. A-side "I Like Your Style" is a breezy and laidback dancefloor mover, with a sweet lead vocal, rubbery slap bass, jangling guitars, fuzzy horns and unfussy but floor-ready drums. Chuck Edwards sings lead on the loved-up, West Coast style goodness of "The Love I Found In You", a sunshine-ready number that's arguably the stronger of two killer cuts.
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: Denie Corbett, Marva Hicks, Susan Beaubian, Sylvia Striplin and Vivian Prince are Eighites Ladies, a vocal ensemble best known for their hit 'Turned On To You'. An iconic rare groove gem from the 80s, it has since been sampled any number of times by giants like A Tribe Called Quest. An edited version has been put out before on an Expansion 7" but an extended version has alway been sought after. Well, here it is along with 'Give Me Your Love', a solo tune from Sylvia. 'Sing Me' also makes the cut to ensure this soul gem is an essential pick up.
Review: Big Crown are releasing El Michels Affair's latest and possibly greater album this month, but also this tidy new 7". The A side "Reasons" is a collaboration with Bobby Oroza that follows on from their last well received work together in fine style. The results is a deep and existential trip with lush guitar notes and Oroza's voice musing on the struggles of life. "Hipps" is pulled from El Michels Affair's aforementioned album Adult Themes and has a crushing beat and standout horn arrangements that have made the leader of this band so well acclaimed.
Review: Astonishingly, original copies of Energize's 1979 private press single "Piece of Class" have changed hands for over 500 quid online. Helpfully, Rain & Shine have decided to save us all a few bob by slinging out this licensed reissue. The title track is something of a bustling disco-funk gem - a genuinely wonderful fusion of hazy vocals, dueling horn solos, spacey synthesizer flourishes and driving bass guitar. B-side "Star of the Disco" is an even more up-tempo affair, with mazy saxophone solos, rasping horn stabs and starry jazz-funk keys riding a walking bassline and high-octane disco drums.
Review: Newcomers Energy MC2 are exactly the sort of ensemble needed by the supremely funky Soul Junction imprint. The label have done a great job in continuously finding new, raw talent in the soul game, and these dudes know the score. "If You Break It" features the voice of Vincent Bonham, and it's a veritable lovers tune, made for dance floor antics and Saturday night romance, whereas "Other Side Of The Mirror" is more of a soulful abstraction, a gorgeous little ballad led by the delicate, majestic vocals of Arnell Carmichael. Oh, boy...
Review: Writer, singer and former New York banker, Eric Harris first emerged in the late 2000s with tear-jerking tracks such as "Drama" and the belting "Queen" and has appeared on Soul Unsigned and Soul Junction on various occasions. "Nightlife" is a great example of his Vandross-style depth, tone and warmth while the heartfelt (and just a little steamy) "Backstage" finally sees 45" justice after becoming a cult radio hit in 2012. Pure bedtime music.
Review: Back in 1980, Roy Ayers assembled the Eighties Ladies - a soulful vocal quintet whose members included sometime Aquarian Dream vocalist Sylvia Striplin. Sadly the group didn't last long, but their vibrant "Ladies Of The Eighties" single - a fine disco-tinged slab of boogie/jazz-funk fusion - became a big club hit. Their debut album, which is here reissued for the first time, is equally as impressive, with highlights including the rushing, part-rapped, attitude-laden "Tell Him" - later covered in the bruk era by West London outfit BB Boogie - cheery "I Knew That Love" and the liquid slap bass-propelled intergalactic space funk jam "It's Easy To Move" standing out. Throughout, Roy Ayers' production and arrangements are as tidy as you'd expect.
Review: Leon Michels's El Michels Affair band spearheaded and instrumental funk movement when it emerged 15 year ago and now their famous cinematic soul sound gives rise to another gorgeous album of golden sounds on Big Crown. Swirling moods and romantic vibes, plaintive piano playing and sombre horns all add to a rich tapestry of sound that ebbs and flows through moments of passion, lust and love. Form the more densely orchestrated "Rubix" and "Villa" via "Life of Pablo", which features a debut from Leon's son, there's subtle narrative tot he album which keeps you locked through harder drum grooves on "Hipps" and sophisticated soothers like "Kill the Lights."
Review: Interestingly, the roots of the latest El Michels Affair lie in a 2017 collection of cinematic soul interludes he created as a kind of showreel-for-sampling. As that was a successful exercise - some of the minute-long tracks became the basis of songs Beyonce & Jay-Z and Travis Scott, amongst others - Michels decided to gather together his band-mates and create an imaginary 1960s movie soundtrack along the same lines, or as he puts it, "a kind of musical Choose Your Own Adventure". Combining loose, languid and lazy soul grooves with atmospheric orchestration, eyes-closed female vocals, jazz style arrangements and quirky instrumental choices, "Adult Themes" is a hugely evocative, atmospheric and entertaining affair that contains numerous subtle nods to Harold Budd, David Axelrod and Francous de Robaix.
Review: Originally released in 1992, Completion Of A Miracle was American R&B and gospel musician Steve Elliott's second LP. New Zealand-based reissue imprint Rain & Shine continue their love for Elliott's self-produced music by giving the album another lease of life. Remastered from the original reel-to-reel tapes, it includes the dancefloor cut "Wake Up". Another essential release set to become a future collector's item. Rain & Shine was established in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017 and only pursues music previously unreleased or never re-issued, and when certain that artists or their families can be directly involved to benefit financially.
Review: Not-for-profit label Rain & Shine continues to offer up fine reissues of long overlooked, forgotten and hard-to-find LPs. Their latest comes from gospel musician Steve Elliott, whose self-released 1981 debut "True Image" is considered by collectors to be something of a Holy Grail of boogie-era gospel soul. As this new edition proves, it remains a hugely potent and entertaining set. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the suitably lo-fi synth-soul business of "Skitz-O-Love" and laidback boogie-pop of "One More Time", to the smooth grooves (and even smoother vocals) of "We Were Meant To Be" and sugary "Believe In Me", where female harmony vocals only emphasize the loved-up mood.
Review: Kalita's obligatory Record Store Day offering is something rather special: synth-funk visionary couple Emerson and Leora Sandidge's mythical unreleased album finally sees the light of day, following Emerson's sole private press seven-inch single release way back in 1988. Those two tunes ("Sending All My Love Out" and "Why Are You So Cold?") make the cut on this belated debut set, alongside six other previously unreleased recordings from the same sessions. Their take on electrofunk, boogie and '80s soul is colourful, soulful and synth-heavy, with the included tracks veering from up-tempo club workouts (see "Raw Deal Cocaine Kills") and fizzing dancefloor pop workouts, to sugary ballads and seductive slow jams. In other words, it's a more than tidy selection of rare and unheard gems.