Cold Diamond & Mink - "Let's Get Together" (instrumental) (4:22)
Review: We just love hearing new soul and funk. Sure, a rare single from the 60s or 70s goes a long way in satisfying our needs, but how good is it to hear NEW music!? That's why we rate Finland's Timmion imprint so highly; they always come through with the goods, and there isn't a single EP they've put out that hasn't interested us... or flown off our shelves! This time, Jonny Benavidez, Cold Diamond and Mink team up for the absolute sexiness that is "Let's Get Together", a seductive soul ballad that is bound to lit up the room instantly! The instrumental is rather fine, too.
Review: Finland's Timmion Records should, by now, be categorised as leaders in the leftfield soul game. Their catalogue contains a wealth of both old and new talents and, whenever we see that famous 'TRI' sign hit our shelves, we just know we're in for the good shit. Thankfully, this new collaboration by the mysterious Cold Diamond and Mink is right up there with the rest of the label's wacky, soulful mind-melters, except that here we head into even deeper quarters. The 7" contains two parts of "Queen Of Soul", a rough, wavy piece of lo-fi strumming that uses its wonderfully exchoing guitars to guide the listener into a state of total psychedelia. We love it, and we suggest you to cop one now before it pops up for the triple the price in a decade's time. Bliss.
Review: If you're a talented soul vocalist who wants an authentically fuzzy late 1960s sound, you could do worse than join forces with Timmion Records' in-house backing band, Cold Diamond & Mink. They're in fine form here providing admirable backing to rising star Carlton Jumel Smith. "Love Our Love Affair" is undeniably attractive, with Smith's confident and emotion-rich vocal rising above the band's hazy horns, languid trumpet solos, sun-bright guitar licks and lolloping, hip-hop style funk-soul beats. As is customary, the band's tidy instrumental version can be found - and enjoyed - on the flip.
Review: Sam Shepherd's Melodies International imprint has barely put a foot wrong to date, serving up a string of must-have reissues. Predictably, the label's latest offering - a facsimile reissue of a thoroughly obscure but in-demand disco 7" from 1979 - is another belter. A-side "Back Into Your Heart" is particularly potent, offering a rich, cheery and pleasingly fuzzy dance through horn-heavy disco-funk pastures, with a loved-up lead vocal joined by cascading strings, intergalactic synth solos and energy-packed drums. Turn to the flip for "Dance, Dance, Dance", an urgent chunk of funk-fuelled disco-rock that's almost as essential as the majestic A-side.
Review: A welcome return to action for Stank Soul scalpel fiends Mako and Mr Bristow, whose last collaborative re-edit release dropped back in 2017. This time round they offer up a slimmed down seven-inch selection boasting two hot-to-trot revisions. On the A-side you'll find "Stax Dawg", a loving tribute to the legendary US label that sees the pair wrap 1960s horns, vocals and instrumentation around their own rubbery, floor-friendly groove. "Love Book", meanwhile, is arguably even better: a low-down revision of a horn-heavy funk-rock affair rich in addictive guitar riffs, bustling drums, heavy horns and gravelly blues style vocals. They round things off via flipside "Funky Jive", a tooled-up version of rhythm and blues standard "Willie and the Hand Jive" that should have everyone singing along in the club.
Review: Clarence Mann is from Alabama. He was 14 years old when he completed his first recording with a high school choral group on RCA Records. After high school, he sang with various bands while attending college. In 1973, he released his first single entitled "Man's Temptation / Have Faith In Me" on T&M Records followed by "Please Accept My Love" and "You Met Your Match" respectively. After his solo career, he joined the group True Image as lead vocalist. Their recordings were released on a subsidiary of the famed TK Productions. The group continued with the independent Alabama label Juana Records when T.K. closed its doors. True Image released two singles in 1980. After these recordings Clarence Mann did several different versions of the song "Come What May". The original recording was recorded by John Gary Williams in 1973 and was released on Stax Records. Although Clarence Mann did several versions of it, only two of them with True Image have seen the spotlight.
Review: Fresh from this year's Cordial collection comes this outstanding 12". The lead track is his most famous "Signs Of A Dying Love". Presented in all its full-length glory, listen to those powerful backing singers and hear why OG copies have gone for over 300 quid. Remix wise the previously unreleased "How I Feel For You" gets the rub from Ourra (big funk swing), DJ Spinna (thumping gospel boogie) and Sean P (full on vocal belter), each one a sign of a lovely release.
Review: Richard Marks' super rare, quadruple figure selling 1975 45" "Speak Now/Purple Haze" enjoys its first ever reissue and it's well worth your attention. "Speak Now" is straight up soulful that yearns with gutsy intent and swoons with subtle country elements thanks to some strong slide guitar (from Marks himself) while "Purple Haze" on the B reflects a much more cosmic, psychedelic side to Marks' style. Not to be confused with Jimi's original, this is a whole other trip... And everyone's invited. Speak now or forever hold your peace.
Review: Never pressed to 45 before, both firing sides are taken from Esther's debut album from 1969; Newport News, Virginia. Both cover versions, JJ Barnes' "Chains Of Love" is given gospel-funk muscle as Esther belts out her heart over an impeccably frenetic band while Joe Zawinul's instantly recognisable jazz standard "Walk Tall" gets a powerful spoken word flex. Gutsy business to the very core, this is a snapshot of Esther at her most ambitious, energetic and creative.
Review: Legendary singer songwriter Barbara Mason is represented in the finest fettle on this 1974 reissue. "World In Crisis" first appeared on her Transition album. Complete with warm harmonies and soft cinematic orchestration, her honey-toned sermons cut through the mix with a cool sense of dreaminess. "Give Me Your Love", meanwhile, is a fantastic cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic where here surging emphasis coats the groove with silky come-to-bed whispers. Stunning.
Review: Soul4Real's latest seven-inch release is rather special for one specific reason: it boasts two previously unheard 1968 recordings by Dallas vocal soul group the Masqueraders. Both were recorded at the legendary American Sound Studio in Uptown Memphis at a time when an astonishing 25% of the records in the Billboard Top 100 (according to the label's liner notes, the backing band on this session included Bobby Womack on guitar) originated there. "Prophet Of Love" is a particularly sweet chunk of harmonic soul, with the Masqueraders' providing the kind of dewy-eyed vocals that wouldn't have sounded out of place on earlier doo-wop records. Over on the flip "You're The One" has a more Phil Spector "wall of sound" kind of feel and a more lolloping rhythm track.
Review: You'd probably have to take out a loan to buy an original, second-hand copy of Master Force's sole single, 1979's "Hey Girl", so this dinky reissue is more than welcome. The title track is a dewy-eyed slice of two-step soul sweetness rich in Curtis Mayfield style lead vocals, glistening guitars and trumpet solos that sound like they've been lifted from an early Herb Alpert recording. Arguably better for dancefloor plays is "Don't Fight The Feeling", a Clavinet-heavy disco-funk affair that boasts some brilliant group backing vocals and heaps of authentic New York flavour.
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: Short-lived Pennsylvania funk troupe Maxwell might be recognisable from a few cheeky compilation cameos with their "Radiation Funk" track. A cult success in their local charts, it took decades for it too see beyond the Columbia city limits and become a secret weapon for diggers and collectors. Now reissued officially for the first time, it's fronted by the unreleased A-side "Meltdown". Another track written in response to an accident at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in 1979, it packs a big vocal punch, tight playing, infectious hooks and blasts of percussive funk. This sure ain't no junk.
Review: One of Finnish funk imprint Timmion's most enduring stories; Pratt & Moody and Cold Diamond & Mink's 2017 "Lost Lost Lost" gets an update with Gerald McCauley. Not particularly known for his singing or songwriting (but very much active in other aspects of the industry) the original's raw blues struck a chord so strong in him, he put pen to paper and dulcets to tape to provide a new perspective on the track. The results speak for themselves. There's no wondering here... It's a full blown heartache conclusion.
Review: Having recently delved deep into the Mighty Ryeders catalogue for a double 7" of scintillating, soul-fired gems, the Dynamite Cuts crew continues its fascination with Rodney Matthews' legendary combo. This double A-side treat brings together two killer cuts from the band's 1978 debut album, Help Us Spread The Message, pressing them onto a 7" single for the very first time. A-side "Star Children" is a wonderfully deep and spaced-out affair, with Matthews and company delivering heart-felt, head-in-the-clouds vocal over a deep, laidback groove. "Help Us Spread The Message" is, if anything, even more horizontal, with the Mighty Ryeders effortlessly joining the dots between the folksy bliss of laidback West Coast jazz-rock and undulating sunshine soul.