Review: For their latest trawl into the world of rare soul and funk, Outta Sight has decided to reissue Lou Lawton's brilliant "Knick Knack Patty Wack", a punchy, horn-heavy and occasionally stomping 1967 cut that regularly changes hands for eye-watering sums online. Part of the appeal to collectors and DJs is the track's association with the British northern soul scene. The same could be said of Walter Wilson's "Love Keeps Me Crying", another 1967 recording that was only ever released in limited quantities as a "promo-only" 7" single. While not as sought-after as the Lou Lawton track on the A-side, its every bit as cheery and life affirming (despite the presence of rather melancholy lyrics above the driving Motor City production).
Review: Outta Sight's latest monthly rare soul missive contains hard-to-find and overlooked classics from "hard-hitting" New Jersey vocal group Soul Brothers Six and New Orleans Rhythm and Blues man Willie Tee. It's the former's wonderfully sweet and loose "I'll Be Loving You" (first released in 1966, fact fans) that takes pride of place on the A-side, serving up a lightly sauteed soul take on the rhythm and blues template. Willie Tee's 1967 jam "Walking Up A One Way Street", a summery affair blessed with a superb horn section, leisurely groove and brilliant lead vocal from the man himself, can be found on the B-side.
Review: Released in celebration of Expansion's recent re-serving of two of Leon's early 80s albums - Rockin' You Eternally and Leon Ware - here's a delightful 45 that reminds us of his finest solo moments. "Why I Came To California" is a sun-kissed soul boogie groove with big horns and even bigger chorus. "Rockin' You Eternally" (which is, let's face it, one of the smoothest song titles to ever come from the 80s) showcases Leon's softer side. A ballad steeped in sentiment, play this loud enough and everyone in a five mile radius will stop and get smoochy.
Jaye Williams - "Let Me Be The One" (vocal) (4:52)
Semi Automatic - "Let Me Be The One" (instrumental) (4:36)
Review: The rebirth of 1980s UK soul and reggae imprint Local Records continues apace with the reissue of another John Collins-produced gem from 1984. In signature Collins fashion, the A-side Jaye Williams version of "Let Me Be The One" portrays many of his reggae influences - think liberal use of delay and reverb, as well as a distinctive lilt to the super-sweet vocals - while basing the musical action around a sharp, rubbery backing track rich in fizzing electronics, spacey synths and post-boogie, electro-influenced drums. The flipside Semi-Automatic version is basically Collins' intergalactic soul rhythm track smothered in snaking saxophone solos, which is no bad thing.
Review: Brand new music from Nicole Willis and her intrepid Soul Investigators, their first new material since 2013's Tortured Soul album, and its business as usual. "Paint Me In A Corner" is a lively strutting funk gem peppered with harmonies and driven by a strict, solid drum beat and subtle percussion. "Where Are You Now", meanwhile, is a slower, more heartfelt ballad with lush swooning horns that nestle Nicole's raw and heartfelt vocal imagery consummately.
Review: Texan soul man, Frank Wilson, receives a timely repress of his 1965 monster "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)", a tune which remains highly sought-after in its original format, and one that is bound to fly off these shelves like hot cakes! Outta Sight's done a great job here, and the quality is class, offering the original cut in all its majestic, romantic glory...oh, do we love this! The flipside is the mellow "Sweeter As The Days Go By", a certified love ballad that is a pleasure to the senses, each and every time...
Review: Classic funky soul in the true sense of the word and now presented with a Japan only exclusive edit from hip hop don J Rocc intended for the japan only market ! Nice pic sleeve too. What yo waitin for ? !!
Review: Rare Betty Wright sup[er soulness reissued with artwork for the Japan market on a tasty little 45. not many stores got this outside of the land of the rising sun ....Don't sleep on this beauty !
Review: While most of the obscure old records being reissued by Floating Points' Melodies label fetch eye-wateringly high prices on the second-hand market, there's no doubt that they're all astonishingly good. This latest gem - a little-known 1974 7" from folk-soul songwriter Bobby Wright (now Abu Talib) - is another fantastic example. "Blood of an American", a sweet sounding but politically heavyweight song inspired by the singer-songwriter's opposition to the Vietnam War, is every bit as inspired as the works of that better-known folk-soul legend, Terry Callier. In fact, B-side "Everyone Should Have His Day" sounds like a long-lost Callier recording. As ever, the record is beautifully packaged and comes bundled with a 16-page "mini-zine" packed with interviews and articles about the record.
Review: At the time of his passing in 2017, the late, great soul star Leon Ware was working on a new album with long-time collaborator Taylor Graves. Although he never finished it, Be With has decided to put together a final posthumous album that contains the five songs he finished for the set - which, impressively, include cameos from the likes of Kamasi Washington and Thundercat - and six cuts from an obscure, Japan-only CD from 2013. It's a wonderful listen from start to finish, with the Latin-tinged soul-jazz of "For The Rainbow", the head-nodding boogie business of "Sigh" and the synth-laden, strangely swung brilliance of "Are You Ready" amongst the highlights.
Review: The recently departed Leon Ware is the undisputed king of boogie. The man has released some of the most foundational albums of the disco offshoot genre, and it's probably thanks to him that we've even got electro blasting out of speakers these days. Be With reissued his fourth LP, from 1981, the timeless Rockin' You Eternally, which is a must-have for pretty much anyone who is into ANY style of dance music. In short, it's the absolute truth. "A Little Boogie (Never Hurt No One)" is basically the tune which gave boogie its name in the first place, all bouncy and full of electronic bass, while the rest of the A-side, made up utter classics like "Baby Don't Stop Me" or "Our Time", provides some of the most driving, heartfelt disco-soul known to man. The title track, "Rockin' You Eternally" is as sensual as it is masterfully produced, but our favourite has to be "Don't Stay Away, a luscious, string-led disco monster with an early electronic edge. This is some pioneering business, right here. Elektra's finest.