Review: Many disco-era modern soul collectors regard, Larom Baker's "You're The Best", which initially appeared in 1978 on an impossible to find, single-sided 7" single, as one of the style's genuine "Holy Grail" records. It's good news, then, that Athens Of The North has secured the rights to reissue it, releasing the full studio version (rather than the shorter edit that was released all those years ago) for the very first time. It's a genuine gem, with Baker's deliciously breezy West Coast soul vocal seemingly floating over a killer backing track rich in hazy horns, bustling slap bass and crunchy Clavinet lines. Turn to the flipside for the more disco-minded "Train Of Thought", one of a string of recently discovered Baker recordings that form the basis of a forthcoming album of previously unreleased tracks.
Review: Formidably hard to find in its original form, Patience Africa's "Wozani" has finally been given the reissue treatment by La Casa Tropical. Those lucky enough to own a copy of the 1987 release - the South African singer's final EP - will note that this edition omits some tracks, instead offering loud cuts of just two (admittedly superb) jams. A-side "Hide & Seek" is a perfect example of the then developing Kwaito sound, with Patience Africa's strong lead vocal and "bubblegum" style synthesizer melodies nestling atop New York freestyle influenced beats and a chunky bassline. "By Hook Or By Crook", meanwhile, is closer in sound and feel to straight-up "bubblegum" synth-pop, with sugary-sweet vocals, "Glam" style triple-time beats and a more swinging electronic bassline.
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series rarely misses a beat, with each successive seven-inch showcasing two more hard-to-find treats from the dim and distant past. The latest instalment opens with "Vou Morar No Teu Sorriso", a sought-after cut from Trio Tenura's eponymous 1971 MPB/soul fusion album. It's a genuinely summery treat, with ear-catching, reverb-heavy vocals and rising horn lines rising above a life-affirming backing track. On the flip you'll find "Quem Vai Querer", the title track from a superb 1977 album by Eliana Pittman. A breezy chunk of sizzling samba-soul, the cut features an impeccable lead vocal from Pittman and some sing-along group chorus vocals