Review: Isle of Jura boss Kev Griffiths has spent a lot of time digging into the Caribbean disco-reggae scene over the last few years, so it should come as no surprise that he's uncovered a slew of gems from obscure Jamaican duo The Pearls to reissue. Norman Watson and Stanley Shaw originally made their name in the late 1970s with a string of dancefloor-focused disco-rap and disco-reggae records, but it's 1980's "On & On" - here issued for the first time on 12"- that could well be their finest hour. It's a sparse, squelchy mixture of rubbery synth-bass, light disco instrumentation and party-starting rap vocals. It comes accompanied by the original "all-star" dub mix, and a brilliant new extended edit from Waxist that makes the most of elements from both versions.
Review: Dial into some super smooth soul vibes on this fine reissue of some classic 1980 action from Floridian artist Charles Jonson. It's a formidable offering that gets you on a glow slow mood on opener "Baby I Cried Cried Cried". The languid vocals are stretched over gently tumbling drums, chord stabs pick you up before then dropping you back down into a romantic late night vibe. "Never Had A Love So Good" is more upbeat but just as silky and seductive, with deft hi hats and student drums taking you home.
Review: Over the past few years, Johnny Rock has proved to be one of the shrewdest re-editors around, delivering must-check reworks of thoroughly obscure gems that tend towards the exotic and intoxicating. Further proof of his dusty-fingered, scalpel-wielding genius can be found on this Orange Tree Edits outing. Check first the rubbery, off-kilter '80s electro-flex of "Kat-Woman Do", before admiring the Mascara-sporting, New Romantic style synth-pop goodness of "Bitter Juice". Elsewhere, he offers up some skewed, percussion-rich late-night eccentricity (the delightfully weird "Hippie Jam") and successfully dances his way through some Communism-era Yugoslav post-punk heaviness ("Streets of Belgrade").
Review: There are certain songs so eternal they could be re-edited and repressed into infinity and never grow old. There are also certain remixers and re-editors that can be trusted with even the biggest of anthems, and Psychemagick are surely up there. Taking on Talking Heads' "This Must Be The Place" and Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere" is no mean feat, when the originals were such pop perfection to begin with. Balancing the scales between a fresh treatment and solemn respect for the sanctity of the original versions, these versions simply add a little oomph in the rhythm section and apply smatterings of blissful, dubbed-out FX where it counts to send these perennial favourites into the stratosphere.
Dance Your Blues Away (The Mighty Zaf edit) (4:32)
Review: Originally released in 1979 as a B-side to The Neville Brother's "Sweet Honey Dipper", "Dance Your Blues Away" saw Ivan go solo for the first time on this sultry modern soul jam. Laced with a plucky bass and just the right smattering of sleaze, it set the foundations for Ivan's extensive solo career. It also provides the perfect groove tools for The Mighty Zaf to work his editor craft and beef up the vibe with subtlety. Keep on dancing!
Loleatta Holloway - "The Greatest Performance Of My Life"
The Salsoul Orchestra - "How High"
Instant Funk - "Crying"
Bunny Sigler - "By The Way You Dance (I Knew It Was You)"
Inner Life - "Make It Last Forever"
Jimmy Castor - "It's Just Begun"
Logg - "I Know You Will" (remix version)
Aurra - "When I Come Home"
Instant Funk - "Salp Slap Lickedy Lap"
Instant Funk - "Bodyshine"
Steve Arrington - "Summertime Lovin'"
Skyy - "Skyyzoo"
Instant Funk - "Everybody"
Jimmy Castor - "(Tellin' On) The Devil"
Inner Life - "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (The Garage version)
Review: While Larry Levan tended to rely on engineer Bob Blank to complete studio jobs, the reworks credited to him were always superb - as this second volume of his "Greatest Remixes" for Salsoul Records defiantly proves. As you'd expect, the two disc-set does include a number of must-have rubs of well-known NYC disco and boogie anthems (think Skyy's "First Time Around", Instant Funk's "I Got My Mind Made Up" and Logg's "I Know You Will"), the vast majority of the remixes included here are far less known. As a result, the collection provides a great opportunity to get your hands on such under-appreciated gems as Levan's sparkling takes on Jimmy Castor Bunch's "It's Just Begun", Aurra's percussive boogie gem "When I Come Home" and Sparkle's soaring disco smasher "Handsome Man".
Review: Over the last few years, Gigi Testa has become renowned for delivering sun-kissed tracks and re-edits that variously draw influence from deep house, Afro-cosmic, Balearica, and jazz-funk. This edit-focused two-tracker continues on a similar theme. "Latin Jazz-Dance (Voodoo Edit)" is simply superb - an effervescent, rush-inducing re-model of a Latin jazz-funk number rich in layered percussion, breezy flute solos, bouncy piano riffs and suitably ambidextrous fretless bass. In contrast, "Electric Counterpoint (Dream Edit)" is a totally beat-free affair. It sees him go to work on the Steve Reich/Pat Metheny classic of the same name, adding dubbed-out effects and subtle vocal overdubs here and there. Like the original version, it's blissful, awe-inspiring stuff.