Who, What, Where, When & Why (Disco version) (5:10)
No Promises (Disco version) (6:46)
Review: Best Records do it again, dusting down a searing slice of robo-funk from the early 80s that will pop your lock every which way. B Funk was a one-off project from Mario Boncaldo and Tony Carrasco, best known for their incredible work as Klein & MBO. They released the "Magic Spell" album in 1983, and it was loaded with richly produced Italo disco and proto house sounds - there's a good reason the original release has been fetching such crazy prices on the second hand market. Now Best have cherry picked two of the finest cuts from the album, sought out the extended disco versions from Carrasco's vaults, and given them a glorious new pressing.
Review: Powerful belters from soul supernova Baby Huey. The only solo 45s he cut for Curtom Records before he passed away aged only 26, this was released posthumously and OG copies regularly go for over 200 pounds. Now reissued on Soul Brother, the two sides give you the full fat Huey; "Hard Times" hits with a raw Lee Fields style gravelly, story-telling delivery while "Listen To Me" shows Huey's deft ability to band-lead an all-out rock jam. Raw and emotional, Huey left this world far too soon.
Review: Bjorn Wagner's Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band combo recently returned from a two-year hiatus with a killer new album, "The Serpent's Mouth". It's that set - a glorious fusion of funk, soul, disco, jazz and Trinidadian steel band music - from which these two top tracks are taken from. A-side "1 Thing" is particularly glorious. As one quick listen to the clips will confirm, it's a riotous instrumental cover of the Amerie R&B classic of the same name, which replaces the singer's vocals with ear-catching steel drums. The same killer combination of flash-friend funk guitars, bustling drums and tropical steel drum sounds can also be heard on B-side "Hoopla Hoop", which also boasts some suitably fuzzy horns.
Review: Still scorching from the heat of their debut album 55, Hamburg's mysterious steel pan handlers return with a dope little 45 that features one of the excellent covers from their album plus an exclusive that we guarantee will drive your next floor crazy... Dennis Coffey's "Scorpio" takes the lead with its instantly distinctive break and pace. Flip for Sugarhill's "8th Wonder" that's riddled with confidently swung drums, smoky trumpets and a groove so funky you might just have to drop it twice. Give the drummer some.
Review: Afro 45's / Mr Bongo show no signs of stopping their tireless run of form and, 7" after 7", they just keep on producing the goods. There's yet more '70s goodness with this new little scorcher: the A-side is 1973's "Tessassategn Eko" by Bahta Gebre Hiwot, a pensive Ethiopian pop hit for all sorts of music fans to enjoy, but "Ayalqem Tedqem" by Alemayehu Eshete on the B-side is where it's at... just listen to that bass and you'll instantly recognize this wonderful little cover.
Review: Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the four choice tracks from Randolph Baker's privately pressed sought-after 1982 disco album 'Reaching For The Stars', plus an unreleased instrumental take of 'Party Life' sourced from the original 24-track analogue master tapes.
Originally recorded at Jim Morris and Rick Miller's Tampa-based Morrisound Studios, 'Getting Next To You' features both a mixture of both local Florida talent plus jazz superstar Nat Adderley and bassist John Lamb at their finest. Originally pressed in a limited run of just one-thousand copies, with no distribution and most copies being sold in the local city and on Randolph's own merchandise table at the back of live gigs, original copies have long been sought-after by both collectors and DJs alike, acknowledged as a true grail and masterpiece in the disco scene and deservedly demanding extortionate figures to those lucky enough to find their own.
Here, in collaboration with Randolph, Kalita Records have chosen to re-release the four choice tracks from the album: 'Getting Next To You', 'Jazzman', 'Callin' Me' and 'Party Life'. The former is an in-demand horn and chant-filled disco masterpiece, which, as Randolph explains, concerns unity and "everyone on the same level in other words, everyone just loving life". It is arguably the song that Randolph is most well-known for in the disco and funk scene and perfect for the modern discerning dance floor. 'Jazzman' is an instrumental track with prominent trumpet and saxophone solos working with funky basslines to produce a truly great jazz-funk groove. It was "a tribute to Nat Adderley and Duke Ellington's bass player, John Lamb, for being so generous and saying yes to the project". 'Callin' Me' is a soulful disco number featuring the lead vocals of Laurie Erickson and is "about being on the road and ensuring loved ones that you will always come back home no matter what. It was like a promise to ensure loved ones they didn't have to worry". Lastly, 'Party Life' is a joyous disco track with a strong funk bassline and horns. As Randolph recalls, it "was the joy like after an actor finishes a movie. There was nothing but joy. It's finished; let's celebrate big time. Where everyone in the studio yelled at the top of their lungs - The End!" Here, with access to the 24-track master tapes we have been able to include the original version plus an unreleased instrumental take, allowing us to focus on the infectious bassline and make it even more ready for the modern dance floor.
Accompanied by extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before-seen photos.
Review: For the latest release on their on-point Brasil 45s sub-label, Mr Bongo takes a trip back to 1977, and the early days of legendary fusion outfit Banda Black Rio. Both the cuts here are taken from the band's brilliant debut album, Maria Fumaca, and see them fusing Brasilian samba and jazz sounds with the righteous, dancefloor-friendly grooves of funk and disco. "Maria Fumaca" itself is a deliciously sunny and sweaty affair, with punchy horns, eyes-closed guitar solos and jazz-funk electic piano lines rising above a carnival-ready samba-funk groove. The U.S funk influence comes to the fore more on flipside "Mr Funky Samba", which sounds like Azymuth jamming with members of the T.K Disco, Philadelphia International and Salsoul house bands. Yep, it's that good.
Miele - "Melo Do Tagarela (Rapper's Delight)" (instrumental) (4:10)
Review: Although Brazil's Banda Black Rio remain infamous for the albums that they recorded in the late 1970s, two beautiful LPs that rode that singular wave of samba-ridden jazz dance, 1980's "Miss Cheryl" is an outstanding tune, and we can hear why RCA picked it up back in the day. Mr Bongo provides us with the reissue here and, if you haven't heard it, it's an absolute delight which switches between disco, psych, and something inherently Brazilian - there's even a wacky synth in there, for good measure. Compatriot Miele appears on the flip with "Melo Do Tagarela (Rappers Delight)", a sublime slice of early, electronic boogie that sounds as fresh today as it did back at the tail end of the 70s. A devious little reissue that you should own...
Review: Puerto Rican music legend Ray Barretto has a seriously impressive biography, including spells with the Tito Puente Orchestra and the acclaimed Fania All Stars. This tasty seven-inch single serves up one of Barretto's best boogaloo-era cuts, 1968 single and Acid album track "Mercy, Mercy Baby". It remains a fine song, wrapping a jaunty salsa rhythm in various boogaloo aural hallmarks, including impassioned vocals, funk-influenced horns and an incessant piano riff. Interestingly, this edition doesn't feature the original single B-side, but rather a previously unissued instrumental version. Shorn of the vocals and pop production, it feels breezier and heavier, with additional trumpet solos that will wind their way into your subconscious.
John Turrell - "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Basement Freaks remix) (4:20)
Review: Fizzing funkateers Basement Freaks can usually be relied upon to bring the dancefloor goods. That's certainly the case on this dancefloor-focused seven-inch. On the A-side they rework one of their own classic cuts, offering a punchier and heavier take on 2016 Kylie Auldist collaboration "White Hot". Rich in flash-friend funk guitars, crunchy breaks and life-affirming horns, their new revision is undoubtedly more DJ-friendly than the original album version. Turn to the flip to hear their tidy new take on Smoove collaborator John Turrell's 2013 cut "Won't Get Fooled Again", which they cannily refurbish as a wobble bass-propelled chunk of P-funk flavoured dancefloor soul.
Review: Dedicated to the Hammond-heavy 1960s soul-jazz sounds of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Grant Green and Reuben Wilson, the Beat Bronco Organ Trio are a fresh outfit with classic inspirations. The Madrid threesome's debut single is something of a retro-futurist treat. We're really enjoying A-side "Easy Baby", a loose and languid fusion of ear-pleasing Hammond licks, laidback, breakbeat-driven drums and flanged jazz guitars that impressively increases in intensity throughout, culminating in a frenzy of sweaty drums and eyes-closed guitar solos. "Geriatric Dance", meanwhile, is even more up-tempo, with high octane Hammond and jazz guitar solos stretching out over a feverish funk drumbeat.
Review: Marking 40 years since the release of Edwin Birdsong's self-titled and fourth studio album, this Philly reissue couldn't have landed at a more poignant time as the LA funkateer sadly passed away on week of release. "Cola Bottle Baby" is known to absolutely everyone thanks to Daft Punk and that refreshing fizzy groove sounds even better, freer, looser, cooler in its natural state. The lesser spotted "Freaky Deaky Sities" kicks like a loose limbed mule, too. Perhaps a riposte to Roy Ayers "Freaky Deaky" hit the year before, or just another fine trope LA's funk continuum, once again it's the cult fusioneer at his most vibrant. Rest in peace.
Review: For a brief period between 1968 and 1975, Peruvian band Black Sugar recorded some seriously heavy fusions of soul, rock and jazz. It's because of this that both of their self-titled albums now exchange hands for eye-watering sums online, as does their 1971 debut single "Viajecito". Helpfully, Matasuna Records has done a deal to reissue the latter. The track itself remains a rare treat; a gloriously sunny, horn-heavy fusion of Latin jazz rhythms, spacey sounds, jaunty group vocals and twinkling pianos. B-side "Too Late", a sumptuous, boogaloo-sounding soul number in which the group sings in English over a Blackbyrds-esque backing track, is similarly impressive.
Sweet Daddy Floyd - "I Just Can't Help Myself" (extended Break edit) (4:17)
Review: This tasty, DJ-friendly 7" single boasts two extended, break-heavy reworks of obscure and in-demand soul workouts. On the A-side you'll find a tasty extension of Melvin Bliss's superb, piano-heavy 1983 cut "Synthetic Substitution". While Bliss's brilliant original - all heartfelt vocals, jaunty keys and warm bass - is largely kept in tact, the mystery re-editor naturally makes more of the opening breakbeat, which was sampled several times during hip-hop's "golden era". Flip for a similarly tasty rearrangement of Sweet Daddy Floyd's 1978 Blaxploitation style disco-funk shuffler "I Just Can't Help Myself", a cut rich in rolling breaks, densely layered percussion, punchy orchestration and "Shaft"-style guitar licks.
Review: More Eddie Bo material in straight repress format from the Bo Sound vaults! It's another scorcher from 1970 right here, except that Eddie is joined by The Soul Finders across two parts of the majestic "We're Doing It (Thang)". The first cut is funky, laid-back and complete with a rolling guitar riff; the second joint sparks to life after a sublime entrance of broken percussion to form a deep and vibrant funk bomb with true grit.
Review: Soopastole now strikes out on his own eponymous 7' edits series and we must say it's impressive. These are well executed and above all much needed edits so credit to the edit! On the A side "Hot Pants" is an edit of the original track and the "dub beats version" (found only on the Urban release in 1988) starts with the drum break. On the flip we have got "Mama Feelgood" which has heavier drums and the instrumental intro and outro.
Review: Destination 78/79: Expansion take us deep into the illustrious back cat of revered boogaloo fusionist Willie Bobo for two of his many fiery delights. Side A is his feel-heavy cult instrumental take on Ronnie Laws' disco classic "Always There" while Side B throws us into the heart of his 1979 album Bobo with gutsy raw soul power (and just a few cheeky funk slap bass twangs for good measure) Two stone cold classics together for the first time on 45.
Review: After stuffing us with the sweet, sweet donuts for the last year, Boca 45 sets up a new b-boy mission with these two heavy party hitters. "Move A Mountain" is a real steam train of a jam with big 80s breaks and powerful vocals from Louis Baker hitting Joe Dukie levels. Flip for another floor tickler in the form of "Bryan Munich Theme". Packing a frazzled guitar-led 70s funk feel (with just a wee dash of classic 98 Bowser in the feels) we have no idea who Bryan is but we're glad he exists.
Review: German-Ghanaian group the Polyversal Souls have previously collaborated with a number of bands and solo artists from West Africa, so this hook-up with Northern Ghanaian outfit the Bolga All Stars - a collective made up of leading local kologo and frafra-gospel singers and musicians - should not come as much of a surprise. Separated into two parts for the seven-inch release, the track blends the Polyversal Souls' lolloping, late '60s style Afro-funk grooves - complete with fuzzy, period style production - and sharp horn section with glistening guitars, snaking solos and fine vocals from the Bolga All Stars. It's one of the Polyversal Souls' finest releases yet, and that's saying something.
Review: Tribal, physical, psychedelic: Joe Claussell's Bolla project is one of his finest creative accomplishments for many fans, and his album Afrikan Basement: Makussa is the gift that keeps on giving. Having previously leaked limited 12"s, Joe's label Sacred Rhythm does it again with another super-limited, one-sided press. Hooky, insistent and far-out for the full 10 minutes, this is shaman material right here. Do not sleep.
Review: First up on the freshly minted Bacalao imprint is Bosq, a Ubiquity Records contributor renowned for his blends of funk, soul and sweaty South American music. While the heavy horns featured on this release were recorded in Bogota, the producer's usual Colombian flavour takes a back seat as he joins forces with Kaleta to deliver two covers of Fatback Band classics. First up is "Goin' To See My Baby", which is re-imagined as a fuzzy funk workout rich in rasping horns, tropical guitar flourishes and woodblock-driven Latin disco percussion. Arguably even better is the duo's cover of "Backstrokin'", which is given a Barrio-funk flavour complete with prominent bass, heavy-hitting horn motifs and excitable lead vocals.