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.
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: Way back in 1999, Acid Jazz Records launched an offshoot dedicated to disco edits: Original Sound Track Recordings. The best of the series' many superb reworks were later gathered together on a compilation album on EMI that now changes hands for significant sums online. Happily, they've decided to reissue some of their early releases, beginning with this 7" of Family Tree featuring Sharon Brown's "Family Tree". You'll find the peerless original - a breakbeat-driven chunk of lolloping funk brilliance - on Side A, with the label's 2002 "Super Disco Break Beat" version on the flip. Inspired by hip-hop DJs doubling up the track's brilliant drum breaks, it's a killer percussion workout with a few quick blasts of funk energy and carefully placed special effects (think flanged drums, reversed sections and so on).
Review: Stefano Tirone has been a stalwart of the Italian scene since making his debut on legendary Italian house label Calypso Records way back in 1992. Since then, his productions have become increasingly more jazz and soul focused, with a sizeable side order of groovy downtempo beats. His latest seven-inch single begins with "Try My Love", a hazy chunk of head-nodding jazz-funk/soul fusion rich in languid synthesizer solos, lazy grooves, hazy horns and soulful vocals. It's really good all told, though we'd argue that flipside "Odoya" - a wiggling chunk of Afro-tinged mid-tempo funk - is even better. Either way, it's another rock solid release from the effervescent Tirone.
Review: Sauce 81, aka Japanese RBMA alumni Nobu Suzuki, lays down two starlight stunners for a fine 7" debut on the Eglo label operated by Alex Nut and Sam Floating Points. "Natural Thing" is an unashamed, effortlessly hooky boogie jam that sits somewhere between the Funkadelic adventures of George Clinton and Kool & the Gang. "Bustin" meanwhile was originally made for Shing02's short movie of the same name. All slinky and whispering, it's like Samuel L Jackson whispering sweet nothings in your ear over a Faze-O track. Sexy.
Review: Currently laying down soul as 77 Karat Gold, Nobuyuki Suzuki finds time to beam back to Eglo as Sauce81 with a stunning boogie jam that's got summer well and truly locked in its targets. Cruising the Central Line in an inimitable loose, swinging way, there's magic to be found between the synth melody and juicy slapbass. Complete with a floor-focussed dub, this will have everyone dancing, guaranteed.
Review: A one off private press from '72 from a mysterious band with no background or backstory; this funk soul doublet from the awesomely titled Scorpio & His People first reared its super-rare head in 2012 after original copies apparently fetched nearly 4000 quid. Raw, warm and driving, both sides cut it with the band glued tightly together and a soaring female. "The Unforgiving" is more straight up funk with some popping fills and gusty vocals while "Theme From 'The Movietown Sound'" comes with more of a smoky swagger, brazen pianos and a stunning break that screams 'sample me' louder than the OG price tag.
Review: Two crucial moments from Gil Scott Heron's immense repertoire; "When You Are Who You Are" takes the lead. Taken from his 1971 album Pieces Of A Man, it's a straight up homage to clarity and honesty told in the context that only Gil knew best. Flip for a very special alternative take of "Free Will". The title track of his following album, released a year later in 1972, the variations of this take (which has never been released on vinyl before) are subtle but strong enough to justify it a place in your collection.
Review: Wow, classics don't come much more special than this. A like-for-like repress of the 1970 RCA release, both sides here are soaked in Scott Heron's raw troubled soul. The endlessly sampled, hugely powerful and perfectly funky "Revolution" remains almost as poignant and prophetic as it was the day it was penned. "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" is much more personal and reveals his talent as a singer as much as the lead track boasts his poetry and ability to deliver a strong message.
Review: Only 300 copies pressed of this classic Gil Scott-Heron heavy double sider on a limited dinked 45. "It's Your World" is Gil Scott - may he rest in peace - at his funkiest best with an upfront vocal over a driving sax and rhodes- those of you who have seen one or two Gilles Peterson's DJ sets down the years will remember this fondly. "Winter In America" showcases Gil's legendary poetic prose in a meandering, melancholic manner offset by rhodes and flute. Essential.
Review: Fresh from 68: Atlanta family trio Scott Three only ever recorded two singles and remained something of a local sensation thereafter. It's a shame as there's a real Jackson Five feel to their delivery, especially on "Running Wild" where the session band breaks down and each member pops above the dense music bed. "Gotta Find A New Love" takes a much bluesier tact with rougher instrumentation and an almost rocky build on the choruses. Spotted passing hands for sizeable sums on one bidding site, this is the first time it's been pressed in over 45 years.
Review: George Semper's 1984 album Themes For Television, Sports and Aerobics is one of the most brilliantly bonkers you're ever likely to hear. It featured the veteran jazz-man reach for the most intergalactic-sounding electronic instruments he could find and lay down a series of short, library music style missives that still sound like the product of some kind of demented acid trip. The people behind Dynamite Cuts are obviously fans, because they've decided to stick a small selection of cuts from the hard-to-find album on this tidy 7" single. On the A you'll find the deep space, jazz-fired electro-lounge madness of "Pretty Lady", while the flip boasts two shorter cuts: jazzy synth-scape "Universe" and spacey ambient doodle "Extraterrestrial Search Contact Tones".
Review: Surprise: Detroit five-piece Will Sessions warm us up for their next album with two classics from their elusive 2010 jazz fusion homage Kindred. The title track builds on their more cosmic work with frantic guitar flashes and horn cries over a languid moonlit bed creating sudden moments of tension, release. "Polyester People" flips the energy as the troupe tightly roll out a firing jazz funk riff that's so tightly locked the delicious keys can do as they please... And often do. Bring on the new album.
Review: Most experts agree that Archie Shepp's 1972 album "Attica Blues" is one of the finest soul-jazz LPs ever made - a politically-charged affair that just gets better with every listen. This tidy seven-inch single from Mr Bongo offers up two of the album's standout moments. On the A-side you'll find the title track, a swirling, down-low mixture of belted-out female chorus vocals, surging orchestration, Blaxploitation style bottom end and an impassioned lead vocal from Henry Hull. Flipside cut "Quiet Dawn" sees Waheeda Massey take lead vocals over a more obviously jazz-centric backing track rich in wild sax solos from the effervescent Shepp. Like the A-side, it's simply essential.
Review: Quintessential Brit funk from 1982; Side On was a one off project from three members of Freeez and Potion, and "Magic" was unfortunately, their only official release. Cited by the likes of Dam Funk as an influence, the raw funk oozing through the mix on both versions was ahead of its time and veering towards more of a proto house sound that kicks dancefloors like a mule. The standard vocal is much more focused on Rick Clarke's strong vocal while the version goes all out with full bass runs and the obligatory saxophone solo. Abracadabra... Reach out and grab this.
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues with aplomb... On their eighth outing we find the hugely prolific 60s/70s troubadour Wilson Simonal paying homage to the legendary Jorge Ben with two exemplary cover versions. Whether it's on the soft big band emphasis and teasing fills on "Zazueira" or the upbeat, feel-good swinger "Silva Lenheira" there's a raw clarity to Wilson's vocals that instantly endure; the way he pushes his voice to the very edge of breaking on the high notes and a rich, clear delivery, he's the consummate soulful showman.
Review: Two all time funk/soul classics from the Skull Snaps - a funk group active between 1963 and 1973. They were known as The Diplomats up until 1970 and released a number of singles with moderate success. Renamed Skull Snaps, they released an eponymous album on the small GSF label in 1973, before disappearing into obscurity. These selections are from the said album. New 7" reissue label Dynamite Cuts is releasing these two gems as a limited edition 500 only pressing, showcasing the two best tracks on the LP. Both have been heavily sampled in many hip-hop and club classics by Eric B. & Rakim, Digable Planets, DJ Shadow, The Prodigy and Panjabi MC to name but a few.
Review: The US' Funk Night Records is pushing some serious heat as of late, especially given the fact that it's managing to find some real horsepower amid the contemporary generation of funk and soul - a rarity to be appreciated and recognised, these days. Bishop Smith is joined by The Sensational Disciples band to deliver "Bumps In The Road", a gloriously soulful song that gives new meaning to the term 'raw'; this might well be the most seductive piece of music we have heard this year and, if that sounds like an exaggeration, then you might just have to check it out for yourself. The instrumental, is naturally as wonderful, but the vocals on the A-side have the power to remain imprinted in your mind for days and days. This is very warmly recommended.