Review: Since its release in 1999, Tony Allen's Black Voices album has earned a reputation as an overlooked modern classic. While a scaled-down reissue appeared on Kindred Spirits in 2014, this edition marks the first "full repress" of the original double-album version. The Doctor L-produced set remains hugely alluring, thanks largely to the warm and attractive mixture of Allen's loose and languid Afrobeat rhythms, fluid jazz and jazz-funk instrumentation and vocals that recall the legendary drummer's work with Fela Kuti. Like the original set, you'll find a number of tasty dancefloor reworks nestled on the second disc, with the fuzzy and disco-fied PsychojujuMix of "Ariya" - complete with rubbery bass and sweaty drum solos - standing out.
Review: This is the second part of Virgin Ubiquity: Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981 and is again packed with tracks that are far more than unreleased findings from the cutting room floor. Each one serves as another feather in the bow of the virtuoso Ayers, who combined jazz, funk, soul and disco in magical and unique ways throughout his career. In doing so he laid down a precursor to acid jazz and hip hop. These are tracks that show off his dynamic, liquid rhythm sections and mellifluous keys, as well as the vocal talents of a range of collaborators who touch on soaring and sensuous highs as well as more gravel and earthy lows. Essential.
Review: ***B-STOCK: Record has very light surface marks, but otherwise in perfect working condition***
The Atlanta based B Boy Breaks series continues with another drop of serious cuts to get beat jugglers, sample diggers and just straight up funk lovers going hog wild over the lashings of drum breaks. First up on the A side there's some widescreen, expansive beatdowns taking place with the massive "Show Me The Funk Breaks" - a fela esque sax screaching ,hammond organ swirling classic you already know from the many times it's been lifted for its treasured sonic ingredients. "Harder Breaks" on the flip is another monumental jam, presented here in instrumental form most recently used for the theme tune of a UK TV show . The evergreen groove is just crying out for someone with the skills to drop some serious turntablism all over this one.
Review: German funkateer Bjorn Wagner launched the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band in 2007 following months spent learning to play steel drums during an extended stay in Trinidad and Tobago. 11 years on, Wagner and his trusty backing band return with album number two, "The Serpent's Mouth". As usual, the set sees them gleefully combine killer grooves - a mix-and-match fusion of funk, soul, hip-hop and jazz-funk - with a hint of humid tropical music and the distinctive melodies of oil barrel steel drums. There are, of course, nods to reggae and calypso (see "Real Hot") and a few eyebrow-raising cover versions, of which their rendition of Jan Hammer's "Crockett's Theme" from "Miami Vice" stands out.
Review: Prior to this year, funk connoisseurs and collectors have known only one record from the 70s Bay Area funk troupe Brass Horizon. That was "We Just Want To Play" and it's been known to go over $1500 in the past. 39 years after its release Super Disco Edits have incredibly unearthed an unreleased gem! So large it takes over both sides, "Horizon's Theme" is a groove heavy instrumental jammed with that classic laid back Berkley vibe where all players get a chance to shine. Part one is all about the organs while part two lets the horns tear the groove a new one. What a find.
Soul Messin Allstars - "Soul A Go Go" (feat Josh Teskey) (3:35)
Amp Fiddler - "Superfly" (feat Dame Brown - Sam Redmores’ Exclusive ‘Trunk Of Funk’ edit) (4:15)
Roy Ayers - "Boogie Down" (6:01)
Laneous - "Hold My Hand" (3:46)
Miriam Makeba - "Pata Pata" (2:59)
Oneness Of Juju - "African Rhythms" (Exclusive ‘Trunk Of Funk’ edit) (3:52)
PP Arnold - "Medicated Goo" (3:43)
The Fantastics - "Take A Shot" (feat Sulene Fleming) (3:40)
Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel - "Give Me The Night" (feat Xantone Blacq) (4:18)
Out Of The Ordinary - "The Republic Of Persevere" (feat Mike Keat & The Bevvy Sisters) (3:29)
Patrice Rushen - "Forget Me Nots" (7" single version) (4:00)
The James Taylor Quartet - "People Get Ready" (feat Natalie Williams & Noel McKoy) (4:40)
Monophonics - "Hangin’ On" (3:34)
Nick Waterhouse - "The Old Place" (3:22)
Michelle David & The Gospel Sessions - "Victory!" (4:17)
Magnus Carlson - "Beggin’" (2:50)
Alex Opal - "Telling You Lies" (feat Jam Jam) (3:32)
Badge & Talkalot - "Help Me" (feat Ian Whitelaw) (4:00)
Beatchild & The Slakedeliqs - "The Only Difference" (4:15)
Honeyfeet - "Clap Hands" (4:39)
Review: Red Dwarf star turned soap actor and longtime BBC Radio 6 Music funk master Craig Charles has put together a first volume of classics for your delectation. On a double vinyl collection that spans 20 tracks he traverse every conceivable style from the earliest days of the genre right up to today. The cuts remain pleasingly underground and carefully dug out rather than veering into obvious filler territory and there are up-tempo cuts with more deep and pained offerings. It also includes two 'Trunk Of Funk Edits' that are 100% exclusive to this compilation and not available anywhere else.
Will Sessions & Amp Fiddler - "Lost Without You" (feat Dames Brown - DJ Andy Smith re-edit) (5:47)
The New Jersey Connection - "Love Don’t Come Easy" (6:36)
Ted Taylor - "Ghetto Disco" (6:57)
Full Intention & Nick Reach Up - "Night Of My Life" (feat Jazz Morley) (5:13)
Cela - "I'm In Love" (7:15)
Chain Reaction - "Dance Freak" (6:43)
Disco Circus - "Get Up & Dance" (Bad Bikini re-edit) (7:02)
Gregg Diamond - "Star Cruiser" (6:05)
The Gibson Brothers - "Heaven" (7:25)
The Emotions - "You're The Best" (6:14)
Greg Henderson - "Dreamin" (7:17)
Claudja Barry - "Sweet Dynamite" (4:08)
Serious Intention - "You Dont Know" (Crissy Kybosh remix) (6:58)
The Armada Orchestra - "For The Love Of Money" (6:18)
Ronnie Jones - "You & I" (5:54)
Review: It would be fair to say that Bristolian selector Andy Smith has extremely deep crates. It's for this reason that he's been responsible for tons of killer compilations over the years. This one, the second in his disco, boogie and proto-house focused "Reach Up" series, is another gem. It cheerily moves between disco old and new, mixing tried-and-tested classic cuts from the likes of the New Jersey Connection, Ted Taylor, Chain Reaction and The Gibson Brothers with more recent retro-futurist cuts (see his subtly house-friendly re-edit of Will Session and Amp Fiddler's superb "Lost Without You" and Full Intention and Nick Reach Up's modern electrofunk treat "Night of My Life"). While confirmed disco enthusiasts may own some of the tracks already, there's enough lesser known goodness to make the compilation an essential purchase.
Review: Afro disco fresh from 79: Eko Roosevelt Louis's third album Funky Disco Music will go down as one of Cameroon's finest disco LPs. Produced and pressed by French label Dragon Phenix, it's still reasonably easy to track down, too. For a taster, grab three of its tropical charms on this Fly By Night repress: "Funky Disco Music" is an infectious vocal-led cut that's written solely to make people get down, "Ndolo Embe Mulema" struts with much more Afro rock fusion while the harmonies of "Bowa'a Mba Ngebe" are sweeter than the finest honey you've ever tasted. For contemporary kicks Riccio has expertly touched the title track for a modern dancefloor/DJ friendly punch. Perfect.
Review: It's been a weird summer for sure in 2020, but you can improve yours by a guaranteed 100% with the addition of this hard to fine and often expensive 1980 great. High Frequency was a disco offshoot of Aleem, a boogie-funk, r&b and dance music trio formed in New York City. "Summertime" is the sort of bristling and infectious disco cut even the stony hearted can enjoy. The funky bassline, the feel good vocals, the lush chords - it's a real pearl of a track. The instrumental is just as feel good and uplifting. What a 7" this is.
Instant Funk - "I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)" (T Groove remix) (4:43)
First Choice - "Love Thang" (T Groove remix) (4:52)
Review: Here are two absolute gold standard Salsoul classics given a new spruce up thanks to the remix skills of T Power. Wisely, they've chosen to take a softly softly approach to such sacred material, but there's a little extra dancefloor oomph where it counts to make these tracks pop off that little more against more modern fare. First up is Instant Funk's evergreen classic "I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl)", and on the flip it's the impossibly perfect "Love Thang" by First Choice. Both have never sounded better - full credit to T Power for doing this one right.
Review: Toronto vocalist Maya Killtron (real name Maya Chilton) is a valued member of the Love Touch family. 'Fired Up' is her second release for the Canadian label - her first, 'Found You', dropped in late 2019 - and once again sees her join forces with producer Gil Musada of Circle Research and The Precious Lo's fame. In its' A-side full vocal form, the track is a gloriously colourful and celebratory slab of early '80s boogie revivalism that's so accurately executed that it genuinely sounds like it could have been made and released in 1983. That instrumental - all vibrant synthesizer sounds, squeezable bass, clipped guitar riffs, sweeping (synth) strings and unfussy drum machine beats - can be admired in full on the flip.
Philadelphia All-Stars - "Let's Clean Up The Ghetto"
Sound Experience - "Don't You Know You've Broken My Heart"
Fatback Band - "Spanish Hustle"
Chairmen Of The Board - "Life & Death"
Strut re-kindle their involvement with one New York's most revered DJs and re-edit pioneers, Danny Krivit, with a fresh album of essential new, rare and classic re-works, past and resent.
As a producer, Krivit is the acknowledged "King Of The Edit" and has been a major influence on today's re-edit culture. From early classics like the 'Feelin' James' and 'Rock The House' JB cut-ups during the mid-'80s, he has released over 300 unique versions, often under the mysterious 'Mr. K' moniker. After releasing a batch of his finest edits on the 'Edits By Mr. K' compilation in 2003, Strut now delve back into the tape cupboard for an all-new edition, bringing together some of Krivit's secret weapons in a wide-ranging selection covering soulful disco, funk and jazz.
Review: P Vine in Japan first put out a cd reissue of this 1971 album way back in 2007 and at last they reissue a Japan only edition of the album on wax for the first time since Vistone in the USA put out a version in 1990.Heavy brass funk fuelled jazz workouts led by Roy Porter on drums.
Review: New Orleans: one of jazz music's most spiritual homes, the US city was also a hotbed for raw, groundbreaking funk fusion in the 60s. But as most releases experienced limited distribution, many of its most distinctive funk talents remained solely within the city boundaries and have since become something of a collector's boon. As proved with the previous two volumes, the collectors had every right to seek these out... From the smoky blue grass subtleties of "Little Baby" to the tribal voodoo fusion of "Two Way Poc A Way" via the jazz harmonies and aquatic wah wahs of "Jockey Ride", each one tells a once forgotten tale of raw, spirited grooves, repping New Orleans in a whole way. A must have for all funk aficionados.
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie mix - radio edit) (3:33)
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie instrumental mix - radio edit) (3:31)
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: an all-star re-recording of Universal Robot Band's boogie classic "Barely Breaking Even" that brings together Masters At Work man Louie Vega, original vocalist and arranger Leroy Burgess, iconic disco producer Patrick Adams and an impressive backing band of hired musicians including Michael Kelley (better known in electronic music circles as Metro Area collaborator Kelley Polar). While there are plenty of audible nods towards the early '80s original - extensive use of cowbells, that oh-so familiar synth sound - the re-recording is altogether warmer, fuller and a more contemporary sounding affair rich in sweeping orchestration and tactile synth bass. Both the edited vocal and instrumental versions are superb.
Review: In 1979, vibraphonist and percussionist Billy Wooten joined forces with jazz guitarist Steve Wakely to put together a brand-new studio band. Some months later, they'd recorded their sole album, In This World, a suitably conscious affair that mixed narration from the softly spoken and thoughtful Wooten with inspired, partially improvised musical jams that sat somewhere between jazz-funk and jazz-fusion. Original copies of the album are now hard to find - or at least change hands for significant sums online - so Japan's P-Vine label has decided to reissue it. Rich in mazy vibraphone solos, jazzy guitar solos, and infectious jazz-funk grooves, the album is a delightful obscurity that's well worth a place in your collection.
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 !