Review: Described in the accompanying press release as "the halfway point between Bollywood and Balearic", Rupa Biswas' 1982 debut "Disco Jazz" has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered diggers with a healthy bank balance and a penchant for the quirky. All four tracks are cheery, charming and superior to many "Bollywood disco" records produced in the same period. The sunny disco-boogie of "Moja Bhari Moja" is followed on side A by the delightfully eccentric, bass-powered AOR-disco/funk-rock fusion of "East West Shuffle" and the effortlessly Balearic cheeriness of "Aaj Shanibar". Best of all, though, is the exotic and intoxicating flipside cut "Ayee Morshume Be-Reham Duniya" which expertly joins the dots between cosmic rock and Balearic disco grooves for 16 spellbinding minutes.
Review: Surprisingly, Don Blackman originally wrote and recorded "Just Can't Stay Away" to play as the recorded message on his girlfriend's answering machine. He later included it - tweaked and turned into a mid-80s style boogie banger reminiscent of his work during that decade - on his second and final album, 2002's CD-only "Listen". Here it finally gets a vinyl release thanks to reissue specialists Melodies International. If you're a fan of boogie, electrofunk and synth-soul it should be an essential purchase, not least because it's every bit as good as more celebrated Blackman productions made earlier in his career. There are "Stereo" and "Mono" mixes to enjoy, with the former naturally offering a more refined and intoxicating listening experience.
Review: Best known for being the backing band for countless soul singers - most notably Emilia Sisco, Willie West and Thee Baby Cuffs - Timmion Records regulars Cold Diamond & Mink have finally been given a chance to take centre stage. "Here Today, Gone Tomorrow" is the tight funk and soul combo's debut album and contains ten killer cuts from the Finnish combo in their usual jazz-flecked 1960s/early '70s funk and soul sound. Highlights are plentiful from start to finish, with the hazy bustle of "Remember Me", the super-sweet and glistening "Ain't That Love" and rush-inducing "This Is What Love Looks Like!" amongst our current favourites.
Save Your Love (feat Boogie Back & David A Tobin) (5:19)
Sexability (feat Kevin East) (4:56)
Slow Burn Love (feat D Train) (3:55)
No Matter What (feat Yolanda Lavender) (5:28)
Keep On (feat Matthew Winchester) (4:51)
Come Back Home (feat David A Tobin) (5:03)
Share The Light (feat Janus Soliand) (5:06)
Your Move (feat Sophie Ripley) (4:51)
Summer Rain (feat Faye B) (4:38)
Review: Over 10 years deep and sounding Stronger than ever (not sorry) Cool Million return with their fifth album and it's delicious in all directions. Still smacking with that powerful early 80s soul, boogie and RnB blend, still packing heavyweight vocalists, still stacking serious levels of musicianship, Stronger runs the gamut. From juicy feet-tickling boogie ("Stronger", "Keep On") to sultry ballads ("Share The Light") and steamy soul jams ("Come Back Home") with killer vocals from the likes of the legendary D-Train plus Janus Soliand, Jasmine Franklin and David A Tobin, "Stronger" is one of the Danish/German duo's most accomplished albums to date.
Review: As anyone who has picked up any of his previous seven-inch singles will tell you, break-diggin' rework merchant DJ DSK can usually be relied upon to deliver the goods. This second volume in his ongoing "DNA Edits" series hits the spot, offering up two tidy, dancefloor-focused revisions. On side A he turns his attention to SM AOR classic "Fly Like An Eagle", subtly beefing it up via sweaty new hip-hop style drums whilst retaining the original guitars, vocals, bass and elongated organ chords. On side B he gets to work on Panamanian salsa classic "Maltrato", adding even more salsa shuffle and contemporary dancefloor weight to the much-adored 1975 Freddy y Sus Afro Latinos' classic.
Review: 10 years ago, El Michels Affair - a hip-hop loving funk combo spearheaded by Leon Michels - released "Enter The 37th Chamber", an instrumental tribute to the world of the Wu-Tang Clan. To celebrate the record's tenth birthday, they've decided to reissue two of that album's most potent cuts. On the A-side they re-imagine Ol' Dirty Bastard's 1995 anthem "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" as a fine fusion of rousing horns, jazz-flecked hip-hop beats and vocals provided by what sounds like a children's choir. Over on side B, Raekwon's "Incarcerated Scarfaces" gets the cover version treatment, with the band peppering their deep, jazz-funk influenced groove with sharp horns and evocative electric piano solos.
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: Cult skater and bastard bluesmith Guerrero's seventh artist album from 2006 finally sees the wax light of day thanks to this timely reissue from on-point curators Be With. Still as swampy, woozy and immersive as it was 13 years ago, From The Soil To The Soul stirs a bewitching brew that includes ingredients from every corner; bluesy, sleazy funk, Balkan folk, hip-hop and large doses of cosmic soul. Now sounding warmer and wavier on heavyweight vinyl, fans have been pulling kickflips for this for a long, long time.
Sweet Power, Your Embrace (Alex Attias Sweet re-edit) (7:16)
8 Counts For Rita (6:42)
The Blessing Song (Flow Lab Kid Blessed remix) (8:53)
Blackbyrds Theme (5:29)
Review: Freestyle Records continues to be an essential source for visionary funk and soul from across the globe, and now they're returning to recent signing Lance Ferguson and his Rare Groove Spectrum. This 12" carries some remixes and rarities that complement Ferguson's self-titled album from earlier this year. Things kick off with Alex Attias' dreamy, Latin-tinged edit of "Sweet Power, Your Embrace" before the original "8 Counts For Rita" bursts forth in a flurry of trumpets and salsa piano. "The Blessing Song" gets remix treatment from Flow Lab Kid, and then Ferguson tackles a cover of The Blackbyrds' "Blackbyrds Theme", all of which have the next level funk chops Ferguson has displayed elsewhere in his burgeoning repertoire.
Review: Turbotrax was an intermittent curio that belched out of the Bristol underground in a fit of tongue in cheek edits and samples back in the '00s. Someone's clearly rebooted the mainframe and brought this elusive collective out of hiding for another bout of cheeky lifts from more esoteric corners of culture. Library Vultures says it all - this is the work of dedicated diggers pulling forgotten bits n' pieces out of retirement, such as, on the A side here, the storming theme to a Commodore advert, and giving it a buff up more extended retro-pleasure. "Whatever Happened To The Hippies?" on the flip is a more light-hearted affair with a jaunty lilt and a message of positivity for all.
Review: Released 40 years ago in 1977 ''Rhythm Of Life '' by James Mason was possibly one of the greatest vocal Jazz fusion releases of all time . New vinyl imprint Dynamite releases a quality limited edition double pack release showcasing the highlights from that album plus some additional rare versions of the tracks. The version of 'Sweet Power Your Embrace'' is taken from the incredibly rare 7 inch promo only issue. On the flipside is a different version of the club floor dancer ''Free'' which features a heavy bongo workout . The 45 second slab on this package features two tracks featuring the vocals from Clarice Taylor on ' I've Got My Eyes On You'' and the superb 'Slick City' which were both never commercially released as a 45 before.
Review: Moon B, AKA San Antonio beatsmith Wes Gray, comes to LA's Hoop Sound label for his sixth long-player. With eight tracks there's no time to go into each one individually, but taking the album as a whole, early 80s-style electrofunk from the likes of Zapp and Cameo would be the most obvious reference point, while more modern influences have come from the LA beats scene and the 'beatdown' sound of Detroit. Some of the tracks do feel more like sketches than finely honed dancefloor weapons, but if midtempo leftfield beats are your thang then it's still well worth checking, especially as it's a limited edition release.
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.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Carlton Jumel Smith - "This Is What Love Looks Like" (3:47)
Jonny Benavidez - "Tell Me That You Love Me" (3:45)
Pratt & Moody - "Lost Lost Lost" (2:57)
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators - "Paint Me In A Corner" (3:52)
Ernie Hawks & The Soul Investigators - "The Scorpio Walk" (4:57)
Wanda Felicia - "Until You're Mine" (3:19)
Bobby Oroza - "This Love" (part 1) (3:57)
Bardo Martinez & The Soul Investigators - "Bad Education" (3:53)
Emilia Sisco - "Don't Believe You Like That" (3:45)
Willie West - "I'm Still A Man" (4:31)
Review: Destination Helsinki: Daptone dig deep into the vaults of their friends at Timmion Records. Heavily championed by the likes of Nicole Willis, it's one of the most influential funk labels to come out of Finland this century, and this collection brings some of the many highlights together. The syrupy falsettos of Jonny Benavidez, the yearning lament of Pratt & Moody, the sincerity of Wanda Felicia and of course the driving focus and funk power of the Soul Investigators. The list of talent on Timmion goes on and on and this is a great snapshot of what they offer. See you in detention.
Review: U.S label Light In The Attic has previously served up compilations exploring various Japanese takes on Western music, most notably folk, rock, ambient and new age. Here they switch tack, curating a brilliant double-album set that showcases the best Japanese synth-pop, AOR and boogie recorded between 1976 and '86. The quality threshold remains impressively high throughout, from the blue-eyed-soul breeze of Taeko Ohnuki's "Kusuri Wo Takusan" and the Chaz Jankel-meets-Thompson Twins style throb of Haruomi Hosono's "Sports Men", to the talkbox-sporting late night AOR-pop flex's Hiroshi Satoh's "Say Goodbye" and the glistening, Latin-influenced jazz-funk brilliance of Masayoshi Takanaka's steel pan-sporting "Bamboo Vender".
Review: Classic funky soul in the true sense of the word and now presented with a Japan only exclusive edit from hip hop don J Rocc intended for the japan only market ! Nice pic sleeve too. What yo waitin for ? !!
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 !