Loftsoul - "Dear Friend" (feat Lisa Millet - DJ Spinna remix)
Tone Control - "Without Your Love" (DJ Spinna Galactic soul vocal mix)
Groove Addix - "Faith" (feat Annette Taylor - DJ Spinna Galactic soul remix)
Animal House - "Dirty Mind" (DJ Spinna Full 13 Minuters remix)
Review: Looking back over 20 years in the game, Spinna handpicks some of his favourite re-rubs and reversions for The Sound Beyond The Stars, a retrospective issued through the trusted hands of BBE. The full album contains 18. four of which can be found on this stunning gatefold double 12"... From the psychedelic spirals and soulful yearns of "Without Your Love" to the overwhelming warmth, depth and length of the 13 minute long synth-focussed take on Animal House's "Dirty Mind", Spinna's signature is deeply scribed into each reversion with serious soul sentiment.
Sandy Barber - "I Think I'll Do Some Stepping On My Own"
Bill Avery - "Disco Fever" (re-edit)
Spooky & Sue - "I've Got The Need"
Vessie Simmons - "I Can Make It On My Own"
Scarbrough - "Make Love To You"
The J's - "When Did You Stop"
Larry Brown - "Breaking Training" (parts 1 & 2)
Review: In recent years we've become accustomed to disco compilations appearing at a furious rate. While many of these compilations are undoubtedly worthy of attention, the volume of releases can sometimes be bewildering. This eight track selection from Al Kent, the second in his Disco Love series, ticks all the right boxes, however. Even by the highest crate digging standards, these tracks are pretty obscure; many won't have had much of an airing since their original release. Those into the rich, soulful side of disco - that brand of string-laden dancefloor material most associated with the Philadelphia International label and studio -will find much to enjoy. Perhaps the most noteworthy is Scarborough's delightfully sweet "Make Love To You", an epic of biblical proportions that lasts longer than most drunken one night stands. See also Valerie Simmons' super sweet "I Can't Make It On My Own" and the rousing orchestral manoeuvres of "I've Got The Need". This luxurious gatefold double album also comes replete with extensive track notes from compiler Al Kent.
Review: DJ Amir has long been a fan of "The Jupiter Effect", the sole album by multi-instrumentalist Larry Rose and his backing band of Dutch and American session musicians, and it was on his suggestion that BBE put together this fully re-mastered reissue. The album was first released in 1978 - the year it was recorded in an Amsterdam studio - and offers a unique take on jazz-fusion that variously doffs a cap to smooth grooves, jazz-funk, Steely Dan, blues, Latin and Cajun rhythms and the hard-to-pigeonhole soul sound of Rotary Connection. It's a warm, attractive and hugely enjoyable collection of songs that have aged remarkably well, making this edition one of the reissues of the year so far.
Teddy Pendergrass - "The More I Get" (John M+M Get It All mix)
Candi Staton - "Young Hearts Run Free" (John M+M Run Run Run mix)
Loletta Holloway - "Dreamin" (John M+M Not My Man extended mix)
Inner Life - "Make It Last Forever" (feat Jocelyn Brown - John M+M original Forever 12' mix)
Review: The second vinyl sampler to accompany BBE's hook-up with disco legend John Morales is just as delicious as the first, with essential takes on classics from Teddy Pendergrass, Candi Staton, Loletta Holloway and Inner Life all worth investigating. If this isn't enough for you, be sure to check the comprehensive 18 track double CD compilation, also out this week.
Review: Amongst highlife enthusiasts, Nkem Njoku & Ozzobia Sound's sole album is regarded as something of a classic, not least because of its party-friendly take on "Igbo highlife", a sub-genre of the Ghanaian style that utilises traditional Ogene 6/8 bell rhythms. The album's six tracks are infectious and wholeheartedly positive, with the assembled band - which included John Kante on guitar, a full horn section of boogie-era highlife keyboard maestro Jake Sollo - delivering instrumental backing tracks that ripple with colourful motifs, killer grooves and more than a hint of gospel righteousness. The title is certainly fitting, because it's a very special album indeed.
Review: The Houston Talent Expo '82 is one of those curious releases that has come out of a very special moment in time. Moreover, it's a one-off, a exception that came to be out of chance. The group was an extended collection of African-American in the Houston area throughout the 1980s, and this was their only release as a unit. "Let's Get High" sets the scene in perfect fashion, a funky, slow-motion groove with enough soul to kill the devil himself, but there's even gear for the diggers and samplers to salivate over. The absurdly good "Chocolate Coated People" drops a wonky, gritty slice of percussion over drugged-out melodies and a sea of funkiness. This is a truly special piece of music - don't miss it.
Review: The dusty-fingered diggers behind the BBE label have a reputation for unearthing obscure or unreleased gems, though we doubt that they've previously discovered anything quite as significant as this. Ebo Taylor, the undisputed king of Ghanaian "funky-highlife", recorded "Palaver" with his touring band way back in 1980, but for reasons the man himself can't even remember, Nigerian imprint Tabansi Records never got round to releasing it. That remains an odd decision, because "Palaver" shows Taylor at his very best, with the sax and trumpet-laden brilliance of "Make You No Mind" and the righteous, Afrobeat-influenced highlife brilliance of "Help Africa" being every bit as potent as the Ghanaian's most revered work.
Review: There's a truly unique story behind this latest discovery from DJ Amir. Another great find from his Strata master tapes licence acquisition, TJ was written on the label of an undated, unmarked demo reel. No other information besides the beautifully raw soul on tape. Literally nothing is known about who TJ was (or were). Similarities with Shuggie Otis or perhaps Darondo are strong as the stripped back lightly treated guitars and his hazy, yearning vocal technique come on strong throughout. From the full bodied soul funk of "Love Flower" to the looped faraway harmonies and simple guitar backbone of "Time Is Wasting", the music is as strong the mystery itself. Beautiful.