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: Splash down to 1978-80: influential Philly funk troupe Breakwater gave the world two albums over two years.Full focus on slow jams and soulful fusion, the Breakwater melting pot is just as strong in jazz and Latin as it is soul and funk. Here we're treated to a selection of the best moments from Breakwater and Splashdown (minus the famous Daft Punk-sampled "Release The Beast") such as the unforgettable Floydian chorus of "That's Not What We Came Here For", the soaking wet bass and tight bright horns of the raunchy boogie jam "Do It Till The Fluid Gets Hot" and the sunshine soul of the sublime "Say You Love Me Girl". A sharp insight into a band that was criminally short-lived at the time..Rumour is there is a new album on the horizon and they still play live -there were two live uk dates in Jan 2017 already !
Review: This more than handy 7" single brings together two classic disco-era cuts from soul legend Willie Hutch. A-side "Easy Does It", which was originally featured on 1978's In Tune album, features Hutch in full-on Curtis Mayfield mode, singing passionately over a jaunty, jazz-funk influenced backing track laden with swirling strings, choral backing vocals (think Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" album) and Dexter Wansel style synthesizer solos. It's undoubtedly one of Hutch's finest moments and deserves to be in any serious soul head's collection. Flip for 1979's "Kelly Green", a sumptuous soul slow jam in which Hutch pines over a lost lover.
Review: 21 years later... The legendary Shirley Jones finally returns with brand new material. "Because You Love Me" is the first sign of freshness taken from her forthcoming album. Shirley's honey-tones are as strong and emotional as ever while Errol Henry's production is the ultimate in lounge-loving silkiness. Complete with a dub on the B, this is as smooth and authentic as you'd expect. Bring on the album.
Review: Straight from the Volt vaults! 50 years after their release, Margie's coveted breakthrough tracks get the Expansion treatment. Her famous crossover track "One More Chance" has never not been in favour through the soul phases. And by the way it builds triumphantly, it's not hard to tell. "Nobody" meanwhile has a real kick to its swing and a gradual sense of momentum that really catches you by surprise. Don't sleep on this one.
Review: A lot of us have to thank Expansions for switching us on to Matlock in the first place, thanks to them unearthing him for their Soulchasers collection way back in the early 90s. Here they return to two of Glenn's finest, silkiest soul diamonds. Written for the romantics, produced for the dancefloor right at the very end of the classic 70s sound, "You Got The Best Of Me" has an upbeat Barry White feel to its delivery and sentiment while "I Can't Forget About You" has a lighter touch and flightier flow. The former previous super-rare on 45, the latter never press to 45 before... Both supreme and timeless.
Review: Singer, songwriter and session vocalist for Motown and Chess, Jeff Perry spent the late 70s on his own solo adventure and "Call On Me" was one of his earliest endeavours. A fairly urgent torch song executed with few theatrics but rather layers of soft harmonies, a funk-riddled break and a dreamy middle eighth. Flip for the instrumental and you'll hear just how much power and emergency the Jeff's vocals provide now they're removed.
Review: A modern day Scott-Heron, without the myriad of demons on his back, Grammy-nominated jazz singer Porter has such a distinctive voice, charm and band command. He clearly lends himself well to edit culture (as proved by the huge success of the many "1960 What?" versions in recent years) and this 7" from Expansion is no exception. "On My Way To Harlem" is straight up narrative jazz with fantastic attention paid to the subtle samba and solemn horns. "1960 What?" speaks for itself; far more authentic to the original than the other versions that have popped up, if you've not already got a favourite edit - Jazz & Cole have the answer.
Review: Through his solo releases and work with Leon Ware, Richard Evans and Skip Scarborough, Rockie Robbins became one of American soul's most celebrated artists and producers in the early 1980s. This year's he's set to release his first album of note since 1985, with these two cuts offering a taste of what's to come. Interestingly, "Good Life" sounds a little like it could have been written and produced in the 1980s, even if the mixing, mastering and lilt in Robbins' voice reflect its contemporary status. Either way, it's warm, positive and comes blessed with a wonderfully strong chorus. "Let's Groove", meanwhile, is a little deeper and more loved-up, perfectly reflecting that side of Robbins' 1980s output.
Neptune Atmosphere (You Didn't Feel My Love) (2000 Black remix) (4:41)
Neptune Atmosphere (You Didn't Feel My Love) (feat Gina Foster - Phil Asher & Mighty Zaf '80s remix radio version) (4:53)
Review: The latest golden nugget from Hayes-based soul specialists Expansion sees Phil Asher, The Mighty Zaf and 2000 Black take it in turns to rework one of the highlights of modern jazz-man Robb Scott's recent album, Siren. Asher and Zaf kick things off with a deliciously glassy-eyed jazz-funk-meets-soulful house revision that not only boasts a seriously loved-up, beat-free intro, but also tons of subtle instrumental solos. A radio edit of that rework is also available on the flip. That's where you'll find 2000 Black's brilliantly jazzy broken beat revision, which is every bit as sumptuous and musically rich as the West London duo's own productions.
Review: "Give Me Your Love" was produced by Roy Ayers and James "Jaymz" Bedford in 1981, this digger's delight was the one and only single by American singer Sylvia Striplin. It is an irresistible serving of soulful disco that really captures the spirit of the times. The track has been sampled on numerous occasions, but most famously on the classic track by Junior M.A.F.I.A. (Notorious B.I.G. production) on their song "Get Money" in 1995 and also by Armand Van Helden on "Full Moon" in 2000. On the flip is the sexy and lo-slung "You Can't Turn Me Away" featuring some sexy funk guitar licks and bass beneath Striplin's powerfully seductive vocals.
Review: At the tail end of the '80s, Sylvia Striplin quit Norman Connors' jazz-funk group Aquarian Dream in order to pursue a solo career. Joining forces with producers James Bedford and Roy Ayers, she recorded 1981 debut album "Give Me Your Love", a well regarded but largely overlooked set that has since become a sought-after item amongst soul collectors. This Expansion reissue presents the album on CD for the first time in two decades. As with many soul albums of the period, it sashays between jazz-funk, boogie and heartfelt slow jams, contrasting memorable dancefloor workouts (see stone cold classic "Give Me Your Love" and a stellar cover of Roy Ayers favourite "Searchin") with more saccharine, loved-up fare. This edition also boasts a couple of bonus cuts, including the superb 7" mix of "Give Me Your Love".
Review: If you haven't heard Gloria Taylor's "Deep Inside You", possibly 1973's best soul tune - and one of the best soul tunes ever made - you haven't lived life to the full. That's our honest opinion. And, if that is true, you are still in time to change that with this glorious little 7" reissue from Expansion. The title tune is a blissful segment of music, always cutting through deeply for us, but "World That's Not Real" is only less appealing by comparison. Relative to the huge amounts of soul music out in the public sphere, it is certainly still an absolutely winning B-side. Recommended.
Review: Released in celebration of Expansion's recent re-serving of two of Leon's early 80s albums - Rockin' You Eternally and Leon Ware - here's a delightful 45 that reminds us of his finest solo moments. "Why I Came To California" is a sun-kissed soul boogie groove with big horns and even bigger chorus. "Rockin' You Eternally" (which is, let's face it, one of the smoothest song titles to ever come from the 80s) showcases Leon's softer side. A ballad steeped in sentiment, play this loud enough and everyone in a five mile radius will stop and get smoochy.