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: 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: One of the richest, soulful voices in the European jazz, Biondi regularly works with the likes of Incognito. The High Five Quintet complements his delivery well with a Pimptones style soft-jazz structure but plenty of rhythmic welly. For a little more house and a little less jazz, flip for Opolopo's remix. Weighty and club-ready but with Mario's full vocal still intact, it's yet another notch in Opolopo's award-worthy remix bedpost
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.
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: Recorded and originally released in 1999, "The Bottle" has been released twice by Expansion on 12" single and now finally gets its first 7" issue. The song is the most classic Gil Scott Heron song, vocalist Maysa Leak (of British supergroup Incognito) is still the finest contemporary soul singer with a unique voice and all here with the magic of a full Incognito production. It is coupled with "Hooked On Your Love", both songs from the Incognito produced album All My Life'. Another fine rendition of this timeless anthem by one of the all time greats.
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: 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: Sun-kissed soul from 1975, not a lot is known about the Charisma Band besides their powerful musical abilities and their two 45s on Buddah and Columbia. "Ain't Nothing Like Your Love" is a horn-blessed feel-good summer get-together while "Bless The Day" takes us straight to the bedroom with its gliding guitars, velvet falsetto and spellbinding harp. It's not hard to see why originals of this have been known to pass hands for several hundred bob.
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: 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: 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: Here's something rather tasty: a joint release between Expansions and Philadelphia International that brings together two hard-to-find tracks from Philly Soul group The Futures. On the A-side you'll find rare groove scene favourite "Ain't No Time Fa Nuthin", a typically sumptuous and musically rich affair that places the group's inspired soul vocals at the centre of a sugary-sweet Philadelphia Soul groove. B-side "Party Time Man" is a more traditional vocal soul stomper from the turn of the '70s, with sweeping strings and punchy horn lines tracking the group's sweet, sweet harmonies, which is great for getting the dancefloor going.
Dee Dee Sharp Gamble - "Breaking & Entering" (12" mix)
Duncan Sisters - "Too Damn Hot"
Sylvia Striplin - "Give Me Your Love"
Shawn Jackson - "Loveline" (extended version)
Claudja Barry - "Sweet Dynamite" (Tom Moulton 12" mix)
Geraldine Hunt - "Can't Fake The Feeling" (dub mix)
Grace Jones - "On Your Knees"
Rena - "I Love Your Beat (Play It Again Sam)" (instrumental)
Suzy Q - "I Can't Give You More"
Review: Over the last few years, Vietnamese DJ Lotus Disco has been taking the international soul scene by storm. Here she presents her first compilation CD, a 12-track salvo packed to the rafters with high-grade boogie and disco treats. While there a few well-known scene staples present - think Claudja Barry's "Sweet Dynamite", Staple Singers' cover of Talking Heads' "Slippery People" and the killer dub of Geraldine Hunt's "Can't Fake This Feeling" - it's the lesser-known delights that really sparkle. Highlights include the soulful disco-funk shuffle of Project's "Love Rescue", the slap-bass propelled brilliance of Dee Dee Sharp Gamble's "Breaking & Entering", Shawn Jackson's sensual electrofunk roller "Loveline" and a pair of hot-to-trot slammers from Suzy Q.