Review: Rick Clarke's smooth 1985 cut "Love With a Stranger" has long been considered one of the unheralded British soul gems of the mid 1980s. Unlike many similar records from that period, it's aged impeccably well, sounding every bit as magical now as it did when it first appeared in stores way back in 1995. That's testament to John Collins' unheralded production, of course - all unfussy slo-mo drum machine beats, ear-catching synth bass and chiming '80s soul melodies - but also the endearing quality of Clarke's superb, reggae influenced lead vocal. Like the original 12", this timely reissue pairs the brilliant original version with the slightly more spaced-out and instrumental Dub.
Review: Earlier in the autumn, obscure 1980s imprint Local Records - a label run out of the Tottenham-based home studio of London reggae and soul producer John Collins - sprung back to life with a reissue of Rick Clarke's sumptuous '80s soul slow jam "Love With A Stranger". Collins has decided to follow that up with a new edition of his 1984 production for Janet Kay, "Eternally Grateful". It's another electrofunk gem, with Kay's deliciously sweet vocal rising above reggae style horns, jangling pianos and a killer synthesizer bassline. As with the Clarke record, the flip features Collins' original dub revision ("Eternally Dubful"), a more stripped-back, echo-laden affair that's worth the entrance price on its own.
Jaye Williams - "Let Me Be The One" (vocal) (4:52)
Semi Automatic - "Let Me Be The One" (instrumental) (4:36)
Review: The rebirth of 1980s UK soul and reggae imprint Local Records continues apace with the reissue of another John Collins-produced gem from 1984. In signature Collins fashion, the A-side Jaye Williams version of "Let Me Be The One" portrays many of his reggae influences - think liberal use of delay and reverb, as well as a distinctive lilt to the super-sweet vocals - while basing the musical action around a sharp, rubbery backing track rich in fizzing electronics, spacey synths and post-boogie, electro-influenced drums. The flipside Semi-Automatic version is basically Collins' intergalactic soul rhythm track smothered in snaking saxophone solos, which is no bad thing.