Review: 1974's Coming Right At You, the sole album from 100% Pure Poison, has long been a sought-after jazz-funk gem. Soul Brother has previously reissued the rare (and increasingly expensive) LP, though this double 7" marks the first time most of these tracks have been available on wax since 2001. Check first opener (and title track) "Windy C", a superb chunk of lolloping, laidback jazz-funk that sits somewhere between Bob James and Cymande, before turning your attention to the slow-burn soulful delights of string-laden torch song "Puppet On A Chain". Over on the second 7", "No More City, No More Country" is a more hard-spun Blaxploitation funk affair, while "Hole In My Shoe" is a horn-fired slab of J.B's style funk-soul fusion.
Review: Soul4Real has gotten 'soulful for real' with this third outing, coming through in the form of 2 previously unreleased gems from US band The Anglos. This is some pretty niche gear, what with the band having only put out a handful of 7s back in the 60, so it feels like a special occasion to have some new material from them on our shelves. These tunes were apparently destined to land on the Botanic imprint back in the day, and are famously produced and engineered by the great Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, which is why they have a certain roughness that is rarely heard on other soul records. "Broke Down Piece Of Man" is a fast, beat-heavy number with a psychedelic edge that reflects the state of mind back then, while "Four Walls Of Gloom" takes the gospel tradition as its main ingredient, offering a wonderfully uplifting midtempo rocker for the heart and soul.
Review: It would be fair to say that "Bourgie Bourgie" was one of the 1970s disco scene's true staples. Ashford and Simpson produced numerous versions (Gladys Knight and the Pips' take being the most famous), while John Davis and the Monster Orchestra served up their own typically over-the-top take. It's arguably their instrumental version, though, that remains the greatest take. Here, it gets a welcome reissue backed by an epic interpretation from Joaquin "Joe" Claussell. His eleven-minute "Classic Remix" - effectively a Tom Moulton style 12" rework - does a great job in teasing out the killer drum breaks, flitting between percussive passages and sections that showcase the original's now familiar orchestrated sweeps. It's a fantastic remix that will do wonders on disco dancefloors.
Crowns Of Glory - "Lord, Look At Your People" (Joaquin Joe Claussell mix) (5:48)
Keith Barrow - "A World Of Lonely People" (Joaquin Joe Claussell mix) (7:37)
Review: If the rich history of US gospel soul, funk and disco gets your juices flowing, you need this new 12" from Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell in your life. As with many of the storied producer's edit-focused 12" singles, it has been pressed in limited quantities and should therefore be grabbed before all the copies disappear. On the A-side he offers up a tidy, dancefloor-focused tweak of Crowns of Glory's hard-to-find 1976 gospel soul cut "Lord, Look At Your People", brilliantly teasing out the intro before unleashing the song in all its inspiring righteousness. Over on the flip Clausell turns his attention to the Clavinet-heavy, Blaxploitation-era gospel disco anthem that is Keith Barrow's equally as inspired 1977 gem "A World Of Lonely People".
Review: In recent times we've been treated to plenty of reissues of classic lover's rock gems, including an Athens of the North-released collection of lover's rock covers. It's therefore rather exciting to hear some brand-new lover's rock in a similar vein from Crucial Rockers, a studio band formed by producer Jamie Searle. The track given the cover treatment is Womack & Womack classic "Teardrops". While that was fiendishly uptempo, this version is sweet, slow and effortlessly soulful, with Searle's warming riddim offering a perfect match for the un-credited vocalist's fine delivery of the Womacks' weary and emotional lyrics. The flipside dub is rather tasty, too. Sadly there aren't many of these around, so act fast if you want to secure a copy!
Review: Izipho Soul recently described Frederick Davis as "one of Cleveland's hidden gems". This tasty seven-inch, which contains two tracks recorded way back in 1992 but never before issued, certainly backs up their assertion. A-side "Shoulder to Cry On" is something of a sparkling, late night synth-soul treat - a close-dancing slow jam that sees Davis's fine vocal rise above a backing track rich in chiming electronic melodies, post New Jack Swing R&B style beats and sensual saxophone solos. Flip for the similarly minded but arguably more elastic "Let Go", where the unheralded Cleveland singer whispers seductively over a killer synth bassline and more cascading '80s soul melodies.
Review: Another fine lesson in deep crate curation, Jazzman rediscover the criminally overlooked skills of Virginia troubadour Lenis Guess. Recorded during the late 60s and 70s, many of the cuts on this special triple-7" box set have never been further than the state line. Which is utter madness... Just listen to the lavish, lolloping bass jam on "How You Gonna Do It", the firing JB-style horn drama of "Thank Goodness Gotta Good Woman" and the raw belly-bound blues soul of "Workin' For My Baby" and you'll wonder how he remained an obscurity for so long. Complete with detailed liner notes, this is a must for all funk aficionados.
Review: UK soul tour de force Michael Kiwanuka enjoys his first live album. A punchy five track selection with recordings from the Royal Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and London Palladium we glide and slide from the tenderness of "One More Night" and the dreamy symphonic blues of "Father's Child" to the all out fusion of "Black Man In A White World". This captures Kiwanuka at his most delicate, honest and powerful.
Review: Dynamite Cuts come back with a bang with four sublime cuts taken from the criminally short discography of funk soul troupe Leo's Sunshipp. The first half of their only album, we kick off with their cult solar celebration "Give Me The Sunshine" before "I'm Back For More" shreds through the stratosphere with a swooning Average White Band sparkle, "Get Down People" salutes with an Off The Wall style shine and shimmy before "Madame Butterfly" drifts back into the atmosphere with velvet falsetto harmonies and a groove so laid back it drips off the wax. Feel the sunshine.
Review: When Leo and his Sunshipp crew asked for the sunshine way back in 1980 they meant it. And with a tune as beautiful as this, they deserved it too. Released in 1980 in various forms (and also on the funk trio's only album in 1978) the most sought after was the 45" that came with the gutsier, more upbeat traditional soul cut "I'm Back For More". But let's face it, this is all about the lead track. A cult Balearic soul funk jam and one of the coolest summer cuts ever pressed to wax, reissues have been on request for over 30 years... Like the summer itself, this won't hang around.
Icarus (feat 80s Babies - Tall Black Guy remix) (4:57)
Icarus (Moods remix) (5:22)
Icarus (JKriv remix) (4:38)
Review: For Record Store Day 2017 Razor-N-Tape presents "Icarus", a slice of chilled out analogue soul by Lovebirds aka Sebastian Doering with remixes. The original is a deep soul jam reminiscent of Roy Ayers' Ramp project, while the Tall Black Guy's remix gets more of an R&B swagger on in style. We particularly enjoyed JKriv's lush little boogie down rendition, which really hit that sweet spot in all its neon lit glory. Each mix gets its own side in this double 7" pack, with stunning full color artwork, making it a truly special package perfect for both
Review: Serious soul heads should be familiar with the work of the Masqueraders - they're one of the most storied bands in the history of the style - although we'd be surprised if they knew much about the two songs presented here. Both were recently rediscovered in the band's extensive archives and are here given a vinyl release for the very first time. A-side "Make You Think You Love Me" was recorded in 1972 and sees the group layer silky-smooth vocals over a gorgeously detailed backing track rich in warm bass, mazy Hammond organ lines and well-timed horn blasts. Over on the flip you'll find the group's superb cover of Jerry Butler/Curtis Mayfield song "When Trouble Calls", which was previously featured on an ultra-rare 1993 cassette, with predictably loose, languid and soulful results.
Review: Soul4Real's latest seven-inch release is rather special for one specific reason: it boasts two previously unheard 1968 recordings by Dallas vocal soul group the Masqueraders. Both were recorded at the legendary American Sound Studio in Uptown Memphis at a time when an astonishing 25% of the records in the Billboard Top 100 (according to the label's liner notes, the backing band on this session included Bobby Womack on guitar) originated there. "Prophet Of Love" is a particularly sweet chunk of harmonic soul, with the Masqueraders' providing the kind of dewy-eyed vocals that wouldn't have sounded out of place on earlier doo-wop records. Over on the flip "You're The One" has a more Phil Spector "wall of sound" kind of feel and a more lolloping rhythm track.
Review: Legendary, and hugely prolific, soulsmith and writer Dan Penn looks back over his last two albums and pick two of the most delicate, soul-stirring tracks. Taken from 2013's I Need A Holiday and 2016's Something About The Night respectively, "Blue In The Heart" is stripped right back to guitar, organs and Dan's rich voice (which hasn't faltered over seven decades in the game) while "Time To Get Over You" hits with more of a bluesy twang and a country influence on the backing harmonies. Raw, direct and guaranteed to get your skin in goosebumps. Just like every other record Dan's given the world.
Walter Whisenhunt Orchestra - "Love Is A Hurting Thing" (feat Gloria Ann Taylor) (7:18)
Review: Sometimes, incredibly rare and expensive records don't live up to the hype. We can safely say that Gloria Ann Taylor's "Deep Inside You"- a superb, disco-era chunk of sexually charged soul - is not one of those records. Very few original copies were pressed, which not only explains the eye-watering second-hand prices but also the numerous bootlegs that have appeared over the years. This, then, is the record's first licensed reissue. It's worth picking up, not only for the sublime title track, but also for bonus cuts "What's Your World" - a laidback, super-sweet chunk of laidback West Coast soul - and the lushly orchestrated "Love Is A Hurting Thing".
Review: Certainly, in terms of the current state of the environment, the title of this Oscar Weathers gem couldn't be more true. While that is a sobering sentiment, the tune he serves up is far from it - dazzling disco synths, big horn leads and noodling fun bass keeps you moving nonstop from the first beat to the last drop. On the flip is the slightly lower slung "Countdown", this time with meandering lead synths that bring a retro-futuristic soul to his deep cut rhythm section. Well done Fantasy Love on another choice reissue of this essential slice of soul.