Review: It would be fair to say that Timi Yuro's "As Long As There Is You" is a sought-after single. Something of a "holy grail" amongst soul collectors, original copies of the 1969 7" on Liberty Records regularly change hands for upwards of 1,000 quid. Happily, you can now acquire a fresh copy for a fraction of the cost thanks to this facsimile Expansions reissue. Fuzzy, heartfelt, stomping and blessed with wall of sound style production, "As Long As There Is You" is the kind of sad-but-happy track that used to make Northern Soul dancers go weak at the knees. Yuro's Central American influences can be heard loud and clear on "It'll Never Be Over For Me", where Mariachi style trumpet lines and sweeping strings rise above a heavy, bossa-influenced groove.
Review: Sampled by the likes of Groove Armada and The Herbaliser, "Turn Off The Lights" runs with one of those bass licks you've known forever without realising. Flip for the jazz boogie badness of "Fuel For The Fire". Taken from the same 1975 album, here we find the same vocalist, Linda Logan, sharpening her tongue and getting her scat on with furiously funky results. Hard to find on 45, it's yet another example of AOTN's expert curation prowess.
Review: While Larry Wu's one and only single, 1984's "Let Me Show You", has long been considered an 80s boogie classic, it has remained surprisingly hard to find on 12" - hence this timely reissue. As with the original 12", Wu's sparkling Long Version is featured on the A-side. It's perhaps closer in tone to the chart-bothering Jam & Lewis '80s soul sound than the grittier, funkier New York boogie style - think chiming melodies, eyes-closed guitar riffs and a chunky synth-heavy groove - the quality of Wu's soulful lead vocal really is in the top tier. There's also another chance to check the fantastic, dub style flipside Instrumental, which features all manner of dropouts, delay-laden vocal snippets, jammed-out synth solos and slighty more floor-friendly percussion. Essential.
Review: Milton Wright's perfect deep Soul classic "Keep It Up" has always been a top shelf record, everything about it is almost flawless! Whether it's Milton's silky vocal delivery, the incessant guitar driven back beat or the total space Funk vibe of his omnipresent ARP-2600 synthesizer this record has it all. Originally released on TK Disco's more Soul and Funk orientated Alston label which was home to many legendary artists and records, this 1975 sunshine classic never fails to make people move. A classic rare groove indeed. "The Silence That You Keep" takes up side-B, a jazzy, flute driven love song that again features Milton's perfect voice and some fantastic arrangement. A real gem of a record, with the original 45 changing hands for over L100 a time in used condition.
Review: While most of the obscure old records being reissued by Floating Points' Melodies label fetch eye-wateringly high prices on the second-hand market, there's no doubt that they're all astonishingly good. This latest gem - a little-known 1974 7" from folk-soul songwriter Bobby Wright (now Abu Talib) - is another fantastic example. "Blood of an American", a sweet sounding but politically heavyweight song inspired by the singer-songwriter's opposition to the Vietnam War, is every bit as inspired as the works of that better-known folk-soul legend, Terry Callier. In fact, B-side "Everyone Should Have His Day" sounds like a long-lost Callier recording. As ever, the record is beautifully packaged and comes bundled with a 16-page "mini-zine" packed with interviews and articles about the record.
Review: Rare Betty Wright sup[er soulness reissued with artwork for the Japan market on a tasty little 45. not many stores got this outside of the land of the rising sun ....Don't sleep on this beauty !
Review: Wonderful soul and funk reissue label Cannonball turn their attention to this hidden gem from Detroit. Unearthed by Peoples Records in the Motor City after sifting through overlooked or plain forgotten music from the area, "Fire Him Hire Me" is a bittersweet, jangly cut about tough job prospects, and it's presented in its raw, straight from the reel-tape demo version on the flipside of this record. Most likely to get the plays in the club though is the "Completed Version", undertaken by the label to bring the music up to a modern standard and give it the wings its demo status never allowed it before.
Review: Texan soul man, Frank Wilson, receives a timely repress of his 1965 monster "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)", a tune which remains highly sought-after in its original format, and one that is bound to fly off these shelves like hot cakes! Outta Sight's done a great job here, and the quality is class, offering the original cut in all its majestic, romantic glory...oh, do we love this! The flipside is the mellow "Sweeter As The Days Go By", a certified love ballad that is a pleasure to the senses, each and every time...
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.
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.
Bob Brady & The Con Chords - "Everybody's Goin' To The Love-In" (2:48)
Review: Party brand-turned-record label Deptford Northern Soul Club is doing a great job in offering up reissue seven-inch singles packed with hard-to-find soul stompers from the late 1960s. Their latest "45" delivers two tried-and-tested classics from 1968. On the A-side you'll find Herb Ward's superb "Honest To Goodness", an effortlessly soulful and energetic affair in the typical Northern Soul style that benefits greatly from a life-affirming call-and-response style chorus. Over on the flip you'll find Bob Brady & The Con Chords "Everybody's Goin' To A Love-In", a scintillating blue-eyed soul affair reminiscent of some of Smokey Robinson's greatest moments. Two classics, one essential "45" - don't sleep!
Review: The Voices Of East Harlem were an ensemble of vocalists who for Just Sunshine Records recorded two albums under the direction of Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield. "Cashing In" is one of their most classic songs, a highly sought after track on original 7" fetches a small fortune on the collectors market. First recorded and released in 1973, it has all the hallmarks of a Leroy Hutson composition and an established audience that crosses the boundaries of northern, crossover and modern soul. The song is coupled here with "Take A Stand', another highly regarded and sought after modern soul room dance floor tracks, never previously released on 7" single until now
Review: Raw Georgian soul from Ruby Velle and her ever ready Soulphonics: two of the most powerful songs from their recent sophomore album State Of All Things enjoy a little slice of 45 justice. Big full flavoured instrumentation, and an even bigger presence from Ruby herself, across the sides Ruby and co flex their full palette; "Broken Women" is so heavy and urgent it naturally carries a powerful and infectious rock feel while "Forgive, Live, Repeat" taps a little more into the early 70s with its extended organ blasts and more lyrical clarity from the provocative bandleader. Pay attention.
Review: Atlanta troupe Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics treat us to two of the many highlights from their recent sophomore album State Of All Things. Delivered on a limited white 45, both cuts surge with the full spectrum soul they've been developing over the last 12 years. "Call Out My Name", the triumphant Valli-esque album finale is a thumping yet vastly emotional northern soul shakedown while "Love Less Blind" shows the band in a slightly woozier, dreamer state as the band's clam-tight horn section get given the spotlight shine.
Review: Wah Dubplate cannot and will not be stopped. The incorrigible little bootleg unit marches on with its usual mishmash of funky, disco-friendly edits from the most improbable of producers out there and this latest outing is another minor success in what is a whole catalogue of hidden gems. Italy's Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo turn up sounding wild and soulful; the farmer's opening edit of "Bobby's Grapevine" does the Mo-Town tricks, while the latter's re-visioning of "Billy's Missus" gives the original 'hey, Mrs.Robison!' a nice little dance makeover. Sweet as a nut.