Review: Previously spotted passing hands for well over L200, "Unit's Groove" was the band's first single. Released in 1983, it was followed by one album and one further single, which is criminal considering how tight and creative they were. "Unit's Groove" is instant party business with dense layers of percussion, vibrant guitar splashes and a vocal call to action that shift the dead. "Hand In Hand" show the bands more emotional side with heartfelt balladry and heavenly harmonies.
Review: The Cosmologist's Under The Influence series returns with a soul 7" especially for RSD! "Child Of The Street" by Sam Dees originates from 1973 and comes dripping with socio-political undertones, which remain intact on The Cosmologist's 2015 tweak which subtly embellishes the groove into something close to a hip hop beat. Face down and we go back a decade to 1968 and the outright soul gem "Same Girl" by Barbara Acklin, twisting it up with the lesser known piano version from Young Holt Unlimited for 5 minutes that will nice up any dance!
Review: Pat Biggerstaff's ZIP catapults itself into the modern soul game with an arresting statement of intent; St Louie-born, Kansas-based Bryan Austin takes time off his calling as a missionary to lay down two soft, dreamy, string and piano based ballads. "What Would Marvin Say?" is rich in references and respect while "Sunday" takes The Moments' classic to slower, deeper, emotive pastures. Both establish ZIP as a new label with promise.
Review: Soul auteur Jonathan Diggs Duke returns to one of his older EPs for a timely reissue. Originally released in 2015, just after his critically acclaimed debut album on Giles Peterson's Brownswood, the three tracks catch Diggs at his most flighty and free-thinking; "Ambition Addiction" jumps and rolls like a tightly coiled jazz spring before hurling us into the deep harmonic soulful blue of "Welcome" and "Funky Overdose" lives up to its name with its off beat magic, tightly plucked guitar and staccato vocals. Addictive.
Instrumental Band - "Love Can Last Forever" (4:04)
Review: All welcome Stylart: a brand new soul venture from Timmion. They're launching with Fred, a new artist who apparently has a complicated past. From the raw falsetto energy and emotion seeping from this slow burning jam he probably has. The authenticity is backed all the way by the equally vaguely titled Instrumental Band who provide the - you guessed it - instrumental on the flip. Beautiful.
Review: Blue-eyed soul singer Mickey Carroll made his name in the late 1970s, offering up a handful of singles and a couple of rock-solid albums. His musical journey began much earlier though, as "I've Got Plenty Of Nothing" proves. It was recorded in 1969 but never officially released, presumably because Carroll couldn't find a label to put it out on. This then is the track's first release. It's well worth picking up, not least because it fixes his country-tinged, crooner style vocals to a stomping, Northern Soul style backing track with added big band horns. Flipside "Think Love" swings more than it stomps, with an arrangement and vocal delivery that reminded us a little of Terry Callier's "Ordinary Joe".
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: It would be fair to say that Paris Holley is not one of the best-known purveyors of 1980s funk and soul, though the handful of releases he put out in the decade tend to be cherished by serious diggers and DJs. 1984 jam "I Choose You", which is here reissued for the first time since the '80s, is undoubtedly one of his standout moments. Hazy, super-sweet and laidback, the cut sees Holley adding his soulful, high octave tones to a blissful backing track rich in fluid piano lines, sun-kissed guitars and mazy synth lines. Arguably even better is synth-funk B-side "Punkin' Funkin", a fizzing workout that sounds like a more soulful, talkbox-free take on Zapp man Roger Troutman's trademark sound.