Review: Straight form the heart of London via the mind of Detroit, the ever-consistent Soul Brother crew have laid down another stellar reissue here through Dee Edwards' gorgeous "(I Can) Deal With That". Originally out on the much-coveted De-To label in 1977, the original mix is a delicate, whaling soul monster that'll melt your heart from its first guitar riff - Edwards' voice is truly magnetic over the slow-burning percussion. There's a more stripped-down 'Strings' version to act as the cherry on the cake - you just gotta.
Review: Jazzman's Juke Box Jams series continues unabated to offer up those one-shot killers from the tangled history of jazz, R&B and soul - essential nuggets worth repeatedly popping dimes in the slot for. Here, it's the turn of Bobby Bland's "36-22-36", a heavy swinging and insanely catchy blast straight from 1962. Bland's voice is a perfect balance - cool as ice, but cracked around the edges - while the chorus line chants don't need a minute to get under your skin until you're singing along. "St James Infirmary" on the flip is a more downcast affair - one to drown your sorrows to, but certainly not the bottom of the bottle, as those hard stepping horns attest.
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.
Another all-time classic from the extensive back catalog of the legendary Miami songstress Gwen McCrae.
"90% Of Me Is You" is instantly recognizable, it's been sampled countless of times by some of the most seminal Hip Hop artists ever (Large Professor, Jaylib, Mobb Deep & more) & is a bonafide "Rare Groove" sure-shot that never loses it's appeal & is always in demand with DJ's & producers. Perhaps it's the pairing of the languid guitar & strings, or Gwen's sultry vocals & that steady breakbeat that keeps people hooked some 40 years after it's original release? Whatever it is, it's classic material from start to finish!
Backed here with it's original b-side slow jam "It's Worth The Hurt" this super-rare 45 has been re-mastered, re-pressed & brought back for 2015's dance-floors in conjunction & with the permission of T.K. Disco / Henry Stone Music, Miami USA.
Review: Since 2003, Record Kicks has been the "explosive sound of today's scene" and, by the looks of this latest nugget from Martha High, they're right on track to fulfill that promise! The talented US vocalist was on the front row of James Brown's hits in the 60's and 70's, but she's since then focused on her own glorious soul material. "A Little Taste Of Soul" comes as a ray of shining light on a wet October afternoon, full of funky sensibility and heartfelt vibes, making for the perfect dance number for those looking for that groovy thang. For the B-side, "Unwind Yourself" slows the tempo down, breaks up the groove, and unleashes High's Goddess-like voice amid those tasty breaks - what a winner!
Black Pumas - "Look At My Soul" (feat Kam Franklin) (3:27)
Review: Two years ago, Nacional Records released "Look at My Soul", an album from funk-soul multi-instrumentalist and producer Adrian Quesada that featured a wealth of guest performers. Here the LA label revisits the project, offering up two of the album's most potent cuts on "45" for the very first time. Veteran Latin American Texan Johnny Hernandez stars on superb A-side "Ain't No Big Thing", adding his gravelly but emotion-rich voice to a languid chunk of jaunty, horn-heavy 1960s style soul. On B-side cut "Look At My Soul", Quesada's psychedelic soul band Black Pumas are accompanied by righteous soul diva Kam Franklin on an even more emotive, organ-heavy chunk of end-of-night soul. By the end, we guarantee you'll be holding a lighter aloft and singing along with your eyes closed.
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.
Review: These previously unreleased tracks from Revelations member Phillip Balou were offered to Super Disco Edits by one-time British soul journalist David Nathan, who worked alongside the musician and band mate John Simmons at the tail end of the 1970s. A-side "Ain't Nothing Like The Love", a gospel inspired slice of sumptuous soul complete with jazzy guitar solos and an evocative lead vocal from Ballou, is undoubtedly the pick of the two tracks and well worth anyone's hard-earned cash. That said, deep and sugary flipside "For Real" - a thrillingly evocative slow jam full of gospel style choral backing vocals, sumptuous electric piano and sweeping, synthesized strings - is almost as good.
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: Famed for his classic slinky soul disco 1981 bomb "Don't Send Me Away" and his tenure in the Delphonics live band, Garfield Fleming returns to vinyl after almost 40 years thanks to Cordial. And he does so with brand new material. Taken from his eponymous six track mini album "Ain't Nothing Too Good For My Woman" is a shiny 80s soul gem with stacks of space for Garfield's signature soaring vocals and the purring female backing vocals while "Hustlin'" gets a lean strip-back to bare guitars, flutes and Fleming's naked vocals. What a comeback.
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Ain't That Love" (instrumental) (4:25)
Review: Like Daptone house band the Dap-Kings, Timmion's go-to combo Cold Diamond and Mink are absolute masters at delivering revivalist soul and funk cuts that offer authentically old sounds and fuzzy production with new beats, grooves and melodies. They're at it again here with regular collaborator Carlton Jumel Smith. As usual, you'll find the full version on the A, with Smith delivering a raw, impassioned lead vocal above the Finnish band's languid, sweet, sixties-style soul backing track. That instrumental can be enjoyed in all its jazzy, sun-kissed, horn-tooting beauty on side B. As with their other instrumentals, it's near perfect.
Ain't That Loving You (For More Reasons Than One) (3:11)
Blues In The Night (3:13)
Review: A powerful Stax flashback of two tracks from Arkansas soul don Taylor's 1967 debut album Wanted One Soul Singer. As covered by the likes of Lou Rawls, "Ain't That Loving You" is heartfelt bluesy ballad with a sultry swagger and serious yearning on the choruses while the even rarer "Blues In The Night" closes the B on a super-tight floor-bound riff and gutsy delivery from Taylor. Both bonafide northern soul classics and confirmed rarities with both cuts regularly fetching triple figures, this reissue changes everything. For more reasons than one.
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: London's Soul Brother unit has been out of the picture for a little while, but you can always rest assured that the mythical Putney-based shop will come up with some solid reissue goodness. This time, the gold comes through a resurrection of Bill Harris' material, a legendary jazz trombonist who started his trade way back in the late 1950's. There's two versions of "Am I Hot Am I Cold" here, a short version for the dance, and a long version that delves deeper into the percussion, goes heavier on the drum breaks and lifts the track to higher grounds thanks to those prophetic vocals. A certified jazz-funk monster.
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.
Review: This reissue of American R&B/soul vocal group The Chi-Lites' "Are You My Woman?" (Tell Me So) from 1970 features a very familiar hook that was sampled on Beyonce and Jay Z's 2003 hit "Crazy In Love". Formed in 1959 in Chicago, Illinois, the group was led by Eugene Record and originally called Hi-Lites before adding on 'Chi', which derived from their hometown. They went on to release 15 albums between 1969 - 1990 and are best known for their classics "Have You Seen Her" and "Oh Girl".
Candy & The Kisses - "Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me Baby" (2:39)
Val Simpson - "Mr Creator" (2:11)
Review: Candy & The Kisses burst onto the Northern Soul scene with their first single and all-time classic "The 81" co-written and produced by the late Jerry Ross. "Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me Baby" is a storming soul number that went under the radar for the most part, but is good as any of other hits of theirs like "Chains Of Love" and many others. Flipside "Mr Creator" co-written by Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson was taken up by The Apollas in 1967 on Warner Bros. and went on to become an all-time classic.
Review: He's hardly prolific, but DJ/producer Del Gazeebo has been offering up occasional re-edits, mash-ups and bootleg reworks for longer than some of us have been alive. Here he begins 2020 in fine fashion with two party-hearty reworks guaranteed to get the dancefloor moving. Aside "Barbara Don't Love Me" is a bouncy, subtly beefed-up take on a horn-heavy 1960s soul/rhythm and blues classic that sounds like it would go down well at parties that love Northern Soul. Flipside "Dat Ting" meanwhile is a head-nodding take on a punchy soulful reggae cut underpinned by weighty bass and tight hip-hop beats.
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: If smooth, synth-powered soul is your bag, we'd suggest checking out this EP from French future R&B star Jean Janin AKA Cezaire. It begins with a sumptuous slice of '80s soul revivalism featuring guests Phabo and Jordan Lee (the really rather good "You Came In Time") and ends with a bubbly chunk of deep electro-soul ("Je Plane", featuring Crenoka). In between, Janin treats us to some sparse, drowsy and distant lo-fi soul ("Beyonce"), a spacey slown jam featuring immaculate lead vocals by Ayelle (the synth-bass-propelled goodness of "The Answer"), and an all-to-short tribute to talkbox-sporting Los Angeles synth-funk jams of the 1980s ("The West Coast").
Review: No longer dealing in edits, but instead long lost or out of print disco and soul gold, Super Disco Edits turn their focus to the early works of The Plainwrap Band here. These are all tracks produced and arranged by Marvin Augustus that were recorded to a dusty reel that ended up in the hands of producer Stu Gardner. He transferred the reels and once the label got wind they decided to track down Augustus. He'd forgotten all about the project but revelled that some of leading musicians from America's West Coast were called upon to play on these romantic, emotional and musical soul-groovers.