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: Two sides, two years, two source labels: This powerful soul blast 45 captures two sides of LA songwriter Nolan's criminally short recording career. The A is his famous northern soul / Joy Division-riffed favourite "Keep On Keeping On" from 71 on cult soul imprint Lizard while the B "If I Could Only Be Sure" is a smoother R&B cut from his time on MCA's ABC imprint. Loose limbed feel good funk and swooning bluesy soul with big harmonies, this represents Nolan's diverse range with respect and timelessness.
Review: Chalalala move on. Outta Sight continue their two sides / two legends Atlantic 45 series with this beautiful celebration of The Pointer Sisters and The Drifters. Neither act require an introduction. The famous Oakland all-girl troupe take the lead with "Send Him Back", their sophomore single (that regularly fetches upwards of L100 a copy) it's a bubblegum soul frenzy with all the energy you'd expect from their breakthrough years. The Drifters carries a similar sense of focus and energy with vibrant backing vocals and a sunny side soul touch that will have you bouncing from here to next winter.
Herbie Hancock - "Stars In Your Eyes" (Special disco remix) (11:08)
The Choice Four - "Come Down To Earth" (David Todd remix) (10:21)
Rhyze - "Do Your Dance" (Jim Burgess remix) (4:46)
Phil Hurtt - "Giving It Back" (12" disco mix) (5:56)
Cuba Gooding - "Happiness Is Just Around The Bend" (7:59)
Greg Henderson - "Dreamin'" (7:33)
The Paul Simpson Connection - "Use Me, Lose Me" (5:59)
Mtume - "So You Wanna Be A Star" (12" extended mix) (5:09)
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes - "Don't Leave Me This Way" (Tom Moulton mix) (11:02)
Candy Bowman - "Since I Found You (Love Is Better Than Ever)" (4:30)
Review: killer reissue from Soul Brother back in press. The heavyweight of Herbie Hancock rub the shoulders of ultimate classics from Greg Henderson,Harold Melvin, Mtume and The Choice Four. Nothing short of superb.
Review: Longstanding reissue kings Soul Brother flex back to this powerful double A last issued by Cultures Of Soul in 2010. Two of Barbara Lynn's fieriest soul sessions, both released on Tribe in '66/'67 respectively, there's a strong northern stomp to proceedings on both sides. "I'm A Good Woman" is characterised by the driving kicks, tight horns and Lynn's urgent vocals while "I Don't Want A Playboy" comes with more of a traditional soul swing. Sleep on this and, in the words of Babs herself, you'll lose a good thing.
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...
Review: If you're in the mood for something that sounds like a 21st century update of the Jackson Five's "ABC", step this way. It comes courtesy of The Tribe Of Good, a quartet whose funk-fuelled exploits have previously been released by Ultra Records. "Broken Toys" is very Jackson Five-esque, with what sounds like a young male vocalist singing "MJ" style over crunchy drum breaks, heavy horns, cheery guitars and headline-grabbing piano motifs. It's ear catching and addictive, with the accompanying flipside "Percapella" providing light-touch, bongo-driven percussion, vocals and some suitably trippy effects. It's certainly a handy DJ tool.
Review: Seminal Manchester street soul from 96; Bovel's "Check 4 U" had anthem status in clubs and on pirates throughout the city at the time but suffered limited pressing and an OG copy has been known to be priced at 2000 quid. Revitalised by Ruf Dug and Bovel herself, it now comes complete with a superb UKG update from Metrodome which maintains the feel of the era but with the pace and punch of the times. Limited to 1000 copies.
Review: In 1972, Marvin Gaye set to work recording what was scheduled to become the follow-up to his greatest single studio album, the previous year's "What's Going On". In the end, only one single from that mooted set ever appeared - "You're The Man", a weary assessment of that year's U.S Presidential Election - and Gaye's bitter arguments with Motown continued. This intriguing album tries to set the record straight, gathering together work completed for the shelved album with newly mixed songs based around previously unfinished works. There's much to admire throughout, with the material flitting between the kind of lusciously orchestrated, conscious songs featured on Gaye's previous set and more commercial-sounding Motown pop (much of which was produced by Willie Hutch).
Review: Eglo Records present a debut record from Sydney based singer Natalie Salde, who mixes up her own take on hip hop, soul, r&b and broken beat across 10 mellifluous and busy tracks. Each one sounds thoroughly contemporary, with crisp and clean production matched by a wide range of vocal deliveries from Salde. She can do slow and simmering or upbeat and empowering in equal measure. Hiatus Kaiyote's keyboard player Simon Mavin and other band members contorbue, and their live instrumentation and deconstructed percussion add vitality to this most electric of records.
Review: Two big cuts taken from the Melbourne trio's sixth album Blind Bet, here the band flip two sides of a ridiculously funky coin. "Mind Made Up" features the vocals of Tru Thoughts starlet Kylie Auldist. Her rich emphatic vocals fit the 70s soul licks perfectly. Smooth and dynamically delivered with big horns, subtle strings, major chords and an instantly catchy chorus, you'll make your mind up on this long before the last horns blast a final cheerio. "Skeletor", meanwhile, is a much more party-focussed jam where big breakbeats provide the back bone for sharp horns, heavy Hammond slapping and warm gravelly vocals.
Review: Bobby Oroza has long been a key sideman in the Finnish Music Scene but now he's stepping out on his own and is a welcome voice indeed. Straddling a divide be-tween blue eyed soul and rock balladry once again on this latest single, he does a convincing job indeed. His own dreamy flute lines and gentle percussion tumble lie next to churning drums, but it's that super sweet vocal that makes "Strange Girl" so strong. "Down on My Knees" is more tender and introspective but just as good and sounds more like the work of someone from Southern California than the Nordic countries.
Brian Auger's Oblivion Express - "Foolish Girl" (feat Alex Ligertwood)
The New Mastersounds - "Tantalus"
The Getup - "Hush"
Orquesta Akokan - "Mambo Rapidito"
Gizelle Smith - "Scared Of Something"
Menagerie - "Spiral"
Review: Craig Charles' annual "Funk & Soul Club" compilations are fast becoming as much of a Christmas tradition as turkey, dodgy decorations and ill-advised snogs at office parties. As with its predecessor, this sixth volume does a good job in showcasing the best in modern funk, soul, Afrobeat and heavy Latin jams, with a few stone cold classics thrown in (see the Mighty Ryeders' peerless "Evil Vibrations"). Look out for deep and heavy funk gems from the Bamboos, the New Mastersounds and Lance Ferguson's Rare Groove Spectrum, some suitably smooth fare from Courtney Pine and Omar, a scintillating, salsa-focused cover of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" by Scotland's Grupo Magnetico, and a dash of dancefloor goodness from funk breaks scene stalwarts Smoove and Turrell.
Review: Kalita's obligatory Record Store Day offering is something rather special: synth-funk visionary couple Emerson and Leora Sandidge's mythical unreleased album finally sees the light of day, following Emerson's sole private press seven-inch single release way back in 1988. Those two tunes ("Sending All My Love Out" and "Why Are You So Cold?") make the cut on this belated debut set, alongside six other previously unreleased recordings from the same sessions. Their take on electrofunk, boogie and '80s soul is colourful, soulful and synth-heavy, with the included tracks veering from up-tempo club workouts (see "Raw Deal Cocaine Kills") and fizzing dancefloor pop workouts, to sugary ballads and seductive slow jams. In other words, it's a more than tidy selection of rare and unheard gems.
Review: Storied Latin-jazz artist, composer, producer, and DJ Nicola Conte lays down a marker for his upcoming fifth studio album Free Souls with this delightful 7" of the same name. Brandishing two gens from the album, Conte's channelling soul jazz at it's purest on the title track, with a rhythm and blues arrangement that provides the perfect backing for Bridgette Amofah's gliding vocal delivery. On the B Side, "Shades Of Joy" is equally as memorable with Marvin Parks' soft croon enveloped in the smooth double bass and horn section. On the basis of this, the forthcoming album should be one of Conte's finest yet!
Ramon Pyrme/Jean Claude Cornely - "Vacance Union" (4:49)
Zanma - "Poutchi" (4:47)
Swanha Desvarieux - "Nou Ke Sa Enmew" (4:06)
The Group NSI - "Mande Moin On Lajan, Pa Mande Za Fe An Moin" (3:43)
OREA - "Biguine Inferno" (4:49)
Milton - "Mizik Nou" (4:49)
Selekta - "Fle Pou'W" (3:59)
Meliza - "Anrage" (4:35)
Acayouman - "Si Ou Ladje Moin" (4:00)
Eddy LA Viny - "Indiano" (3:38)
Review: Here's yet another rare '80s compilation with even more deep cuts than the last. Where do they find them all? Heavenly Sweetness clearly know but they ain't telling! They are showing though, and here on Digital Zandoli they reveal 12 newly discovered disco, boogie and zouk tracks recorded about 30 years ago in the West Indies. We're clearly spoilt for choice on this record, but highlights include the synthetic sea breeze grooves of Puzzle Pulsion's "Mwoin Ka Songe", the mellow Afro grooves of Zanman's "Poutchi" and the abstract body music via a sandy beach vibes of OR EA's "Biguine Inferno".
Review: Following 2014's When The World Was One, Halsall and the Gondwana collective continue their spiritual jazz adventure with another immaculate narrative. Now with much more vocal prowess, singer Josephine Oniyama plays a lead role in the story, adding consistency and personality to the Halsall's swooning, cinematic odysseys. Highlights include the Hathaway-style half spoken/half sung "Badder Weather", the frenetic double bass and brushed drum crescendos of "The Land Of", the (lark) ascending strings and oriental scales of "Cushendun" and the smoky, faraway Coltraneisms of the title track. Modern jazz doesn't get any more authentic than this.
Review: Fast-rising New York soul singer Carlton Jumel Smith continues his successful partnership with Timmion house band Cold Diamond & Mink via a debut album that sounds like it could have been recorded in the early 1970s rather than 2019. Smith's lyrics and effortlessly soulful vocal delivery take centre stage throughout, though it's the faithfully fuzzy grooves, punchy horn lines and languid, delay-laden guitar motifs provided by his storied backing band that make the album a real winner. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the loved-up sweetness of "This Is What Love Looks Like!" and Motown-influenced stomp of "We're All We Got", to the slack-tuned drum breaks and bittersweet messages of "I Can't Love You Anymore (feat Pratt)" and the cheery goodness of "Remember Me". In a word: superb.
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Let's Get Together" (instrumental) (4:22)
Review: We just love hearing new soul and funk. Sure, a rare single from the 60s or 70s goes a long way in satisfying our needs, but how good is it to hear NEW music!? That's why we rate Finland's Timmion imprint so highly; they always come through with the goods, and there isn't a single EP they've put out that hasn't interested us... or flown off our shelves! This time, Jonny Benavidez, Cold Diamond and Mink team up for the absolute sexiness that is "Let's Get Together", a seductive soul ballad that is bound to lit up the room instantly! The instrumental is rather fine, too.
Carlton Jumel Smith - "I Can't Love You Anymore" (4:35)
Cold Diamond & Mink - "I Can't Love You Anymore" (instrumental) (4:34)
Review: Since making his debut back in the early 1990s, Carlton Jumel Smith has periodically popped up on a variety of soulful house and modern soul releases. Here the little-known vocalist takes a different approach, re-casting himself as a throaty, James Brown influenced '70s soul singer. He's at his heartfelt, full-throttle best on "Can't Love You Any More", a deliciously heavy and authentic chunk of Southern-fried deep soul complete with additional falsetto parts from fellow singer Pratt. The key to the track's success is the fantastic backing provided by Cold Diamond & Mink. Proof is provided on the flip via the band's effortlessly good instrumental take.
Review: Previously only available on US promo 45 - these 1973 Afrodisiac-era cuts from The Main Ingredients are well overdue. First up is a beautiful take on the Isley Brothers 1972 classic "Work To Do" (also famed for its Average White Band cover in 1974) while the B is draped in the powerful vocal harmonies and lavish strings of "Instant Love". Proof that sometimes all you need are two ingredients to cook a beautiful feast for the soul.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Good ole' foot stomping and hand clapping - this true Tony Humphries, Southport and soul collectors favourite finally gets a full single release. "Looking For You" is massive crossover hit from 2005 by American Gospel star Kirk Franklin, who marries Patrice Rushen's "Haven't You Heard" with R&B and hip-hop to produce an uplifting, inspiring and infectious feel good classic. Franklin pilots his ensemble through a joyful song that will have you tapping your feet and clapping your hands in no time - and if put the lyrics and sermon aside, this could be superb dance music, too.
Review: This excellent seven-inch single mines the rich seam of Terry Callier style folk-soul that is Jon Lucien's incredible 1973 album "Rashida". On the A-side you'll find the brilliantly breezy, horn-heavy samba-soul sunshine of "Would You Believe In Me", a song so beloved to Lucien that he re-recorded it several times later in his career. On the B-side you'll find the arguably even sweeter and more loved-up "Kuenda", where Lucien delivers attractive scat-style, double-racked freestyle vocals over a backing track rich in finger-picked folk guitar arpeggio lines and atmospheric field recordings of nature. It's a joyously simple track, but one that will stay with you for hours after you've put the record back on the shelf.