Review: The Devonns come direct from the streets of Chicago, Illinois, and bring with them plenty of historical perspective and timeless soul vibes, despite being a brand new band. Their self-titled debut features covers of Jamie Lidell's classic "Green Light" with big horns and lively drums, as well as more smooth and sweet soul in the mood of The Isley Brothers, and soaring, heart swelling styles in the fashion of Leroy Hutson. Band leader, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mathew Ajjarapu brings his love of 50s and 60s doo-wop and lo-fi works to the tracks, making them perfectly imperfect in the process.
Review: This special Record Stay Day reissue gathers together two of Philadelphia soul legend Teddy Pendergrass' finest dancefloor moments. Both are essential, making this a must-buy for disco DJs who've yet to acquire them. On the A-side you'll find "You Can't Hide From Yourself", a sumptuously orchestrated affair whose killer groove is matched in quality by Pendergrass' impassioned vocal (check the rasping freestyle vocalizations towards the end for proof). Equally as impressive is "The More I Get, The More I Want", an insatiably sexually charged affair that builds in intensity throughout and not only contains one of the funkiest basslines in disco history, but also some seriously addictive female backing vocals.
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: 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.
Woman Of The Ghetto (Akshin Alizadeh remix) (5:05)
Woman Of The Ghetto (Akshin Alizadeh instrumental mix) (5:04)
Review: Put your hands together... Serial editor Akshin Alizadeh takes Marlena Shaw's iconic heavily-referenced sample (from the live recording of "Woman Of The Ghetto") and lays it softly over a breath-taking lounge-lurking jazz funk groove. All lavish strings, hazy horns, wandering keys and lazy smoky beats, think Nightmares On Wax and you're on the right Balearic boulevard. Get together.
Review: New London groove duo Funk'N'Sly make their debut on Boogie Cafe's new Neon series with these three juicy electro boogie and soul originals. "Be Mine Tonight" hits with Chromeo levels of charm and sleaze that's backed up to the max by Ron Basejam on absurdly fat remix duties. "Tell Me So" drops its trousers to reveal a crisp set of Speedos and takes a dip into the serene Balearic shores, and "Intimacy" shimmers with some seriously authentic 80s soul feels. Think Soul II Soul era Nellee Hooper. Beautiful.
Bounce That Ass (feat Ice T & Charlie Funk) (4:07)
Review: Having spent much of the last few years offering up tropical grooves under their alternative Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band alias, the Mighty Mocambos have finally got around to recording another funk-focused album. Of course, this is not straight-up revivalist funk or soul in the strict sense, but rather a collection of inventive cuts rooted in bustling breakbeats, fuzzy basslines, razor-sharp guitar riffs and hazy horns. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the sweet soul shuffle of Lee Fields collaboration "Where Do We Go From Here" and the rasping dancefloor soul-funk goodness of Gizelle Smith hook-up "Take On The World", to the 1950s sci-fi soundtrack cheeriness of "Return To Space" (featuring legendary composer Peter Thomas), and the synth-fired intergalactic dancefloor goodness of "Golden Shadow".
Review: During his time working at Jazzman, Athens of the North founder Euan Fryer tracked down the late, great Avelino Pitts, whose impossible-to-find mid 1970s work with Gold counts as some of the deepest psychedelic soul ever recorded. Here, Fryer offers up two of Gold's greatest, previously featured on a 2011 Jazzman compilation, on "45" for the first time. Both songs are deep, fluid, emotional and evocative, with Pitts' impassioned lead vocals rising above intricately detailed backing tracks that prioritise twinkling pianos, reverb-laden slow grooves and slowly shifting basslines over cheap soul showmanship. As a result, from the first listen you'll be hooked.
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".
Review: First released way back in 1999, Raphael Saadiq's Q-Tip-sporting "Get Involved" is a warm and woozy, retro-futurist chunk of soul/hip-hop fusion that harked back to an earlier musical age. It remains an arguably underappreciated dancefloor bomb and here gets the reissue treatment courtesy of the freshly lauched 45 Jams imprint. It comes backed by another stone cold classic from Q-Tip, "Vivrant Thing" - a cut first featured on the flipside of the Tribe Called Quest member's much more celebrated "Breathe Don't Stop" single. It's a little more stripped back than the A-side, with Q-Tip delivering his distinctive flows over a crunchy and fuzzy, Jay Dee produced backing track crafted from samples from an old funk record.
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: Recorded sometime in the late 1970s, and previously only available as a private press release on a tiny Maryland label, "Miracles" is the sole album from gospel preacher/singer Reverend Norman Weeks and his backing band, the Revelations. Little info is available, though if the modern soul end of gospel is your thing it's well worth picking up. As you'd expect, the vocals from Weeks and his collaborators are soulful and righteous, while the accompanying music is impeccably played and surprisingly well produced given the likely budget constraints. Highlights include the heavy funk-soul strut of "It Took A Miracle", the Bob James-influenced brilliance of "I Wanna Sing For You" and fizzing LP opener and bona fide dancefloor rocker "I Will Stand On It".