Turn This Thing Around (feat Sulene Fleming) (4:07)
Turn This Thing Around (Exclusive unreleased instrumental) (4:04)
Review: Killer modern day funk masterpiece first released almost 20 years ago by the legendary Leeds outfit led by guitarist Eddie Roberts and the first time ever on a handy 7 inch format.Still as fresh as ever fierce drum kit and twangy guitar with hammond organ stabs leads way to upfront vocals from Sulene Flemming who has worked with Bernard Purdie, Reuben Wilson, Brand New Heavies and Incognito etc. Originally released in 2001 it still sounds fresh as ever and this version comes backed with an exclusive unreleased tuff breaks heavy instrumental version. Hand-numbered to 500 copies and served in a Juno exclusive sleeve. Supported by DJ Koco from Japan ,Skeme Richards,The Allergies & Oliie Cheeba from The Herbalizer so far..
Review: In recent times we've been treated to plenty of reissues of classic lover's rock gems, including an Athens of the North-released collection of lover's rock covers. It's therefore rather exciting to hear some brand-new lover's rock in a similar vein from Crucial Rockers, a studio band formed by producer Jamie Searle. The track given the cover treatment is Womack & Womack classic "Teardrops". While that was fiendishly uptempo, this version is sweet, slow and effortlessly soulful, with Searle's warming riddim offering a perfect match for the un-credited vocalist's fine delivery of the Womacks' weary and emotional lyrics. The flipside dub is rather tasty, too. Sadly there aren't many of these around, so act fast if you want to secure a copy!
I Want You For Myself (KON extended remix) (10:40)
Review: Acclaimed crate-digger turned disco re-editor KON has decided to launch his own reissue imprint, Kontemporary. The idea is simple: to accompany re-mastered original tracks with fresh rubs from the man himself. 12" number one offers another opportunity to enjoy George Duke's soulful, sun-kissed, disco-era jazz-funk bomb "I Want You For Myself". On the A-side you'll find Duke's own impeccable 12" version, with KON's re-edit gracing the B. Having access to the original multi-track tapes has allowed the New York-based producer to not only include an atmospheric, extended intro (a tactic regularly used by fellow rework merchants The Revenge and Joey Negro), but also give more prominence to Duke's superb piano solos.
Marvin Gaye - "This Love Starved Heart Of Mine (It's Killing Me)" (2:44)
Shorty Long - "Don't Mess With My Weekend" (2:29)
Review: Each release in Deptford Northern Soul Club's multi-artist single series, which gathers together Northern Soul scene classics and offers them up in freshly re-mastered form, has been nothing less than essential. Predictably, the label's latest seven-inch is another doozy. On the A-side you'll find one of the rarest cuts in Marvin Gaye's vast catalogue - 1967 stomper "This Love Starved Heart of Mine (Is Killing Me)", which was for some reason pressed in extremely limited quantities first time around. Over on the flip the Deptford boys and girls serve up Shorty Long's "Don't Mess With My Weekend", an insatiably funky Northern Soul scene anthem that Motown only ever released in Australia.
Review: Brenda is thought to be the late Brenda Lee Jones from Ohio and the subject of the b-side here, which is the biggie, "Big Mistake," is thought to be her adopted son and mistakes his real mother made. It's a super sweet affair that will swell your heart with its lush soul sound. This reissue has been cut from the original master tapes and will help out anyone wanting to cop it without paying the L800 it cuttingly goes for online. The flip of record, "Super Stoke" is lit up with big fuzzy guitars and raw funk that never lets up.
I Want To Thank You (KON Shine Your Light remix) (7:54)
I Want To Thank You (KON dub) (7:49)
Review: Having previously breathed new life into classic cuts from L.T.D, George Duke and Sylvester, Kon has now turned his attention to another all-time favourite: Alicia Myers' 1981 stunner "I Want To Thank You", a disco-era gospel-soul favourite that remains one of the era's most timeless club records. Working from the multi-track tapes, Kon teases out Myers' killer vocal - drenched in just the right amount of reverb and delay - atop a slightly stripped-back groove before giving it the full kitchen sink treatment. Just as good is the flipside Dub, which flits between beat-free sections and the track's killer groove in the manner of disco dubs from the early 1980s. The song itself may not have needed tampering with, but Kon's versions are genuinely superb.
Review: The third missive from crate-digging reissue specialists Discs of Fun & Love offers up a new pressing of a suitably obscure and hard-to-find private-press gem, Maggie Epting's sole single as Mandisa, 1981's "Summer Love". The song itself is superb: a wonderfully breezy and sun-kissed slab of dewy-eyed soul that sees Epting deliver an emotive lead vocal over a jazz-funk influenced smooth soul groove and plenty of spacey, intergalactic synthesizer sounds. Over on the flip you'll find original B-side "Love's Dream", a quirky, sax-laden slab of electric jazz that features an even bolder and more ear-catching Epting vocal. It's very good, though the real killer resides on the A-side.
Review: It would be fair to say that the Egyptians are not one of the more celebrated soul acts from Cincinatti, Ohio. They released a smattering of seven-inch singles on tiny labels during the early-to-mid 1970s, none of which made much of an impact outside of their local scene. In recent years these 45s have become collector's items, with "Thanks To You" - a super-sweet soul slow-jam rich in harmonic group vocals and effortlessly fluid and jazzy guitar parts - being the most in demand of all. Here the record is finally reissued, with facsimile labels and the same track listing (vocal version on the A-side, instrumental take on the flip). If rare, life-affirming 1970s soul loveliness is your thing, it's well worth a listen.
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.
Edgar Winter - "Above & Beyond" (12" version) (6:26)
Review: Having previously offered up two vinyl compilations focusing on his book Life & Death on the New York Dancefloor 1980-83, dance music documentarian Tim Lawrence has decided to travel back in time to the decade covered in his previous book, Love Will Save The Day. This second part (of two) gathers together some of the greatest American dance music of the 1970s, deftly showcasing what some might call the disco continuum. It covers a lot of ground, moving from the sparkling orchestrated soul of Willie Hutch and the intergalactic jazz-funk of Charles Earland, to the punk-funk hedonism of Miroslave Vituous and the boogie-era brilliance of Edgar Winter, via a string of surging underground disco treats.
Falling Deep In Love (Joey Negro 7" Disco Blend) (4:06)
Review: For the last two years, legendary London crew Horse Meat Disco has been teasing the release of its long-awaited debut album via a series of scintillating singles featuring guest vocals from the likes of Amy Douglas and, even more impressively, Kathy Sledge. Here they offer up their second collaboration with the legendary disco diva. "Jump Into The Light" is little less than a tribute to the Chic sound featured on the greatest Sister Sledge records, with Kathy Sledge delivering a typical fine lead vocal over Bernard Edwards style bass, Nile Rodgers-esque guitars and glittering orchestration. Over on side B there's a chance to enjoy Joey Negro's cut-down "Disco Blend" of previous single "Falling Deep In Love", which adds a little house flavour whilst retaining the crew's disco instrumentation.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
First Choice - "Dr Love" (Late Nite Tuff Guy Hypnotizin' Groove) (5:33)
Double Exposure - "Everyman" (Late Nite Tuff Guy rework) (5:31)
First Choice - "Love Having You Around" (Late Nite Tuff Guy rework) (6:37)
Review: There are few more celebrated edit kings than Late Nite Tuff. Now he is back once again with the goodness, this time tackling killer racks by First Choice and Double Exposure. All of the source material here is considered to be stone cold classic, so he's brave if nothing else. But of course, he also has the skills to make these edits worth your while - he extends the breaks, lets the grooves roll on and ensures the vocals remain in place to really get hearts sweeping and hands in the air. The unabashed funk, soul and disco joy of his take on Double Exposure's "Everyman" might be the standout here.
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: 2020's inaugural Love Record Stores campaign is an exciting prospect for those who love coloured, marbled and "split" vinyl releases. The latest essential album to get this treatment is Black Pumas' self-titled 2019 debut. Helmed by multi-instrumentalist Adrian Quesada, the Austin-based band's trademark sound tends towards the psychedelic end of soul, offering up songs that variously doff a cap to Tower of Power, Sly and the Family Stone, Rotary Connection, Terry Callier and the Chambers Brothers - all topped off with impassioned, effortlessly soulful lead vocals from mic man Eric Burton. Given the inspirations, it's no surprise that the band's tracks sound authentically old, though there's also an inherent vibrancy and freshness that means they never stray into hollow pastiche.
Review: Peak time dancefloor action with this 45 with the familiar classic b-boy sampling fodder coupled with an infectious r & b vocal club monster. It's never had a physical release till now. On the flip it's instrumental breaks galore for B-Boy/B-Girl back flips action from a sought after uk trio release now in handy 45 form with tuff breakbeats and smattering of electro vibe...Only 200 copies..
Review: The Allergies' debut album introduced the world to the way they effortlessly fuse funk, soul, disco, hip-hop and breaks into dancefloor-ready nuggets of ear candy. Taking classic sounds and reshaping them for the modern age is the signature that won them plaudits across the globe. Not ones to rest on their laurels, it hasn't taken long for them to deliver more of the goods on their second full-length album. As well as taking the successful formula of the first record and expanding on their sound, the band enlisted two giants of underground hip-hop to bless mics on the album as well. After a hugely successful collaboration on their debut LP, once again the dynamic lyricism and production skills of the inimitable Andy Cooper (Ugly Duckling) are present and correct in this new collection.
Review: February 2020 marks the tenth anniversary of the release of Gil Scott-Heron's final studio album "I'm New Here", a set that was later brilliantly reworked by Jamie XX in 2011 ("We're New Here"). To celebrate the album's tenth birthday, XL Recordings has decided to offer up "We're New Again", a fresh "reinterpretation" of the Richard Russell produced set by contemporary jazz hero and beat-maker Maya McCraven. His vision is loose, languid, deep and jazzy, with languid jazz drumming, tight hip-hop beats, soft-touch instrumentation, liquid jazz solos and funk-fuelled basslines combining beneath Scott-Heron's gravelly spoken word vocals. It's an inspired re-invention all told and one fully in keeping with the essence of Scott-Heron's own work. In other words, it's a must-have.
Gratitude - "We Are Here To Party" (7" version) (3:46)
Jax Transit Authority - "Life Is A Miracle" (4:56)
Review: Many of the finest independent disco 45s that Athens of the North has reissued were licensed by crate digger David Haffner, so it's fitting that AOTN boss Euan Fryer has given him a compilation of his own. "Disco With A Feeling" contains some of those picks, alongside other obscure favourites from Haffner's sizable record collection. It's absolute fire from start to finish, with the little known private press and small-run cuts tending towards the more soulful and jazz-funk influenced end of the disco spectrum. Basically, it's a must-have for anyone who gravitates towards the rare end of the disco spectrum.
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: During the 1970s, Dale O. Warren's ever-changing 24 Carat Black project delivered some of the finest hybrid soul-jazz music around, with the project's 1973 debut album considered something of an underground classic. "III" is the collective's third "official" album and was put together by Numero Group following the discovery of a number of 1980s recordings by the late, great Warren (with vocalists Princess Hearn, Vicki Gray, and LaRhonda LeGette) in a storage lock-up. Sparse but warm, languid and jazzy, it's a leisurely, soft-touch collection of cuts stripped of production trickery but high on dewy-eyed vocals, organic drums and tactile instrumentation.
Review: Danny Krivit's officially sanctioned re-edits of Earth Wind & Fire's "Brazilian Rhyme" and "Runnin" have been sought-after since they first appeared on a Japan-only 12" back in 2004. In fact, such is demand that even later bootleg pressings now go for silly money online. As this reissue proves, though, they're arguably amongst Krivit's strongest scalpel works. Certainly, his three-minute revision of the always too short "Brazilian Rhyme" teases it out to just the right length, in the process delivering a sweltering, sing-along summer anthem. The flipside revision of the equally as summery "Runnin" is every bit as good, with Krivit making merry with the original's life-affirming scat vocals and killer piano solos.
Review: Take a trip deep into the spiritual soul and jazz funk sounds of the seventies with these two cuts from Lee Stone. They are taken from an album entitled Praise Poems and bring to mind swing, funk and big band. They tie on well swung grovers, with lush trumpets up top and Stone's vocals adding real heart. "What Is Life" is the upbeat roller that, muses on the sorrow of a love lost and has some fantastic solos, while "Eyes Full Of Starshine" is a more retro affair for the slow motion dancers.
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: One of UK soul's brightest sparks and Danger Mouse on production: Michael Kiwanuka's highly anticipated sophomore takes a running jump and kicks the Motowns out of the difficult second album cliche. Ranging from epic urgent cinematica "Rule The World" to the smouldering blues ballad "The Final Frame" by way of ELO-meets-Finlay Quaye fuzzy rock funk "One More Night" Michael and Mouse take us through a detailed, dreamy and dramatic adventure that really explores Michael's gutsy range and developed writing style. On level, if not better, than Home Again.
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.
Review: After her magnetic debut EP for Running Circle in 2017, Nottingham's Yazmin Lacey lands on our charts with her follow-up 12", a piece of work that sounds deeply accomplished and expansive for being her second EP to date. Largely roaming within the jazzo-sphere, When The Sun Dips 90 Degress is a beautifully seductive five-tracker, with the artist's voice reigning supreme over the cascading showers of piano keys and subtle electronics, somehow tapping into the Alice Coltrane sort of vibe. There's no harp here, but plenty of soulful charisma. Fear not thy devout jazz fanatic - this can get real deep and real smooth. It's a broken beat fan's dream some true. More from Lacey is, indeed, expected in the remainder of the year. Marvellous stuff.
Review: A bonafide masterpiece; Minnie's first album post-Rotary Connection should need little introduction. A cult hit in 1970, a global smash when re-released in 74, Come To My Garden hasn't enjoyed a reissue for over 10 years. Her first pure soul and jazz album, this was the album where the world truly understood Ripperton's incredible range and tenderness. Powered by the breath-taking orchestration and song writing of Charles Stepney and her husband Richard Rudolph, everything about this album stands the test of time from the dreamy pastoral haze of "Close Your Eyes" or the delicate harmonies and nightingale rush of "Expecting" via the untouchable "Les Fleur". Immaculate music history.
Review: Bridge Boots main man Caserta has previously proved to be one of the most talented re-editors around, up there with higher profile artists such as the Reflex and Joey Negro. His latest offering, a red seven-inch single featuring new rearrangements of Diana Ross hit "I'm Coming Out", is another beauty. On the A-side he offers up a "Long Way Mix" that gives more prominence to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards' killer backing track (partly via stripping it back to the groove at key points) while retaining most of Ross' vocals. On the flip you'll find a "Sing-A-Long Dub" that strips it back further during key instrumental passages to allow the Motown legend's vocals to shine.
Keep Rising All Night Long (Sunday Service mix) (6:19)
Review: GAMM has been a treasure trove of edits, golden old soul and forgotten funk gems for an eternity and they come correct again with this monstrous dance floor dynamite on a loud, one-sided vinyl pressing: Ukokos & Jabco's hip hop and gospel styled rework of the world renowned clip of Kanye West's Sunday Service band doing a live cover of "Keep Rising". A majestic, triumphant and real floor filling, crowd pleasing bomb that will bring everyone together for many years to come.
Review: London singer-songwriter Michael Kiwanuka builds on the success of his first two albums by drafting in Danger Mouse and Inflo to produce the beats that house his hugely expressive voice. That voice is of course front and centre - and whether delivering tender moments of intimacy or more breezy soul, it is always wrought with tension and emotion, slow burning and buttery smooth. The production feels timeless yet contemporary whether offering gauzy, guitar laden textures "Hero" or soaring pop ("Final Days") and makes this an album that touches on all forms of soul with equal originality.
Review: Incredible late night smoochy stuff right here from one of the most decorated bassists of all time. A major figure in the bands of Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder, Henderson was also a killer solo artist amassing eight artist albums between 76-86. This AOTN "45 showcases his true breadth as "Let Love Enter" lilts on a soft bossa with rising horns, velvet backing vocals and an unabashed come-to-bed message. "Come To Me" gets even deeper under the sheets with as he goes toe-to-toe, cheek-to-cheek with Rena Scott with smoking results.
Review: Should you require further evidence of the all-round genius of Curtis Mayfield, look no further than this early '70s funk gem from Patti Jo. "Make Me Believe In You" was written and produced by the velvety-voiced musician in 1973, one of just a few singles released by Patti Jo but undoubtedly now an all-time classic. That rolling drum intro, the ear-wagging piano, the subtle orchestration and, above all, Patti Jo's killer vocal all combine for a perfect example of the halcyon days when funk was beginning to transform into disco. Mayfield himself later covered the track for the closer to his Sweet Exorcist LP! This BGP 7" sees Tom Moulton's extension of "Make Me Believe In You" combined with his remix of the other Patti Jo burner, "Ain't No Love Lost". Any self-respecting DJ needs the A-side though.
Kool & The Gang, Gene Redd - "Give It Up" (DJ Soopasoul edit) (4:04)
Aretha Franklin - "Rock Steady" (DJ Soopasoul edit) (3:30)
Review: Fast-fingered mash-up merchant and lauded scalpel fiend DJ Soopasoul can usually be relied upon to bring the goods. In fact, we've yet to hear an edition of his "Soopastole Edits" series that doesn't include the kind of sure-fire, party-starting fare guaranteed to get any DJ out of a dancefloor hole of their own making. Should you still doubt the validity of this statement, we suggest you check this timely reissue of the series' second volume, which has been going for serious bucks online. On side A you'll find a suitably punchy, funky and chunky revision of Kool & The Gang's Gene Redd produced 1970 jam "Give It Up" - the original source of one of hip-hops most familiar breakbeats - with a tight, club-ready revision of Aretha Franklin classic "Rock Steady" on the flip.
Review: Anticipation for the northern duo's fifth album Mount Pleasant continues to rise as the Jalapeno funksters drop another cheeky doublet ahead of the release. Two sides, two very distinct vibes: "I Feel Alive" tips a wee nod at their label mates Kraak & Smaak with its fluttering space disco elements and hip-strutting beats while "Mr Hyde" takes us up a notch with a sweaty northern soul twist. Bring on the album.
Review: Over the last decade, San Francisco sorts Monophonics have firmly established themselves as one of the soul scene's most dynamic bands - a fiery live outfit whose distinctive blend of heavy soul and psychedelic rock has made their numerous albums must-check affairs. "It's Only Us", their fifth album and first for five years, is another superb set, with the band's now trademark sound being expanded to include songs that make extensive use of sweeping strings, softer and groovier arrangements and lyrics that tackle a variety of weighty personal, political and social subjects.
Review: In 1977, Atlanta fusionists Starfoxx had a big hit in the US Billboard chart with "Disco Rock", a cut that -as the title suggests - added a rock and rhythm & blues edge to the then dominant disco sound. It was something of a novelty, but much of their earlier work is pretty darn hot. "Oh Linda", which first appeared in stores in 1973, could well be the hottest of the lot. Sitting somewhere between the rasping blues-rock of Cream and more extravagant American funk and soul, the track is full to bursting with crunchy Clavinet riffs, throaty vocals and mazy electric piano solos. This reissue from TRAMP contains just the one track (pressed to both sides for some reason), but don't let that put you off: it really is a must-have.
Ella Fitzgerald - "Get Ready" (Soul Flip edit) (3:53)
Tammi Terrell - "Two Can Have A Party" (Soul Flip edit) (3:44)
Review: The Soul Flip crew are back to rework and carefully tweak more classic cuts to get those dance floors in a spin. This time they turn their attention to the evergreen classic "Get Ready" from jazz great Ella Fitzgerald. The already student and empowering single is beefed up with drums that have extra kick, crisp hits and fills and string stabs that are as bright as the sun. Things get a little more soulful and sun kissed with Tammi Terrell - "Two Can Have A Party" and its hip swinging finger clicks and gorgeously soaring strings.
Review: For their latest missive, British neo-soul duo Hil Street Soul have enlisted the production talents of New Jersey-based rising star Regi Myrix. The resultant collaboration, "In My Groove", is absolutely delicious: a deliciously sweet - and occasionally sleazy - late night love letter that sits somewhere between contemporary R&B and classic, horn-heavy '80s soul/jazz-funk fusion, all topped off with an inspired lead vocal. Nigel Lewis provides the flipside remix, cannily playing on the classic elements featured in the A-side original mix whilst adding some simmering strings and turn-of-the '80s musical touches of his own.
Review: It's been almost 11 years since Featurecast dropped their heavyweight revision of Aretha Franklin's "One Step" on Wah Wah 45's "Dubplate" series. Here the sought-after side is finally given the reissue treatment. It remains one of their finest revisions: a loose, languid and head-nodding fusion of hip-hop beats, subtle dub skank, occasional Marvin Gaye samples and seduction sections from Aretha's sugary, string-drenched original. Over on side B you'll find another gem from Featurecast's vaults: a tidy hip-hop style revision of Marvin Gaye's "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" from 2016, which was made in collaboration with Washington D.C pal The Gaff.
Review: When copies of Raw Soul Express's The Way We Live crop up online, they regular fetch eye-watering sums of money. Originally released back in 1977 on T.K Records' soul/funk offshoot Cat, it remains the greatest single work by the short-lived Miami band. "The Way We Live" is a superb example of sun-kissed, feel good, conscious disco/soul/funk fusion, built around a killer, horn-toting groove and emotion-rich vocal. The jazzy, low-slung flipside "This Thing Called Music" is less in demand, but almost as good. As a result, this is a surprise reissue that all funk, soul and disco diggers should crave.
Review: Serious soul heads should be familiar with the work of the Masqueraders - they're one of the most storied bands in the history of the style - although we'd be surprised if they knew much about the two songs presented here. Both were recently rediscovered in the band's extensive archives and are here given a vinyl release for the very first time. A-side "Make You Think You Love Me" was recorded in 1972 and sees the group layer silky-smooth vocals over a gorgeously detailed backing track rich in warm bass, mazy Hammond organ lines and well-timed horn blasts. Over on the flip you'll find the group's superb cover of Jerry Butler/Curtis Mayfield song "When Trouble Calls", which was previously featured on an ultra-rare 1993 cassette, with predictably loose, languid and soulful results.
Review: Athens of the North boss Euan Fryer recently described Premonition as "the best obscure New York boogie act you've never heard of". He'll be releasing an entire album of their rare and unreleased material later in the year, but first he's treating us to a reissue of their best-known moment - impossible-to-find 1986 soulful boogie slammer "Don't Act Like A Fool". The track ticks all the right boxes -rubbery slap bass, mid-80s FM synth sounds, passionate male lead vocal, needless but delicious sax and electric guitar solos etc - and is little less than an overlooked dancefloor heater. On the flip you'll also find original B-side "In Love", which Fryer brilliantly (and accurately) describes as a "mid-tempo floater".
Review: "What About The Child" by Avelino Pitts' obscure band GOLD has long been a sought-after deep funk rarity, with copies of the 1977 seven-inch single being extremely hard to come by these days. Helpfully Athens of the North's Euan Fryer knows the score and has decided to offer-up a much-needed reissue. The track is a fine slab of psychedelic soul in the vein of leading San Francisco groups of the period - Vehicle, Tower of Power and so on - with plenty of rhythmic shuffle and fine group vocals. Fryer has unearthed a gem for the flip, too: a previously unreleased cut that's on a similar sonic tip to Rotary Connection. It's worth the entrance price on its own.
Review: First released back in 1978 on Parachute Records, Randy Brown's debut album "Welcome To My Room" is one of the better lesser-known Philadelphia soul style sets of the disco era. The team behind Expansions Records are certainly fans, because their latest "45" offers up two of the album's most potent tracks. A-side "I'm Always In The Mood" is simply superb, with Brown doing his best Teddy Pendergrass impression atop a heavily orchestrated, dancefloor-friendly backing track. Flipside "Love Is All We Need" is a little deeper but no less sumptuous, sounding a little like Vincent Montana producing "What's Going On" era Marvin Gaye. In a word: essential.
Review: It would be fair to say that the two tracks showcased here aren't among Lamont Dozier's best-known songs. For starters, they were originally tucked away on the legendary soul man's largely overlooked 1981 set, Working On You. A-side "I'm A Believer" is a breezy, string-drenched chunk of disco-boogie blessed with one of the singer-songwriter's best vocal performances. It's something of an overlooked dancefloor gem, all told. Flipside "Starting Over" builds steadily from a slow start, with Dozier's impassioned message of love reborn coming through loud and clear over sumptuous orchestration and super-sweet vocal harmonies.
Review: This more than handy 7" single brings together two classic disco-era cuts from soul legend Willie Hutch. A-side "Easy Does It", which was originally featured on 1978's In Tune album, features Hutch in full-on Curtis Mayfield mode, singing passionately over a jaunty, jazz-funk influenced backing track laden with swirling strings, choral backing vocals (think Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" album) and Dexter Wansel style synthesizer solos. It's undoubtedly one of Hutch's finest moments and deserves to be in any serious soul head's collection. Flip for 1979's "Kelly Green", a sumptuous soul slow jam in which Hutch pines over a lost lover.
Review: Expansion's latest must-check seven-inch mines Roy Ayers' 1983 album "Lots Of Love", a sparkling post-disco set that combined the vibraphonist's usual jazz-funk flavours with colourful synthesizers and genuine boogie flavours. "Everybody" on the A-side is particularly potent; a lolloping synth-boogie head-nodder rich in life-affirming synthesizer squelches, rubbery jazz-funk bass, fluid Ayers vibraphone solos and background vocals that sneakily reference "Everybody Loves The Sunshine". Flipside "And Then We Were One" is if anything even more summery in feel, with mazy synth and vibraphone motifs dancing atop a killer jazz-funk groove. It's a little more up-tempo than the A-side, but arguably a little less addictive.
Review: When Leo and his Sunshipp crew asked for the sunshine way back in 1980 they meant it. And with a tune as beautiful as this, they deserved it too. Released in 1980 in various forms (and also on the funk trio's only album in 1978) the most sought after was the 45" that came with the gutsier, more upbeat traditional soul cut "I'm Back For More". But let's face it, this is all about the lead track. A cult Balearic soul funk jam and one of the coolest summer cuts ever pressed to wax, reissues have been on request for over 30 years... Like the summer itself, this won't hang around.