Review: This is a Juno Exclusive from French producer Djar One that lifts off and cruises all the way to Puerto Rico. "Oye Como Va" is the breakbeat fuelled a-side with huge funk drive, oodles of instrumental flair and lively percussive sounds that bring that vital world flavour. "Dance Dance" on the reverse is a quicker jam with Latin flair to spare. It trills with summery time joy and drives on kicking drums. The fun loving vocals are the irresistible finishing touch. Both of these cuts will blow up and club, wherever you are in the world.
Review: Juno exclusive white vinyl repress.....Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You" definitely belongs in the canon of all time modern soul classics. Taken from her 2001 second album Mahogany Soul, the Swizz Beats produced track made optimum usage of an O' Jays sample and was instrumental in that LP going gold and propelling the former D'Angelo collaborator to stardom. It also inspired countless official and under the counter remixes with Blaze's perhaps the most recognisable. Here pressed up on a limited white vinyl reissue of just 150 units on 7" from Outta Sight is worthy if you don't have the original in your collection and features a housed up remix from Hex Hector on the flip.
Rafael Cameron - "Let's Get It Off" (Dr Packer rework) (6:13)
Ripple - "The Beat Goes On & On" (Dr Packer rework) (7:30)
The Salsoul Orchestra - "You're Just The Right Size" (Dr Packer rework) (6:07)
Review: UK born, Australia based DJ and producer Dr Packer is back with more of his on point edits. He tackles some serious disco heavyweights here on Salsoul and first off, disco diva Loleatta Holloway and her mega-hit "Runaway" gets a fresh 2020 update with some soul uplifting studio skills. A heavy funk remix of Rafael Cameron's "Let's Get It Off" is next, with the original still taking centre stage, then the shimmering and glistening disco gold of Ripple's "The Beat Goes On" follows before in-house collective The Salsoul Orchestra also get treated to some elegant orchestral work and a sultry vocal hook.
Review: Long time disco diva Gwen McCrae is an eternally in demand artist whose music reconnects with each new generation. "All This Love That I'm Givin'" is one of her biggest hits and for good reason. Now it gets a special 7" release on stunning yellow vinyl. The soaring vocals do most of the work but the tentative stabs help bring the funk. It's a totally different vibe on the flip with "Maybe I'll Find Somebody New", a much slower and more sensuous tune with luxurious strings and wind instruments complimenting her smooth and seductive vocal work.
The Chosen Few - "Candy I'm So Doggone Mixed Up" (3:25)
Review: The Beats & Breaks 7" series was founded to satisfy the desires of DJs, mainly by serving up re-edits that put some of the world's most recognizable drum breaks front and centre. This edition kicks off with a rearrangement of the Winstons' "Amen Brother", whose drum break not only became a staple of U.S hip-hop in the 1980s, but also the foundation of jungle and later drum and bass. This edit wisely gives plenty of air time to the infamous drum break, dropping into it at frequent intervals in between bouts of punchy, horn-heavy funk. Flip to the B-side for a tastefully chopped and rearranged version of The Chosen Few's super-sweet 1976 soul cut "Candy I'm So Doggone Mixed Up". This is the limited clear vinyl version and limited to just 200 copies !
I Know You Care (Arranged & Produced By Roy Ayers) (5:18)
It's Your Love (Arranged & Produced By Roy Ayers) (4:01)
Review: In soul connoisseur circles, Ethel Beatty will forever be remembered for her sole single on Roy Ayers' Uno Melodic label, which first slipped out in 1981. This Expansion Records reissue - pressed on white vinyl in a Juno exclusive - proves why it is still so well thought of. A-side "I Know You Care" is super-sweet, with Roy Ayers' immaculate production wisely focusing on Beatty's lovelorn vocal, and a disco era deep soul groove that's effortlessly warm and tactile. Also impressive is flipside "It's Your Love", Beatty's sugary but emotive rendition of a Dee Dee Bridgwater and Ayers composition that features some skittish, jazz-dance friendly drums and all-round soothing and seductive vibe.
Review: Soul Brother Records is doing the world a great service by reissuing Sisters of Love's 1973 proto-disco anthem "Give Me Your Love", which is here presented in a Juno exckusive white vinyl edition. The song has been re-edited, bootlegged and reworked countless times over the years, and newcomers should be able to tell why straight away: the combination of brilliant group vocals, Blaxploitation style gyutars, fluttering flutes and powerful horns is simply superb. This time round it's accompanied by a lesser-known gem, "Try It, You'll Like It", which first featured on the B-side of a 1973 single. It's a powerful chunk of conscious funk/soul fusion of the sort that was incredibly popular during the period it was recorded.
Sweet Daddy Floyd - "I Just Can't Help Myself" (4:17)
Review: The popular Breaks & Beats series of light-touch, DJ-friendly re-edits of soul and funk classics has decided to reissue some of its most sought-after seven-inch singles on clear vinyl pressings. Fittingly, the first to get the reissue treatment is the label's first ever release from 2017. On the A-side you'll find a tasty extension of Melvin Bliss's warm, heartfelt, piano-heavy 1983 cut "Synthetic Substitution". While Bliss's brilliant original is largely kept in-tact, the mystery re-editor naturally makes more of the opening breakbeat. Flip for a similarly tasty rearrangement of Sweet Daddy Floyd's 1978 Blaxploitation style disco-funk shuffler "I Just Can't Help Myself", a cut rich in rolling breaks, densely layered percussion, punchy orchestration and "Shaft"-style guitar licks.
Review: Since 2016, Aloha Got Soul has been on a mission to showcase overlooked and slept-on music from Hawaii. Later this year, the label will reissue Steve Maii and Teresa Bright's brilliant 1983 album "Catching a Wave", whose brilliant title track kicks off this must-check seven-inch. The track itself is impeccable, offering a humid Hawaiian take on the folk-soul sound made famous by Terry Callier. It's the kind of track that's best enjoyed while watching the sun set or rise, ideally over the Pacific Ocean. Over on the flip you'll find bluesy album cut "TAhuala", a hybrid jazz/folk/rock and roll hoedown with serious dancefloor potential.
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.
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.
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.
Review: You'll struggle to find a more loved-up and life-affirming chunk of proto-disco brilliance than The Sisters Love's 1973 "Give Me Your Love". The record's lasting impact can be seen in the number of times that it's been reworked, re-edited or bootlegged over the years. Here it gets an official 7" reissue via Soul Brother Records. It sounds as good as ever, with the all-female group's now familiar vocals rising above Blaxploitation style guitars, fluttering flutes and powerful horns. It's a celebratory release, and then some. This time round it's accompanied by a lesser-known gem, "Try It, You'll Like It", which first featured on the B-side of a 1973 single. This is a powerful chunk of conscious funk/soul fusion of the sort that was incredibly popular during the period it was recorded.
Review: You may have noticed a fair few limited-edition white vinyl releases popping up on Juno in recent times. Here's another, this time from Expansion Records. What's on offer is certainly tempting: two much-sampled gems from 1980s electrofunk and jazz-funk maestro Don Blackman. On the A-side you'll find "Heart's Desire", a jaunty slab of jazz-funk-soul rich in multi-tracked scat style vocalizations, rubbery slap-bass, deep chords and jazzy solos. It's a stone-cold classic all told and really deserves to be in every soul head's collection. Turn to the flip for "Holding You, Loving You", a sumptuous slow jam that's as languid, loved-up and subtly summery as they come.
Review: The red hot 45 series from Dynamite Cuts continues apace with more gold carefully dug out from the rich archives of George Semper. This is the first time ver these tunes have been on 7", and the pressing is limited to 600. "Got To Find A Way To Make Some Money" is a sentiment we can all relate to right now. The tune will certainly lift your spirits though with its rousing vocal harmonies, cheery trumpets and vibe spreading soul sounds. "The Weight" (instrumental) is more intense, somehow, with bristling rhythm sections and lo-fi organs all serving up the heat.
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: David Ruffin's 1977 classic "I Can't Stop The Rain" has carried on being essential throughout the ages. An original copy is still worth much more than it was initially sold for and the Mississippi artist's voice carries as much soul now as it did right back in the Motown heyday. His biggest single takes up the a-side of this new 7" from Expansion and its swooning strings, buttery vocals and rousing and strident groove cannot fail to uplift. "Questions:" on the flip is a little more subdued, with more thoughtful vocals but the whole thing still benefits from superbly rich Philly disco stylings that are golden and glorious.
Review: More must-have reissue action here, as Soul Brother Records offers-up an ultra-limited, Juno exclusive white vinyl "45" featuring two revered gems from Washington D.C funk heavyweights The Soul Searchers. On the A-side you'll find "Blow Your Whistle", a deliciously weighty, energetic and infectious funk stomper laden with wah-wah guitars, punchy horns, bustling grooves and, as you'd expect from the title, whistles. Over on the B-side you'll find "Ashley's Roachclip", a more laidback chunk of breezy instrumental soul goodness from 1974 whose headline-grabbing attraction is a seriously good - and extensive - flute solo.
Review: The latest missive from the must-check Rain & Shine label should appeal to serious soul collectors. It offers a new edition of a private press "45" by Illinois outfit Joel Ramirez Jr and Fantasy that's recently been changing hands for vast sums online. A-side "I'll Call You Every Morning" is a super-sweet modern soul number that combines a blue-eyed soul style lead vocal with a bright-and-breezy backing track rich in groovy bass, spacey synths, clipped guitars and seriously positive piano motifs. It's really rather good all told, and the kind of earworm that you'll be singing in the shower all week. Over on the flip you'll find the rhythm & blues/rock flex of "I Can't Let Her Go", which will probably appeal to AOR disco lovers.
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: One of disco's biggest divas gets served up on a red hot platter here by Vinylators. "Extended Woman" is eight plus minutes of bubbling, piano laced and string happy disco with the iconic "I'm every woman" vocal taking centre stage over nice clipped drums. It's a tasteful edit that brings all the key parts to the fore. "Piano Woman" is more stripped back, with plenty of emphasis on some busy piano playing and the soaring original vocal left in place up top. "Dub Woman" is more paired back and built on the leggy drums, while plenty of golden strings add real colour.
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: 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.
I Can't Get Along Without You (instrumental) (6:36)
Review: Kalita has already served up some seriously good reissues, but their latest may well be the most essential yet. It's the first licensed reissue of Vance and Suzzanne's sole single from 1980, "I Can't Get Along Without You" - a Larry Levan favourite that was only ever pressed in small quantities first time around. In it's A-side vocal form, the track is a deliciously warm and loved-up duet that mixes rich, mid-tempo New York disco grooves with some of the heady, glassy-eyed musicality of Philadelphia soul. It's genuinely magical - a super-sweet cut that sounds like end-of-night gold. Like the original 1980 private pressing on Vanton Records, the Kalita edition is backed by the similarly sweet, atmospheric Instrumental Mix, but this time we're also treated to a never-before-seen press photo, and extensive interview-based liner notes.
Review: Since making her debut on Running Circle in 2017, soul-stress Yazmin Lacey has released a handful of high-quality records, most notably a suitably summery 12" on First Word Records. Here she delivers her first new solo material in two years, inviting us to celebrate morning-time in her own unique way. There's much to soothe and seduce the senses throughout, from the languid and hazy neo-soul opener "Own Your Own" and the simply superb "Morning Matters", where lilting trumpet lines and jazzy electric piano keys spar with Lacey's lead vocal, to the gently reggae-influenced summer soul of "Morning Sunrise". Recommended.
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.
Just Be Yourself (KON aka King Of Nothing remix) (7:47)
Just Be Yourself (extended mix) (6:34)
Review: Another royal re-edit by the one and only KON, here we find him going to town on 1974 soul classic from Pat Tandy's The Pretenders. Flipping the arrangement so each section gets a chance to shine (notably the raffish walking bassline and sweeping strings) the lead remix pays full respect to the original while giving it a completely fresh new life. Complete with the extended original for the more purest fans, KON's delivered gold once again.
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: This is a musical celebration of life, good times and the blessings of planet earth from the Afriquoi collective. It is the first time the band have ever gone into the studio to record a full live-band sound, playing together at Octagon Studios. The material they played is finely honed and tuned music that has been perfected on the live stage over the years. There is kora, Congolese guitar, uplifting vocal work, crisp percussion and gorgeous chords all making this a truly African experience that brims with invention and vitality. For sunny times, there are few better albums.
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: Throughout the 1970s, North Carolina outfit Brief Encounter released a string of fine, but largely overlooked, funk and soul 45s. Their most significant and celebrated release, though, is 1981 album "We Want To Play", a warm and groovy collection of boogie-fired soul songs that regularly changes hands for significant sums online. As this Athens Of The North reissue proves, the LP has lost none of its luster over the years. Highlights include the inspired string-drenched ballad "Now I Know I Love You", the groovy dancefloor heat of "Rocking" and the soaring gospel-disco brilliance of "Always".
Review: While most of the obscure old records being reissued by Floating Points' Melodies label fetch eye-wateringly high prices on the second-hand market, there's no doubt that they're all astonishingly good. This latest gem - a little-known 1974 7" from folk-soul songwriter Bobby Wright (now Abu Talib) - is another fantastic example. "Blood of an American", a sweet sounding but politically heavyweight song inspired by the singer-songwriter's opposition to the Vietnam War, is every bit as inspired as the works of that better-known folk-soul legend, Terry Callier. In fact, B-side "Everyone Should Have His Day" sounds like a long-lost Callier recording. As ever, the record is beautifully packaged and comes bundled with a 16-page "mini-zine" packed with interviews and articles about the record.