Review: The Best Records reissue campaign continues unabated as the Italian label turns to Bariocentro. While the band may have had most of their time in the spotlight in the late 70s, they bowed out with a veritable bomb in the shape of Tittle Tattle, a tightly-wound, punchy slice of uptempo 80s boogie like they just can't make any more. Feel the reverb on the handclaps, the slick guitar chops and Moog-tastic bassline and just try not getting down. This plush reissue comes packed with the radio edit, the full length version, the instrumental and everyone's favourite slice of 80s B side action, the dub mix.
Review: Here's another highly desirable slice of formative party fuel from the dusty highways and byways of dance music culture, brought to you by the diligent miners at Best Records. The Gong's Gang was a one-off alias for the equally one-off Nicolosi Family, a collective of real-life brothers and sisters who knew a thing or two about classic early 80s Italo boogie. "Gimme Your Love" is a stellar jam, with Rosanna Nicolosi out front on vocals and the cascading synths and bass stewing in an intoxicating blend that should have any funk detective frothing with approval. Whether you want the full vocal hit or the subtly dubbed out instrumental, this is a jam thoroughly deserving of a second run in the sun.
Review: Steve Kahn & Co. are yet another of those curios of the early 80s that Best Italy have dug out, dusted down, spruced up and repressed for your eclectic party pleasure. "Got To Have Your Loving" is a pure feel good jam at every turn - it's got a very natural, live band sound mixed by the legendary Tee Scott that especially makes the aqueous bass playing shine through. Whether you plump for the vocal or the instrumental, this is the kind of record that could set a wedding party on fire as much as a serious heads-down disco funk session. You'll no doubt get a lot of mileage out of this one, and have a great time in the process.
Review: Best Records fire up a surefire classic from the annals of Italian dance music, crafted courtesy of Italo-disco heavyweight Klein & MBO. "The MBO Theme" was originally a hit in the nascent Chicago house scene, spun by the likes of Ron Hardy thanks to its punchy synth bass and hooky Euro-vocals. This sought-after dancefloor gem has been given a faithful remastering touch, as is the Best Records way, and they've also dug out a previously unheard edit of the track named as the "Italian Version," which stretches out the club qualities of the jam for maximum party impact.
Review: From the team responsible for Kano and the evergreen Italo hit "I'm Ready," Matakena was a one-off release back in 1983 that has since gone on to attain true cult status (i.e. monstrous second hand prices). Thankfully, the trusted bastion of reissued Italian grooves Best Records is on hand to bring the music back to the people, digging the irrepressible funk of "Nuts On Me" and "Aphrodisiac" out of the vaults and pressing it up for a new generation to get down to. This is sleazy boogie par excellence, full of liquid synth bass, steamy vocals and grooves to die for.
Review: Best Records get busy with this absolutely classic slice of early Italian disco from 1981, put together in the one-off-studio-project stylee by Al Festa, Claudio Giusti and Francesco Puccioni. The full vocal mix on the A side nearly hits the nine minute mark, and it's all gold from the chirpy horn section to the scintillating vocal turn by Sharon Russell. The influence from the Nile Rodgers school of funk is plain to hear, not least on the instrumental take on the B side, but also watch out for the gorgeous soliloquy of the "Manhattan's Piano Reprise" which is snuck on as an added extra from the archives.
Review: Taken from his debut album, released in 1976, Italian composer legend Presti's rawest funk roots are explored and celebrated to great effect right here. "Funky Bump" lives up to its name beautifully with very neat organ stabs and a relentless groove that's not dissimilar to Grace Jones' "Pull Up To The Bumper". Looking for a much dreamier, dewy eyed jam? Flip for the lavish whirls and swirls of "C. So Buenos Aires"... It couldn't be more 1976 (or Italian) if it tried.
Review: Best Records get right to the heart of true Italo disco with this body-poppin' killer from 1983. REM were made up of Paolo Alfani and Nicola Serena, both based in Florence and well ahead of the curve with their experimental electronic disco sound. Making fantastic use of the Mattel Speak & Spell for their vocal hooks, this enterprising duo cooked up a veritable club bomb with their fusion of sleek drum machine rhythms, throbbing acid basslines and romantic synth tones that would come to be widely used in Detroit techno some years later. There's a full original take of the track on the A side, while the flip features a tweaked "remix" version to give you even more of that robo-vocoder action.
Review: Alan Shelly was an intermittent feature in the late 60s and early 70s soul and funk scene, but his one-off 7" Party Freaks / Dance Together released in Italy in 1975 remains a treasured gem for those who crave the most potent secret weapons for their record crates. Of course, Best Italy are no slouches when it comes to such records and they have dutifully snapped up the original masters of these sought after jams and given the full, uncut mixes a proper, beautifully remastered airing on 12". "Party Freaks" has a raucous, West African flavour to it that can't fail to set the crowd alight, while "Dance Together" takes things in a looser, jammed out direction - both tracks are pure fire, and it's a damn good thing Best have dusted them down.
Review: A near-mythical release from the Italian composer/bassist/karate don Pino Presti, Shitan was a one-off project in 1977. Slow, pensive, full of tension and loaded with detailed cinematic elements, it still sounds forward-thinking today. No surprises that the original 12"s regularly go for hundreds. Madly the long version never made it to the original 12" so this is the first time the full five minute version has been available. As if a repress wasn't enough reason to jump on this!
Review: ***B-STOCK: Box damaged, product unused & in perfect condition***
- Creasing to corner of sleeve
REPRESS ALERT! Best Record Italy take the time machine all the way back to 1979 to revisit the wonderful Italo-Disco delights of Adolf Stern, whose "More... I Like It" represents the strangest end of the genre as it was taking shape. With heavily processed vocals injecting some serious strangeness into the chirpy disco backdrop, it's the kind of track to turn heads without a doubt. "Twenty Seven" on the B-side is equally magical in its capturing of the era, with the more obvious surface elements underpinned by a truly intoxicating line in synth arpeggios. Once again Best comes up trumps refreshing the history of Italian music of all shapes and sizes.
Review: Having reissued Body, Body Love last year, Best Records come back for more of Billy Woost's late 70s grooves, all lifted from his sole self-titled album and presented here in their true 'Disco Version' format. This time around it's "Vibrations" that takes centre stage, and it sounds resplendent in its widescreen vision of disco funk production at its highest possible standard. On the flip "Baobab" sounds even more potent with its killer bassline groove, dream-pop vocal trills and all round feel-good mood. Now if Best can just do the same job with the rest of the album we'll be laughing.
Keep Her Happy (unreleased extended version) (4:07)
Keep Her Happy (vocal) (2:43)
Keep Her Happy (instrumental) (2:41)
Review: While clearly talented on the mic, Phillip Wright was much more successful as a producer and songwriter (chiefly for his sister Betty Wright) than he was a solo artist. His sole single from 1976 first enjoyed fresh exposure 10 years ago on Kenny Dope's edit label Kay-Dee but has now returned complete with an instrumental version and a never-before-released extended version. Whichever one you drop, reactions are guaranteed: straight up horn led funk with just a sprinkling of post production disco magic, fans of Cymande or Average White Band will be all over this.
Review: Claudio Casalini's Best Record label does a fine job of reissuing funk, disco and other curios from the mists of time, and so it goes with this wonderful slice of loose and live soul jazz. Grupo Almendra hailed from Venezuela, and they released their sole album Almendra in 1978 in a whirlwind of Latin American musicality and it had been consigned to relative obscurity. Whichever digger was lucky enough to discover this gem must have been very pleased indeed, for the quality of the music and the production is nothing short of remarkable, while the remastering has respectfully revived the sweet, soulful sound of Grupo Almendra.