Review: Many disco-era modern soul collectors regard, Larom Baker's "You're The Best", which initially appeared in 1978 on an impossible to find, single-sided 7" single, as one of the style's genuine "Holy Grail" records. It's good news, then, that Athens Of The North has secured the rights to reissue it, releasing the full studio version (rather than the shorter edit that was released all those years ago) for the very first time. It's a genuine gem, with Baker's deliciously breezy West Coast soul vocal seemingly floating over a killer backing track rich in hazy horns, bustling slap bass and crunchy Clavinet lines. Turn to the flipside for the more disco-minded "Train Of Thought", one of a string of recently discovered Baker recordings that form the basis of a forthcoming album of previously unreleased tracks.
Review: Turbotrax was an intermittent curio that belched out of the Bristol underground in a fit of tongue in cheek edits and samples back in the '00s. Someone's clearly rebooted the mainframe and brought this elusive collective out of hiding for another bout of cheeky lifts from more esoteric corners of culture. Library Vultures says it all - this is the work of dedicated diggers pulling forgotten bits n' pieces out of retirement, such as, on the A side here, the storming theme to a Commodore advert, and giving it a buff up more extended retro-pleasure. "Whatever Happened To The Hippies?" on the flip is a more light-hearted affair with a jaunty lilt and a message of positivity for all.
Review: Given that one of the founders of Al & The Kidd Records, Carl Kidd, was the musical driving force behind turn-of-the-'80s Washington D.C combo Light Years, it's perhaps unsurprising that the re-born disco-era imprint has a wealth of previously unheard material from the band to share. The label's latest "45" showcases two of these cuts. On the A-side you'll find the Clavinet-heavy D.C disco-funk of "It's Up To You (How Far You Go)", a decidedly cosmic wig-out with urgent vocals and instrument solos aplenty. Flip for the spacey synths, rising horn lines and Mass Production style disco-funk hustle of "Do It To The Max".
Review: Super rare Arthur Russell business on 45, this seminal Loft anthem enjoys a long-awaited reissue with both versions on show: the female vocal version (remixed by Larry Levan) still writhes and pops with disco charm while the male vocal version takes more of a block party vibe with golden layered harmonies and the percussion positioned right at the front of the mix. An absolutely timeless document; pressed on the right sized wax it was meant to be. Face the music.
Review: E Da Boss (Myron & E/Pendletons) & Ishtar team up as 'Lucid Paradise' for their second release, produced by non other than Russia's finest, 'The Soul Surfers'. 'Tonight' is the accumulation of two Bay Area soul aficianados coming together to create a smooth & crisp, timeless yet modern cut. Written alongside UK's pioneering soul singer Gizelle Smith, 'Tonight' epitomises the talent of contemporary soul acts worldwide.
Review: **REPRESS ALERT** Barbara Lynn (b. 1942) is an American rhythm and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for her 1962 R&B chart-topping hit, "You'll Lose a Good Thing". Her highly sought after 1976 song "Movin' On A Groove" gets a much needed repress here from London's Soul Brother, with the funky "Disco Music" featured on the flip. The title track is a soul anthem for those who know, and it's been sold for extortionate prices on the second-hand market but thanks to Soul Brother you can finally get a copy for a reasonable price! A very strong 45 release for DJs and collectors alike.
Ronaldo Reseda - "E Novamente Mas Que Nada" (5:19)
Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti - "Ginga" (2:57)
Review: The 65th volume in Mr Bongo's admirable Brazil 45s series shines a light on Rio De Janeiro's turn-of-the-'80s boogie scene. On the A-side you'll find "E Novamente Mas Que Nada" by Ronaldo Resado, a five-minute chunk of samba-laced boogie sunshine that was originally featured on the artist's eponymous 1979 debut album. While wonderful, it's slightly overshadowed by flipside cut "Ginga", one of the highlights from Robson Jorge and Lincoln Olivetti's sought-after 1982 full-length (which, incidentally, was recently reissued by Mr Bongo and is well worth checking). Joining the dots between synth-heavy electrofunk, horn-toting disco-funk and languid jazz-funk, the instrumental track is arguably one of the best Brazilian boogie records ever made. Don't sleep.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Review: Sporty Cat Dwight Sykes lets loose with a brand new original and super spacy track from last year's album Songs Volume One for the ever excellent Peoples Potential Unlimited!! "If You Want My Love" is straight out of the '80s playbook thanks to its gossamer synths and on-point female rap (that's delivered by his daughter Valerie Sykes). Flip for the filmic synth boogie introspection of "You That I Need". Another must grip 7" from the PPU crew.
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie mix - radio edit) (3:33)
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie instrumental mix - radio edit) (3:31)
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: an all-star re-recording of Universal Robot Band's boogie classic "Barely Breaking Even" that brings together Masters At Work man Louie Vega, original vocalist and arranger Leroy Burgess, iconic disco producer Patrick Adams and an impressive backing band of hired musicians including Michael Kelley (better known in electronic music circles as Metro Area collaborator Kelley Polar). While there are plenty of audible nods towards the early '80s original - extensive use of cowbells, that oh-so familiar synth sound - the re-recording is altogether warmer, fuller and a more contemporary sounding affair rich in sweeping orchestration and tactile synth bass. Both the edited vocal and instrumental versions are superb.