Review: More recently spotted with The Georgia Soul Drifters or The Coasters, Early Clover's recording history can be traced back almost 40 years with this previously super-rare 45. With his soft-but-arresting tones, his yearning vocal style is comparable to Stevie Wonder, especially on the slow and dreamy Innervisions-esque "Who Are You?" Meanwhile on the B, "I Wanna Take A Chance With You" switches dreams for funk reality with a Kool & The Gang style feel-good throw down. Silky.
Kenny Smith - "Lord What's Happened To Your People" (2:51)
Kenny Smith & The Loveliters - "Go For Your Self" (full) (4:49)
Review: Soul Street maestro's breakthrough release from 1971 gets a much needed spotlight from Counterpart... "Lord What's Happening To Your People" is gospel re-imagined as raw funk as Kenny calls out humanity's problems with the help of a full backing chorus and some very slick, dramatic orchestration. "Go For Yourself" takes us further back into Kenny's career to 1966. Leaner than the A-side but comes with the same elements -tight bandmanship, emphatic backing vocals, instant feel-good dynamics - and is also loaded with some exceptionally clean drum breaks. Go fun yourselves.
Review: Back in the autumn, Wack Wack Rhythm Band launched the WWRB label, in the process dropping their first single in six years. This speedy follow-up is similarly impressive. For us, it's all-about A-side "Madras Express", a speeding, funk-fuelled journey through meandering saxophone solos, punchy horn breaks, fast-fingered electric bass, spacey Moog motifs and all manner of layered additional percussion. That said, there's also much to admire about Hammond funk workout "Stay Pressed", where jammed out solos and lead lines come accompanied by sharp guitar riffs, Mod-era lead guitar solos and the kind of stomping beat that would excite even the most miserable of Northern Soul enthusiasts. It also contains an absolutely killer drum solo, which is something we at least can't get enough of.
Karate Boogaloo - "Do You Even Know What A Passport Is" (4:35)
Review: The second salvo from Aussie imprint College Of Knowledge offers up two sizzling sides of revivalist instrumental soul and funk from bands who've yet to make their mark outside of the Southern hemisphere. Surprise Chef, who helped launched the label earlier in year, handle side A, offering up a loose, percussive and hugely attractive number rich in mazy organ lines, fuzzy bass and classic funk guitar licks. Karate Boogaloo take a slightly more relaxed approach on the flip, layering fluid guitar solos and sustained, elongated Hammond organ chords over a bluesy soul groove.
Review: Southern California based Mo Funk has launched the new Cavi Sounds imprint. Originally released earlier in 2018, Christian St. James Cleveland aka Polyester The Saint's "Wazzup" was one of the standouts from his album last album entitled American Muscle 5.0. He is also known for his work in the projects HellagooD, and L.A.U.S.D. It was produced by label boss XL Middleton, who is bringing it to wax for the first time. Proper modern g-funk sounds in the true Los Angeles tradition, with a special Modern Funk Dub Version on the flip that is not available anywhere else.
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: Mario Miranda aka Asterix Music hails from Carson, California and this is his debut, a banging little 7" by the name of Stud. Oh yes, super fitting, indeed! Out through Firehouse Sound Labs, the EP opens with the funky-ass boogie bass of "She'll Take U Down", a killer dance floor burner for the party vibes. On the B-side, "First Date" drops some heavy electro swings over sweet, seductive r&b vocals.
Review: London's The Getup release their seventh release, this time for Saskatoon's' Funky Pops Records. Hammond player Mark Ashfield first met up with established funk musicians Mark Claydon (drums) and Ian Stevens (bass) and that's when the band was born. The past few years have seen them establish themselves in the national funk scene, playing many of the top venues like The Jazz Cafe and The Yardbird in Birmingham. Now they add Lee Blackmore on guitar and horns by Tristan Gaudion and Alex Harris. The Getup's sound remains firmly in the British camp - indeed they seem to have developed their own unique style and have been compared by many to an early James Taylor Quartet.
Review: Funk fans hold tight: Food City have licensed a reissue of a holy grain tune from 1969 that would usually cost you a month's rent to purchase. The People's Choice were a short-lived group from Grand Rapids, Michigan who only put out a handful of tunes but still managed to leave their mark. "Destruction" is a raw jam with a consistent funky groove as a baseline weaves its way in and out. Big and expressive, it's bound to get any dancefloor going. Flip side "Off-spring" that's led by some florrid flute playing is just as effective.
Review: Those who watch the X-Factor may remember Voices With Soul; the trio, which is made up of three female members of the Campbell family (Grace, Hilda and Corene) reached the last six of the TV talent competition back in the late noughties. Here, they're in full-on contemporary gospel mode, layering their impassioned, righteous vocals over a lushly produced, slow-burning backing track full of chiming synthesizer melodies, bustling synth bass and tumbling electronic sax solos. Arguably even better is the flipside "Promo Mix", which doffs a cap to classic British street soul - a homegrown 1980s variant that is constantly overlooked by dance music scholars - via tactile hip-hop beats and Soul II Soul style production.