Review: Even though it appeared on his fine 1971 album "Headless Heroes Of The Apocalypse" - a suitably dystopian set in which our hero rails against the ills of godless society - "Jagger The Dagger" is not one of Eugene McDaniels better known tracks. Yet as this Japanese seven-inch reissue proves, it remains a superb chunk of bizarre-but-brilliant jazz/rock/soul fusion full of delay-laden country style guitar solos, weirdo backing vocals, sumptuously laidback grooves and vocals that take aim at Mick Jagger and his "devil's dance". Flipside "Cherrystones" is a Vietnam War-era civil rights cry built around good old-fashioned fuzz-toned grooves, Chuck Berry style rock 'n' roll guitar solos and a pretty crazy lead vocal.
The Big Throwdown (Muro vocal edit version) (4:36)
The Big Throwdown (Muro instrumental edit version) (4:32)
Review: Japanese digger doyen Muro returns to one of the most important OG rap records of all time; South Bronx's ultra-funky, politically-sharpened block party jam "The Big Throwdown". The edit titles say it all; Muro's vocal edit really flexes Mike Serrette's vocals right down to the iconic gutsy 'huh!' chant and the big backing vocal rhythm while his instrumental version lets that groove run loose as the plucked bass walks cut through with charm and the keys spiral out of control in the best way possible. An stone cold classic.
Review: Late, great Japanese funk don Takehiro Honda's vaults get the treatment from HMV as two of his many famously fizzy jams enjoy a new lease of life. 1971's "Ain't It Funky Now" should be familiar by all as it subverts the good work of the greatest band leader of all time with mild jazz and funk fusion. "Greasy Spoon" on the B can be found a few years deeper into Takehiro's discography as part of his 1973 album "What's Going On". Another supreme, lucid fusion cut; not only does it still kick up a fuss on the dancefloor, it also salutes the best cooked breakfasts on the planet. Not to be slept on.
Review: Rare Betty Wright sup[er soulness reissued with artwork for the Japan market on a tasty little 45. not many stores got this outside of the land of the rising sun ....Don't sleep on this beauty !
Review: Ultra Vybe remain deep in their Brunswick excavations with these two sublime cuts from the label's super troupe of session players Directions and their one and only album. Released 1976, OG copies fetch almost L200 and just these two tracks alone hint at why. Shimmering with a strong Faze-O feel with an evocative contrast of falsetto and deep baritone and twinkling instrumentation, both tracks swoon with everything that was so smooth and emotional about the label who gave the world Jackie Wilson, The Chi-Lites and Gene Chandler. Show some love.
Review: Classic funky soul in the true sense of the word and now presented with a Japan only exclusive edit from hip hop don J Rocc intended for the japan only market ! Nice pic sleeve too. What yo waitin for ? !!
Review: Penny deliver's a flute led Jazz version of Marvin's soul classic flipped by a funky organ backed version of Gil Scott Heron's Lady Day & John Coltrane with both tracks lifted from the Portrait Of A Gemini LP.
Review: Japanese imprint Ultra Vybe is midway through a seven-inch series focusing on some of the many gems tucked away on albums released by legendary U.S "funky jazz" label Groove Merchant in their early 1970s. Their latest picks are taken from pianist Larry Willis's 1973 set "Inner Crisis". You'll find the album's title track - a warm, mesmerizing and surprisingly melancholic fusion of restless organ lines, jammed-out electric piano solos, classic jazz horns and fussy grooves - on side B, with "Out On The Coast" on the A. This jaunty jazz-funk affair is far more hard-hitting, thanks in no small part to some rousing sax lines, blistering funk drums, razor-sharp jazz guitars and a seriously heavy bassline.
Review: Raw, unfettered funk from one of LA's hardest working live outfits, Ray Frazier and Shades Of Madness recorded a criminal amount of 45s... One of which - "My Baby's Hand" - regularly fetches the handsome sum of L1000 between collectors. Instantly triggering the biggest northern soul sensations (stomping beats, relentless super-tight grooves, show-stopping splashes of bold soul), this will resonate with, and unite all, funk and soul aficionados across the globe. Highlights include the strident string-led blues riff on the aforementioned "My Baby's Hand", the chop-slapping JB-echoing tightness of "I Who Have Nothing" and the lazier, luxurious swing of "Gonna Get Your Love". Presented as a trio of sweet 45s, Jazzman have curated an exceptional document right here.
Review: Soul4Real has gotten 'soulful for real' with this third outing, coming through in the form of 2 previously unreleased gems from US band The Anglos. This is some pretty niche gear, what with the band having only put out a handful of 7s back in the 60, so it feels like a special occasion to have some new material from them on our shelves. These tunes were apparently destined to land on the Botanic imprint back in the day, and are famously produced and engineered by the great Jerry "Swamp Dogg" Williams, which is why they have a certain roughness that is rarely heard on other soul records. "Broke Down Piece Of Man" is a fast, beat-heavy number with a psychedelic edge that reflects the state of mind back then, while "Four Walls Of Gloom" takes the gospel tradition as its main ingredient, offering a wonderfully uplifting midtempo rocker for the heart and soul.
Review: Those who remember the first wave of funk breaks mash-ups and floor-filling hip-hop cut-ups in the late 1990s should be aware of J-Large; the mysterious DJ/producer has been remixing and reworking tracks (most notably by the Herbaliser) on and off ever since. His latest 7" escapade is suitably sizable, with A-side "Get Your Own" fusing Christina Aguilera's best-known vocal with loops and grooves lifted from a certain horn-toting jazz disco-funk classic. On the flip you'll find "J Zimbra", a bustling and floor-friendly tool-up of heavyweight Afro-funk slammer from 1979. As you'd expect, both are guaranteed to get the party started... and then some.
Review: It seems so obvious you wonder why it doesn't happen more often: Stefano Torossi's "Feelings" album from 2000 was made up of track titles that convey certain situations and emotions that he masterfully reflects in the music. This new double 7" includes the highlights, such as the racing jazz and trumpet stabs of "Running Fast," the sustained and uneasy chords of "Fearing Much" and "Feeling Tense," which is actually a pretty lush bit of smooth jazz. "Walking In The Dark" rounds off the double pack with playful guitars and luxuriant synths that are pure soundtrack goodness. Ace.