Review: "Give Me Your Love" was produced by Roy Ayers and James "Jaymz" Bedford in 1981, this digger's delight was the one and only single by American singer Sylvia Striplin. It is an irresistible serving of soulful disco that really captures the spirit of the times. The track has been sampled on numerous occasions, but most famously on the classic track by Junior M.A.F.I.A. (Notorious B.I.G. production) on their song "Get Money" in 1995 and also by Armand Van Helden on "Full Moon" in 2000. On the flip is the sexy and lo-slung "You Can't Turn Me Away" featuring some sexy funk guitar licks and bass beneath Striplin's powerfully seductive vocals.
Review: Destination 78/79: Expansion take us deep into the illustrious back cat of revered boogaloo fusionist Willie Bobo for two of his many fiery delights. Side A is his feel-heavy cult instrumental take on Ronnie Laws' disco classic "Always There" while Side B throws us into the heart of his 1979 album Bobo with gutsy raw soul power (and just a few cheeky funk slap bass twangs for good measure) Two stone cold classics together for the first time on 45.
Review: Disco Dub Band's "For The Love of Money", a one-off collaboration between producer Davitt Sigerson and reggae musician Mike Dorane, has long been considered something of a classic by those who like their disco to come with a big dose of dub-wise flavour. Here the instrumental O'Jays cover, which originally appeared on the Movers label in 1976, is given the remix treatment by long-time fans Mr Bongo. The superb A-side, in which Dorane's instrumental talents take centre stage, naturally comes accompanied by the frequently played Dub interpretation, a typically wild and bass-heavy affair that sounds like it was mixed "live" in one take in true Lee Perry/King Tubby style. If it's not already in your collection, it should be.
Review: Never pressed to 45 before, both firing sides are taken from Esther's debut album from 1969; Newport News, Virginia. Both cover versions, JJ Barnes' "Chains Of Love" is given gospel-funk muscle as Esther belts out her heart over an impeccably frenetic band while Joe Zawinul's instantly recognisable jazz standard "Walk Tall" gets a powerful spoken word flex. Gutsy business to the very core, this is a snapshot of Esther at her most ambitious, energetic and creative.
Review: Two powerful soul sessions from Alice Clark's eponymous debut 1972 album. "Don't You Care" is a hard-hitting soul standard (that became very popular in acid jazz scene in the early 90s) where Alice opens her heart for all to see while her incredible band ebb and flow with Clark's emotions. "Never Did I Stop Loving You", meanwhile, languishes in sentiment at a slightly lower tempo that allows her to really dig deep for those low notes. The real fun happens as we reach momentum towards the end and every band member brings out their A-game and bounces off each other - backing up Alice every step of the way. You will care about this.
Review: Two crucial moments from Gil Scott Heron's immense repertoire; "When You Are Who You Are" takes the lead. Taken from his 1971 album Pieces Of A Man, it's a straight up homage to clarity and honesty told in the context that only Gil knew best. Flip for a very special alternative take of "Free Will". The title track of his following album, released a year later in 1972, the variations of this take (which has never been released on vinyl before) are subtle but strong enough to justify it a place in your collection.
Review: Originally written by Richard Evans, instrumental track ''Burning Spear'' was subsequently covered by S.O.U.L, turning up as a standout on their debut album What Is It? in 1971; with its funky flute and heady bass it is nothing less than a bonefide golden classic. On the B-Side we're treated to the breakbeat heavy, vocal led "Do Whatever You Want To Do" from S.O.U.L's second long player Can You Feel It ?
Review: Mr Bongo recently reissued the obscure - but also thoroughly brilliant - 1975 debut album by Los Angles soul/rock fusionists Spaceark. Here they continue to mine the band's slim body of work by offering up a new edition of 1976 single "Don't Stop". Available in vocal and instrumental variations, the track is a wonderfully warm and inviting affair, with sweet male and female vocals rising above a grandiose backing track rich in sustained Hammond organ chords, soaring instrumentation, snaking saxophone solos and an unfussy but tight groove. While the vocal version is undeniably great, there's something extra special about the thrusting solos and urgent backing vocals that surge from the speakers during the Instrumental mix.
What You Want To Be? (O Que Voce Que Apostar?) (2:09)
These Are The Songs (Esta E A Cancao) (2:59)
Review: Tim Maia's 1968 debut single, "What You Want To Be", has long been a favourite of dusty-fingered Latin music enthusiasts. Original copies, though, have long been out of the price range of most DJs and collectors. Happily, Mr Bongo has struck a deal to reissue it. The title track is something of a scorching dancefloor-treat - a boogaloo-era slab of Latin funk in which Maia and chums sing in English atop a bustling rhythm track and some seriously heavy horns. B-side "These Are The Songs" is a much more relaxed and laidback, samba-soaked affair, closer in tone to early 1960s U.S soul songs of the sort regularly covered by the Beatles early in the career.
Review: Wow, classics don't come much more special than this. A like-for-like repress of the 1970 RCA release, both sides here are soaked in Scott Heron's raw troubled soul. The endlessly sampled, hugely powerful and perfectly funky "Revolution" remains almost as poignant and prophetic as it was the day it was penned. "Home Is Where The Hatred Is" is much more personal and reveals his talent as a singer as much as the lead track boasts his poetry and ability to deliver a strong message.
Review: Sam Shepherd's Melodies International imprint has barely put a foot wrong to date, serving up a string of must-have reissues. Predictably, the label's latest offering - a facsimile reissue of a thoroughly obscure but in-demand disco 7" from 1979 - is another belter. A-side "Back Into Your Heart" is particularly potent, offering a rich, cheery and pleasingly fuzzy dance through horn-heavy disco-funk pastures, with a loved-up lead vocal joined by cascading strings, intergalactic synth solos and energy-packed drums. Turn to the flip for "Dance, Dance, Dance", an urgent chunk of funk-fuelled disco-rock that's almost as essential as the majestic A-side.
Review: Since launching last year, the Dynamite Cuts has delivered a string of killer seven-inch singles featuring sought-after cuts from fantastic old albums and this is another must-have along the same lines. It boasts two tracks from Clarence Wheeler and the Enforcers' 1970 debut album, "Doing What We Wanna Do", neither of which have appeared on a "45" before. You'll find a riotous Hammond funk explosion rich in energetic, break-driven drumming and wild trumpet and organ solos on the B-side, with the similarly sweaty title track nestling on the A. This insatiable number is altogether deeper and looser in feel, with tasty group vocals rising above bustling drums, warm Hammond lines and punchy sax solos.
Review: Only 300 copies pressed of this classic Gil Scott-Heron heavy double sider on a limited dinked 45. "It's Your World" is Gil Scott - may he rest in peace - at his funkiest best with an upfront vocal over a driving sax and rhodes- those of you who have seen one or two Gilles Peterson's DJ sets down the years will remember this fondly. "Winter In America" showcases Gil's legendary poetic prose in a meandering, melancholic manner offset by rhodes and flute. Essential.
Review: Soul Brother present two sublime cuts by Carolyn Franklin, younger sister to Aretha, for their debut appearance on the seven inch format. On top of her significant body of work as a songwriter and background artist for Aretha and several other acts of the 60s and 70s, Carolyn Franklin record four solo albums and several singles for the RCA label. Rare groove heads favour Franklin's fourth LP If You Want Me in particular, issued in 1976 but originally recorded three years earlier, and Soul Brother have licensed two highlights for this 7" which demonstrate Carolyn's range for anyone not familiar with her work. "Sunshine Holiday" is a psyche delight akin to Linda Lewis' "Reach For The Truth" whilst "Deal With It" is pure funk.
Review: New Zealand-born Lance Ferguson has been the beating heart of Melbourne's modern funk and soul scene for the best part of two decades. It's this that allowed him to gather many of the city's best musicians together to record "Rare Groove Spectrum", an album of fresh covers of rare and classic funk, soul and Latin jams. This sampler seven-inch contains two killer covers. On the A you'll find Ferguson and company charging through the deep funk brilliance of "Egg Roll", an instrumental track that first rose to prominence when Keb Darge reissued an un-credited test pressing of mysterious origin. Over on the flip, Ferguson's charges deliver a heady, exotic and intoxicating interpretation of "The Dump" by Soul Vibrations.