Review: Last summer, Evo and Soulstice launched Adventures in Paradise with a fine 7" of tooled-up funk reworks by J Sole and J Boogie. Here, the label returns to action with two more guaranteed party-starters. Fittingly, Evo makes his first appearance on the label with B-side "Mandingo Boogie", a killer edit of a low-slung disco-boogie heater rich in rubbery bass guitar, twinkling electric piano parts, spiraling electronic effects and punchy horns. While impressive, we can imagine DJs getting far more rotations from DJ Smash's cheeky A-side, "Your Pants Are Hot", which peppers a snappy, synth bass-propelled groove with samples from a well-known Godfather of Soul favourite.
Review: Released in 1971 and written and recorded by Dave Hamilton (one of Motown's most prolific and influential session players), Sugar Billy Garner plays the consummate band leader over a relentless groove that rolls with drama. Billy gets sweatier, the guitars get busier, the dynamic gets heavier and heavier... So heavy it rolls into a second part. Primed for the floor, it still hits hard 44 years after its release.
Review: Funky Geordies Smoove & Turrell return to London's spiciest funk indie with the first single from their forthcoming new album Mount Pleasant. Two sides, two vibes: "You're Gone" is an uptempo pop funk jam with a wry dash of disco, Rodgers style strums, big horn blasts, rhythmic vocal calls and a subtle harmony between Turrell and new Jalapeno signing Izo FitzRoy. Flip for a little twist of melancholy as the blues groove and yearning tones of "A Deckham Love Song" ooze into your soul. Most pleasant.
You're Doing It With Her (When It Should Be With Me) (2:45)
Cry Myself To Sleep (2:06)
Review: Rhetta Hughes (Los Angeles, California, November 9, 1953) is a R&B singer and actress. She starred in the Broadway musicals Dreamgirls, Don't Play Us Cheap and Amen Corner: for which she was nominated for a Tony Award in the category for Best Actress in a Musical in 1984. She also appeared in the films Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song, The Wiz (as a member of the choir) as well as the film version of Don't Play Us Cheap. She was also seen in the TV version of the musical Purlie, and appeared in an episode of Law & Order. In addition, Hughes had two entries on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart including "Angel Man (G.A.)" which hit #1 in 1983. "You're Doing It With Her (When It Should Be With Me)" is the kind of soul classic that the late Amy Winehouse could have taken her cues from while "Cry Myself To Sleep" appears on the flip.
You Can Run (But You Can't Hide) From My Love (part 1) (3:34)
You Can Run (But You Can't Hide) From My Love (part 2) (2:07)
Review: Russian funk crew The Soul Surfers return to Ubiquity with the first single from their forthcoming debut album. Hooking up with Stones Throw vocalist Myron & E, the band provide a rigid Rhodes-based groove that builds momentum along with the horns but is spacious enough for Myron to do his business. Flip for the second side of the tale as the keys are elements are switched out in sequence, giving a cross-section view of how The Soul Surfers construct their compositions. We can't wait for the album.
Review: Legendary singer songwriter Barbara Mason is represented in the finest fettle on this 1974 reissue. "World In Crisis" first appeared on her Transition album. Complete with warm harmonies and soft cinematic orchestration, her honey-toned sermons cut through the mix with a cool sense of dreaminess. "Give Me Your Love", meanwhile, is a fantastic cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic where here surging emphasis coats the groove with silky come-to-bed whispers. Stunning.
Review: Previously only available on US promo 45 - these 1973 Afrodisiac-era cuts from The Main Ingredients are well overdue. First up is a beautiful take on the Isley Brothers 1972 classic "Work To Do" (also famed for its Average White Band cover in 1974) while the B is draped in the powerful vocal harmonies and lavish strings of "Instant Love". Proof that sometimes all you need are two ingredients to cook a beautiful feast for the soul.
Review: Straight from 68; Diane Lewis's Wand double-A has passed hands for well over L300 in the past, and it's really not hard to understand why... Northern soul anthem "Without Your Love" comes with gutsy vocals, full spectrum backing vocals and drums so lively and crisp they sound like they're marching out of the speakers. "Giving Up Your Love" plays the consummate soother; a raw soul ballad with strings and delicate harmonies, it's the ultimate antidote to the emotional frenzy on the A. Highly limited.
Review: Calvin Carr's wonderful gospel-soul has been a digger's favourite for yonks, often being cited and used by the very best selectors in the game. This 1878 single, originally out on Philadelphia United Records, is aptly named "Without Christ" and it offers listeners, dancers and lovers an opportunity for positive redemption. Much like the rest of the gospel world, this is perhaps the best way to convert people into enlightenment and keep them positive - there is absolutely no way that this disco-tinged gem cannot make you jump up with joy and excitement. The instrumental cut is pretty killer, too. BIG.
Review: Dreamy mid '70s funk from Caribbean (St Maarten to be precise) trio Cool Creations: "Wish Upon Love" struts with a Boz Scaggs-style confidence and a deep, cloudy finish that would make Faze-O proud. Flip for a straight-up cloud burst as "Night On Beach Island" lives up to its name with measured pace, cosmic trumpets, sandy pianos and lavish, lolloping wave-lapping double bass. Beautiful.
Review: The Fryers sub-label of Jazzman Records come correct once again with this crucial 7" reissue from The Isley Brothers! With a career spanning some 50 years and covering R&B, Rock, Funk, Soul and Disco, it's fair to say The Isley Brothers have been one of the most influential groups on how 20th Century music turned out, yet few people actually know that their universally regarded 1973 hit "That Lady" was in fact a cover version of a track they'd previously recorded a decade earlier. Presented here in all its dusty glory, "Who's That Lady" is a jazzy doo-wop workout that will have the collectors out there running towards the turntables to find out whose version it is. On the flip is their wonderful version of the Blues standard "St. Louis Blues" which has been freshly pressed from the original master tapes!
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.
John Turrell - "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Basement Freaks remix) (4:20)
Review: Fizzing funkateers Basement Freaks can usually be relied upon to bring the dancefloor goods. That's certainly the case on this dancefloor-focused seven-inch. On the A-side they rework one of their own classic cuts, offering a punchier and heavier take on 2016 Kylie Auldist collaboration "White Hot". Rich in flash-friend funk guitars, crunchy breaks and life-affirming horns, their new revision is undoubtedly more DJ-friendly than the original album version. Turn to the flip to hear their tidy new take on Smoove collaborator John Turrell's 2013 cut "Won't Get Fooled Again", which they cannily refurbish as a wobble bass-propelled chunk of P-funk flavoured dancefloor soul.
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.
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: More Eddie Bo material in straight repress format from the Bo Sound vaults! It's another scorcher from 1970 right here, except that Eddie is joined by The Soul Finders across two parts of the majestic "We're Doing It (Thang)". The first cut is funky, laid-back and complete with a rolling guitar riff; the second joint sparks to life after a sublime entrance of broken percussion to form a deep and vibrant funk bomb with true grit.
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: Athens Of The North return to the disco motherland by way of this scorching groove doublet from Canadian troupe Gratitude. "We Are Here To Party" lives up to its name with vibrant horns and a thumping deep funk focus. Flip for "Loving You", as the name suggests there's a smoother tone and message at play as the band ease us into something a little comfier. Less of a B, more of an AA. Show some gratitude for the tireless AOTN crew!
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.