Review: Feeling lucky? With grooves as raw, sizzling and energetic as these, there's a strong chance you might be. Hot on the heels of their "Mesquite Beat" 45 comes this equally earthy and frank doublet. "'Bout To Blow" is a big pant swinging blues affair while "Saints & Beggars" takes us up a notch with a whirling 6/8 signature whirling waltz where the horns and drums take the lead and we follow in their every dreamy footstep. Look out for the album Mesquite Suite coming on Tramp very soon.
Review: Straight form the heart of London via the mind of Detroit, the ever-consistent Soul Brother crew have laid down another stellar reissue here through Dee Edwards' gorgeous "(I Can) Deal With That". Originally out on the much-coveted De-To label in 1977, the original mix is a delicate, whaling soul monster that'll melt your heart from its first guitar riff - Edwards' voice is truly magnetic over the slow-burning percussion. There's a more stripped-down 'Strings' version to act as the cherry on the cake - you just gotta.
Review: Bjorn Wagner's Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band combo recently returned from a two-year hiatus with a killer new album, "The Serpent's Mouth". It's that set - a glorious fusion of funk, soul, disco, jazz and Trinidadian steel band music - from which these two top tracks are taken from. A-side "1 Thing" is particularly glorious. As one quick listen to the clips will confirm, it's a riotous instrumental cover of the Amerie R&B classic of the same name, which replaces the singer's vocals with ear-catching steel drums. The same killer combination of flash-friend funk guitars, bustling drums and tropical steel drum sounds can also be heard on B-side "Hoopla Hoop", which also boasts some suitably fuzzy horns.
Review: Dynamite Cuts come back with a bang with four sublime cuts taken from the criminally short discography of funk soul troupe Leo's Sunshipp. The first half of their only album, we kick off with their cult solar celebration "Give Me The Sunshine" before "I'm Back For More" shreds through the stratosphere with a swooning Average White Band sparkle, "Get Down People" salutes with an Off The Wall style shine and shimmy before "Madame Butterfly" drifts back into the atmosphere with velvet falsetto harmonies and a groove so laid back it drips off the wax. Feel the sunshine.
Review: Although well known on the funk circuit for their incendiary live performances, the Soul Grenades have yet to translate their hard-hitting, horn-heavy sound to wax. It's for this reason that "A Blast Of Funk!", their debut single, has caused such a commotion. It boasts fresh recordings of two of the most popular cover versions in their armoury. The pick of the pair is undoubtedly their riotous rendition of "Get Lucky", which is re-imagined as a tasty funk-soul work out smothered in headline-grabbing, New Orleans style brass. That said, their version of "Louie Louie" is rather good, too, especially the addition of Meters style Hammond organ licks. As played by The Allergies, Snowboy, Smoov,Boca 45 , Voodoo Cuts, Aldo Vanucci, Daytoner,Dom Servini, Jack & Wayne Hemingway. Don't sleep!
Review: This desirable 7" single brings together two of the many highlights from the bulging catalogue of New Orleans soul singer Ernie K Doe. On the A-side you'll find 1961's "A Certain Girl", a sweet rhythm and blues number from the dawn of the soul era that ticks all the right boxes (strong lead vocal, jaunty piano lines, lolloping groove, question-asking female backing vocals). Arguably even better is the better known "Here Come The Girls", a later K-Doe recording that was produced by the song's writer, Allen Toussaint, and originally appeared on the artist's eponymous 1972 album. We all know it, of course, but it still remains a sing-along soul staple.
Review: Two more rare grooves purloined from Cultures Of Soul's Brasileiro Treasure Box Of Funk & Soul and delivered on a sweet 45: Celia's "A Hora E Essa" is a steamy Latin funk workout from 72; all horns, cuicas and soft, honeyed vocals. Franco's "Ei, Voce, Psiu!" takes a more US funk idea with Franco's spoken vocals giving off a strong air of bandleader as the band lock down a tight groove beneath. Watch out for samba flip towards the end. Blink and you'll miss it.
Review: Since 2003, Record Kicks has been the "explosive sound of today's scene" and, by the looks of this latest nugget from Martha High, they're right on track to fulfill that promise! The talented US vocalist was on the front row of James Brown's hits in the 60's and 70's, but she's since then focused on her own glorious soul material. "A Little Taste Of Soul" comes as a ray of shining light on a wet October afternoon, full of funky sensibility and heartfelt vibes, making for the perfect dance number for those looking for that groovy thang. For the B-side, "Unwind Yourself" slows the tempo down, breaks up the groove, and unleashes High's Goddess-like voice amid those tasty breaks - what a winner!
Review: The love of all things Soviet and disco has been established by French/German duo Fulgeance and Scientist for several years now, having reached a peak last year with their album The Soviet Tape on First Word. Now they return with their own edit series on brand new label Excursions. With eyes squared fully on the floor, each obscurity is given some serious groove muscle for the floor... Charaunitsy's soulful croons and yearning horns are given an additional kick/snare swing, Latvia's Mirdza gets a deliciously camp turbo charge while Ukraine's Tatyana Kochergina gets a full-on Philly treatment with lavish strings and a bassline that won't say nyet.
Dynasty - "Adventures In The Land Of Music" (edit) (4:26)
Cesar Mariano & CIA - "Metropole" (edit) (4:05)
Review: Detroit label Galaxy Sound Co. has been responsible for some killer re-edits over the last couple of years. The genius of their releases, which are mostly tidy 7" singles like this one, is their inspired choice of source material and the deft touch of their scalpel-wielding editors. This time round, the label's anonymous editors breathe new life into tracks from Solar regulars Dynasty and obscure Brazilian disco-funk outfit Cesar Mariana & Cia. It's the version of the latter's "Metropole" - a kind of heavy funk take on the steamy jazz-funk of Azymuth - that shines brightest here, though the A-side rearrangement of soft-focus 1980 disco-soul number "Adventures in Music" - all impassioned vocals, punchy horn lines and warm synths - is also rather good.
Review: Timmy Thomas, sometimes known as The Magician, frequently regarded as one of the most sampled men beyond the Brown franchise, he's been referenced by everyone from Drake to Dilla to MC Hammer. Here we find two of his most well known cuts, both taken from his 1972 album, Why Can't We Live Together. There's a wry cosmic sheen weaving and shimmering in the background of the soaking wet Afrofunk groove of "Africano" while the keys of "Why Can't We Live Together" instantly hit with a soul you've heard, felt and loved in so many contexts. Certified classic.
Review: Tribal, physical, psychedelic: Joe Claussell's Bolla project is one of his finest creative accomplishments for many fans, and his album Afrikan Basement: Makussa is the gift that keeps on giving. Having previously leaked limited 12"s, Joe's label Sacred Rhythm does it again with another super-limited, one-sided press. Hooky, insistent and far-out for the full 10 minutes, this is shaman material right here. Do not sleep.
Review: The library music crate-diggers behind Italy's Four Flies label aren't quite sure when regular collaborators Braen (an alias of composer and multi-instrumentalist Alessandro Alessandroni) and Raskovich (Guillano Sorgini) recorded these two previously unreleased tracks, but it's thought to have been around the time of the 1971 sessions for a psychedelic rock 7" by The Pawnshop. A-side "Afro Beat" is something of a saucer-eyed, Modernist delight, with the duo mixing meandering organ lines and breezy Afro-funk grooves with heavy bass. "Afro Flower", on the other hand, sounds like something that would have emerged from the studio of the Graham Bond Organization during the swinging '60s, which is no bad thing in our book.
Review: Mukatsuku's ongoing "Afro Series" continues with a fine limited edition 45 containing two funk-fuelled floor-fillers. In fact, you'll struggle to find a more celebratory and life-affirming workout than Eko's "M'Ongele M'Am" licensed from Nubiphone & Africa Seven, a Makossa-fired Afro-disco gem rich in punchy horns, driving Afro-boogie bass, lilting synthesizer lines, Mariachi style trumpet solos and the kind of chant-along vocals that should put a smile on the face of even the most miserable of dancers. Over on side B, Georges Ouedraogo's "Deni" is an essential Clavinet-happy killer chunk of Afro-funk/Afro-Disco fusion from Burkina Faso. As played by Floating Points,The Allergies,Faze Action,Antal ,Lego Edits & Red Greg so far...
Review: Mukatsuku's long running "Afro Funk & Disco Gems" series has always been a reliable source of obscure, high-quality dancefloor material from the African continent. This tenth edition is another must-have - on the A-side you'll find the synth-laden, boogie-era sunshine of "Everybody Dance", one of the undisputed highlights of Peter Yamson's in-demand (and notably hard to find) "Son Of Africa" LP. With wonderful vocals, glistening guitars, lolloping drum machine beats and some stellar synth work, the track ticks all the right boxes. Over on the flip there's a chance to own Cameroon legend Tala Andre Marie's 1981 classic "Get Up Tchamassi", whose snaking sax lines, elastic slap bass and dreamy chords are nothing less than sensational.As played by The Allergies,Smoov,Kalita, Faze Action,DJ Moar etc
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: Amongst fans of Brazilian music, Sivuca is arguably best known for his 1973 cover of "Ain't No Sunshine" - later a favourite on the rare groove scene - which re-casts the Bill Withers classic as a sumptuous chunk of shuffling samba sunshine. Here, the track gets reissued as part of Mr Bongo's brilliant Brazil 45s series, alongside his lesser-known - but no less impressive - cover of Edu Lobo's "Ponteio".
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: Brazilian duo My Girlfriend managed to get more than a few people hot under the collar with their eponymous 2018 debut EP, which delivered a dizzying array of wild, analogue-fired dancefloor workouts with an unashamedly retro-futurist feel. This follow-up is similarly impressive, even if it does draw far more influence from '80s synth-funk and lo-fi electronic jazz-funk. Highlights are plentiful, from the warm and spacey ambient sparkle of "Piercing" and the dusty '80s electrofunk of "Modal", to the freestyle synthesizer solos of "Gidi" and the restless, sample-heavy heat of closing set "Fingers". In other words, it's another fine collection of high-grade lo-fi jams.
Review: Mushi 45 is keeping tight lipped about the story behind their latest release - so much so, in fact, that we can't ascertain whether it's a reissue or a new production. Given the label's history, we're thinking the former, though it's hard to find any reference to the record, the artist or the producer. Either way, the release is fire - a killer chunk of Afro-funk blessed with heavyweight drum breaks, punchy sax solos, celebratory African vocals and super-funky bass. In classic funk style "Ashadwa" is split into two parts; the first boasts chant-along vocals, extended drum breaks and a genuine "party in the studio" vibe, while the second is more instrumental and stripped back with greater use of snaking saxophone solos. In a word: essential.
Review: Seven years later... Jay Kay and his band of merry soulmen return with bonafide grooves. Raw, to the point and covering a huge amount of ground, "Automaton" is an electrified hair-raiser that's designed to lift floors while "Nights Out In The Jungle" tickles the backbone from Daptone with its slinky, JB-style bass/drum groove and light rap/spoken word. Pure funk in both its original and most futuristic style... and on limited clear vinyl, too.