Review: A serious RSD reissue here as Music On Vinyl reanimate the cult afro-funk's one and only 45" on Pye sub-label Dawn. Emphatic, layered, energetic and dizzying - just like their albums Afreaka and Roots & Offshoots - each cut is bewilderingly funky and soulful experience. The lead track is one of the best Screamin' Jay Hawkins covers ever pressed to wax, "Message To Mankind" tips a nod to the Tamla school of thought with a belting yearn for better times while "Fuzs Oriental Blues" is just a straight up savage blues jam with some firing Afro twists towards the finale. Stone cold; this one won't hang around for long.
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: Serial alias addict, Kris Holmes returns with a double side of split personality: The Disciples is a rough, bluesy layered piece of slo-mo surf rock where the drums only just keep up and the organs provide heavy soul salvation. "He Spoke" shows Kris on much more of an African inspired trip. Similarly hefty organs power the main groove but there's more uplift in the riff and instrumentation. Insatiable.
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: Galaxy Sound bust open a new bottle of 2019 by dusting off two jazz funk classics and giving them just a little tweak for these floor-primed 45s. John Klemmer's wyled out sax on the totally uncaged and freeform "Free Soul" says all you need; spirited, unpredictable and full of energy. Ray Bryant's "Up Above The Rock" brings us back down to earth with its trident piano strikes and that classic break that's been sampled by everyone from Roni Size to the Wiseguys. Now time to hit the source.
Review: As anyone who has picked up any of his previous seven-inch singles will tell you, break-diggin' rework merchant DJ DSK can usually be relied upon to deliver the goods. This second volume in his ongoing "DNA Edits" series hits the spot, offering up two tidy, dancefloor-focused revisions. On side A he turns his attention to SM AOR classic "Fly Like An Eagle", subtly beefing it up via sweaty new hip-hop style drums whilst retaining the original guitars, vocals, bass and elongated organ chords. On side B he gets to work on Panamanian salsa classic "Maltrato", adding even more salsa shuffle and contemporary dancefloor weight to the much-adored 1975 Freddy y Sus Afro Latinos' classic.
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: Plenty of DJs have been spinning DJ Soopasoul's recent re-edit singles, while his outings for Jalepeno Records continue to set dancefloors alight. Rock It Don't Stop sees him in full cut-and-paste mode, serving up two variations on a break-propelled, party-starting theme. "Mix 1" of "Rock It Don't Stop" is a heady and intoxicating affair, with a familiar vocal refrain and party-hearty raps rising above a Shaft-tastic backing track seemingly crafted using elements from about ten different records. On "Mix 2", Soopasoul pushes the boat out even further, clashing and colliding familiar basslines, guitar riffs and Supersonic Force vocals with sweaty new drum solos and the heaviest backing breaks known to man. If anything, it's even more potent than the A-side... and that's saying something.
Review: Serial party starter Soopasoul raises the Rufus with this flighty take on this gutsy 77 classic. Splicing the vocals down to the nitty gritty (excuse us) so it's a bare naked call and response over some well polished breaks, Soopasoul's added a whole new lease of dancefloor energy. Flip for even more stripped back beat track. Hot.
Review: More from top-drawer rework merchant DJ Soopasoul, whose cheeky revisions on his Soopastole label are consistently on point and dancefloor-focused. For his latest trick, the long-serving DJ/producer has decided to apply his magic to one of the greatest disco records of all time and a "foundation record" of the hip-hop scene: Chic classic "Good Times". The A-side edit sounds like it has been created using the multi-track parts, as dubbed-out vocal sections ride stripped-back grooves and portions that variously showcase the track's original strings, Nile Rodgers' guitars and Bernard Edwards' killer bassline. The flipside "Part 2" version is similarly minded but more like a disco dub in feel and execution, with the maestro drenching vocal sections in delicious amounts of delay.
Review: Sweaty funk fusion abounds as Moussa Doumbia follows up his appearance on Mr Bongo's first Afro 45s release with the equally frenetic and chaotic "Keleya". Recorded in 1974 and previously rarer than hen's teeth, it's loaded with shouts, cries and floor-burning bellows. Meanwhile on the B we're hit hard by Amadou Balake who made international speakers shake in the 70s with their Latin/Afro fusion. Steamy, unpredictable and flawlessly funky with its firm focus on the guitar backbone, it's another impeccable discovery from the ever-digging Bongo team.
Bob James - "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" (extended Breaks Special edition) (3:30)
David Matthews - "Sandworms" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:22)
Review: The Beats and Breaks series of "Extended Break Edits" has so far succeeded in its stated aim to provide DJs with simple but devastatingly effective rearrangements built around lengthening key percussive packages. The mystery editors behind the series are at it again here, first looping up the distinctive, cowbell and triangle-driven drum passages dotted throughout Bob James' classic "Take Me To The Mardi Gras". On the flip, they take their scalpel to David Matthews' 1977 jazz-funk gem "Sandworms", casually making merry with the proto hip-hop beat, rubbery bass guitar, flanged guitar riffs and snaking saxophone solos.
Review: Soul Tribe celebrate the epic legacy of Chess subsidiary Argo with two of the label's many outstanding soul burners. Etta's big swing sauce-pot number takes pride of place with all 55 years of sultry devotion still deeply embedded into the recording. Banks' slightly lesser known pastoral ballad sets up camp on the B. Lilting and lolloping with horseback storytelling, it's the perfect foil both musically and narratively.
Review: Late last year Los Angeles-based synth obsessive Nicholas Benedek made his PPU bow with a untitled album filled with untitled tracks, executed with the sort of lo-fi panache that fit the label to a tee. Here Benedek returns to PPU as RX, a rather surprising self-styled 'smog prog' project with LIES artist and LA Club Resources boss Delroy Edwards. Taking shape in a signature PPU 7 inch, both "Strung Out" and "Prescriptions" sound like a fine balance between the hazy boogie of Benedek and the tape degraded grit that's been a hallmark of Edwards work since his emergence on L.I.E.S.
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing Brazil 45s series, Mr Bongo has decided to change tack. The two tracks showcased here are from the golden age of Brazilian boogie. On the A-side you'll find Marcos Valle's "A Paraiba Nao E Chicago", a largely overlooked cut from his 1981 full-length Vontade De Rever Voce. While not as instantly as infectious as some of his better-known singles, it's still superb; a breezy, blue-eyed soul cut full of rising horns and sweet Portuguese vocals. On the B-side, you'll find Don Beto's 1978 disco-funk jam "Nao Quero Mais", a superb track that was seemingly inspired by the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running".