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.
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: It's been five years since Truth & Soul's octet gave us the incredible Wu Tang version album. It's been two years since they last dropped a single, too. However the band is back and their trademark cinematic soul is richer and more emotive than ever. From the instant the trembling flute and guitar open with the cuddly, ultimately positive "Kiddy Ditty" we're whisked on a largely instrumental journey that flings us through the wild west ("Little House"), soul's early JB chapters ("This Song For You") and straight up NY low-slung funk ("A Little Sloppy"). Climaxing with a Lee Fields featured "By The Time I Get To Phoenix", Loose Change is a kind reminder of just how accomplished and creative El Michels Affair are. No change there, then.
Review: 10 years ago, El Michels Affair - a hip-hop loving funk combo spearheaded by Leon Michels - released "Enter The 37th Chamber", an instrumental tribute to the world of the Wu-Tang Clan. To celebrate the record's tenth birthday, they've decided to reissue two of that album's most potent cuts. On the A-side they re-imagine Ol' Dirty Bastard's 1995 anthem "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" as a fine fusion of rousing horns, jazz-flecked hip-hop beats and vocals provided by what sounds like a children's choir. Over on side B, Raekwon's "Incarcerated Scarfaces" gets the cover version treatment, with the band peppering their deep, jazz-funk influenced groove with sharp horns and evocative electric piano solos.
Review: Astonishingly, original copies of Energize's 1979 private press single "Piece of Class" have changed hands for over 500 quid online. Helpfully, Rain & Shine have decided to save us all a few bob by slinging out this licensed reissue. The title track is something of a bustling disco-funk gem - a genuinely wonderful fusion of hazy vocals, dueling horn solos, spacey synthesizer flourishes and driving bass guitar. B-side "Star of the Disco" is an even more up-tempo affair, with mazy saxophone solos, rasping horn stabs and starry jazz-funk keys riding a walking bassline and high-octane disco drums.
Warren Lee - "Underdog Backstreet" (DJ Platurn remix) (3:53)
Review: Five years have passed since Superjock launched the Nola Breaks series of DJ-focused funk reworks. Here the New Orleans-based imprint offers up installment number nine, handing over the reins to local legend Professor Shorthair and Bay Area scratcher DJ Platurn. The former handles the A-side, wrapping the Enticers' fuzzy funk gem "Thief" - as sampled by Mos' Def - in fat new breaks and tight scratches. On the flip, DJ Platurn has his wicked way with Warren Lee classic "Underdog Backstreet", wisely extending the intro and outro breaks while also adding some tasty new samples.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Epsilon were a cosmic funk/rock four piece from Marburg, Germany that released three albums between 1970 and 1976. While their debut LP went for a much more progressive rock style, the subsequent releases were a mixture of heavy rock and blues when frontman Michael Winzkowski (ex Orange Peel, Nosferatu) joined the band. This EP was originally released in 1975 and features the bluesy rock n roll swagger of "Leave The City" on the A side, and the super sleazy disco funk of "Wake Up"on the flip - which is absolutely terrific! Winzkowski went on to further (yet short lived) success as Michael Wynn/The Michael Wynn Band up until 1983, even breaking into the American market at one point.
Review: Since launching last year, Lil Static has offered up new, lightly altered editions of classic tracks from Jeru the Damaja, Kraftwerk, Run-DMC, Nas and the Notorious B.I.G. Here they continue to serve up vital beats for break-digging DJs via classic cuts from Eric B. & Rakim and Mountain. The A side sports an edited version of 1986 cut "Eric B. Is President", a synth-bass propelled NYC hip-hop gem rich in unmistakable rap vocals and tight scratching. Over on side B there's a chance to savour Mountain's late '60s rock cut that provided the Eric B. & Rakim track (and so many others since) with its distinctive drum break, "Long Red". This edited version gives more prominence to the breaks, making it an ideal mixing tool for hip-hop DJs.
Review: vKeen Africa 45 followers should recognise Eshete's name as he's appeared on the series before. Mr Bongo call him the Ethiopian James Brown and the Abyssinian Elvis... And they're not far off. This 74 rarity shows him crooning and crying at full pelt over a solid funk groove that's powered by piano and guitar. Flip for an equally rare vocal track from fellow Ethiopian Girma. Recorded in 69, full focus is squared on the lavish organ leads while the horns provide a soft but sturdy backdrop.
Review: Cultures Of Soul's Brasileiro Treasure Box Of Funk & Soul unleashes two more once-rare gems on 45: recently spotted on The Man From Unkle soundtrack, tropicalia fusionist Tommy Ze gets fuzzy and frenetic with "Jimmy Renda Se". With its deep cut, loose string riff, rhythmic Q&A vocals and occasional strings, it's one of many reminders of how out there Tommy was. Flip for the equally unique and alluring "Kizumbau" where Eduardo and his troupe let us imagine what life would have been like if The Doors and Babe Ruth were Brazilian and collaborated.