Review: Destination Martinique: Sofrito's Island Series gets lively to the sound of Michel Bagoe and the brilliantly named Les Hamsters. The former lays down a sublime carnival soundtrack with relentless drums and a highlife feel to the guitars while the latter develop the street party feel with rippling drums and tightly plucked guitars. Guaranteed to whisk your dance to another world, just like the rest of the Sofrito discography!
Review: Australian band The Bamboos have been holding down things on the funky side of town since 2001, gaining fans all over the world with their authentic, dirty funk nuggets. In the same vein as bands like El Michels Affair or Breakestra, these guys are students of the classic breaks that underpinned the sample-hungry glory days of hip-hop. They've also had the incredible honor to back up some of funk's most revered names, notably New Orleans hit-machine Eddie Bo, Syl Johnson and Eddie Floyd.
Ahead of their new album 4 comes single "On The Sly", a perfect slice of mid-tempo joy, which has the same rollicking cowbell-driven vibe as classic UBB staple "Get Me Back On Time, Engine Number 9" by Wilson Pickett. Soulsides MC and singer Lyrics Born joins them on 2nd cut Turn It Up, another popcorn funk winner complete with chicken-scratch guitar parts worthy of James Brown stalwart Jimmy Nolen. Hanging out with the Aussies seems to have rubbed off on the Californian MC, as he even sings "Turn it up mate" at one point! DJ's get taken care of with an accapella and an instrumental too, making this release a good way to put some funk back in your trunk.
Latin Brothers - "Las Calenas Son Como Las Flores" (3:57)
Review: Raroraro rev up the rarity engine once again with this sunkissed Latin double-up. Ray Barretto's heavily sampled (but seldom bettered) "Right On" gets the A: a hammering piano hook, whirlwind percussion and big horns, it's an instant carnival that's still as fearless as it was it was in 1970. Columbia's Latin Brothers' take us five years forward with "Las Calenas Son Como Las Flores". A much more smouldering number with a little more island magic in the horn arrangement, this one builds from sunset to a fiery sunrise. Limited to 200 copies.
Lyn Christopher - "Take Me With You" (Thelonious beat Gillespie edit) (3:28)
Review: If edits are your game then the Galaxy Sound Co is certainly the name. Along other labels like Mukatisuku, these dudes know how to repackage lost and rare soul 7"s, and this new two-headed funk bullet from Thelonious Gillespie is just painfully on target. The first edit is of "Soul Food" by Frankie Seay & The Soul Riders, a moody, dusty percussion bomb brimming with breaks and a grainy guitar accompanied by fine brass waves. Lyn Christopher's "Take Me With You" is pruned and reshaped into a glorious soul ballad with a hard edge, and a driving rhythm led by gliding electronic guitars and an inimitable bassline. Fine work right here.
Lenny McDaniel & The New Era - "Something Out Of Nothing"
Pat Brown - "The Good Got To Suffer For The Bad"
Eddie Bo - "From This Day On"
Review: Blimey....not one single, not two but three 45's housed as a triple pack of essential re-issued releases from New Orleans label Seven B via the mighty Jazzman label. This package picks out possibly the rarest and best tracks from the label which traverses the genres of breakbeat funk, Northern Soul and original Rhythm n Blues flavour. One highlight for us here at Juno towers is the infectious "Something Out Of Nothing" from Lenny McDaniel & The New Era which starts off with a stompy organ and fierce brass section before a thumping bass and fat beat drums take over the proceedings. Elsewhere there's the amazing Roger & The Gypsies jam "Pass The Hatchett" which starts off with a growling bass, picked rhythm guitar before Roger drops those immortal lines.''Let Me Chop It.. Let Me Chop It'' over b-boy drums. Pure gold!
Review: Soopastole now strikes out on his own eponymous 7' edits series and we must say it's impressive. These are well executed and above all much needed edits so credit to the edit! On the A side "Hot Pants" is an edit of the original track and the "dub beats version" (found only on the Urban release in 1988) starts with the drum break. On the flip we have got "Mama Feelgood" which has heavier drums and the instrumental intro and outro.
Brazilian Singers - "O Telefone Tocou Novamente" (2:56)
Los Belkings - "Septima Partrulla" (2:16)
Review: The Budabeats imprint is a welcomed addition to the funk and soul reissue game, and this third instalment from the label is exactly what we need to be hearing right now - something upbeat, tropical and rare in its original format. On Side A, you got 1971's "O Telefone Tocou Novamente" by the Brazilian Singers, and it's a wavy, magical psych-funk bombshell in the same vein as Marcos Valle's best work. On the flip, there's a special surf-rock-inspired song by Peru's Los Belkings and, yes, it's from 1969 and still sounding like a total monster almost forty years later. Recommended!
Claudette & Ti Pierre - "Zanmi Camarade" (Tropical Treats edit)
Ti Marcel - "Nan Point La Vie" (Siwo version)
Ibo Combo - "Mateau"
Les Lups Noirs - "Pile Ou Face"
Review: Killer new Sofrito 12" with hypnotic Carnival rhythms, DIY electro and vital Compas experiments from the Haitian archives! Lead in the way is a subtle edit of "Zanmi Camarade" from Claudette & Ti Pierre by Stockholm's Tropical Treats crew, this 1979 cover version of the folk song that is quite bewildering, with haunting vocals weaving a spell over a heavy polyrhythmic drum machine groove and arpeggiated synth backing. Just as impressive is the Siwo update of Ti Marcel's rugged, hypnotic Rara track "Nan Point La Vie" is dominated by the single-note 'Vaksin' bamboo flute, which Sofrito call "nature's sub-bass". Holding it down on the B Side is some untreated material, with an Ibo Combo cover of Coupe Cloue's evergreen "Mateau" complemented by a "Pile ou Face" from Les Loups Noirs which was a highlight of the Strut compilation Haiti Direct.
Dave Cortez & The Moon People - "Happy Soul (With A Hook)"
La Lupe - "Fever"
Review: Heavyweight Latin funk from 1968: In case you're unacquainted, "Happy Soul" is the ultimate super-swing sample source of Christina Aguilera's "Ain't No Other Man", and remains the most distinctive cut in Cortez & The Moon People's extensive repertoire. We head over to Cuba for the B-side as La Lupe digs deep with a sun-splashed salsa cover of "Fever". Swelteringly good.
Laura Vane & The Vipertones - "Roof Off" (album version)
Review: Prolific producer Diesler goes up first on a double sided release on the Social Beats label flipped by Laura Vane & The Vipertones. Diesler gives us a low slung but funky shaker assisted by Dutch vocalist Stee Downes, while ''Roof Off'' from Laura is an urgent drum and saxophone heavy funk belter.
Double Exposure - "Everyman" (Muro re edit) (4:01)
Loleatta Holloway - "All About The Paper" (Muro re edit) (4:02)
Review: Longstanding Japanese crate digger and groove scalpel master Muro pays homage to the influence and legacy of Salsoul with a series of limited 7". Condensing the lavish compositions of both Double Exposure and Loleatta Holloway to pimp-tight four minute bombs, the focus on "Everyman" is fully fixed on the honeyed vocals while "All About The Paper" is repositioned to ensure the emphasis is on the taut break.
The Eddie Roberts Quintet - "Giorgio's Brother" (Lack Of Afro remix)
Lack Of Afro - "Wait A Minute" (Lack Of Afro remix)
Review: A brand new 12" series with a couple of exclusive remixes from man of the moment - Lack Of Afro. Here the young producer lends his hands to two new tracks, stamping them with his signature heavy funk and afro-tinged style.
Review: Names You Can Trust presents 'Guajira '78', a couple of floor-tested Latin dance numbers from Greenwood Rhythm Coalition (Monk-One and E's E) with a guest appearance by compadres Luz Mob. Side A is a 'Disco Guajira' with Ron Burgundy on flute, side B is a b-boy version of a classic 'Cumbia' via Luz Mob .
Review: Time to chow down on another low-down funk and disco feast at Bristol's Boogie Cafe. Label co-founder JTT lights the fire with a subversive James Brown edit. All raw and loopy, it's a fine twist on a well known classic. Flip for two cuts from Horses-affiliate Laura Ingalls as she puts the EQ back into equine with two deeper dug edits. George Duke's "Party Down" gets a pumping, thumping, filtered disco twist while Roy Ayers gets an equally sweaty edit. Tasty.
Review: Momo Joseph didn't have a huge number of releases to his name back when he was a recording artist in the 80s, but that simply made his Love Africa Soul 7" even more of a holy grail find. Now Kalita have done the right thing and got hold of the release for a much needed repress, and it's highly likely this jam will become a staple for anyone with a taste for African grooves of all shapes and sizes. "Love Africa Soul" has it all - infectious brass stabs, limber musicianship, and Joseph's killer vocal. On the B side of this reissue "Cameroun Airline" gets a tasteful edit treatment from the trusted hands (and ears) of Nik Weston from Mukatsuku Records.
Review: Former band "Kadri Six" - five men plus singer "Lamia" - have devoted themselves to the real spirit of funk and soul music with the release of 'Cold Sweat' on Sonorama. Their trademark sound is "real", "alive" and "black", with raw vocals, moving organ, hard hitting bass lines and trombone or sax riffs to set every dancefloor on fire.
Review: Taken from their Cruise Control album released summer 2017, Swiss Afrofunk fusionists unleash two of their liveliest cuts onto a limited 45. "Funky Splash" is a rainbow of percussion, doubled up guitar riffs and outer planetary synths while "O Caminho Do Bem" is pure Lalo Schifrin cinematica laced with just the right level of psychedelic elements and dancefloor sweat. Both are quintessential modern funk instrumental. And if you're feeling these, track down the full album. Highly recommended.
Review: Pioneering their very own 'psychedelic salsa' sub-genre, New York based collective La Mecanica Popular are in a league of their own. Fully live but clearly adept at layering their sounds for a polished studio finish, there's a rich trippiness running across both tracks thanks to some mesmerising weeping mandolin twangs and weaves of pert percussion. "La Paz Del Freak" is all about the carnival piano hook and big bold vocal harmonies while "Guajiro" is a much more free-spirited, jazz-inclined affair. Both are exceptional.
Review: Neo soul evangelist Adam Gibbons - aka Lack Of Afro - is back with the euphoric, cathartic release of "Freedom", a retro jam that totally evokes the hazy Easy Rider age of American funk rock, featuring the talents of Jack Tyson-Charles. "Clean Living Under Difficult Circumstances" meanwhile is a riot of Blow Up-era Swinging Sixties vintage funk - both cuts are highly recommended.
Review: Lack Of Afro (aka Adam Gibbons), returns once more with a hard hitting slice of dancefloor magic. His debut single "Wait A Minute" turned heads around the globe with a wide array of DJ's charting it as well as picking up plays on Radio 1. In a similar vein, but this time taking it's cues from Latin funk, "Roderigo" is a stomping, horn led dancefloor monster - once again illustrating the unique production style of this young producer and giving another indication of what's to come.
Review: Everyone's favourite Jack of all trades unleashes another dynamic doublet from his latest album for some cheeky 45 thrills. "Take It Up A Notch" turns a block party into a blockbuster with serious Ugly Duckling style flows from longstanding collaborators Herbal T & Wax while "Back To The Day" takes us straight to the boudoir with some gorgeous honey dulcets from Elliot Cole and on a bed made of LOA's slinkiest soul grooves. We're notch worthy.
Review: Nicole Wray's Lady outfit undergoes a trio of remixes; Each one adding a whole new dynamic to the instant sing-along modern disco gem. DJ Spinna goes for a classic late 80s bump-n-shuffle remix with a squidgy 808 bassline and strutting beats. Oh No adds a lavish percussive arrangement giving it the same flavour Quantic gets when he works with Alice Russell. Finally T&S look back to Motown for inspiration as we're teased with dramatic cinematic orchestration before a big funk riff flies into the mix. Drop any of these versions and you're guaranteed good dancefloor loving.
Review: Bona fide funk authenticity: Lady L is blessed with a timeless vocal delivery that delicately trickles from your speaker like honey. Penned and produced by Ernie McKone, Toby Baker and GC Cameron, there's an understated 80s richness on "Tonite". Shimmering with emotion thanks lavish organic elements, Lady L refuses to 'diva up' the mix which allows the full instrumental aspect to shine. "Loves Master Plan" is a much sexier number, as Lady L drops an octave over a sultrier groove where tightly plucked guitars and warm organs rule the roost. Beautiful.
Review: Tramp head back to the late 60s and dust off the criminally rare Club 7 releases. Arranged by Johnny Heartsman - a man who played a role in hundreds of funk, blues and soul releases throughout the decade - Rudy's honey-coated tones drape themselves over both these cuts in true style. "Love" is an upbeat northern soul groove with a big hook and big vocals to match. Complete with a cheeky whistle, it leaves you feeling you've known it forever. "Let's Stick Together", meanwhile, is a straight up smoky blues affair where Rudy, the horns and guitar sit together with emphatic harmony. Feel the love.
Sweet Power, Your Embrace (Alex Attias Sweet re-edit) (7:16)
8 Counts For Rita (6:42)
The Blessing Song (Flow Lab Kid Blessed remix) (8:53)
Blackbyrds Theme (5:29)
Review: Freestyle Records continues to be an essential source for visionary funk and soul from across the globe, and now they're returning to recent signing Lance Ferguson and his Rare Groove Spectrum. This 12" carries some remixes and rarities that complement Ferguson's self-titled album from earlier this year. Things kick off with Alex Attias' dreamy, Latin-tinged edit of "Sweet Power, Your Embrace" before the original "8 Counts For Rita" bursts forth in a flurry of trumpets and salsa piano. "The Blessing Song" gets remix treatment from Flow Lab Kid, and then Ferguson tackles a cover of The Blackbyrds' "Blackbyrds Theme", all of which have the next level funk chops Ferguson has displayed elsewhere in his burgeoning repertoire.
Review: Parenthe Seizure, released on Counterpoint, features Sheila Landis, who has been a vital part of the Detroit jazz scene since 1973. She performs her unique style of vocal jazz and lends her distinctive voice to a wide variety of musical settings. She sings without artifice or gimmick, and her delivery is honest and direct. Landis approaches the music as if she's a horn player, and uses her voice to entice and enliven. Influenced by a wide variety of vocalists, from Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae and Betty Carter to Joni Mitchell and Aretha Franklin, she has absorbed these and other influences, filtered them through her own sensibility, and distilled from them her own unique sound.
Review: Larry Grant McGee is little more than a footnote in musical history, releasing the sum total of two seven-inch singles between 1976 and 80. Both, as any serious collector will tell you, are brilliant and - in the case of debut "The Burg (Pittsburgh PA)" - incredibly hard to find. Happily, Dynamite Cuts has given that release a new lease of life thanks to this much-needed reissue. The title track remains a fine slice of hazy, sunshine-friendly West Coast goodness that sits somewhere between Steve Miller Band, Steely Dan and groovy contemporaneous soul, with McGee's glistening jazz guitar solos heightened the baked, loved-up feel. Turn to the flip for "Happy Bicentennial USA", a celebratory tribute to his nation's 200th birthday that's as warm and delicious as they come.
Review: Groove Dis Exclusive! A limited edition LATIN SOUL BROTHAS fusion rework session! 1st is a remix slept on by MAW's LOUIE VEGA (who waited too long to put it out), a rendition of HECTOR LAVOE's "MI GENTE" that is absolutely amazing. On the flip, SANTANA's "DANCE SISTER DANCE (BAILA MI HERMANA)" gets reworked for a big dancefloor tune. Highly recommended! HOUSE
Review: Despite being something of a confirmed jazz-funk classic, Hubert Laws' "Family" was never released on a 12" single first time around. Curiously, the full version - contained on the A-side of this edition - only ever appeared on the veteran flautist's 1980 album of the same name. It remains, particularly in its original stereo mix form, a superb summer breeze of a jam, with a loved-up female vocal and punchy orchestration riding a sumptuous mid-tempo groove rich in rubbery slap bass and lolloping drumbeats. On the flipside you'll find the more obscure Mono Version, which interestingly feels a little weightier at the bottom end whilst allowing Laws' superb flute solos space to breathe.
Review: Heavyweight edit work Russian-style as Lay Far returns to Basic Fingers with a second weapon armoury. We kick off a percussion-heavy take on Hamilton Bohannon's "Me & The Gang" where full focus is centred on the deep, lolloping groove. Next up is a silky jazz shake up of Pete & Sheila Escovedo's Cobham cover "Bolinas"; instant sunset material, it's going to get heavy airplay at the Croatian festivals this summer without doubt. Dig deeper for a horn-heavy twist of Pleasure's "Bouncy Lady" before hitting the EP highlight... A cosmic, lazer-bending dub disco twist on Mad Professor's "Soul African Crossfire". Each cut crafted with attention to detail, they haven't named them weapons for nothing.
Review: Having recently flexed his deep house muscles with a couple of fine EPs on Local Talk and City Fly, Alexander Lay-Far returns to the world of the disco re-edit with an excellent three-tracker on Basic Fingers. Pleasingly, his edits are sympathetic to the source material, and there's no hint of additional house kicks or needless effects. Arguably the highlight is "Saaba Dub", an excellent instrumental revision of an Afro-reggae classic from 1970s fusionists Light of Saba. He also dips his toe into dancefloor-friendly prog rock with the sprawling "Prime Climate", while "Quality Hours" works a spirtual jazz-funk groove - complete with Rhodes and flute solos aplenty - within an inch of its' life.
Juan Laya & Jorge Montiel - "Better Living" (feat Stuart Lisbie)
Hypnotic Brass Ensemble - "Brass In Africa"
Review: Serious funk vibes abound on this repress from 2011. London duo Juan Laya and Jorge Montiel lay down a stripped-back bass n' breakbeat combo allowing full emphasis on the tightly plucked bass, tight horn noodles and chanty Jay Kay flavoured singing. Think Kraak & Smaak circa Boogie Angst with just a bit more trad JBs style funk. Flip for an equally funky adventure courtesy of the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble. Giving the Hot 8 Brass Band a run for their money, it's a sweeping series of dreamy horns that can't help but suck you deep into the mix.
Review: Food Stamps is a great example of a record that fell between the cracks on its original release back in 1982. The one and only release from Baltimore-based funk-rock explorer Billie Senger, it has achieved cult status amongst record collectors due to its obscurity (finding original copies is notoriously tough). This reissue - pressed on green vinyl with new cover artwork - should, then, prove popular. "Food Stamps" - a riotously loose and floor-friendly chunk of funk from the Rare Earth school of white funk-rock - is the real killer, though the MC5-influenced flipside "How Do I Know" impresses with its fuzzy, recorded-in-a-shed feel and extra-cosmic production.
Review: Recorded and originally released in 1999, "The Bottle" has been released twice by Expansion on 12" single and now finally gets its first 7" issue. The song is the most classic Gil Scott Heron song, vocalist Maysa Leak (of British supergroup Incognito) is still the finest contemporary soul singer with a unique voice and all here with the magic of a full Incognito production. It is coupled with "Hooked On Your Love", both songs from the Incognito produced album All My Life'. Another fine rendition of this timeless anthem by one of the all time greats.
Review: Energetic, upbeat breaks groover with funky electric guitar and organ riffs into an ode to the 70s funky library music. The flip has Betty Wright's "Man Of Mine", the modern soul floor packer, recorded in 1977, currently a modern soul rooms big spinner.
Review: Earlier this year American Shawn Lee and The Soul Surfers formed an unlikely but seriously funky alliance. The result is a Russian/US super group via London and they've already released a full eponymous album. Here are two of the LP's many highlights; first we have the deep swing and jazzy wafts of the ETA-style "Jose Chicago" where things develop into some divine clean breaks towards the end before dropping into much more of a cosmic pastoral idyll on "Four Track Mind". Stunning.
Review: Time for some Brazilian psychedelic boogie straight from 78. Erstwhile lead singer in Os Mutantes, with a personality thrice as big as the soaking wet bassline on "Agora E Moda", Rita Lee is no stranger to her motherland - even now. Flip for a huge soul injection courtesy of Pete Dunaway. Sounding English in every direction (from his name to his lyrics to the stunning, string-coated arrangement) he's actually Sao Paulo born and is a renowned multi-instrumentalist. Check this and you can tell in an instant. Stunning.
Review: Founded in 2002 in Amsterdam, Lefties Soul Connection are one of the best and hardest working modern funk bands of today. "Fais Do Do" means "sleep well" in French but is also an old Canjun style party and that's what this song is about. A great release on Melting Pot.
Review: Limited 3 track DJ promo sampler for the forthcoming More MPM Sound comp. Killer edit of Lefties Soul Connection "Organ Donor" by Hawkeye. Killer afro-funk tune by Kutiman from Tel Aviv. Bonus killer remix of DJ Day's "Gone Bad" (only available on this 12").
John Legend & The Roots - "Our Generation" (feat CL Smooth)
Review: The familiar retro three stripes logo that adorns the centre of this 45 tells you it's another Originals release! Fans of vintage Pete Rock will recognise Ernie Hines voice as soon as the vocals to "Our Generation" drops and this 72 conscious soul gem contains a pretty tasty beat too! The flipside has an equally bumping cover version undertaken by modern day funkateers par excellence The Roots with John Legend providing a more than adequate Hines replacement!
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: Leroy Jones and Butch Yates' criminally overlooked and painfully under-prolific troupe Leroy & The Drivers really should have had much more presence in the deep funk realms. Here Tramp pay respect with a reissue of their most famous single; "Rainy Night In Georgia" is a slow, jazz-blues number that's smoky in nature and sounds like The Meters after a very long and hectic night. For most fans, though, it's all about "The Sad Chicken". Famously recorded on the fly to use up spare studio time, it's a frenetic, freestyle jam that somehow finds its way into a funeral dirge right at the end. Incredible. Sad chickens have never made us feel happier.
Review: The third release from the Swiss-based label Rocofort delivers a two-track licensed reissue of James Brown-inspired funk jams by Les Ambassadeurs, a Mali, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Senegalese collective that formed in the late '60s. First up on this quality "7 is "Get Up James", which as the label puts it is "mighty as an earthquake and cutting as a razor", with call and response vocals, screaming horns and break beat rhythms. On the flip is a lower slung, guitar licking, shredding and downright danceable "Make It Funky". Pick this up before it's too late.
Listen To Your Mama (vocal - Tom Moulton remix) (2:37)
Listen To Your Mama (instrumental - Tom Moulton remix) (2:37)
Review: Guyden Records are pleased to announce their newest release for the Brewerytown Beats DJ series. They are, in their own words "continuing to dig, discover, remix & remaster and re-release quality Philadelphia funk & soul from the Phil L.A. of Soul archives." "Listen To Your Mama" has been a highly sought after collectors classic for quite a while. This version in fact having the never-before released instrumental B side. It was remixed by by the legendary Tom Moulton from the original session tapes and re-mastered by Peter Humphreys at Masterwork Recording Inc. Above all: it was hand picked by the lovely tastemakers Brewerytown Beats!
Lonnie Lester & Chuck Danzy - "Ain't That A Shame"
Review: German label Tramp come up with the goods again on this officially licensed juke box dinked 45. Originally from Missouri, Lonnie Lester was the eldest of 13 children and started singing as a small boy in the church before performing in his growing years with an assortment of doo wop groups. Later still in the mid 1970's he cut some singles and it's these two tracks from the US label Nu Tone which are featured here. Both tracks are raw but melodic R&B with the driving flipside ''Ain't That A Shame'' our pick of the two, assisted by organist Chuck Danzy.
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.