Review: After four volumes of smoking hot disco house business from El Nino, Jackie Brown turn their attention to debutant producer MB22, who understands the party-starting manifesto of the label intrinsically. "Shocked" kicks the record off in a flurry of heated chops and licks, all driven by a nagging hat, and then "Run Sally Run" switches stance to a winsome 80s tinged electro jam, tape-hiss included. "Slick Maneuver" takes things into smooth, boogie-indebted territory and then "Perfection Valley" rounds the record off with the kind of dusty electro funk that Moon B made his name with.
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.
Review: Two of Funk Night Records' most distinctive and innovative acts join forces for two outstanding pieces of psychedelic fiery funk fusion. Estonian duo Misha Panfilov Sound Combo set the bedrock on "Soul Strut". All fuzzy, unkempt and energetic, it sets the scene for Detroit's Coco Buttafli to lay her scorched heart on the line in an almost metal-like style. "Electrifying Woman" takes us even deeper into the psychedelic mindset as the groove is given a swampy, dizzying feeling while Coco spits spoken word with such a savage honesty you can't helped but get sucked into the story. Two of a kind.
Review: After releases on a dozen labels, one of Britain's finest funk groups Speedometer unleash their new single "The Shakedown(Say Yeah)" on Freestyle. Their current vocalist is none other than the legendary Martha High, a long time vocalist with James Brown until 1995 when she left to tour globally with James's sax player Maceo Parker. Does it hit all the right spots? Does it tick all the boxes? Hell yeah! Martha is firing on all four cylinders, ably assisted by UK soul man Myles Sanko whilst a killer guitar licked, punchy brass groove carries things on at a furious pace. "Dragging Me Down" on the flip sports a crystal clear performance from Martha as the band cook the bubbling organ tempo on gas mark 10; oven gloves at the ready people.
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, DJ Koco, Joe Claussell,Smoov,Kalita, Faze Action,DJ Moar etc
Take It Personally (Exclusive unreleased instrumental) (1:30)
Review: Mukatsuku's latest must-have release offers another opportunity to own early Freddie Cruger AKA Red Astaire favourite "Take It Personally". The wonderfully dusty, smoky and life-affirming hip-hop-soul cut first appeared as a Swedish only CD single in 2001, before later being included on the Stockholm stalwart's 2006 debut album "Soul Search". This time round, the inspired original - all head-nodding beats, sumptuous strings and sugary-sweet vocals from guest Desmond Foster - comes accompanied by a previously unreleased instrumental take. This vocal-free version is superb, offering listeners a chance to wallow in the quality of the Swedish veteran's bumpin' beats and intoxicating, head-in-the-clouds production. In the record box of Danny Krivit,DJ Spinna, Kid Koala and more! Only 300 hand-numbered copies and strictly no repress. Juno copies come exclusively in additional hand stamped kraft paper inner sleeve and branded card outer sleeve. Don't sleep !
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 Craig Charles on BBC 6,The Allergies, Snowboy, Smoov,Boca 45 , Voodoo Cuts, Aldo Vanucci, Daytoner,Dom Servini, Jack & Wayne Hemingway. Don't sleep!
Review: Mukatsuku struck gold again on this latest first time on a "45" issue. It boasts a couple of lesser-known jazz-funk fusion jams which originally featured on Argentine musician Jorge Navarro's 1977 album "Navarro Con Polenta", an LP that has never been issued outside of South America. A-side "Funk Yourself" is a bustling, high-octane jazz-funk Hammond licks and spiralling horns jumping above a Blaxploitation style backing track. "Repartamos El Funky" is a more laid back but no less musically intricate affair, with a variety of high-grade electric piano and guitar solos riding seemingly endless jazz style drum solos and rubbery bass. Juno hand-numbered copies come in exclusive sleeves and this 45 not be repressed. DJ Support comes from Ge-ology, Dom Servini, DJ Koco (Japan), DJ Food,The Allergies,45LIVE.net ,Dr Bob Jones,Rob Luis, Smoov and more
Review: Straight from Miami this time we are really proud to present the reissue of one of the most in-demand and, according to everybody, probably best funk 45s ever cut: "Everything's Gonna Be All Right/I Can't Help Myself" by funk 45 legend Robert Moore. This 45 is one of the first releases from Robert Moore who later on became the lead singer of TK Records' family of labels house band 'Miami'. Miami released 3 albums including the seminal hit "Party Freaks" and played on sessions for Little Beaver, Gwen McCrae, and Betty Wright. "Everything's Gonna Be All Right" and "I Can't Help Myself" were originally released on Henry Stone's Sadia Records. The original 45 is very rare and one of the most collectible on the funk 45 scene. Both sides are massive and that's probably why it's still a big spin on all deep funk dancefloors.
Review: Tennessee's legendary jazz pianist, Harold Mabern, is surely one of the kings of the mighty Prestige label, and his material helped bridge the gap between jazz and funk back in the 1970s, alongside the likes of Idris Muhammad, The Jimmy Castor Bunch and all those geniuses. "I Want You Back" is a stone-cold classic and contains one of the most hummable trumpet lines ever, and if you hear closely it's been reworked and sampled by none other than the King of pop when he was only a little one. Funk Inc's sublime "Sister Janie" resides on the flip, a more lo-fi funk bullett for the diggers, and complete with a dusty organ!
Review: Madrid four-piece come correct with another sweet and sweaty 45". "Escuela De Calor" does well to share the spotlight between the incredible talent of the pressure cooker horns and arsonist organs that fire up feelings you didn't even know you had. "Zumo De Pina" struts with bigger jazzy flourishes as the sax grabs full lead, taking us to places we didn't even know existed. Precision-timed for summer fun.
Review: Earlier in the year, Kutiman took his brand of psychedelic fusion to Wah Wah 45s for the very first time. Here he returns home to Siyal Music with Turkish vocalist Melike Sahin in tow. "Sakla Beni" is wonderfully odd and exotic - a spaced-out psych-funk affair that wraps mazy, Moog style motifs, mind-altering orchestration and Sahin's wide-eyed vocal around a skewed, low-slung groove. It's brilliantly hallucinatory, as is the accompanying "Karaoke Version" - a superb instrumental take that allows listeners a chance to revel in the intricacy of Kutiman's arrangements. In this context, "Sakla Beni" sounds like it should be gracing the soundtrack of a particularly odd late 1960s Turkish film
Review: Another essential history lesson here from the Peoples Potential Unlimited camp. "Super Breaker" is an early production by Miami bass legend James McCauley, better known as Maggotron,DJX or Basstech. It was originally released by the super obscure Bound Sound label in 1984, but was quickly forgotten. As one of McCauley's earliest works, it arguably marks the point where electro began to morph into Miami bass. There are vocal and instrumental versions on this must have 7", both featuring a mix of long synth chords, oh-so thick synth bass and a healthy dose of vintage drum machine breaks.
Review: Two powerful bossa nova workouts from 1972: Brazilian chanteuse Rose Maria delivered two incredible funk jams on Tapecar which escaped her prolific album releases and never enjoyed a repress. Until now... The Afro-Latin soul of "Deixa Nao Deixa" is all about the sudden dynamic from purring verses to emphatic, harmonic chorus while "Avenida Atlantica" takes a more straight-up funk route with its dominant horns and heavy boss break. Instant party material.
Review: Wanna hear the Isley Brothers classic "It's Your Thing" given a Latin shakedown? Mr Bongos have got you covered on the latest 7" in their splendid Latin 45s series! Originally issued back in 1974 on TR Records, this Los Africanos cover is a rum heavy Nu Yorican funk-soul instrumental featuring screaming Hammond organ and FX. It's very expensive in original form now, so shout outs to Mr Bongos for pressing it up here along with an equally good 1968 cover of instrumental, boogaloo version of Eddie Floyd's all-time classic "Knock On Wood" from Machito & His Afro-Cubans.
Miele - "Melo Do Tagarela (Rapper's Delight)" (instrumental) (4:10)
Review: Although Brazil's Banda Black Rio remain infamous for the albums that they recorded in the late 1970s, two beautiful LPs that rode that singular wave of samba-ridden jazz dance, 1980's "Miss Cheryl" is an outstanding tune, and we can hear why RCA picked it up back in the day. Mr Bongo provides us with the reissue here and, if you haven't heard it, it's an absolute delight which switches between disco, psych, and something inherently Brazilian - there's even a wacky synth in there, for good measure. Compatriot Miele appears on the flip with "Melo Do Tagarela (Rappers Delight)", a sublime slice of early, electronic boogie that sounds as fresh today as it did back at the tail end of the 70s. A devious little reissue that you should own...
Review: Sam Shepherd's Melodies International imprint has barely put a foot wrong to date, serving up a string of must-have reissues. Predictably, the label's latest offering - a facsimile reissue of a thoroughly obscure but in-demand disco 7" from 1979 - is another belter. A-side "Back Into Your Heart" is particularly potent, offering a rich, cheery and pleasingly fuzzy dance through horn-heavy disco-funk pastures, with a loved-up lead vocal joined by cascading strings, intergalactic synth solos and energy-packed drums. Turn to the flip for "Dance, Dance, Dance", an urgent chunk of funk-fuelled disco-rock that's almost as essential as the majestic A-side.
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues its consistently rich vein of form with two more beautifully contrasting - and previously difficult to track down - Brazilian soul jazz fusions from the 70s. Side A is inhabited by one of the era's most interesting individuals. Infamously censored and eventually exiled, Taiguara's chaotic flute, guitar and piano arrangement is a tight weave of melodies, counter melodies and start dynamics. Flip for the classically soul-oriented "Deixa Eu Te Amar" will bright horns, brash drums and a bold vocal from Marisa Rossi. Pow.
Tecumsay Roberts - "It Makes Me Dance & Sing" (5:44)
Commy Bassey - "We Want Togetherness" (4:37)
Review: Triassic Tusk's "Screamers, Bangers & Cosmic Synths" series of crate digging comps has seen the Scottish crew showcase some seriously hot, little-known music. Mukatsuku have joined forces with the imprint to give a 12" release to two potent Afro-disco smashers that recently featured on volume two of the ongoing compilation series ,now remastered and sounding better than ever. On side A you'll find Liberian artist Tecumsay Roberts' bouncy 1979 Afro-soul/Afro-boogie number "It Makes Me Dance & Sing", where spacey Moog solos rice above a funk-influenced dancefloor groove. On the flip, the fun continues via Commy Bassey's Clav-happy, Nigerian sounding Afro-boogie roller "We Want Togetherness", a positive plea for unity that's as relevant now as it was way back in 1980.Juno copies come in an exclusive branded card sleeve with an additional obi strip not available at other retailers .As played/charted by Red Greg,Joe Claussell,Marcel Vogel, Craig Charles,Faze Action,Kalita,Cedric Woo,JKriv,Prins Thomas,Floating Points and Dom Servini so far.
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: The UK's Mr Bongo has been reissuing old music and putting out new tunes since the late 1980's, and the label is still going strong in 2015. This latest 7" features two of Ethiopia's greatest musicians, Alemayehu Eshete and Mahmoud Ahmed, in a head to head, split EP. On the A-side, Mr Bongo has resurfaced Eshete's "Tchero Adari Negn", a supremely funky piece with the man's own voice gliding effortlessly over hard drums and fuzy guitar riffs; "Bemim Sebeb Litlash" goes deeper and more psychedelic on the flip, and Ahmed's voice is a pleasure as always. Check their other material on Mississippi for a broader introspective.
Review: Fresh from '78: Brazilian funk lothario Marcelo's first big single (which was never out on a 45 before)- and a peak track from his debut eponymous album from the same year - gets a timely revisit from the Steven J's reissue/edit imprint Pepite. With its subtle piano striking Q&A, wild bass runs and clam-tight guitar/drum groove, Marcelo calls his way through the jam as if everything is a chorus. With its layered vocals, it's gutsy call to action for any dancefloor. Steven's edit stretches out the instrumental bars and brings out focus on the staccato vocal hook with a rising sense of momentum. Two great sides, one dope 45.
Review: A welcome return to action for Stank Soul scalpel fiends Mako and Mr Bristow, whose last collaborative re-edit release dropped back in 2017. This time round they offer up a slimmed down seven-inch selection boasting two hot-to-trot revisions. On the A-side you'll find "Stax Dawg", a loving tribute to the legendary US label that sees the pair wrap 1960s horns, vocals and instrumentation around their own rubbery, floor-friendly groove. "Love Book", meanwhile, is arguably even better: a low-down revision of a horn-heavy funk-rock affair rich in addictive guitar riffs, bustling drums, heavy horns and gravelly blues style vocals. They round things off via flipside "Funky Jive", a tooled-up version of rhythm and blues standard "Willie and the Hand Jive" that should have everyone singing along in the club.
Review: Never pressed to 45 before, both firing sides are taken from Esther's debut album from 1969; Newport News, Virginia. Both cover versions, JJ Barnes' "Chains Of Love" is given gospel-funk muscle as Esther belts out her heart over an impeccably frenetic band while Joe Zawinul's instantly recognisable jazz standard "Walk Tall" gets a powerful spoken word flex. Gutsy business to the very core, this is a snapshot of Esther at her most ambitious, energetic and creative.
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.