Who, What, Where, When & Why (Disco version) (5:10)
No Promises (Disco version) (6:46)
Review: Best Records do it again, dusting down a searing slice of robo-funk from the early 80s that will pop your lock every which way. B Funk was a one-off project from Mario Boncaldo and Tony Carrasco, best known for their incredible work as Klein & MBO. They released the "Magic Spell" album in 1983, and it was loaded with richly produced Italo disco and proto house sounds - there's a good reason the original release has been fetching such crazy prices on the second hand market. Now Best have cherry picked two of the finest cuts from the album, sought out the extended disco versions from Carrasco's vaults, and given them a glorious new pressing.
Sweet Daddy Floyd - "I Just Can't Help Myself" (4:17)
Review: The popular Breaks & Beats series of light-touch, DJ-friendly re-edits of soul and funk classics has decided to reissue some of its most sought-after seven-inch singles on clear vinyl pressings. Fittingly, the first to get the reissue treatment is the label's first ever release from 2017. On the A-side you'll find a tasty extension of Melvin Bliss's warm, heartfelt, piano-heavy 1983 cut "Synthetic Substitution". While Bliss's brilliant original is largely kept in-tact, the mystery re-editor naturally makes more of the opening breakbeat. Flip for a similarly tasty rearrangement of Sweet Daddy Floyd's 1978 Blaxploitation style disco-funk shuffler "I Just Can't Help Myself", a cut rich in rolling breaks, densely layered percussion, punchy orchestration and "Shaft"-style guitar licks.
Sweet Daddy Floyd - "I Just Can't Help Myself" (extended Break edit) (4:17)
Review: This tasty, DJ-friendly 7" single boasts two extended, break-heavy reworks of obscure and in-demand soul workouts. On the A-side you'll find a tasty extension of Melvin Bliss's superb, piano-heavy 1983 cut "Synthetic Substitution". While Bliss's brilliant original - all heartfelt vocals, jaunty keys and warm bass - is largely kept in tact, the mystery re-editor naturally makes more of the opening breakbeat, which was sampled several times during hip-hop's "golden era". Flip for a similarly tasty rearrangement of Sweet Daddy Floyd's 1978 Blaxploitation style disco-funk shuffler "I Just Can't Help Myself", a cut rich in rolling breaks, densely layered percussion, punchy orchestration and "Shaft"-style guitar licks.
Review: Another 5 Boroughs Breaks release means another gold standard hip-hop banger. This one is from
The High & Mighty duo who hailed from Phillie and were active in the nineties. Their 'Dirty Decibels' is a sleazy joint with prying bass and sliding drums that get under your skin. The rhymes flow smooth and the samples are sweet. Flip it over and you'll find where they come from - a rare library music tune by Simon Haseley called 'Hammerhead.' It's a 60s gem with harps, horns and serene strings that make for a luxuriant sound.
Review: Kaleta's first full-length collaboration with the Super Yamba Band, 2019's "Medaho", was something of a slept-on treat: a fiendishly psychedelic Afrobeat affair that was every bit as heavy, colourful and vibrant as you'd expect. Here, one of the album's standout tunes gets the remix treatment courtesy of long-serving, party-starting musical fusionist Bosq. The Ubiquity and Soul Clap stalwart delivers vocal and instrumental passes of "Jibiti", both of which make great use of Kaleta's vocals and Super Yamba Band's fuzzy, Fela Kuti-style horn lines. Bosq's groove is closer in feel to Afro-disco than the original album version, though the bassline, organ stabs and vocals are pure Afrobeat gold.
Review: A Lord Funk and Samm Culley collaboration is always going to be something to get excited about and so it proves on this one from French label Boogie Butt. Each of these artists has oodles of experience spanning multiple decades, with Culley being an R&B, soul and funk keyboard player who has been in various key bands. Here he harks back to the 70s with super tight drum funk and rugged instrumentals recalling the likes of The Fatback Band and Hot Chocolate. The breaks are killer for the dancers, too, and on the flip, Lord Funk serves up his rework while Samm jumps on bass to do his inimitable thing.
Review: The latest volume in Mr Bongo's brilliant Brazil 45 series offers up a pair of MPB gems that have previously never featured on seven-inch before. Side A is all about Marcia Maria's 1978 cut "Amigo Branco", a disco-era interpretation of Djalma Dias' 1974 track "Nada Sei De Preconceito". Maria's cover is jaunty, colourful and ear-catching, pushing jaunty organs, sharp horns and spacey synth lines towards the ear alongside her passionate, full-throated lead vocal. Over on side B you'll find "Tudo Que Voce Podia Ser", an overlooked gem plucked from MPB artist Simone's self-titled 1973 debut LP. More rooted in samba, it's a lilting, string-laden chunk of emotional sweetness.
Review: The latest audio missive from Funkineven's Apron camp has been receiving a lot of heat, and it's easy to see why. In typical style, both tracks take classic boogie and '80s soul jams, impressively mangling them in distinctly different ways. Mighty Baron III's "Screwed" is a "chopped and screwed" masterpiece - a fusion of sludgy, slowed-down electrfunk loops, pitched-down vocals and wonky beatbox rhythms. It's distinctively odd, but really rather special. Flip for the Sun Runners' "The Finest", a smart and melodious S.O.S Band re-edit that's been pepped up with additional drum machine hits and special effects. It will do the business on both boogie and R&B dancefloors.
Review: Limited white vinyl repress.DJ Soopasoul's last mash-up was an inspired affair that saw him perfectly fuse tracks by Philadelphia Soul legends MFSB and the Beastie Boys. Here he takes a similar approach, placing the rap vocals from the 1995 hip-hop classic 'How High' atop a suitably funky, lolloping beat crafted from clavinet-heavy sections from Stevie's party-starting floor-heater 'Superstition'. It works remarkably well on the A-side vocal mix, and those who'd not heard either track would be convinced that there was no mash-up antics going on. Over on side B you'll find an instrumental mix that showcases Soopasoul's editing skills; minus the vocals, is a fine re-edit of the Wonder-ful jam.
Review: Stefano Tirone has been a stalwart of the Italian scene since making his debut on legendary Italian house label Calypso Records way back in 1992. Since then, his productions have become increasingly more jazz and soul focused, with a sizeable side order of groovy downtempo beats. His latest seven-inch single begins with "Try My Love", a hazy chunk of head-nodding jazz-funk/soul fusion rich in languid synthesizer solos, lazy grooves, hazy horns and soulful vocals. It's really good all told, though we'd argue that flipside "Odoya" - a wiggling chunk of Afro-tinged mid-tempo funk - is even better. Either way, it's another rock solid release from the effervescent Tirone.
Review: A one off private press from '72 from a mysterious band with no background or backstory; this funk soul doublet from the awesomely titled Scorpio & His People first reared its super-rare head in 2012 after original copies apparently fetched nearly 4000 quid. Raw, warm and driving, both sides cut it with the band glued tightly together and a soaring female. "The Unforgiving" is more straight up funk with some popping fills and gusty vocals while "Theme From 'The Movietown Sound'" comes with more of a smoky swagger, brazen pianos and a stunning break that screams 'sample me' louder than the OG price tag.
Review: If you don't already own a copty of Gil Scott-Heron classic "The Bottle", one of the many highlights from the pioneering spoken word artist and musician's 1974 collaboration with Brian Jackson, "Winter In America", then we'd heartily recommend picking up one of these limited-edition, white vinyl singles. For the uninitiated, the track features Scott-Heron musing on alcoholism and poverty over a killer flute-laden soul-funk groove. This time round it comes backed by another Scott-Heron/Jackson gem, "Johannesburg" - a more musically inventive and bluesy meditation on arpartheid first featured on the pair's 1975 album "From South Africa To South Carolina".
Review: Two crucial moments from Gil Scott Heron's immense repertoire; "When You Are Who You Are" takes the lead. Taken from his 1971 album Pieces Of A Man, it's a straight up homage to clarity and honesty told in the context that only Gil knew best. Flip for a very special alternative take of "Free Will". The title track of his following album, released a year later in 1972, the variations of this take (which has never been released on vinyl before) are subtle but strong enough to justify it a place in your collection.
Review: Only 300 copies pressed of this classic Gil Scott-Heron heavy double sider on a limited dinked 45. "It's Your World" is Gil Scott - may he rest in peace - at his funkiest best with an upfront vocal over a driving sax and rhodes- those of you who have seen one or two Gilles Peterson's DJ sets down the years will remember this fondly. "Winter In America" showcases Gil's legendary poetic prose in a meandering, melancholic manner offset by rhodes and flute. Essential.
Review: Iconic soul from 1968 and Rhode Island wanderer Freddie Scott, famously sampled by Biz Markie, "(You) Got What I Need" is one of those records you know before you even hear it. Freddie's balance of sincerity and swing bring a powerful presence to the big R&B groove where the band and backing vocals are following Scott's lead to the measure. Driven by more of an upbeat northern soul stomp, "Powerful Love" was no fading b-side either. A vital piece of soul history.
Review: George Semper's 1984 album Themes For Television, Sports and Aerobics is one of the most brilliantly bonkers you're ever likely to hear. It featured the veteran jazz-man reach for the most intergalactic-sounding electronic instruments he could find and lay down a series of short, library music style missives that still sound like the product of some kind of demented acid trip. The people behind Dynamite Cuts are obviously fans, because they've decided to stick a small selection of cuts from the hard-to-find album on this tidy 7" single. On the A you'll find the deep space, jazz-fired electro-lounge madness of "Pretty Lady", while the flip boasts two shorter cuts: jazzy synth-scape "Universe" and spacey ambient doodle "Extraterrestrial Search Contact Tones".
Review: The red hot 45 series from Dynamite Cuts continues apace with more gold carefully dug out from the rich archives of George Semper. This is the first time ver these tunes have been on 7", and the pressing is limited to 600. "Got To Find A Way To Make Some Money" is a sentiment we can all relate to right now. The tune will certainly lift your spirits though with its rousing vocal harmonies, cheery trumpets and vibe spreading soul sounds. "The Weight" (instrumental) is more intense, somehow, with bristling rhythm sections and lo-fi organs all serving up the heat.
George Semper - "Knowbody's Gonna Love You (Like The Way I Do)" (demo version) (2:19)
Joanne Vent - "Knowbody's Gonna Love You (Like The Way I Do)" (unreleased Acetate version) (2:11)
Review: On their previous deep dives into the archives of Trindadian-American multi-instrumentalist and producer George Semper, Dynamite Cuts has largely focused on reissuing obscure, private-press releases. Here they go one step further, offering up two unheard versions of Semper composition 'Knowbody's Gonna Love You (Like The Way I Do)'. On the A-side you'll find Semper's demo version, a cheery chunk of summery soul bliss blessed with fantastic group vocals, a superb lead vocal from the man himself, and some deliciously chiming melodies. Over on the flip you'll find a fuzzy, more horn-heavy soul version from vocalist Joanna Vent that was previously pressed to an acetate but never released
Review: Released late last year, Dirty Drum Productions first "Crate Breaks" seven-inch offered up two sides of cut-and-paste drum breaks - with gaps in between - for turntablists to play around with. This second salvo follows a similar blueprint. What you get is a series of celebrated (and in some cases lesser-known) breakbeats lifted from rock, funk and soul records, EQ'd and re-mastered for maximum loudness. These breaks - arranged into loose "tracks" as "Crate Breaks 3" and "Crate Breaks 4" - are clean enough to either sample, or use during turntablist routines. If you buy two copies, you can even "double up" with them and create fresh backing tracks for the MC of your choice.
Review: Back in 2012, Outta Sight dipped into the Cameo-Parkway catalogue in order to offer a first ever "45" pressing of Dee Dee Sharp's 1963 version of 'Comin' Home Baby', which was originally featured on the Philadelphian vocalist's sixth solo album, All The Hits (Volume 2). Eight years on the label has decided to issue a new, limited-edition pressing on vibrant red vinyl. Her version of the Mel Torme favourite is superb and arguably even better than the more famous and celebrated original recording. It comes backed with Sharp's deliciously stomping, uplifting 1965 take on Barrett Strong song 'Standing in the Need of Love', a version that should appeal to Northern Soul DJs and dancers across the UK.
Review: Back in 2011, Shawn Lee recorded an album in tribute to the legendary Incredible Bongo Band - whose extra-percussive cuts and cover versions played a key role in the early development of hip-hop - under the name the Incredible Tabla Band. Here, two of the more sought-after cuts from the hard-to-find set appear on seven-inch for the first time. Lee's take on "Apache", in which Indian instrumentation, Hammond organ licks and a touch of psych-rock fuzziness are thrown into the mix with incendiary results - is a guaranteed dancefloor hit. That said, his "Tabla Rock" take on "Bongo Rock" is arguably even better, and certainly a little more revolutionary in terms of the sounds you hear. It's naturally rooted in bongo and tabla-powered funk, but attractively veers off script at key moments.
Review: Quintessential Brit funk from 1982; Side On was a one off project from three members of Freeez and Potion, and "Magic" was unfortunately, their only official release. Cited by the likes of Dam Funk as an influence, the raw funk oozing through the mix on both versions was ahead of its time and veering towards more of a proto house sound that kicks dancefloors like a mule. The standard vocal is much more focused on Rick Clarke's strong vocal while the version goes all out with full bass runs and the obligatory saxophone solo. Abracadabra... Reach out and grab this.
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues with aplomb... On their eighth outing we find the hugely prolific 60s/70s troubadour Wilson Simonal paying homage to the legendary Jorge Ben with two exemplary cover versions. Whether it's on the soft big band emphasis and teasing fills on "Zazueira" or the upbeat, feel-good swinger "Silva Lenheira" there's a raw clarity to Wilson's vocals that instantly endure; the way he pushes his voice to the very edge of breaking on the high notes and a rich, clear delivery, he's the consummate soulful showman.
Review: Soul Brother Records is doing the world a great service by reissuing Sisters of Love's 1973 proto-disco anthem "Give Me Your Love", which is here presented in a Juno exckusive white vinyl edition. The song has been re-edited, bootlegged and reworked countless times over the years, and newcomers should be able to tell why straight away: the combination of brilliant group vocals, Blaxploitation style gyutars, fluttering flutes and powerful horns is simply superb. This time round it's accompanied by a lesser-known gem, "Try It, You'll Like It", which first featured on the B-side of a 1973 single. It's a powerful chunk of conscious funk/soul fusion of the sort that was incredibly popular during the period it was recorded.
Review: Thomas Arroyo AKA 'Laroye' is a respected French DJ and producer who here teams up with Andre Espeut for their own take on Beyond Compare. The track has plenty of classic James Brown overtones and makes for an extravagant funk sound with newly recorded vocals that really hit the spot. The synths are bright and contemporary, the jumbled drums loose but driving and the vibes impossible to ignore. This is Situationism's first funk 7" specially crafted for RSD 2020 and it is a standout one.
Review: Two all time funk/soul classics from the Skull Snaps - a funk group active between 1963 and 1973. They were known as The Diplomats up until 1970 and released a number of singles with moderate success. Renamed Skull Snaps, they released an eponymous album on the small GSF label in 1973, before disappearing into obscurity. These selections are from the said album. New 7" reissue label Dynamite Cuts is releasing these two gems as a limited edition 500 only pressing, showcasing the two best tracks on the LP. Both have been heavily sampled in many hip-hop and club classics by Eric B. & Rakim, Digable Planets, DJ Shadow, The Prodigy and Panjabi MC to name but a few.
Review: The US' Funk Night Records is pushing some serious heat as of late, especially given the fact that it's managing to find some real horsepower amid the contemporary generation of funk and soul - a rarity to be appreciated and recognised, these days. Bishop Smith is joined by The Sensational Disciples band to deliver "Bumps In The Road", a gloriously soulful song that gives new meaning to the term 'raw'; this might well be the most seductive piece of music we have heard this year and, if that sounds like an exaggeration, then you might just have to check it out for yourself. The instrumental, is naturally as wonderful, but the vocals on the A-side have the power to remain imprinted in your mind for days and days. This is very warmly recommended.