Review: Feeling lucky? With grooves as raw, sizzling and energetic as these, there's a strong chance you might be. Hot on the heels of their "Mesquite Beat" 45 comes this equally earthy and frank doublet. "'Bout To Blow" is a big pant swinging blues affair while "Saints & Beggars" takes us up a notch with a whirling 6/8 signature whirling waltz where the horns and drums take the lead and we follow in their every dreamy footstep. Look out for the album Mesquite Suite coming on Tramp very soon.
The Family Daptone - "Hey Brother (Do Unto Others)" (3:52)
Soul Fugue - "The 100 Knights Orchestra" (4:58)
Review: Soul and funk heads won't want to miss this very special seven-inch from the Daptone Records crew, and not just because it's the label's 100th "45". The A-side features an all-star '60s soul cover of the Frightnrs rock-steady cut featuring vocal contributions from Saun and Starr, James Hunter, Lee Fields, Naomi Shelton, Duke Amayo, the Frightnrs and two legends who are no longer with us: Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones. It's a one-off that won't be repeated for obvious reasons, but more importantly it's very, very good. Over on the flip main man Bosco Mann takes charge, conducting and producing "two opposing armies" of woodwind and horn players from the label's expansive musical roster. As you'd expect, it's something of an epic.
Review: Taken from Lee's brand new album Special Night "Make The World" is Fields at his finest, fieriest and funkiest - a message of clear unity delivered with his signature gutsy vocals over a beautifully tight groove from The Expressions. Rolling with a real sense of momentum and cool drama, Fields and his troupe still have heaps of love to give. The feeling's mutual too.
Review: Finnish revivalist funk combo the Soul Investigators are no strangers to collaboration, having previously provided backing for Nicole Willis, Myron and Ernie Hawks. Here, they once again join forces with the latter for two more chunks of instrumental funk and soul goodness. A-side "Scorpio Walk" is the kind of cut that should come with its own named dance; a shuffling, mid-tempo funk affair that layers Spaghetti Western guitar solos and fluttering flute lines over a backing track rich in flanged guitar licks, bustling bass guitar and on-point drum breaks. Flipside "Message of Love" is an altogether deeper and more dewy-eyed affair, with woozy backing vocals and electric piano solos rising above a shuffling groove.
Review: Ernie Hawks & The Soul Investigators return to Timmion with a pair of brand-new soul scorchers, and this ain't no reissue business. For real. As per usual, the imprint know exactly where to source the very best in the contemporary gear while everyone else is looking to the 70s for that adrenaline rush. As it turns out, this is some marvellously constructed soul music, right from the heart and soul, with "Cold Turkey Last Time" and "Trackin' Down" containing all the elements of fine ballads that are both future-proof and utterly stand-out. Check it and don't wreck it.
Review: Following their surprise reunion and Strut-release album We Be All Africans last year, Idris and The Pyramids return... This time on Max Weissenfeldt's Philophon imprint. Laying down a spiritual arrangement so frenetic and full of its own life it takes up two parts, Idris's sax plays duet with Philophon's own vocalist Guy One. Gutsy, raw and full of surprises, it's another out-of-body experience from the longstanding jazz troupe.
Review: Multi-track re-edits, where producers utilize the instrumental and vocal parts found on studio master tapes, are all the rage right now. While the Rephlex crew and Joey Negro are the most famous exponents of the art, Galaxy Sound Co regular Kadena has previously proved to be rather adept at it, too. Here the little-known producer channels the spirit of original disco remixer Walter Gibbons, first to provide a lolloping, groove-based revision of Instant Funk's intergalactic Salsoul classic "I Got My Mind Made Up" (side A), and then to deliver a similarly minded take on First Choice's "Let No Man Put Asunder". Like its A-side companion, it's warmer, looser and predominantly instrumental, with judicious use of key vocal passages.
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.
The Lively Set - "Blues Get Off My Shoulder" (2:48)
The Three Dudes - "I'm Beggin You" (2:45)
Review: The unstoppable Big Crown label is back with what is, once again, a rare find. In fact, we have two previously impossible tunes to get on this tidy 7" - first up, The Lively Set's excellent "Blues Get Off My Shoulder" roars a deep wave of glorious vintage soul, putting the very best of James Brown material to the test. As a follower, The Three Dudes' "I'm Beggin You" is one for the swings and the shakers, storming out of the speakers with that inimitable Mo-Town glory. An unmissable little 7" from the heart of the 60s!
Frank Motley & The Hitchikers - "Mr Fortune" (feat The Mighty Pope) (2:43)
King Herbert & The Knights - "Sissy Strut" (3:43)
Review: Described by Austrian retroverted Record Shack as one of the funkiest pieces of wax to come off of Canadian label Heart back in 1970, "Mr Fortune" features ex-Jamaican talent Earle Heeedram aka 'The Mighty Pope' providing vocals alongside esteemed American trumpet player Frank Motley. With no industry or promotional support, the disc disappeared into obscurity, but has now become one of the most in demand 'northern funk' tunes on the rare soul scene and available here on a great sounding 45" reissue with original B side "I May Have Been A Fool" replaced by the obscure but infectious, groovy "Sissy Strut".
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
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: Chalalala move on. Outta Sight continue their two sides / two legends Atlantic 45 series with this beautiful celebration of The Pointer Sisters and The Drifters. Neither act require an introduction. The famous Oakland all-girl troupe take the lead with "Send Him Back", their sophomore single (that regularly fetches upwards of L100 a copy) it's a bubblegum soul frenzy with all the energy you'd expect from their breakthrough years. The Drifters carries a similar sense of focus and energy with vibrant backing vocals and a sunny side soul touch that will have you bouncing from here to next winter.
Kenny Smith - "Lord What's Happened To Your People" (2:51)
Kenny Smith & The Loveliters - "Go For Your Self" (full) (4:49)
Review: Soul Street maestro's breakthrough release from 1971 gets a much needed spotlight from Counterpart... "Lord What's Happening To Your People" is gospel re-imagined as raw funk as Kenny calls out humanity's problems with the help of a full backing chorus and some very slick, dramatic orchestration. "Go For Yourself" takes us further back into Kenny's career to 1966. Leaner than the A-side but comes with the same elements -tight bandmanship, emphatic backing vocals, instant feel-good dynamics - and is also loaded with some exceptionally clean drum breaks. Go fun yourselves.
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.
Review: Happy birthday to party-starting, funk-fuelled record label Resense, which put out its first 7" single 10 years ago. To kick off a new decade, they've enlisted the services of regular contributor Andy Taylor. He begins with the percussion-rich bounce of "Kitschy Jungle", where original Afro-funk vocals and instrumentation ride a jaunty tropical rhythm track. It's tastefully done, with Taylor's tasty new beats working well with the dusty, sampled elements. Over on the flipside, he opts for a more straightforward Afro-funk feel, lacing punchy horns and reverb-laden flute lines atop a killer funk break and heavily compressed bassline. File under: "dancefloor fire".
The Temptations - "I Can't Get Next To You" (Wonderlove re-edit) (3:54)
Jack Hammer - "Swim" (Wonderlove short re-edit) (3:55)
Review: Wonderlove is the re-editor at the controls for the latest edition of the Soul Flip reworks series, which this time boasts tidy rearrangements of killer cuts from the Temptations and Jack Hammer. It's the former's 1969 single "I Can't Get Next To You" that gets the rework treatment first, with Wonderlove making merry with the track's jangling piano riffs, hybrid rock/soul groove, insatiable vocals and much-sampled drum breaks (which get extended for added dancefloor pleasure). If you're in the mood for something heavier and fuzzier, the "Short Re-Edit" of Jack Hammer's insatiable, spiraling funk workout "Swim" will have you dancing like you've got ants in your pants.
The Tolbert Family Singers - "Ride The Gospel Train" (feat Brother O C Tolbert) (3:36)
O C Tolbert - "Give It To Glory" (5:46)
Review: With Cordial Recordings, LoveVinyl's Roual Galloway is doing a terrific job in making rare, sought-after tracks available to a wider audience. In truth, you'll struggle to find a more rare and expensive gospel killer than The Tolbert Family Singers' "Ride The Gospel Train", a drum machine driven chunk of gospel-boogie with crunchy funk guitars that's been changing hands for hundreds of pounds online. Andrew Weatherall is a fan and it's easy to see why. Flipside "Give it Glory", a solo cut by Tolbert Family patriarch Brother OC Tolbert, is a sweeter and breezier slab of gospel-soul that has never before been released on vinyl. Two killer cuts for the price of one: nice one, Roual!
Review: Rich gutsy soul from a man who's regularly described as Brazil's James Brown, "O Journalerio" is a blueprint funk jam. Released in 1971 (on his hyper-rare album BR-3) it's all about the orchestrated swing, bluesy groove and Hammond licks so lavish you need to towel on every listen. Flip for Som Tres... An off-shoot of the Sambalanco Trio, it's the sound of Cesar Camargo Mariano controlling a restrained rolling slice of filmic instrumental funk where horns, keys and drums gather momentum with big band drama. Neither have been released on 45" before, making this all the more special.
Review: Chop-walloping funk soul: AOTN bossman Fryer has allegedly spent the past 15 years trying to secure this '70s rarity. Silky, youthful and compounded with an insatiable groove, it's dangerously close to Jackson 5's best output and no one would blame you if you thought it actually was. Flip for "Dimona", a slower burner that swoons and shows the band's more mature side. This is the first time either side has seen a 45... You know what to do.