Review: Sounds like it came out of Lagos in 1971, actually written and recorded in Lyon in 2015: Voilaaa is the brainchild of Bruno Hovart whose long relationship with Favorite goes way back to his days as Patchworks, Mr President and The Dynamics. Recording on a whole host of vintage machines and calling upon local African singers both cuts have a real authentic sense of realness; "Spies Are Watching Me" drives with big horns and swooning strings which isn't dissimilar to the work of The Movers, while the TY Boys-esque "Le Disco Des Capitales" is a heavier, more concentrated slab of floor-minded disco where the groove takes more of a forefront role. Apparently there's a whole album of this cooking... We can't wait to hear it.
Review: Two premium Latin funk documents on one limited 45, Mr Bongo deliver once again: Marcos Valle needs no introduction to Brazilian music enthusiasts. "Mentira" is a self-cover as Valle takes his 69 classic "Mentira Carioca" and develops the dynamic with a vocal style that's highly reminiscent of Donovan. Flip for Toni Tornado's Black Rio anthem "Me Libertei". Fusing sleazy rock n roll with jazzy Latin soul, madly this is the first time it's ever graced a 45!
Review: The Voices Of East Harlem were an ensemble of vocalists who for Just Sunshine Records recorded two albums under the direction of Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield. "Cashing In" is one of their most classic songs, a highly sought after track on original 7" fetches a small fortune on the collectors market. First recorded and released in 1973, it has all the hallmarks of a Leroy Hutson composition and an established audience that crosses the boundaries of northern, crossover and modern soul. The song is coupled here with "Take A Stand', another highly regarded and sought after modern soul room dance floor tracks, never previously released on 7" single until now
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing Brazil 45s series, Mr Bongo has decided to change tack. The two tracks showcased here are from the golden age of Brazilian boogie. On the A-side you'll find Marcos Valle's "A Paraiba Nao E Chicago", a largely overlooked cut from his 1981 full-length Vontade De Rever Voce. While not as instantly as infectious as some of his better-known singles, it's still superb; a breezy, blue-eyed soul cut full of rising horns and sweet Portuguese vocals. On the B-side, you'll find Don Beto's 1978 disco-funk jam "Nao Quero Mais", a superb track that was seemingly inspired by the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running".
Review: For their latest dive into the depths of funk history, Athens of the North travels back to 1978 and the debut of John Hawes and Velma Bunch's obscure Hard Drivers project. The record initially appeared on Hawes' own short-lived imprint, and his since become a sought after 7" amongst serious collectors. "Since I Was A Little Girl" is a disco-era funk gem, with guest singer Vivian Lee providing a brilliantly confident vocal to compliment Hawes and Bunch's driving, horn-heavy backing track. On the flip you'll find original B-side "Straight Talk", a touching torch song full of harmony backing vocals, impassioned builds, and lyrics capable of melting even the stoniest of hearts.
Review: Those who watch the X-Factor may remember Voices With Soul; the trio, which is made up of three female members of the Campbell family (Grace, Hilda and Corene) reached the last six of the TV talent competition back in the late noughties. Here, they're in full-on contemporary gospel mode, layering their impassioned, righteous vocals over a lushly produced, slow-burning backing track full of chiming synthesizer melodies, bustling synth bass and tumbling electronic sax solos. Arguably even better is the flipside "Promo Mix", which doffs a cap to classic British street soul - a homegrown 1980s variant that is constantly overlooked by dance music scholars - via tactile hip-hop beats and Soul II Soul style production.
Review: As part of the label's 15th birthday celebrations, the Tramp Records crew has decided to serve up some seriously heavy deep funk. Given that the imprint first found fame championing similarly weight, B-Boy-friendly funk jams, it's rather fitting. The two showcased tracks come courtesy of St Petersburg band the Vicious Seeds, who have slowly been picking up plaudits since making their vinyl debut in 2016. A-side "Illegal Delivery" is something of a dancefloor beast, with razor-sharp guitars riding sweaty, all-action funk drums and a booming, metronomic bassline. "Happy Lobster", on the other hand, is a little more relaxed but no less potent, with the Russian combo wrapping jazzy guitar motifs around a bustling groove.
Review: The Spacetalk label returns with this fine compilation by French house shotter, Jeremy Underground. We know him, and you surely know him, though his My Love Is Underground label, an imprint that has produced some of the best deep house in the last five years. He's not in house mode today, though, and instead the DJ shows us his soul roots. Ron Rinaldi's opener "Mexican Summer" is a real peach of a song, then there's some Brazilian disco-funk through Leila Pinheiro's "Tudo Em Cima", and the supremely deep and sensual "Superstar" by NCCU. Other favourites include Maureen Bailey's bittersweet anthem "Takin' My Time With You", and June Evans' "Hardly Need To Say", a tune that we could just leave on repeat. A highly recommended comp!
Review: The Magic Forest dwelling record collectors better known as Psychemagik return to Claremont56 offshoot Leng with a new compilation Magik Sunrise which is essentially a vinyl shaped sequel to last year's well received Magik Cyrkles. Though equally well presented as that compilation, Psychemagik refreshingly adopt a different sonic direction here, trading in the obscure Balearica and funk in favour of a wonderfully enlightening blend of African reggae, jazz-funk, prog rock, folk and New Age curios. Think David Holmes classic Essential Mix then crank up the weird factor to eleven and you'll have a good idea of what to expect from this fifteen track selection. The sensual twilight boogie of "The Juggler" by Fox is a particular highlight.
Bo Dollis & The Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indian Band - "Handa Wanda"
The Meters - "Handclapping Song"
Eddie Bo - "Check Your Bucket"
Professor Longhair - "Big Chief"
Cyril Nevilille - "Tell Me What's On Your Mind"
Lee Dorsey And Betty Harris - "Love Lots Of Lovin"
Mary Jane Hooper - "I've Got Reasons"
Lee Dorsey - "Who's Gonna Help Brother Get Further"
Huey Piano Smith & His Clowns - "Free Single And Disengaged"
Eddie Bo - "Hook'n'Sling (Pt II)"
The Gaturs - "Gator Bait"
Danny White - "Natural Soul Brother"
Ernie K Doe - "Here Come The Girls"
Dr John - "Mama Roux"
Allen Toussaint - "Get Out Of My Life Woman"
The Explosions - "Garden Of Four Trees"
Robert Parker - "Hip-Huggin"
Chuck Carbo - "Can I Be Your Squeeze"
Gentleman June Gardner - "It's Gonna Rain"
Marilyn Barbarin - "Reborn"
The Meters - "Just Kissed My Baby"
Sonny Jones - "Sissy Walk (Pt II)"
Review: This Soul Jazz release is a definitive collection of New Orleans funk featuring acknowledged masters of funk (The Meters, Eddie Bo, Professor Longhair) next to some of the earlier artists who shaped the meaning of funk. The album is also filled with many rare, sought after and undiscovered funk tracks. It covers the period from the emergence of New Orleans funk in the early 1960's through to the mid 1970's. The album comes with a 40 page booklet presenting a historical explanation to how and why this music came about, and with lots of information about the people involved.
Ramon Pyrme/Jean Claude Cornely - "Vacance Union" (4:49)
Zanma - "Poutchi" (4:47)
Swanha Desvarieux - "Nou Ke Sa Enmew" (4:06)
The Group NSI - "Mande Moin On Lajan, Pa Mande Za Fe An Moin" (3:43)
OREA - "Biguine Inferno" (4:49)
Milton - "Mizik Nou" (4:49)
Selekta - "Fle Pou'W" (3:59)
Meliza - "Anrage" (4:35)
Acayouman - "Si Ou Ladje Moin" (4:00)
Eddy LA Viny - "Indiano" (3:38)
Review: Here's yet another rare '80s compilation with even more deep cuts than the last. Where do they find them all? Heavenly Sweetness clearly know but they ain't telling! They are showing though, and here on Digital Zandoli they reveal 12 newly discovered disco, boogie and zouk tracks recorded about 30 years ago in the West Indies. We're clearly spoilt for choice on this record, but highlights include the synthetic sea breeze grooves of Puzzle Pulsion's "Mwoin Ka Songe", the mellow Afro grooves of Zanman's "Poutchi" and the abstract body music via a sandy beach vibes of OR EA's "Biguine Inferno".
Hafusa Abasi & Slim Ali with The Yahoos Band - "Sina Raha"
Nashil Pichen & The Eagles Lupopo - "Ng'ong'a Wa Mwanjalo"
Nairobi Matata Jazz - "Tamba Tamba"
The Lulus Band - "Ngwendeire Guita"
Mbiri Young Stars - "Ndiri Ndanogio Niwe"
The Lulus Band - "Nana"
Afro 70 - "Weekend"
The Rift Valley Brothers - "Mu-Africa"
DO 7 Band - "HO Ochiri"
Afro '70 - "Cha-Umheja"
Peter Tsotsi Juma & The Eagles Lupopo - "Kajo Golo-Weka"
New Gatanga Sound - "Thonia Ni Caki"
Sophia Ben & The Eagles Lupopo - "See Serere"
Kalambya Boys - "Kivelenge"
The Loi-Toki-Tok Band - "Leta Ngoma"
Huruma Boys Band - "Theresia"
Orchestre Veve Star - "Nitarudia"
The Mombasa Vikings - "Mama Matotoya"
The Lulus Band - "Mutumia Muriu"
Ndalani 77 Brothers - "Nzaumi"
Review: Having explored the rich heritage of Nigeria and Ghana with well researched vigour, Soundway turn to Kenya for their next adventure... A rare insight: while Lagos was churning out seminal Afrobeat compositions, Kenya took to western influences in a much subtler fashion. With heavy emphasis on the Kenyan benga and Afro-Cuban rumba there's a much deeper, local folk presentation and format throughout most of the selection. Complete with detailed notes and beautiful presentation (like all Soundway compendiums) this won't look out of place in any collection.
Newton Drinckwater - "Macacao Pesado (Melo Do Macaco)" (2:32)
Gaby Whiskadao - "Super Amor" (3:54)
Tim Maia - "Ve Se Decide" (3:30)
Review: Although a few compilations of Brazilian boogie have appeared in recent years, you get the impression that they've barely scratched the surface. Certainly, this first collection of Brazilian boogie gems from the SBD Discos camp suggests this is the case by steering clear of cuts already showcased elsewhere. We're particularly enjoying the summery, samba-boogie brilliance of Elzio De Buzios's "Tramamqueiro", the heavy P-funk/early electro fusion of Electric Boogies' "Brake Mandrake" and the chant-along, synth-heavy madness of Let's Dance's "Dance Com Gente", though there are plenty of other highlights dotted around the compilation. To be honest, it's that tight that we could have recommended countless other tracks.
Review: To date, each volume in Africa Seven's thrilling Africa Airways compilation series has been little less than essential. It goes without saying that this fourth instalment is also exceptionally good. Whereas previous volumes have focused on Afro-funk and "Afro-psych" (think Sly Stone, Nigerian style), this set drills down into African disco-funk released between 1976 and '83. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the solo-laden, slap bass-boasting bounce of Tala AM's "Get Up Tchamassi" and Charly Kingson's squelchy, synth-laden Blaxploitation number "Nimele Bolo", to the righteous, piano-driven thrills of Kemayo and K-System's brilliant "Biram" and the superior boogie business of Jake Sollo's "Tinini Yasana".
Review: We probably say this more than we should, but this time our statement really isn't prone to hyberbole: we love the Cultures Of Soul label, and whatever genre they're reissuing, we can always count on them to deliver the quality like no other imprint. From Evans Pyramid to the recent black gospel compilation they've released, we have nothing but good stuff to say about them, and this is equally true of this new South African disco collection from the years 1980-1984. The title alone should do the trick but trust us, there is nothing but fire in here, and if you're the sort of collector scouting for rare African rhythms then this is the gear for you. The Cannibals start off with some lovely docile disco jams, Harari's "Party" is a sublime lo-fi funk cut, the Don Laka material is pure disco glory, and the remaining tunes by the likes of Neville Nash or Al Etto are able to destroy ANY dance floor from here to Durban. Top marks from us...
TB Funk - "Free Blow" (the dub version - G&D edit) (5:01)
Kenny Pierce - "Done Been" (5:13)
Those Good Intentions - "We Know How To Boogie" (6:50)
Sherman Hunter - "Dance To Freedom" (8:12)
Gospel Keepers - "Never Gonna Give You Up" (5:38)
Living Color - "Plastic People" (G&D edit) (4:57)
Roller Disco - "Stone Luv" (4:15)
Carol Meriwether - "Love Ain't Just (A Physical Thing)" (9:35)
William Barlak - "Ain't No Doubt About It" (3:42)
Review: The Grasso is greener in Bologna: home to two of the most well-connected collectors in Italy. Suppliers to the likes of Kenny Dope, Phil Asher and Dimitri, Gino and Federico have carved their crate craft to insane levels over the last 30+ years... As shown on this detailed, widescreen boogie, funk and disco collection for BBC. Splattering the vibrant collection with a handful of their own edits (TB Funk's salubrious struts on "Free Blow", fly-by boogie falsettos on Living Color's "Plastic People"), the Grasso bro's have put together a package that's eye-opening, enlightening and damn fine to party to. See you on the other side.
Review: Selector, percussionist, producer and all-round legend Snowboy represents his weekly Madame JoJo's showcase in album form. Digging deep across two 12"s, Snowboy treats us to 23 undiluted funk and soul cuts. From well-known (James Brown's "Bring It Up" and Etta James' "Can't Shake It") to lesser-known (The Shirelles' "Boys", Dorothy Berry's "I Say You're Driving Me Crazy"), the whole curation rolls with emphatic consistency and attention to detail. With gems hidden around every corner, even the most ardent of collectors will find many things to love right here.
Judy Carter - "Listen To The Music" (12" version) (5:57)
Janet N'Diaye Lokamba - "Funky & Fire" (4:53)
KKE - "Money" (4:03)
Caramel - "L'amour Toujours L'amour" (12" version) (5:56)
Yannick Chevalier - "Ecoute Le Son Du Soleil" (instrumental) (4:06)
JEKYS - "Looking For You" (4:26)
Silence - "Un Peu D'amour" (3:40)
Wally & Shane - "Give Back My Song" (3:47)
Zorgus - "Flash" (3:36)
Joel Dayde - "Qu'est Ce Que Tu Fais Par Amour" (3:29)
Review: For those intrigued by the distinctively Gallic but authentically American-sounding world of French disco-boogie, Charles Maurice's ongoing compilation series should be essential listening. Here he serves up a third instalment that's every bit as good as its' acclaimed predecessors. Highlights naturally come thick and fast throughout, from the mid-80s dreaminess of Maya's undeniably Balearic "Lait De Coco (Dub)" and the Brenda Taylor-ish bounce of Judy Carter's brilliant "Listen to the Music", to the Leroy Burgess style piano stabs and Patrick Adams-ish disco production of Caramel's "L'Amour Toujours L'Amour". Oh, and the late night radio warmth of NST Cophies' "Segregation", a sweet, undulating workout that will no doubt find favour with Balearic selectors.
Cloud One - "Don't Let My Rainbow Pass Me By" (feat Margo Williams - club 12" mix) (4:40)
Jo.Boyer - "Isabelle & The Rain" (5:31)
Ramona Brooks - "I Don't Want You Back" (4:49)
Idris Muhammad - "Could Heaven Ever Be Like This" (8:35)
Omni - "Out Of My Hands" (feat Connee Draper) (6:14)
George Duke - "I Want You For Myself" (feat Lynn Davis) (6:22)
Alfredo De La Fé - "Hot To Trot" (6:27)
Universe City - "Can You Get Down" (5:48)
Bunny Mack - "Let Me Love You" (7:51)
The Brothers - "Under The Skin" (6:01)
Review: When Joey Negro and Sean P established the Disco Spectrum series of compilations back in 1999, few DJs were digging for disco. Almost two decades on, we're told that disco was the sound of summer 2017 (and the summer before that). The time is right, then, for this "best of", containing the finest cuts from the series' three previous volumes. This time round, the crate-digging duo has opted for a mixture of familiar favourites ("Spread Love", "Out Of My Hands (Love's Taking Over)", "Bourgie Bourgie", "Together Forever" etc.) and harder to find gems. These include Caribbean disco classic "Trinidad" by John Gibbs and the US Steel Orchestra, Blair's sumptuous "Nightlife" and Larry Levan's brilliant remix of Syreeta's synth-laden slammer "Can't Shake Your Love".
Ifang Bondi & The Afro Mandingue Sounds - "Atis-A-Tis" (4:38)
Sory Bamba - "Kanaga 78" (4:55)
African Black - "Nzango" (7:02)
Bunzu Soundz - "Zinabu" (3:21)
Messi Jacques & Les Dissoumbas De Libreville - "Onga Ben Ma Na Mene Mebua" (6:18)
Ofo & The Black Company - "Allah Wakbarr" (3:26)
Damas Swing Orchestra - "Odylife" (2:20)
AKA - "Shake Me" (5:32)
Manu Dibango - "Ceddo" (5:06)
Review: The Africa Seven label might not have been around for very long, but the London-Paris dynasty has certainly established itself as a no.1 outlet for rare, unhinged world music. This is Africa Airways Volume 3: The Afro-Psych Excursion, a gorgeous compilation spanning the years 1972 to 1984, and it clearly offers some of the most magnetic tunes that they label has put out thus far. There isn't a mediocre song in here and, as the saying goes, it's all-killer-no-filler; take African Black's "Nzango", for example, a twisted, FX-heavy tribal experiment, or the more soulful highs and lows of tunes like "Zinabu" by Bunzu Soundz. Rough, dusty, completely psyched-out, and inimitable the whole way through; if you're looking for something that'll get the heads turning, and the diggers jealous, then this is your LP. Highly recommended.
Stephen Colebrooke - "Stay Away From Music" (4:28)
Andre Marie Tala - "Sweet Dole" (4:32)
Tyna Onwudiwe - "Lite Low" (4:04)
Rebles - "Sweetest Taboo" (Soca version) (3:26)
Ricardo Marrero & The Group - "And We'll Make Love" (2:31)
Koko Ateba - "Si T'es Mal Dans Ta Peau" (4:03)
Sookie - "Tonight" (feat Jeannine Otis) (4:58)
Raphael Toine - "Femmes Pays Douces" (5:40)
Eboni Band - "Desire" (5:09)
Robert J Riggins - "I Need You Now" (4:06)
Salero - "Teardrops & Wine" (3:07)
Momo Joseph - "War For Ground" (4:13)
Claude Genteuil - "Dreams Of Love" (3:00)
Gatot Soedarto - "Sayangilah Daku Kasih" (1:46)
Synchro Rhythmic Eclectic Language - "Pasto" (5:51)
Review: Since the Beach Diggin' compilation series launched a few years back, a number of its obscure, Balearic-minded selections have been given full length reissues of their own. We can probably expect a number of the tracks from this brilliant fifth volume to get the same treatment. As usual, the wide-ranging track list is thick with highlights, from the synth-heavy, French language reggae of Raphael Toine's 1986 bubbler "Femmes Pays Douces" (taken from the artist's frustratingly hard to find Ce Ta Ou album) and vibraphone-laden jazz-funk smoothness of Yasuko Agwa's sought-after "L.A Night", to the barely-known brilliance of Andre Maria Tole's Cameroonian gem "Sweet Dole". In other words, it's another essential selection.
Congress - "Something That You Got (Real Hot)" (5:04)
Potion - "Catch The Feelin' (Showstopper)" (6:50)
Inch By Inch - "If It's Magic (We Don't Want It)" (6:42)
Index - "Starlight (The Break)" (6:02)
Spookey - "Friends" (4:36)
Review: Discomatin co-founder and all-round Parisian selector don Saint James co-launches his new Chuwanaga label with this expertly curated compilation. In The Red is a deep dive into the exciting funk fusion coming out of London between 1980-83 as a new movement of black British musicians honed a sound that owes as much to soundsystem culture as it does disco. From the glistening instrumental flare of Index to the lavish synths and slap bass of Equa, this captures a unique and currently under-documented moment in groove history. Complete with detailed liner notes, this is a fantastic way to launch a new label. Not to be slept on.
James Reese & The Progressions - "Let's Go (It's Summertime)"
Bad Medicine - "trespasser"
Spider Harrison - "Beautiful Day"
The Highlighters Band - "The Funky 16 Corners"
The Rhythm Machine - "The Kick"
Kashmere Stage Band - "Kashmere"
Carleen & The Groovers - "Can We Rap"
Co Real Artists - "What About You (In The World Today)"
Soul Vibrations - "The Dump"
Slim & The Soulful Saints - "Fish Head"
Billy Ball & The Upsetters - "Tighten Up Tighter" (feat Roosevelt Matthews)
Soul Seven - "Southside Funk"
Revolution Compared To What - "Go To Work" (Alternate version)
Bubbha Thomas & The Lightmen Plus One - "The Phantom"
The Wooden Glass - "In The Rain" (feat Billy Wooten)
James Bell & The Turner Brothers - "The Funky Buzzard"
Review: Stones Throw and funk music don't seem like an unlikely pair these days, but when "The Funky 16 Corners" came out no one knew what was going on. This compilation is an infamous one, with stories of Egon crawling through old ladies' attics in search of lost funk reels. Check it out.
Jonathan Jr - "Hangin' On To You" (12" version) (5:33)
Isabelle Mayereau - "Orange Bleue" (2:27)
Oro - "Sasa" (3:42)
Fernando Toussaint - "Recuerdos Del Abuelo" (3:04)
Todd Mcclenathan - "High From Our Love" (5:08)
Mario Acquaviva - "Notturno Italiano" (4:22)
Special Occasion - "Flyin' To Santa Barbara" (12" version) (6:36)
Parenthese - "Come Back" (4:03)
Russ Long - "Never Was Love" (4:35)
Pacific Dreams - "Mellow Out" (4:19)
Miller Miller Miller & Sloan - "Key To My Heart" (2:39)
Scott Cunningham - "Blues Take You Over" (3:31)
Review: On his fourth exploration of the world of global "Adult Oriented Rock", French crate-digger Charles Maurice focuses on the period between 1977 and '86. That means a greater emphasis on synthesizers, dusty drum machines and the kind of sparkling melodies that would once have drifted from daytime radio at an alarming rate. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the dewy-eyed synth-soul of Arlana's "When You Call My Name" and the breezy boogie of Omega Sunrise's "Too Hip", to the sparse Balearic bliss of Isabelle Mayereau's "Orange Bleue", the flute-laden easy listening hum of Fernando Toussaint, the sax-happy '80s sleaze of Special Occasion's brilliant "Flyin' To Santa Barbara" and the jaunty Latino jazz-funk of "Mellow Out" by Pacific Dreams.