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.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a must-have seven-inch containing two curiously off-kilter cuts from obscure "beat generation" bands of the early 1960s. Der Evergreens "Es Lilin" (that's "Ice Lolly" in English, apparently) is a sun-kissed rhythm and blues cover of a Sudanese love song recorded in Rotterdam in 1965. It's fairly short but very, very sweet. Arguably even better is Les Jaguars De Casablanca's 1962 cover of surf classic "Gonzales". The band was truly international - Spanish and French guitarists and a Moroccoan rhythm section - and on the resultant recording you can tell. Think of it as an "outernational" take on the Shadows, and you're close.
Review: Le Recette cooked up a delicious five dish feast earlier this year in the form of their "Towards Fulfilment" EP... And here are two sweet tasters on a limited 45 platter. Both cuts featuring Magic Malik, it's a broad tour across a very short amount of time: "Breezin" studied at the school of both Stevie Wonder and Amp Fiddler. Sleazy, jazzy soul in its silkiest form. "Landing" takes a more abstract twist on ballad craft as the vocals almost melt over the lolloping beats and hazy flutes. Precision timed for the summer...
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: Nicole "Lady" Wray has reinvented herself in recent years, swapping the contemporary, radio-friendly '90s R&B of her youth for a sound heavily influenced by vintage, 1960s and '70s soul and funk. It's a blend that was explored on last year's superb Queen Alone full-length. The two tracks showcased on this 7" were both featured on that album. "Underneath My Feet" is particularly potent, with Wray offering a rasping, impassioned vocal that seems to soar above the triple-time backing track. "Guilty", with its sweet guitars, harmony backing vocals and rock solid funk breakbeat, sounds a little like some of Sharon Jones' more poignant moments.
Review: Many disco-era modern soul collectors regard, Larom Baker's "You're The Best", which initially appeared in 1978 on an impossible to find, single-sided 7" single, as one of the style's genuine "Holy Grail" records. It's good news, then, that Athens Of The North has secured the rights to reissue it, releasing the full studio version (rather than the shorter edit that was released all those years ago) for the very first time. It's a genuine gem, with Baker's deliciously breezy West Coast soul vocal seemingly floating over a killer backing track rich in hazy horns, bustling slap bass and crunchy Clavinet lines. Turn to the flipside for the more disco-minded "Train Of Thought", one of a string of recently discovered Baker recordings that form the basis of a forthcoming album of previously unreleased tracks.
Review: Dutch producer Larry De Kat has been spotted delivering an album to Lazare Hoche and sliding his wares onto SlapFunk and Dungeon Meat alike, but his Katnip label it the one to watch for some of his most personal wares. This new release finds him purring his way through downtempo, soul-inflected selections that open out a whole new dimension to this talented, versatile producer. Juno's vocals are the icing on a particularly funky cake on "Do For Love", while "So Damn Fine" is an instrumental beat worthy of D'Angelo (sadly not included). The jazzy licks pour out of this release like honey - Larry De Kat just upped his game yet again and we strongly advise you to take heed.
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.
When The Devil's Paid (Vanilla Dream DnB remix) (8:12)
Review: Here's a spot of unlikely cross-cultural collaboration, as Finnish jazz man Timo Lassy joins forces with veteran Brazilian soul man Ed Motta. The resultant cut, "When The Devil's Paid", is a summery and sun-kissed chunk of gentle samba-soul with Motta providing a typically breezy and emotion rich vocal. Lassy's old pal Jimi Tenor heads up the accompanying remix package, wrapping the original's snaking sax and heartfelt vocals over a hybrid electronic/acoustic groove. Elsewhere, Alex Trebo delivers a sensual nu-jazz rub and Vanilla Dream unfurls a pleasingly punchy and jazzy drum and bass interpretation. When the weather outside is grey and damp, stick this on and all will be well with the world.
Understand What Black Is (Mala instrumental mix) (4:38)
Understand What Black Is (Dego & Kaidi remix) (3:56)
Understand What Black Is (Dego & Kaidi instrumental mix) (3:58)
Review: Anyone with even the most rudimentary knowledge of hip-hop history will tell you that the roots of rapping can be traced back to the early '70s spoken word albums of The Last Poets. It's because of this that the collective's recent album, Understand What Black Is (their first for nearly two decades), was such a big deal. Here the title track is given the remix treatment. Mala handles the A-side, delivering vocal and instrumental passes that re-cast the track as a skanking, dub-wise excursion full of ricocheting electric piano notes and suitably heavy bass. 2000 Black main men Dego and Kaidi Tatham take a more up-tempo approach on the flip, wrapping the Poets conscious vocals and instrumentation around their own fizzing broken beat rhythms, jazz-funk chords and darting electronics.
Review: Following the summer-sizzled "LOVE Song" comes another smooth soul schooling from Victor Lavender. Smoking keys and a lolloping bassline set the scene as Diviniti's vocals cause a spell-binding ear roadblock to great effect. For something deeper and more percussive jump on ReelSoul's drum-heavy instrumental while Josh Milan Honeycomb extends the soul aspects and injects a tiny bit of jazz to recipe giving it a confident MAW-like polish. "1929" completes the set with more jazzed out leanings thanks to the dreamy keys and piano work, tied together neatly with a funky squidgy bassline and subtle percussion elements.
Review: Trevor Lawrence Jr impresses us on a constant basis, with his debut album paving a new way for funk and soul music all around the world, subtly swinging to the delicate touch of deep house at its core. This time, however, the imprint is Local Talk, and they've decided to release the "Tiptoe" single onto glorious 7", a format which is perfect to showcase its slow, meandering waves and delightfully seductive vocals; there's a DJ Spinna remix, on top of Lawrence's magnificent single, with the experienced producer coming through smooth and effective thanks to some elegant beat-work and plenty of soulful vibes. Killer!
Review: A reissue of American singer Debra Laws' 1981 single here on Expansion. She made her debut as a solo recording artist in in the same year, with the release of her album titled Very Special. This album, produced by her brothers Hubert and Ronnie, was a success with the singles "On My Own" (a lovely neon-lit disco-funk groove) and "Very Special" (a super sensual ballad on the slo-mo tip) being featured here. Up until the beginning of the '90s, Laws worked with her three siblings, recording and doing many live performances in the United States and abroad. Samples from "Very Special" can be heard in Jennifer Lopez's 2002 hit single of "All I Have".