Review: Nothing screams global music culture like a Senegalese-Japanese Afrobeat band, although listening to Afro Begue you would imagine all creative minds involved come from the mother continent. "Boula Niit Tognie" is a wonderfully expressive slice of Afrobeat in the finest tradition of the sound, all interwoven guitar twisting out complex but utterly natural sounding configurations, and a tumbling rhythm section you can happily float away to. Ryuhei The Man steps up for a re-edit on the flip that does a delicate job of beefing the track up for the club - the difference is subtle, but worthwhile, like a good re-edit should be.
Review: German funkateer Bjorn Wagner launched the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band in 2007 following months spent learning to play steel drums during an extended stay in Trinidad and Tobago. 11 years on, Wagner and his trusty backing band return with album number two, "The Serpent's Mouth". As usual, the set sees them gleefully combine killer grooves - a mix-and-match fusion of funk, soul, hip-hop and jazz-funk - with a hint of humid tropical music and the distinctive melodies of oil barrel steel drums. There are, of course, nods to reggae and calypso (see "Real Hot") and a few eyebrow-raising cover versions, of which their rendition of Jan Hammer's "Crockett's Theme" from "Miami Vice" stands out.
Review: For a classic 7" that makes you wish you could have experienced the rock and roll and blues heyday, these two dusty gems by Lavern Baker and Jackie Wilson are a great start. Taken from 1960, "Bumble Bees" by Baker is a chiming, doo-wop sing-a-long love song with a tastefully disgruntled character, while Baker & Wilson provide the excellent and X-rated "Think Twice", which sings about taboo topics like cocaine, pussy and reefa. It also boasts lyrics like 'son of a bitch', 'I aint gonna kiss your ass no more' and 'I've had enough of your shit' - not to mention the other out-there obscenities for the time which include references to oral sex. Lil Kim and Khia - eat your heart out!
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.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** For the uninitiated: Billy Cobham is a Panamanian-American jazz drummer, composer and bandleader. He is also the brother of multi instrumentalist Wayne Cobham. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Classic Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013. Produced with the legendary Jan Hammer (a former bandmate) and engineer Ken Scott in 1973, Spectrum was Cobham's first solo album after leaving his previous group Mahavishnu Orchestra. The album was heavily influenced by the music of Miles Davis, with whom Cobham had previously collaborated extensively. A seminal album of the jazz fusion scene. A Swiss resident since 1980s, Cobham now lives in Schoepfen, a canton near Bern.
Review: American artist Joe Coleman's soulful boogie-down number "Get It Off The Ground" was released back in 1982 and is still popular amongst those that know. Austrian imprint Record Shack present a hot edit by New York City legend DJ Spinna on this edition, which retains the infectious energy of the original but gives the track some much needed dynamics for modern dancefloors. Although we give credit to the edit, the lo-slung funk of the original will always be king and rest assured that is indeed featured here on the flip.
Review: Light In the Attic have outdone themselves again with this latest reissue of what is surely Betty Davis' best and most coveted work. Her iconic voice is transported by the legendary productions of, to name a few, a couple of peeps by the name of Miles Davis, Teo Macero and Herbie Hancock. According to the label, what is special about this release is its pioneering stance on jazz, where across nine songs these greats pretty much already started and finished the free-jazz sound. For the late 1960s, this is some truly special and forward-thinking material; a clear precursor to the mad, improvisational - and often misinterpreted - seminal album by Miles Davis himself, On The Corner. This is mostly unreleased material, and the LP comes with a booklet of interviews and rare photos. Unmissable.