Review: Harlem-raised Gloria Barnes got her big break after a couple of her early recordings became big hits on the UK Northern Soul scene. Her sole album, 1971's Uptown, has long been an in-demand item amongst collectors, regularly fetching four-figure sums when copies do occasionally change hands. Here the album gets reissued for the first time, allowing those without money to burn to enjoy its rich and evocative mix of Northern style dancefloor stompers, heart aching torch songs and downtempo soul shufflers. The quality of Barnes' vocals naturally impresses throughout, but the musical backing - provided at different points by the Hustlers, the Disciples and Ohio Players - is every bit as beguiling.
Review: Leroi's back! Well... He never went away. As a studiosmith and designer his fingerprints are all over many of Colemine's on-point curations, but now we're about to enjoy a whole new tonne of Conroy as he prepares to drop his debut album. These two heavyweight instrumentals set the scene perfectly; "Tiger Trot" looks east for melodic inspiration with a touch of New Orleans in the swampy sweaty delivery. "Enter" hits with more of a jazzier, freeform air as we spiral into trumpet dizziness into deep bluesy introspection and some damn fine breaks from fellow Colemine consistency Rob Houk. Only 300 copies pressed.
Review: We're not sure of the back-story of Devlon Lamarr's eponymous trio, but this debut album for Colemine is an absolute killer. Lamarr is a virtuoso organist, and it's jammed-out Hammond organ and electric piano solos that naturally take centre stage throughout. That said, both drummer David McGraw and guitarist Jimmy James play their part throughout, with the former's ambidextrous fills and the latter's raw licks also catching the ear throughout. Musically, the tracks range from Meters-style heavy funk and lounge soul workouts to a range of cuts more heavily influenced by the blues of John Lee Hooker and the similarly instrumental brilliance of Booker T and the MGs.
Review: Their last single was "Won't Be Coming Back", now comes "Sure Don't Miss You": We're noticing a theme here... And to be honest, we can't thank whichever ex-lover it was who upset this Seattle seven piece enough. Because we are getting some serious soul gold right here! Once again on Colemine, once again rich in harmony, once again with the big instrumentation and enough spring in the guitars and horns for big dance moves; The Dip are fast establishing themselves as a serious player in contemporary funk and they've even thrown in an instrumental to show how tight they are.
Review: Colemine Records return with a Bay Area funk transmission that will hit you right in the gut! With numbers that almost reach twenty when playing live, San Francisco act Droptones are very much the exception to the 'too many cooks' platitude and they kill it on the record too! There are plenty of groups out there claiming to play heavy funk and retro soul, but not so many possess a vocal section that lives and breathes blue eyed authenticity like Droptones do. Put simply Tiffany Austin and Lilan Kane own the A Side cover of Hayes & Porter's "Don't Get Caught" whilst "Young Blood" has that good groove that the funk floors love.
Review: Since 2013, the Harlem Gospel Travelers have been on a mission to reignite the "gospel quartet" tradition, first via impromptu street corner performances in New York and later across the United States. Now they've finally brought their close harmonies to vinyl, delivering an authentically fuzzy single that sounds like it could have been recorded at the turn of the '60s. A-side "He's On Time", a righteous chunk of inspiring gospel funk with a stomping back-beat and Daptone style '60s instrumentation, is undoubtedly the pick of the two tracks, though the similarly retro doo-wop soul B-side, "Wash Me Lord", is also impressive.