Review: A cheeky slice of French post-disco funk, Lionel Benjamin has the gravitas of Gainsbourg but croons like a talented bar singer who's yet-to-be spotted and launched to fame. Taken from his 1982 album Melodie, these are two touching pieces of tangible human soul. The soft lilts and hums of "Melodie" have already been heavily sported by Giles Peterson and the Wah Wah 45s crew, but don't sleep on "Montreal"... What begins with an emotional birdsong acapella quickly spirals into a ludicrously funky bassline that we guarantee will knock your floor for six.
Review: Pepite Records have a brilliant Holy Grail reissue on their hands here with two world music oddities that send seasoned collectors into fits of excitement. They come from French composer Jean Claude Oliver, who was a noted talent in his day and possible the first Parisian to own a sitar in the sixties. He worked with Serge Gainsbourg amongst others, while also working as Derboukas. Two of his finest experiments are served up for the first time here and mixes oriental vibes with eastern bossa. The original of the a-side is impossible to find and the 'Caravan March' gem on the B-side is a welcome addition that fuses psychedelic pop grooves with lush cello.
Review: In 1976, French band Edition Speciale released their debut album, "Allee Des Tilleuls". While much of the album saw them explore progressive rock and jazz-rock territory, it did contain one suitably groovy and life-affirming trip into jazz-funk territory, surprise LP standout "Mr Business". Here that cut gets a single release for the very first time courtesy of the dusty-fingered diggers at Pepite. You'll find the little-known band's languid, Clavinet and synthesizer-heavy original version on side A, with Aroop Roy's tidy contemporary rework on the B. Aroop sticks a rocket up the track's bottom end, underpinning the original song with peak-time-ready drums while wisely emphasizing his own killer bassline and catchy vocals.
Review: Magdy El Hossainy is a bit of a legend, a relic from the glory days of North African music, when all sorts of cutting-edge rhythms were being dreamt up in small, DIY studios. He is a member of the '70s outfit Abdel Halim Hafez, putting out a string of glorious material on Moriphon before separating due to his partner's passing. He's back in 2016, and the keyboardist still passes with flying colours - "Music De Carnival" is a heads-down, murky percussive tune with Hossainy's sparkling synth keys, and a swelling bit bass for its bottom-end. The Steven J re-drum remix, as the name implies, twists the drums into even more dangerous folds and comes out a total winner - a seriously destructive tune for all sorts of DJ's to alleviate over. Recommended.
Review: Fresh from '78: Brazilian funk lothario Marcelo's first big single (which was never out on a 45 before)- and a peak track from his debut eponymous album from the same year - gets a timely revisit from the Steven J's reissue/edit imprint Pepite. With its subtle piano striking Q&A, wild bass runs and clam-tight guitar/drum groove, Marcelo calls his way through the jam as if everything is a chorus. With its layered vocals, it's gutsy call to action for any dancefloor. Steven's edit stretches out the instrumental bars and brings out focus on the staccato vocal hook with a rising sense of momentum. Two great sides, one dope 45.
Please Don't Make It Funky (The Patchouli Brothers Re edit) (5:05)
Review: "Please Don't Make It Funky" is one of those delicious curiosities that dusty-fingered crate diggers unearth every now and then. Recorded and released in limited qualities in 1980, it was apparently an attempt by Frank Pisani, then a veteran American singer who had last tasted success in the rock and roll era, to capture the disco/jazz-funk zeitgeist. While it was a commercial flop, the track is undeniably attractive and fun, with squelchy synth sounds, ear-catching horns, fluid piano solos and Pisani's blue-eyed-soul vocals rising above a tidy groove. This surprise - but most welcome - reissue backs Pisani's cheery original with a fresh re-edit by the Patchouli Brothers. This includes some filter trickery and a DJ-friendly arrangement, but otherwise sticks close to the original mix.
Review: New European 45s label Pepite launches in style with Le Coeur Au Bout Des Doigts, a double dose of neck snapping edit treatments from new French talent SJ. First up, the title track - considered by thems that know to be a 1967 pop soul classic from compatriot Jacqueline Taieb - is given the SJ breaks re touch, whilst retaining enough of the originals smoky horn charm. On the flip SJ reworks a Dick Hyman cover version of Mr James Brown with the resultant effort a flanged out bass heavy electronic version that will please the B Boys no end.