Review: You'd probably have to take out a loan to buy an original, second-hand copy of Master Force's sole single, 1979's "Hey Girl", so this dinky reissue is more than welcome. The title track is a dewy-eyed slice of two-step soul sweetness rich in Curtis Mayfield style lead vocals, glistening guitars and trumpet solos that sound like they've been lifted from an early Herb Alpert recording. Arguably better for dancefloor plays is "Don't Fight The Feeling", a Clavinet-heavy disco-funk affair that boasts some brilliant group backing vocals and heaps of authentic New York flavour.
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.
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie mix - radio edit) (3:33)
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie instrumental mix - radio edit) (3:31)
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: an all-star re-recording of Universal Robot Band's boogie classic "Barely Breaking Even" that brings together Masters At Work man Louie Vega, original vocalist and arranger Leroy Burgess, iconic disco producer Patrick Adams and an impressive backing band of hired musicians including Michael Kelley (better known in electronic music circles as Metro Area collaborator Kelley Polar). While there are plenty of audible nods towards the early '80s original - extensive use of cowbells, that oh-so familiar synth sound - the re-recording is altogether warmer, fuller and a more contemporary sounding affair rich in sweeping orchestration and tactile synth bass. Both the edited vocal and instrumental versions are superb.
Review: Surprisingly, Don Blackman originally wrote and recorded "Just Can't Stay Away" to play as the recorded message on his girlfriend's answering machine. He later included it - tweaked and turned into a mid-80s style boogie banger reminiscent of his work during that decade - on his second and final album, 2002's CD-only "Listen". Here it finally gets a vinyl release thanks to reissue specialists Melodies International. If you're a fan of boogie, electrofunk and synth-soul it should be an essential purchase, not least because it's every bit as good as more celebrated Blackman productions made earlier in his career. There are "Stereo" and "Mono" mixes to enjoy, with the former naturally offering a more refined and intoxicating listening experience.
Review: Hot on the heels of a re-work of Bobby Caldwell, edit stylist Caserta is back with another golden nugget. This time he turns his attention to the one and only Luther Vandross and serves up two equally essential but very different tunes that pay homage to his unique voice. The King Street Mix is all hip swinging claps and nodding bass riffs that are organic and heartfelt, whereas the Henry Street Mix nods to the '90s heyday of New York. With warm neon organ stabs that will get any floor pumping, both interpretations have Luther's soulful voice front and centre.
Review: Cannon & Mirrorball may not be the disco edit scene's answer to moustache-sporting 1970s/80s comedy heroes Cannon and Ball, but they certainly serve up tracks that will put a big goofy smile on your face. Their latest Disco Bits adventure begins via "Black Rhythm Rap", a chunky, hip-hop friendly rework of an obscure, late 1970s disco-rap bomb rich in funky guitar licks, cut-glass strings and party-starting MC flows. On the flip they get even cheekier, placing Loleatta Holloway's incredible "Love Sensation" vocal over a stomping, Blaxploitation-era disco-funk backing track and all manner of familiar soul and funk samples. Purists will no doubt sneer, but they really shouldn't: this is tastefully produced disco heat of the highest order.
Just An Illusion (Ilija Rudman Night Institute mix) (3:04)
Don't Look Any Further (Ilija Rudman True Colours mix) (4:38)
Review: Off the back of the awesome "Sagittarii" LP on Stevie Kotey's Bear Funk earlier in the year, Croatian deep disco hero Ilija Rudman is back with a couple of sweet re-edits on Brooklyn Highs. He takes on Imagination's classic "Just An Illusion" for a "Night Institute Mix" where he pitches this sexy late night lovers anthem down a few notches for that good ol' low slung effect. On the flip, he delivers a respectful edit of Dennis Edwards and Siedah Garrett's 1984 classic "Don't Look Any Further" for a "True Colours Mix", which again goes for that slo-mo vibe just nicely.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
The Truckin' Company - "Got The Feeling" (Massimo Berardi edit) (5:41)
Izk Eyes - "Ton Of Groove" (The Funk District re-edit) (6:30)
Review: Fledgling label Daje Funk is sure to turn heads with their second sizzling offering of edits, with Rome's Massimo Berardi and Mexico's The Funk District both stepping up to the buttons. Truckin' Company's "Got The Feeling" is a loopy and rolling funk gem that keeps the energy up as strings soar to the skies and a squelchy bassline keeps you locked. The Funk District takes care of the flip with a top tweak of Izk Eyes's "Ton Of Groove", which is an appropriate title: big brass sections to shake your booty, a buttery male vocal and busy guitar licks all drive it forward through big breaks and killer drops.
Review: More from top-drawer rework merchant DJ Soopasoul, whose cheeky revisions on his Soopastole label are consistently on point and dancefloor-focused. For his latest trick, the long-serving DJ/producer has decided to apply his magic to one of the greatest disco records of all time and a "foundation record" of the hip-hop scene: Chic classic "Good Times". The A-side edit sounds like it has been created using the multi-track parts, as dubbed-out vocal sections ride stripped-back grooves and portions that variously showcase the track's original strings, Nile Rodgers' guitars and Bernard Edwards' killer bassline. The flipside "Part 2" version is similarly minded but more like a disco dub in feel and execution, with the maestro drenching vocal sections in delicious amounts of delay.
Review: Way back in 1999, Acid Jazz Records launched an offshoot dedicated to disco edits: Original Sound Track Recordings. The best of the series' many superb reworks were later gathered together on a compilation album on EMI that now changes hands for significant sums online. Happily, they've decided to reissue some of their early releases, beginning with this 7" of Family Tree featuring Sharon Brown's "Family Tree". You'll find the peerless original - a breakbeat-driven chunk of lolloping funk brilliance - on Side A, with the label's 2002 "Super Disco Break Beat" version on the flip. Inspired by hip-hop DJs doubling up the track's brilliant drum breaks, it's a killer percussion workout with a few quick blasts of funk energy and carefully placed special effects (think flanged drums, reversed sections and so on).
Review: Disco Dub Band's "For The Love of Money", a one-off collaboration between producer Davitt Sigerson and reggae musician Mike Dorane, has long been considered something of a classic by those who like their disco to come with a big dose of dub-wise flavour. Here the instrumental O'Jays cover, which originally appeared on the Movers label in 1976, is given the remix treatment by long-time fans Mr Bongo. The superb A-side, in which Dorane's instrumental talents take centre stage, naturally comes accompanied by the frequently played Dub interpretation, a typically wild and bass-heavy affair that sounds like it was mixed "live" in one take in true Lee Perry/King Tubby style. If it's not already in your collection, it should be.
Review: Mukatsuku's long running "Afro Funk & Disco Gems" series has always been a reliable source of obscure, high-quality dancefloor material from the African continent. This tenth edition is another must-have - on the A-side you'll find the synth-laden, boogie-era sunshine of "Everybody Dance", one of the undisputed highlights of Peter Yamson's in-demand (and notably hard to find) "Son Of Africa" LP. With wonderful vocals, glistening guitars, lolloping drum machine beats and some stellar synth work, the track ticks all the right boxes. Over on the flip there's a chance to own Cameroon legend Tala Andre Marie's 1981 classic "Get Up Tchamassi", whose snaking sax lines, elastic slap bass and dreamy chords are nothing less than sensational.As played by The Allergies, DJ Koco, Joe Claussell,Smoov,Kalita, Faze Action,DJ Moar etc
Review: New Zealand based not for profit label Rain & Shine are proud to present the first official reissue of Skye's highly sought after "Ain't No Need" since it's 1976 release. Remastered and reissued, it has long been a favourite of some of the most well respected DJs across the scene: from Floating Points and Sadar Bahar, to Mr Scruff and Theo Parrish. Say no more!
Good Good Lovin' (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) (3:58)
Review: Recently, legendary American dance producer Arthur Baker discovered two tracks in his storage on 1/4" tape recorded in 1979. He asked Hifi Sean (aka Sean Dickson of The Soup Dragons) to rework them - who brought on board Riot Recordings boss Yam Who? and they quickly got to work resurrecting these soulful disco anthems. On the A side, we have the souled-up disco power of "Reachin'" featuring Minnie Gardner's powerful vocals, then get prepared to get down proper to the group vocals and epic brass section in the uplifting "Good Good Lovin'" (Hifi Sean & Yam Who? edit) all accompanied by Baker's immaculate production style.
Disco Baby (Floating Points & Red Greg edit) (3:55)
Review: If online chatter is to be believed, this tasty 7" from Floating Points' Melodies label is one of the most keenly anticipated disco releases of the year. For starters, the A-side boasts an obscure (but in demand) solo production from Manhattan Transfer keyboardist Yaron Gershovsky. "Disco Baby" is a prime chunk of jaunty, jazz-funk influenced disco-funk, the keyboardist's own jammed-out riffs and solos taking pride of place in the mix alongside punchy horns and a lolloping groove. Arguably even better, though, is Floating Points and Red Greg's flipside re-edit, which plays around with the original version's all-too-short drum break before letting the synths, keys and horns really sparkle.
Review: There is something about good 7"s that makes them seem extra special, and this is a prime example from City Baby Records: a double a-side of timeless grooves that are disco tinged exquisites from start to finish. The outfit behind them is Freaky, a soul gang from Minneapolis who apparently hide away deep in Tokyo's underground disco scene. "Running" is a delicate affair with neat bass riffs and happy chords that make for dreamy listening. "Sailin" is slower and more deep cut, with tooting leads and the sort of carefree vocals that will melt anyone's heart.
Review: "Give Me Your Love" was produced by Roy Ayers and James "Jaymz" Bedford in 1981, this digger's delight was the one and only single by American singer Sylvia Striplin. It is an irresistible serving of soulful disco that really captures the spirit of the times. The track has been sampled on numerous occasions, but most famously on the classic track by Junior M.A.F.I.A. (Notorious B.I.G. production) on their song "Get Money" in 1995 and also by Armand Van Helden on "Full Moon" in 2000. On the flip is the sexy and lo-slung "You Can't Turn Me Away" featuring some sexy funk guitar licks and bass beneath Striplin's powerfully seductive vocals.
Review: You'll struggle to find a more loved-up and life-affirming chunk of proto-disco brilliance than The Sisters Love's 1973 "Give Me Your Love". The record's lasting impact can be seen in the number of times that it's been reworked, re-edited or bootlegged over the years. Here it gets an official 7" reissue via Soul Brother Records. It sounds as good as ever, with the all-female group's now familiar vocals rising above Blaxploitation style guitars, fluttering flutes and powerful horns. It's a celebratory release, and then some. This time round it's accompanied by a lesser-known gem, "Try It, You'll Like It", which first featured on the B-side of a 1973 single. This is a powerful chunk of conscious funk/soul fusion of the sort that was incredibly popular during the period it was recorded.
Review: Smokecloud Records has long claimed to be the World's only imprint dedicated to Detroit Beatdown style reworks of funk, soul, disco and boogie gems. Whether this is true or not, there's no denying the consistent quality of the imprint's output. This latest release features contributions from two label stalwarts; owner and A&R man Osmose, and New Yorker The Silver Rider. The latter kicks things off with "I Wanna Be", a rolling, soft touch head-nodder that fuses elements of a tactile soul cut with hypnotic, pitched-down house beats and filter sweeps. It's rather good, but nowhere near as inspired as Osmose's "Trust", which turns a classic Motor City soul cut into a smooth, toe-tapping Beatdown shuffler.
Review: Destination 78/79: Expansion take us deep into the illustrious back cat of revered boogaloo fusionist Willie Bobo for two of his many fiery delights. Side A is his feel-heavy cult instrumental take on Ronnie Laws' disco classic "Always There" while Side B throws us into the heart of his 1979 album Bobo with gutsy raw soul power (and just a few cheeky funk slap bass twangs for good measure) Two stone cold classics together for the first time on 45.
Review: **REPRESS ALERT** Barbara Lynn (b. 1942) is an American rhythm and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter best known for her 1962 R&B chart-topping hit, "You'll Lose a Good Thing". Her highly sought after 1976 song "Movin' On A Groove" gets a much needed repress here from London's Soul Brother, with the funky "Disco Music" featured on the flip. The title track is a soul anthem for those who know, and it's been sold for extortionate prices on the second-hand market but thanks to Soul Brother you can finally get a copy for a reasonable price! A very strong 45 release for DJs and collectors alike.
Ronaldo Reseda - "E Novamente Mas Que Nada" (5:19)
Robson Jorge & Lincoln Olivetti - "Ginga" (2:57)
Review: The 65th volume in Mr Bongo's admirable Brazil 45s series shines a light on Rio De Janeiro's turn-of-the-'80s boogie scene. On the A-side you'll find "E Novamente Mas Que Nada" by Ronaldo Resado, a five-minute chunk of samba-laced boogie sunshine that was originally featured on the artist's eponymous 1979 debut album. While wonderful, it's slightly overshadowed by flipside cut "Ginga", one of the highlights from Robson Jorge and Lincoln Olivetti's sought-after 1982 full-length (which, incidentally, was recently reissued by Mr Bongo and is well worth checking). Joining the dots between synth-heavy electrofunk, horn-toting disco-funk and languid jazz-funk, the instrumental track is arguably one of the best Brazilian boogie records ever made. Don't sleep.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Here's an official remastered reissue of "Rough Out Here" by East Coast sweet soul vocal group The Modulations for Record Store Day 2019. The sound is large with a sweet Philly mix of moods on this 7" which features arrangements by the legendary Vince Montana. Philly instruments: sitar, keyboards, drums, strings and horns courtesy of Don Renaldo and MFSB come to the fore, resulting in A side "Rough Out Here", a hard hitting funky soul stepper and B side "I Can't Fight Your Love" which oozes the Philly sound.
Review: Multi-track re-edits, where producers utilize the instrumental and vocal parts found on studio master tapes, are all the rage right now. While the Rephlex crew and Joey Negro are the most famous exponents of the art, Galaxy Sound Co regular Kadena has previously proved to be rather adept at it, too. Here the little-known producer channels the spirit of original disco remixer Walter Gibbons, first to provide a lolloping, groove-based revision of Instant Funk's intergalactic Salsoul classic "I Got My Mind Made Up" (side A), and then to deliver a similarly minded take on First Choice's "Let No Man Put Asunder". Like its A-side companion, it's warmer, looser and predominantly instrumental, with judicious use of key vocal passages.
Review: Those who remember the first wave of funk breaks mash-ups and floor-filling hip-hop cut-ups in the late 1990s should be aware of J-Large; the mysterious DJ/producer has been remixing and reworking tracks (most notably by the Herbaliser) on and off ever since. His latest 7" escapade is suitably sizable, with A-side "Get Your Own" fusing Christina Aguilera's best-known vocal with loops and grooves lifted from a certain horn-toting jazz disco-funk classic. On the flip you'll find "J Zimbra", a bustling and floor-friendly tool-up of heavyweight Afro-funk slammer from 1979. As you'd expect, both are guaranteed to get the party started... and then some.
Review: During the "rare groove" boom in London during the 1980s, Linda Williams' 1979 album track "Elevate Our Minds" became something of an anthem. Curiously, it was never released as a single at the time, making this surprise 7" edition something of a bonus for those still searching for the track. It remains a fine song, with Williams' brilliant vocals rising above bossa-influenced beats, warm bass, luscious boogie orchestration and gentle Latin style horn lines. The flipside features "City Living", the title track from the very same 1979 LP that "Elevate Our Minds" was taken. It's far funkier and more elastic in feel, with horn arrangements and a chunky groove reminiscent of some Teena Marie tracks from the same period.
Review: GAMM has been responsible for some killer re-edits over the years, though we're struggling to think of any that are quite as good as Prescription Pricing Authority's killer tweak of Carlos Ramanos's "1-2-1". Noticeably heavier and crisper than the original, the rearrangement utilizes a touch of delay at crucial moments and wisely makes more of the fantastic bassline and percussion breaks. Speaking of ace basslines, you'll find a heavy dose of slap bass on the flip, where PPA turns his or her hand to Kathryn Moses's flute-sporting jazz-funk wig-out, "Lucky Duck". It is, of course, killer, though lacks the sheer celebratory rush of the on-point A-side.