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: Favourite France drop some absolute truth with this killer reissue of Beckie Bell's 1980 classic "Music Madness", from the album 'In Need Of...'. This is he funkiest disco you can possibly ask for, a chirpy, upbeat tune that calls for the good times. It's the sort of track that can be slapped on in just about any set, anywhere, and Bell's vocals are as infectious as the tight groove that pushes the track forwards. There are a couple of remixes, though, which bring out the best of the original and make it even more playable than before. The first one is a more beat-heavy reinterpretation from Voilaaa, while Tom Noble injects the perfect level of houseness into the equation thanks to a slamming 4/4 and some extra percussion. Perfect, and very much recommended if you've somehow slept on the original.
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Let's Get Together" (instrumental) (4:22)
Review: We just love hearing new soul and funk. Sure, a rare single from the 60s or 70s goes a long way in satisfying our needs, but how good is it to hear NEW music!? That's why we rate Finland's Timmion imprint so highly; they always come through with the goods, and there isn't a single EP they've put out that hasn't interested us... or flown off our shelves! This time, Jonny Benavidez, Cold Diamond and Mink team up for the absolute sexiness that is "Let's Get Together", a seductive soul ballad that is bound to lit up the room instantly! The instrumental is rather fine, too.
Review: Although little known in the UK, Sicilian singer Mario Biondi has sold huge amounts of records in his native Italy. It's not surprising, really, given the quality of his Barry White-esque deep and soulful vocal style. Here he pops up on Schema, offering up the seductive, slow dance-friendly silkiness of "Never Stop Dreaming" and the warm and groovy Philly Soul revivalism "Stay With Me". That track is given the once over by fellow Italian LTJ Xperience. Interestingly, his full vocal remix is faster, warmer and looser than his normal metronomic productions, while retaining his usual DJ-friendly grooves. His soulful house style instrumental Dub is pretty darn tasty, too.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !
Review: Seminal Manchester street soul from 96; Bovel's "Check 4 U" had anthem status in clubs and on pirates throughout the city at the time but suffered limited pressing and an OG copy has been known to be priced at 2000 quid. Revitalised by Ruf Dug and Bovel herself, it now comes complete with a superb UKG update from Metrodome which maintains the feel of the era but with the pace and punch of the times. Limited to 1000 copies.
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: A serious self-press rarity from the heart of Clarksville, Suggs never achieved the recognition he deserved during his tenure as a band leading soul man. Still in Clarksville and now a missionary, the sentiments of this recording history peak resonate with what he does now: "Everything That Looks Good" is a JB style message on the lure of temptation while "You Don't Deserve", an instrumental that sees Bubba switching his vocals for equally commanding sax, is a moment for poignant, soul-searching reflection. Lord have mercy.
Review: Third time around for Keni Burke's 1982 boogie-soul classic "Risin' To The Top", a track that remained such a favourite on the jazz-funk, rare groove and jazz-dance scenes that it was given the remix treatment in 1992. The slick and smooth cut is still capable of sending shivers down the spine, with Burke's impeccable lead vocal rising above rich electric pianos, a killer boogie bassline and the track's famous "give it all you've got" female backing vocals. This time round, the track comes backed by another stone cold classic and DJ favourite, the 1981 12" version of "You're The Best". More up-tempo and synth-heavy, it remains a favourite with both boogie DJs and jazz-funk fans.
Review: Another jewel for all the deep diggers out there produced by Calvin Arnold aka Billy Byrd - soul and funk singer, guitarist, songwriter and producer from Georgia, USA. "Lost In The Crowd" is a solid funk workout, featuring an intense rhythm and a powerful vocal. On the flip, there is a more chilled-out soul jam titled "Silly Kind Of Love" for the connoisseurs out there. Reissued due to public demand here on a nice great-sounding 45" by Vienna's always reliable Record Shack.