Review: Finland's Timmion Records should, by now, be categorised as leaders in the leftfield soul game. Their catalogue contains a wealth of both old and new talents and, whenever we see that famous 'TRI' sign hit our shelves, we just know we're in for the good shit. Thankfully, this new collaboration by the mysterious Cold Diamond and Mink is right up there with the rest of the label's wacky, soulful mind-melters, except that here we head into even deeper quarters. The 7" contains two parts of "Queen Of Soul", a rough, wavy piece of lo-fi strumming that uses its wonderfully exchoing guitars to guide the listener into a state of total psychedelia. We love it, and we suggest you to cop one now before it pops up for the triple the price in a decade's time. Bliss.
Review: If you're a talented soul vocalist who wants an authentically fuzzy late 1960s sound, you could do worse than join forces with Timmion Records' in-house backing band, Cold Diamond & Mink. They're in fine form here providing admirable backing to rising star Carlton Jumel Smith. "Love Our Love Affair" is undeniably attractive, with Smith's confident and emotion-rich vocal rising above the band's hazy horns, languid trumpet solos, sun-bright guitar licks and lolloping, hip-hop style funk-soul beats. As is customary, the band's tidy instrumental version can be found - and enjoyed - on the flip.
Review: Fresh from this year's Cordial collection comes this outstanding 12". The lead track is his most famous "Signs Of A Dying Love". Presented in all its full-length glory, listen to those powerful backing singers and hear why OG copies have gone for over 300 quid. Remix wise the previously unreleased "How I Feel For You" gets the rub from Ourra (big funk swing), DJ Spinna (thumping gospel boogie) and Sean P (full on vocal belter), each one a sign of a lovely release.
Review: Richard Marks' super rare, quadruple figure selling 1975 45" "Speak Now/Purple Haze" enjoys its first ever reissue and it's well worth your attention. "Speak Now" is straight up soulful that yearns with gutsy intent and swoons with subtle country elements thanks to some strong slide guitar (from Marks himself) while "Purple Haze" on the B reflects a much more cosmic, psychedelic side to Marks' style. Not to be confused with Jimi's original, this is a whole other trip... And everyone's invited. Speak now or forever hold your peace.
Review: A lot of us have to thank Expansions for switching us on to Matlock in the first place, thanks to them unearthing him for their Soulchasers collection way back in the early 90s. Here they return to two of Glenn's finest, silkiest soul diamonds. Written for the romantics, produced for the dancefloor right at the very end of the classic 70s sound, "You Got The Best Of Me" has an upbeat Barry White feel to its delivery and sentiment while "I Can't Forget About You" has a lighter touch and flightier flow. The former previous super-rare on 45, the latter never press to 45 before... Both supreme and timeless.
Review: Short-lived Pennsylvania funk troupe Maxwell might be recognisable from a few cheeky compilation cameos with their "Radiation Funk" track. A cult success in their local charts, it took decades for it too see beyond the Columbia city limits and become a secret weapon for diggers and collectors. Now reissued officially for the first time, it's fronted by the unreleased A-side "Meltdown". Another track written in response to an accident at Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in 1979, it packs a big vocal punch, tight playing, infectious hooks and blasts of percussive funk. This sure ain't no junk.
Review: Having recently delved deep into the Mighty Ryeders catalogue for a double 7" of scintillating, soul-fired gems, the Dynamite Cuts crew continues its fascination with Rodney Matthews' legendary combo. This double A-side treat brings together two killer cuts from the band's 1978 debut album, Help Us Spread The Message, pressing them onto a 7" single for the very first time. A-side "Star Children" is a wonderfully deep and spaced-out affair, with Matthews and company delivering heart-felt, head-in-the-clouds vocal over a deep, laidback groove. "Help Us Spread The Message" is, if anything, even more horizontal, with the Mighty Ryeders effortlessly joining the dots between the folksy bliss of laidback West Coast jazz-rock and undulating sunshine soul.
Review: Taken from her only album This Is Eleanore Mills (recently re-leased for Record Store Day but originally release on Sylvia Robinson's All Platinum in 1974) and produced by members of The Moments and The Rimshots, Eleanore's classical charms are displayed across two complementary styles on this Soul Bother 45. "Same Routine" is sharp critique on soul-crushing work and the things in life that don't cost a thing over a sweet soul/disco groove while "I'm Gonna Get You" is straight up and steamy loin-burning soul. Get it.
Review: Japan's Superfly smash it once again with this expert excavation of Carl Marshall's first album post Soul Dog. On point 1980 disco funk, two things are paramount: the insatiable groove and the powerful range... From high impact dance with pre Byron Stingily falsettos ("Come Dance With Me") to trembling ballads ("I'll Give My Heart To You", "Since I Met You") by way of the imperial groove fatness of "Funky Judge" and the cosmic "Static", this has aged impeccable well. From the heart.
Robert Cotter - "Everything I'm Living For" (4:41)
Carol Ray Band - "Quelques Mots Gentils" (4:58)
Bobana Petrovica - "Prepad" (4:08)
Byrne & Barnes - "Love You Out Of Your Mind" (3:17)
Review: Archivist, historian and dedicated crate digger Maurice continues his exploration of global AOR, a genre whose spotlight is usually hogged by successful US and UK acts. Focusing on the era's peak between 75-83 this second edition finds him striking gold in Australia (Renee Geyer Band's jazz-tickled "Two Sides"), Yugoslavia (Boban Petrovic's disco-licked "Prepad") Hawaii (Greg Yoder's Balearic Cat Stevens strummer "Things Were So Easy") and his native France (Carol Ray Band's yacht-primed boogie "Quelques Mots Gentils) Crisp production, stylistic melting pots and soft of the soul; AOR really was a global language.
Review: Legendary neo-soul man Maxwell tends to take his time over albums. He recently released the acclaimed blackSUMMERS'night, a belated follow-up to 2009's BLACKsummers'night (which originally appeared eight years after his previous full-length). Here, the latter gets a timely reissue on Legacy Vinyl. It remains a fine set, with Maxwell's brilliant vocals - occasionally fragile and heartfelt, sometimes bolder and breezier, and always dripping in soul - perfectly complimenting his backing band's warm, rich and evocative soul grooves. Highlights include the horn-heavy punch of "Bad Habits", the bustling, hip-hop soul beats, rising instrumentation and belted out vocals of "Help Somebody", and the grandiose ballad, "Fistful of Tears".
Review: South Africa's Letta Mbulu has put out a vast amount of quality material in her lifetime, and although the singer was based far away from Europe, her music was picked up by the London massive during the mid '80s at clubs like Dingwalls and featured heavily in the rare groove digs. The opener "Sweet Julu" is now a London two-step classic, while other tracks like "Nomalizo" or "The Village" are more on the disco side, all of them filtered with a distinctly tropical edge! A top reissue!
Bounce That Ass (feat Ice T & Charlie Funk) (4:07)
Review: Having spent much of the last few years offering up tropical grooves under their alternative Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band alias, the Mighty Mocambos have finally got around to recording another funk-focused album. Of course, this is not straight-up revivalist funk or soul in the strict sense, but rather a collection of inventive cuts rooted in bustling breakbeats, fuzzy basslines, razor-sharp guitar riffs and hazy horns. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the sweet soul shuffle of Lee Fields collaboration "Where Do We Go From Here" and the rasping dancefloor soul-funk goodness of Gizelle Smith hook-up "Take On The World", to the 1950s sci-fi soundtrack cheeriness of "Return To Space" (featuring legendary composer Peter Thomas), and the synth-fired intergalactic dancefloor goodness of "Golden Shadow".
Review: As ever BBE are doing great things! Fresh off that killer Volcov compilation, the tireless soul operation get in archival mode for this essential reissue of the self-titled album from funk troupe Moods. Originally released back in 1978 on the Soiree label, original copies of the one and only album from Moods fetch much more than a pretty penny on the collectors market. For a spot of history on Moods, the St. Louis group formed in the late 70s and was headed by band leader, musician and producer Melvin Turnage. The group met in high school and disbanded soon afterwards, which is a great shame on this basis of this seven-track album which is a fantastic example of the Modern Soul sound which bridged the gap between Northern Soul and Disco, introducing synthesisers alongside incredibly tight vocal harmonies and lush instrumental arrangements.
Review: It doesn't seem like five years since BBE last invited London crate digger and turntablist Mr Thing to get his fingers dusty by picking out gems from his record collection for the Strange Breaks & Mr Thing series. Predictably, this belated third installment is full of killer selections that lives up to it's subtitled billing as More Rock Funk Soul Jazz & Soundtrack Breaks For Modern Living. Favourites come thick and fast though the low down funk of Dynamic Concept's "La Da Da" and the jazz-funk goodness of Harry Beckett's "Ring Within Rings" stand out upon first listen. The cats at BBE spare no expense either with this vinyl edition that features fifteen cuts spread across the two slabs, and there's also Mr Thing's peerless mix available on a CD that's slipped in too.