Review: Clarence Mann is from Alabama. He was 14 years old when he completed his first recording with a high school choral group on RCA Records. After high school, he sang with various bands while attending college. In 1973, he released his first single entitled "Man's Temptation / Have Faith In Me" on T&M Records followed by "Please Accept My Love" and "You Met Your Match" respectively. After his solo career, he joined the group True Image as lead vocalist. Their recordings were released on a subsidiary of the famed TK Productions. The group continued with the independent Alabama label Juana Records when T.K. closed its doors. True Image released two singles in 1980. After these recordings Clarence Mann did several different versions of the song "Come What May". The original recording was recorded by John Gary Williams in 1973 and was released on Stax Records. Although Clarence Mann did several versions of it, only two of them with True Image have seen the spotlight.
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: 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: 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: Longstanding San Fran soul troupe Monophonics celebrate the release of their fifth album last month with this cheeky 45". Taking The Four Seasons' forever-faved standard "Beggin'" and adding their own uptempo charm, polished guitars and yearning vocals, it's an impressive and respectful cover that's backed up all the way with a stone cold instrumental on the B. Some classics never grow old...
Review: While most remember Melba Moore for her string of disco and boogie-era classics, she actually started her career at the tail end of the 1960s recording soul stompers in Nashville. "The Magic Touch", which here gets the reissue treatment, is a typical Northern Soul style four-to-the-floor slammer that was recorded in 1967 when she was 22 years old and has previously only been issued on a hard-to-find 1986 single. This time round it comes backed with Maxine Brown's similarly popular Northern Soul scene staple "It's Torture", which remarkably went unissued until Kent Records discovered it in the Ace Records vault back in 1985.
Review: One of the few records Atlanta legend Lee Moses ever pressed, the highly sought after "Bad Girl" enjoys its first official reissue since 1967. So good it stretches over two sides, Moses' powerful bluesy delivery hits hard while the band keep a tight grip of his emotions from start to finish. Gutsy, grainy and still just as powerful as it was 52 years ago; there's a reason the original has consistently fetched triple figures among collectors for all this time.
Review: The latest 7" missive from the Outta Sight camp features two more impossible-to-find rarities. On the A-side you'll find a storming chunk of horn-heavy, Hammond-rich funk from obscure US psychedelic band Mr Floods Party. Originally released on GM Records in 1971, the cut has long been an in-demand amongst Northern Soul collectors thanks to its stomping beat and impassioned vocals. Speaking of Northern Soul favourites, flip to the B-side for the greatest moment from short-lived Detroit soul group Fork In The Road. Originally released in 1970, "Can't Turn Around Now" is a thrillingly energetic workout full of heavy instrumentation, surging vocals and an even heavier backbeat.
Review: Ishola Muhammad decided to adopt the A M Muhammad pseudonym for his second single, "What Freedom Means", in tribute to then leader of the American Muslim Mission (AMM), whose wise words had inspired the single. As this reissue of the rare single proves, the track has lost none of its potency in the 38 years since it was recorded. Muhammad's positive lyrics and assured lead vocal take pride of place alongside superb female backing vocals and a killer backing track that sits somewhere between rubbery jazz-funk and stomping disco. Turn to the flip for the doo-wop influenced sweetness of obligatory loved-up bonus cut "Tenderly". It's decent, but the floor-friendly A-side remains the killer cut.
I Want To Thank You (KON Shine Your Light remix) (7:54)
I Want To Thank You (KON dub) (7:49)
Review: Having previously breathed new life into classic cuts from L.T.D, George Duke and Sylvester, Kon has now turned his attention to another all-time favourite: Alicia Myers' 1981 stunner "I Want To Thank You", a disco-era gospel-soul favourite that remains one of the era's most timeless club records. Working from the multi-track tapes, Kon teases out Myers' killer vocal - drenched in just the right amount of reverb and delay - atop a slightly stripped-back groove before giving it the full kitchen sink treatment. Just as good is the flipside Dub, which flits between beat-free sections and the track's killer groove in the manner of disco dubs from the early 1980s. The song itself may not have needed tampering with, but Kon's versions are genuinely superb.