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.
Jeff Silna - "It's Always Something With You" (3:27)
Stratus - "Girl" (4:34)
7 Days Unlimited - "Dirt (In The Sky)" (3:22)
Willy Santana - "Mais Uma Chance" (2:46)
Funky Team - "It's About Time" (2:54)
James D Hall - "I Wanna Get Into You" (4:00)
George Nasif - "Don't Let The Devil" (3:18)
Omega Sunrise - "Heartbreaker" (4:11)
Steve Turner - "Harbor Place" (5:07)
Billy Always - "More Than A Minute" (3:33)
Stacey - "Keeps Me Hangin On" (3:11)
Archie James Cavanaugh - "Light Unto The World" (3:47)
Out Of The Fog - "Heart To Heart" (3:42)
Jon Konteau - "The Heckler" (3:18)
Review: Pascal Rioux's Favorite Recordings hasn't put out a dud record since its inception back in 2006 and, along with introducing us to artists like Onra, the imprint is surely one of the most complete sources of disco and nu-disco available on the market. Their most recent series, AOR Global Sounds, have all the makings of future classics, and this is especially true given the fact that all of its tunes have been lost in the depths of time and greedy Discogs sellers. The third chapter in the series features tunes from between 1976 and 1985, carefully curated by Charles Maurice with the aim of showcasing various disco artists from around the world that have been influenced by the inimitable 'Westcoast' boogie sound. Make no mistake, these tunes are all rare-as-hens-teeth, and you're unlikely to find them pressed up on wax anywhere else. Although each tune features a different artist, from Stratus through to Funky Team or even Brazil's Willy Santana, this is very much an LA kinda thang. An essential comp for anyone serious about their boogie joints...
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: There's an air of Jamie Lidell about Morris as he flexes between soulful styles, instrumentation and singing. A 21st century soul man who know his way around both boards fret and key. Underpinned with a gossamer smooth synth funk and wry eye for boogie, jazz and ballad; highlights across this debut LP range from the pumping sunset jitters of "Stop Playing Games" to the smoky haze and sleazy springy bass of "Rolodexes" via the introspective swoons and croons of "Charge It To The Game", this truly is an accomplished debut album. Moving on... Up.
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: Moon B, AKA San Antonio beatsmith Wes Gray, comes to LA's Hoop Sound label for his sixth long-player. With eight tracks there's no time to go into each one individually, but taking the album as a whole, early 80s-style electrofunk from the likes of Zapp and Cameo would be the most obvious reference point, while more modern influences have come from the LA beats scene and the 'beatdown' sound of Detroit. Some of the tracks do feel more like sketches than finely honed dancefloor weapons, but if midtempo leftfield beats are your thang then it's still well worth checking, especially as it's a limited edition release.