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.
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.
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: 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: 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.
Review: A welcome return to action for Stank Soul scalpel fiends Mako and Mr Bristow, whose last collaborative re-edit release dropped back in 2017. This time round they offer up a slimmed down seven-inch selection boasting two hot-to-trot revisions. On the A-side you'll find "Stax Dawg", a loving tribute to the legendary US label that sees the pair wrap 1960s horns, vocals and instrumentation around their own rubbery, floor-friendly groove. "Love Book", meanwhile, is arguably even better: a low-down revision of a horn-heavy funk-rock affair rich in addictive guitar riffs, bustling drums, heavy horns and gravelly blues style vocals. They round things off via flipside "Funky Jive", a tooled-up version of rhythm and blues standard "Willie and the Hand Jive" that should have everyone singing along in the club.
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: 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: One of Finnish funk imprint Timmion's most enduring stories; Pratt & Moody and Cold Diamond & Mink's 2017 "Lost Lost Lost" gets an update with Gerald McCauley. Not particularly known for his singing or songwriting (but very much active in other aspects of the industry) the original's raw blues struck a chord so strong in him, he put pen to paper and dulcets to tape to provide a new perspective on the track. The results speak for themselves. There's no wondering here... It's a full blown heartache conclusion.
Review: Soul4Real's latest seven-inch release is rather special for one specific reason: it boasts two previously unheard 1968 recordings by Dallas vocal soul group the Masqueraders. Both were recorded at the legendary American Sound Studio in Uptown Memphis at a time when an astonishing 25% of the records in the Billboard Top 100 (according to the label's liner notes, the backing band on this session included Bobby Womack on guitar) originated there. "Prophet Of Love" is a particularly sweet chunk of harmonic soul, with the Masqueraders' providing the kind of dewy-eyed vocals that wouldn't have sounded out of place on earlier doo-wop records. Over on the flip "You're The One" has a more Phil Spector "wall of sound" kind of feel and a more lolloping rhythm track.
Take It Personally (Exclusive unreleased instrumental) (1:30)
Review: Mukatsuku's latest must-have release offers another opportunity to own early Freddie Cruger AKA Red Astaire favourite "Take It Personally". The wonderfully dusty, smoky and life-affirming hip-hop-soul cut first appeared as a Swedish only CD single in 2001, before later being included on the Stockholm stalwart's 2006 debut album "Soul Search". This time round, the inspired original - all head-nodding beats, sumptuous strings and sugary-sweet vocals from guest Desmond Foster - comes accompanied by a previously unreleased instrumental take. This vocal-free version is superb, offering listeners a chance to wallow in the quality of the Swedish veteran's bumpin' beats and intoxicating, head-in-the-clouds production. In the record box of Danny Krivit,DJ Spinna, Kid Koala and more! Only 300 hand-numbered copies and strictly no repress. Juno copies come exclusively in additional hand stamped kraft paper inner sleeve and branded card outer sleeve. Don't sleep !
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: 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.
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: 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: Sam Shepherd's Melodies International imprint has barely put a foot wrong to date, serving up a string of must-have reissues. Predictably, the label's latest offering - a facsimile reissue of a thoroughly obscure but in-demand disco 7" from 1979 - is another belter. A-side "Back Into Your Heart" is particularly potent, offering a rich, cheery and pleasingly fuzzy dance through horn-heavy disco-funk pastures, with a loved-up lead vocal joined by cascading strings, intergalactic synth solos and energy-packed drums. Turn to the flip for "Dance, Dance, Dance", an urgent chunk of funk-fuelled disco-rock that's almost as essential as the majestic A-side.