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.
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: Never pressed to 45 before, both firing sides are taken from Esther's debut album from 1969; Newport News, Virginia. Both cover versions, JJ Barnes' "Chains Of Love" is given gospel-funk muscle as Esther belts out her heart over an impeccably frenetic band while Joe Zawinul's instantly recognisable jazz standard "Walk Tall" gets a powerful spoken word flex. Gutsy business to the very core, this is a snapshot of Esther at her most ambitious, energetic and creative.
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.
Everything That Shines Ain't Gold (part one & two) (6:12)
Everything That Shines Ain't Gold (Floating Points edit) (4:38)
Review: You'll be unsurprised to learn that the latest reissue on Floating Points' Melodies imprint is of a record that is fiendishly hard to find. Collectors have long regarded "Everything That Shines Ain't Gold", a sumptuous funk-soul workout full of bold Hammond organ lines and jazzy guitar licks, as something of a "Holy Grail", so it's fantastic see the track getting a worthy reissue. For this edition, you'll find the full version (originally cut into two parts to fit on a 7") on side A, with a fresh Floating Points re-edit on the flip. His revision is naturally tastefully done, rolling with the sweetest instrumental passages before breaking into Moore's superb vocal.
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: Legendary singer songwriter Barbara Mason is represented in the finest fettle on this 1974 reissue. "World In Crisis" first appeared on her Transition album. Complete with warm harmonies and soft cinematic orchestration, her honey-toned sermons cut through the mix with a cool sense of dreaminess. "Give Me Your Love", meanwhile, is a fantastic cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic where here surging emphasis coats the groove with silky come-to-bed whispers. Stunning.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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...