Jonny Benavidez & Cold Diamond & Mink - "Tell Me That You Love Me" (3:42)
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Tell Me That You Love Me" (instrumental) (3:44)
Review: Coming through on Timmion's offshoot Stylart Records, Jonny Benavidez Cold Diamond and Mink have exactly what it takes to soothe those winter blues with a little bit of their own bluesy spirit. To be exact, this is pure-class soul music from the deepest part of their hearts, but there is a strong element of melancholia at its core, and that's what gives "Tell Me That You Love Me" its sparkle and mystique. Mink's voice is like velvet on this beautiful recording, and even the instrumental sounds like the sort of gem that everyone from Floating Points to Theo Parrish could dig. New music, too!
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: Taken from their last album Victim Of Love, both "Confusion" and "Where Do We Go From Here?" represent Charles and the Menahan Street Band's bright, tight funk credentials with powerful glee. The former is an unashamed funk stomper (think Sam Moore) with big psychedelic splashes on the chorus while the latter is a much slower, moodier jam where a bold guitar riff glides us into much more emotional pastures. Outstanding contemporary funk soul.
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.
Mary Holmes - "Living In A World Of Make Believe" (3:29)
Review: Family Groove continues to unearth serious gems in the archives of obscure American soul and disco labels. This double A-side affair is the result of this privileged research. On the A-side you'll find a previously unreleased disco-funk workout from Goodie that was discovered in the master tapes held in storage by Total Experience Records. It's a fantastically driving but groovy affair rich in rubbery electric bass, warm electric piano and some particularly hazy vocals. On the flip Capricorn Records has shared a previously unheard end-of-night slow jam from Mary Holmes entitled "Living in a World of Make Believe". It's as slick, sugary and loved-up as you'd expect.
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.
Carlton Jumel Smith - "I Can't Love You Anymore" (4:35)
Cold Diamond & Mink - "I Can't Love You Anymore" (instrumental) (4:34)
Review: Since making his debut back in the early 1990s, Carlton Jumel Smith has periodically popped up on a variety of soulful house and modern soul releases. Here the little-known vocalist takes a different approach, re-casting himself as a throaty, James Brown influenced '70s soul singer. He's at his heartfelt, full-throttle best on "Can't Love You Any More", a deliciously heavy and authentic chunk of Southern-fried deep soul complete with additional falsetto parts from fellow singer Pratt. The key to the track's success is the fantastic backing provided by Cold Diamond & Mink. Proof is provided on the flip via the band's effortlessly good instrumental take.
Review: Modern day soul from the heart of Manchester and the heat of Barcelona... Elliot Macauley follows up his debut EP "Retro" with this beautiful sun-kissed doublet. "All My Life" sits somewhere between Amp Fiddler and Darondo produced by Louie Vega. Big, hooky, warm and heartfelt; this will work just as well on floors as it will at home. "Mamas Baby Boy", meanwhile, shows Elliot's acoustic guitar skills off as Cleveland Jones adds a crystalline falsetto that pays homage to the most important ladies of the world. Beautiful.
Machito & His Orchestra - "Hold On (I'm Coming)" (feat Graciela)
Giobel & The Latin Chords - "We Belong Together"
Review: A cheeky teaser from Record Kicks' forthcoming Boogaloo Vol 6 album, here we find two authentic Latin northern soul covers originally recorded in the late 60s. "Hold On" takes the horn heavy Sam & Dave classic and gives it a rapid tongue Spanish twist while retaining the distinctive English chorus. "We Belong Together", meanwhile, is a more touching take on a Bobby Marin standard. With Giobel really belting out the crooning vocals and a lounge style polish to the horns, it's instant funk seduction. Only 500 of these 45s... So jump on this as soon as you can.
Review: Schema are really spoiling us this week, not only have they issued a seven inch taster for Nicola Conte's upcoming album but here they dig into their archives and lift out a gem from Alessandro Magnanini. "Secret Lover" originally featured on Someway Still I Do, the debut LP from the guitarist, composer and producer released on Schema back in 2009 and it's impossible not to visualise the song soundtracking some misadventures from James Bond. That's thanks largely to Magnanini's classicist arrangements that evoke John Williams at his best and the vocal contribution of Jenny B whose delivery could easily be mistaken for Dame Bassey. It's backed with "This Is What You Are", the song has launched the career of the Sicilian Mario Biondi.
Review: ATA founders, Neil Innes and Pete Williams, appear here under their collective The Magnificent Tape Band moniker, and serve up two ice-cold soul nuggets that'll rock any system from here to Sheffield. In fact, to bring in an extra element of Northern Soul funk, the Steel City's Rachel Modest features on the vocals of both "Patterns In My Mind", a slow-burning charmer of a tune with dangling melodies and a lo-fi touch, and also on the gorgeous, swingier groove of the majestic "Golden Shades". Two stunning hits that are bound to stay up here in the soul chart for a while.
Review: Previously only available on US promo 45 - these 1973 Afrodisiac-era cuts from The Main Ingredients are well overdue. First up is a beautiful take on the Isley Brothers 1972 classic "Work To Do" (also famed for its Average White Band cover in 1974) while the B is draped in the powerful vocal harmonies and lavish strings of "Instant Love". Proof that sometimes all you need are two ingredients to cook a beautiful feast for the 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.
Review: Powerful funk fire from Bristol's serial editors Mako & Mr Bristow as they hit number three in their Stank Soul Edits series. Backed by a strong gospel vibe and raw gutsy female vocals across both sides, it's another sure-fire heater: the soaring sentiments of Ann Peebles command the A with an empowering ode to the allure of love's sweet sensation while the B is dedicated to the stirring prowess of Shirley Brown. Both crafted and beat-licked in M&MB's inimitable floor-warming style, and already galvanised on the airwaves by funk professor Craig Charles, it's another stank showdown that cannot be denied.