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 !
Let Me Put It In Your Ear (previously unreleased) (2:49)
In My Life (previously unreleased) (3:56)
Review: Two never-before-released cuts from ill-fated Indianapolis troupe who looked set for the big time but moved to LA and consequently got shelved. 1978's loss is 2018's gain, however, as we're treated to two of their shelved gems right here. "Let Me Put It In Your Ear" is a belting falsetto soul slammer articulated with real urgency while "In My Life" is much more of a smouldering affair that builds up into an emphatic soul crescendo. Put it in your collection.
Review: We've had less than two years to recover from the unearthing of Hidden Stash by Athens Of The North when along comes Family Groove with the promise of another lost album from the debauched Chicago funk crew Rasputin's Stash. Entitled Stash it's due in April and the hype starts here with these two beautiful soul funk adventures. "Make Up Your Mind" rides on a sleazy fuzzy groove and peppy horns while "You Are My Everything" hits more of a classic triumphant horn and harmony led vibe not dissimilar to "I See Your Face" on their second album. April can't come soon enough.
Review: Following the excellent excavation of the Miami band's unreleased album Best Kept Secret, AOTN's Fryer treats us to his two favourite cuts on a 500-only never-to-be-repressed 45. Seeped in powerful vocal harmonies, "Let Go" is rare groove gold with smooth sax and a dynamic that keeps on surprising while "Will You Be There" is an end of night soul shakedown with a tenderness that's tangible in every element. Don't sleep on this... Or the album. One of AOTN's most exciting releases this year.
Review: Since Nick The Record has one of the deepest collections going, it's little surprise that his ongoing Record Mission series has delivered some killer re-edits of ridiculously obscure gems. For this third 12", he once again joins forces with Idjut Boy Dan Tyler to rework a trio of gospel-tinged cuts from the late '70s/early '80s. Arguably most impressive is A-side "Highway To Heathen", a gradually rising, off-piste, boogie-era disco jam blessed with killer talkbox vocals. On the flip you'll find the more straight-forward gospel sing-along of "For Heathen's Sake", and "he Touched Me", a slower, more soulful gospel excursion that benefits greatly from lashings of Tyler's trademark space echo and tape delay.
Otis Redding - "(Your Love Lifted Me ) Higher & Higher" (Soul Flip edit) (4:03)
Gerri Granger - "I Go To Pieces" (Soul Flip edit) (3:33)
Review: Sometimes you just can't beat the golden oldies and so it is that Soul Flip turns his attention to a couple of raw soul bangers. Up first is Otis Redding's classic "(Your Love Lifted Me ) Higher & Higher" with a rousing bass section which drives along the original version.The hits hit hard, the vocal is given room to breathe and the swing in the drums is infectious. The flipside houses a soaring tweak of Gerri Granger's "I Go To Pieces", with its clattering keys and rolling soul all quickly finding a way into your affections.
Review: Tramp Records' latest vital reissue delves into the back catalogue of the Reggie Saddler Revue, a largely little known funk combo that released a handful of 45s at the start of the 1970s. This double A-side brings together two killer cuts that originally appeared on different 7" singles, both of which are now near impossible to find. A-side "Raggedy Bag" is raw, weighty and impassioned - a scorching slab of deep funk that more than lives up to its high reputation amongst collectors. Over on the flip you'll find "Love Is Just Like A Baseball Game", a sweeter and more loved-up affair blessed with superb vocal harmonies that's nevertheless impressively fuzzy.
Review: Marta Ren has made us wait for a follow-up to her superb 2016 debut album "Stop, Look, Listen". The good news is that a belated sequel is in the works, with this limited seven-inch single offering a first taster of the studio sessions. "Worth It" was certainly worth the wait (sorry). Based around a lolloping deep funk groove rich in heavy bass, hip-hop style drum breaks, crunchy guitars and rising horns, the track sounds like a long lost original 1960s recording rather than something made earlier this year. That's no criticism, though, because Ren's powerful, forthright vocals - available on the killer A-side version - suit that kind of fuzzy, retro-futurist production. Don't sleep on this one - it's one of the strongest soul records of the month without doubt.
Review: Alanna Royale has been active in the funk and soul scene for quite a few years now, though her releases have previously been limited to a handful of self-released EPs and a sole album (recorded live and thrown out to raise funds for Puerto Rico hurricane survivors). Here she debuts on Transistor Sound, with Kelly Finnigan of label owners Monophonics handling production duties. "Go" is a great chunk of fuzzy, retro-futurist soul, with Royale's superb Alice Russell style vocal simply soaring above a bustling backing track rich in parping horns, skittish drum breaks and razor-sharp funk guitars. Royale remains in fine form on flipside "I Know", another distorted stomper of the sort that should excite both Northern Soul diehards and modern soul aficionados.
Review: Two years on from the release of his critically acclaimed "Wallflower" album on Ninja Tune, Jordan Rakei returns with his most eagerly awaited set to date. Happily, it doesn't disappoint. Beginning with the electronic soul-pop brilliance of "Mad World", Rakei effortlessly flits between synth-laden hip-hop-soul ("Say Something"), slinky downtempo songs ("Mind's Eye"), 21st century disco-boogie anthems ("Rolling Into One"), slow-burn musical fusions (the military drums, Juju guitars and heartfelt vocals of "Oasis") and the kind of sumptuous, sun-kissed fare that defies easy categorization. With Rakei's sultry vocals taking centre stage throughout, "Origin" is a sparkling set that just gets better with every listen.
Review: A bonafide masterpiece; Minnie's first album post-Rotary Connection should need little introduction. A cult hit in 1970, a global smash when re-released in 74, Come To My Garden hasn't enjoyed a reissue for over 10 years. Her first pure soul and jazz album, this was the album where the world truly understood Ripperton's incredible range and tenderness. Powered by the breath-taking orchestration and song writing of Charles Stepney and her husband Richard Rudolph, everything about this album stands the test of time from the dreamy pastoral haze of "Close Your Eyes" or the delicate harmonies and nightingale rush of "Expecting" via the untouchable "Les Fleur". Immaculate music history.
Review: Midnight Express legend Robbie M dusts off the machines once again struts forth with his third solo album Dance With Me. Taking off where Friend left us in 2014, Robbie lays down a set of timeless west coast soul gold. Dynamic as always; at moment you might be blazing a hot shoe shuffle to the slippery ripples and keytar thrills of "I'm The One Who Loves You", the next we're being eased into the boudoir with his warm harmonies on "Night Without You", the next we're ringing Daft Punk and playing them their new favourite song, the tenderly touched vocoder dual "Rock Me", the next we're putting the needle back at the start and listening to it all over again. Dance with Robbie.
The Consequences Of Jealousy (feat Meshell Ndegeocello)
Why Do We Try (feat Stokley)
Black Radio (feat Yasiin Bey)
Letter To Hermione (feat Bilal)
Smells Like Teen Spirit
Review: Black Radio is a future landmark album that boldly stakes out new musical territory and transcends any notion of genre, drawing from jazz, hip-hop, R&B and rock, but refusing to be pinned down by any one tag. Black Radio also features many of Glasper''s famous friends from the spectrum of urban music, seamlessly incorporating appearances from a jaw-dropping roll call of special guests including Erykah Badu, Bilal, Lupe Fiasco, Lalah Hathaway, Shafi q Husayn (Sa-Ra), KING, Ledisi, Chrisette Michele, Musiq Soulchild, Meshell Ndegeocello, Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), and yasiin bey (Mos Def).
Review: Well, what can we say about this great piece of jazz fusion that hasn't already been said? The short answer is not much, but we can certainly add to the list of compliments and tell you that this is a super-clean Polypro repress, so you don't have to go out your way to listen to it PROPERLY. The man, Roy Ayers, is obviously a legend who still performs to this day, but this album must be some of his best work, and contains the cult single "Everybody Loves The Sunshine", sampled by everyone form here to Katmandu, and still a flawless song to this day. This dude is up there with the lies Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, etc etc. A stone-cold classic.