Review: E Da Boss (Myron & E/Pendletons) & Ishtar team up as 'Lucid Paradise' for their second release, produced by non other than Russia's finest, 'The Soul Surfers'. 'Tonight' is the accumulation of two Bay Area soul aficianados coming together to create a smooth & crisp, timeless yet modern cut. Written alongside UK's pioneering soul singer Gizelle Smith, 'Tonight' epitomises the talent of contemporary soul acts worldwide.
Review: It would be fair to say that Paris Holley is not one of the best-known purveyors of 1980s funk and soul, though the handful of releases he put out in the decade tend to be cherished by serious diggers and DJs. 1984 jam "I Choose You", which is here reissued for the first time since the '80s, is undoubtedly one of his standout moments. Hazy, super-sweet and laidback, the cut sees Holley adding his soulful, high octave tones to a blissful backing track rich in fluid piano lines, sun-kissed guitars and mazy synth lines. Arguably even better is synth-funk B-side "Punkin' Funkin", a fizzing workout that sounds like a more soulful, talkbox-free take on Zapp man Roger Troutman's trademark sound.
Review: This special Record Stay Day reissue gathers together two of Philadelphia soul legend Teddy Pendergrass' finest dancefloor moments. Both are essential, making this a must-buy for disco DJs who've yet to acquire them. On the A-side you'll find "You Can't Hide From Yourself", a sumptuously orchestrated affair whose killer groove is matched in quality by Pendergrass' impassioned vocal (check the rasping freestyle vocalizations towards the end for proof). Equally as impressive is "The More I Get, The More I Want", an insatiably sexually charged affair that builds in intensity throughout and not only contains one of the funkiest basslines in disco history, but also some seriously addictive female backing vocals.
Review: Legendary, and hugely prolific, soulsmith and writer Dan Penn looks back over his last two albums and pick two of the most delicate, soul-stirring tracks. Taken from 2013's I Need A Holiday and 2016's Something About The Night respectively, "Blue In The Heart" is stripped right back to guitar, organs and Dan's rich voice (which hasn't faltered over seven decades in the game) while "Time To Get Over You" hits with more of a bluesy twang and a country influence on the backing harmonies. Raw, direct and guaranteed to get your skin in goosebumps. Just like every other record Dan's given the world.
Review: Way back in 1970, People In The News released their sole single on Knap Town, a tiny label based in Indiana. Original copies of that funk "45" are notoriously hard to find, thanks in no small part to the quality of both cuts. Step forward Athens Of The North boss Euan Fryer, who has secured the rights to reissue the single for the first time. A-side "Color Me" is the real bomb: a down-low chunk of mid-tempo funk with politically charged group vocals, rasping guitar licks and hip-hop style drum breaks. Over on side B, "Misty Shade Of Pink" is the kind of rock solid instrumental funk workout you'd expect to hear from the Meters.
Review: Imogen have stumbled across a rare gem here, presenting some previously unheard liquid funk jams from the lesser known Chicago pioneer James Perri. Some of his jams as Jimi Polo are perennial classics, while his time spent in Soul II Soul and elsewhere are testament to his gifts, but this particular set of recordings from the 90s have lain in wait for their time to shine. You can hear his skills as a session musician and arranger coming through in abundance on this warm, grooving, acid jazz inflected EP. "70s Theme" is a sparse, moody jazz funk cut, while "Brother Beware" is a smooth, sultry slice of message soul. "Express Yourself" is the truly uplifting slice of the pie, and it will chime just fine with any lovers of that classic Soul II Soul sound.
Review: Singer, songwriter and session vocalist for Motown and Chess, Jeff Perry spent the late 70s on his own solo adventure and "Call On Me" was one of his earliest endeavours. A fairly urgent torch song executed with few theatrics but rather layers of soft harmonies, a funk-riddled break and a dreamy middle eighth. Flip for the instrumental and you'll hear just how much power and emergency the Jeff's vocals provide now they're removed.
I've Never Found A Man (To Love Me Like You Do) (3:22)
Review: This tidy reissue gathers together tracks from two different Esther Phillips singles, both of which were originally released in 1971. Pride of place goes to the legendary soul singer's cover of Gil Scott-Heron's "Home Is Where The Hatred Is", which also opened her brilliant album "From A Whisper To A Scream". Sounding a little like the period "conscious soul" of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye, the track is brilliantly arranged and performed by Phillips and her assembled studio musicians. B-side "I've Never Found a Man (To Love Me Like You Do)" is an altogether sweeter affair, with Phillips and backing vocalists rising above a punchy, orchestrated soul groove.
Review: Andy Stennett and Peter Maas' Freeez project was a pillar of both the pre-punk and punk scenes across the UK, with their infamous tracks surely having influenced a myriad of post-punkers thereafter. Aside from that, they also operated under the Pink Rhythm moniker, through which they released a limited selection of disco-not-disco and jazz-dance. Perfect for some reissue action right now. India was the second of the three EPs they released in 1985, now out through Be With, and the title track sounds like it hasn't aged a day since thanks to a subtly boogie approach filtered through a cold-wave stance. "Trust Me" a more sensual track, slower and more soulful, while the flipside's "More & More" storms through with a summery, blazed-out drum-machine anthem, followed by a sweet instrumental cut to "India". Ya need...
Review: Tramp dig deep into the short-but-powerfully formed 1964-66 vaults of Jan Kurtis Skugstad's Seattle label Camelot with this fiery 45" from Jim Pipkin & The Boss Five. "Mr CC" is a big swing call and response style horn piece with casual bandleading from Pipkin himself (including a very early recorded use of the term 'shamoan') while "Walkin' The Duck" is a sweatier jam with a brazenly tight horn/guitar groove and more steamy cat-calling from ol' Pipkin himself. Camelot = winnalot.
Review: No longer dealing in edits, but instead long lost or out of print disco and soul gold, Super Disco Edits turn their focus to the early works of The Plainwrap Band here. These are all tracks produced and arranged by Marvin Augustus that were recorded to a dusty reel that ended up in the hands of producer Stu Gardner. He transferred the reels and once the label got wind they decided to track down Augustus. He'd forgotten all about the project but revelled that some of leading musicians from America's West Coast were called upon to play on these romantic, emotional and musical soul-groovers.
Come Go With Me (Joaquin Joe Claussell Unofficial edits version) (5:48)
Review: Originally released in 1977 "Come Go with Me" is a song by R&B group Pockets, which charted reasonably high in various charts at the time. This issue features a respectful resplice by New York City's master of spiritual life music himself: Joaquin Joe Claussell. The original version on the A side is featured for your enjoyment - that's a given - and you can enjoy this timeless classic featuring producer Verdine White's amazing production.
Review: Chalalala move on. Outta Sight continue their two sides / two legends Atlantic 45 series with this beautiful celebration of The Pointer Sisters and The Drifters. Neither act require an introduction. The famous Oakland all-girl troupe take the lead with "Send Him Back", their sophomore single (that regularly fetches upwards of L100 a copy) it's a bubblegum soul frenzy with all the energy you'd expect from their breakthrough years. The Drifters carries a similar sense of focus and energy with vibrant backing vocals and a sunny side soul touch that will have you bouncing from here to next winter.
Review: Two sides, two years, two source labels: This powerful soul blast 45 captures two sides of LA songwriter Nolan's criminally short recording career. The A is his famous northern soul / Joy Division-riffed favourite "Keep On Keeping On" from 71 on cult soul imprint Lizard while the B "If I Could Only Be Sure" is a smoother R&B cut from his time on MCA's ABC imprint. Loose limbed feel good funk and swooning bluesy soul with big harmonies, this represents Nolan's diverse range with respect and timelessness.
Review: This Precisions (Philly Group) were a different group to the Detroit Precisions.These two tracks come from when they were working with Philadelphia producer Marty Bryant. We can imagine that some Northern Soul DJs tracked down copies of the scarce original pressing of this fine 7" for B-side "My Sense of Direction (Is Blown)", a heartfelt soul shuffler with serious dancefloor chops. Arguably even better, though, is A-side "Take a Closer Look", a slower, simmering chunk of doo-wop influenced goodness that's as heartbreaking as it is sublime.
Lou Ragland - "Since You Said You'd Be Mine" (3:15)
Review: Two rare northern soul gems from two much slept-on OGs. West coast royalty Mitchell takes the A-side of this powerful 45" with the gutsy feel-good romp from 79. Fittingly titled "I'm So Happy", it's a driving piece of late 70s soul right down to the wolf whistles and band cheers. Flip for an equally potent spell from Lou Ragland. Usually famed for his four-figure cult piece "I Travel Alone", here we find him yearning with authenticity on the 1979-release "You Said You'd Be Mine". Backed by honeyed BVs and full band orchestration, this has the power to stop a dancefloor in its tracks almost 40 years later. And probably still will in 40 years time.
Review: With this tasty 7" single, Record Shack has delivered something of a Christmas present for Northern Soul fans. Those with a deep love of stomping Detroit soul should already known "That's Why I Love You", a "northern" scene favourite originally released on Groove City Records in 1967. The two versions showcased here, though, have never before seen the light of day. The "Alternate Take" featured on the A-side is something of a soaring gem reminiscent of up-tempo Stevie Wonder cuts of the period and blessed with some brilliant vocals from the Professionals. This time round, it's backed by a stripped-back instrumental version heavy in guitars, bass, drums and horns, but low on orchestration.