Review: When it comes to crafting retro-futurist soul gems - think traditional soul instrumentation and vocals with modern production trickery - Tanika Charles has an impressive track record. The Canadian artist won plenty of praise for her recent album "The Gumption", from which the two tracks that make up this limited-edition single are taken. The standout is undoubtedly the sunny, Hammond-heavy soul stomp of title track "Love Overdue", a cut so sweet, jaunty and sticky that it might make diabetics go weak at the knees. There's a similarly stomping feel about breezier flipside "Remember To Remember", where Charles delivers an impeccable, R&B style vocal over a thrusting, Northern Soul style beat.
My Forbidden Lover (Dimitri From Paris 12" version) (6:30)
I Feel Your Love Comin' On (Dimitri From Paris remix) (8:16)
My Forbidden Lover (Dimitri From Paris instrumental) (6:29)
I Feel Your Love Comin' On (Dimitri From Paris instrumental) (8:15)
Review: It was 2010 when Dimitri From Paris first got his hands on the parts to some of Chic's biggest hits, with some of the resultant revisions appearing on an expansive "Chic Organization" box-set. Glitterbox has been reissuing them all over a series of 12" singles, with this volume boasting the Parisian's vocal and instrumental versions of both "My Forbidden Lover" and "I Feel Your Love Comin' On". The latter is a deliciously dubbed out affair that pushes the track's heavy electrofunk-meets-disco-funk groove to the fore, with flashes of Nile Rodgers' razor-sharp guitar riffs and echoing vocal snippets rising and falling throughout the mix. It's the versions of "My Forbidden Lover", complete with stunning orchestral breakdowns and extended instrumental breaks, that really set the pulse racing, though.
Review: During the 1970s, Sanifu Al Hall Jr decided to form a group dedicated to blending jazz, soul and cutting-edge electronic sounds. The brilliantly named Cosmos Dwellerz Arkestra never released any music during the period - not commercially, at least - with this fascinating 12" marking their belated debut. "Love Thoughts", which was committed to tape in 1977, is undoubtedly intergalactic, offering a spiritually-minded mix of spiraling jazz-funk synths, woozy horn solos, stoned drums and toaster-hot bass. On the flip you'll find an interesting curio: an extended 1967 radio interview with Sanifu Al Hall Jr in which he discusses his musical story and approach to life.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Good ole' foot stomping and hand clapping - this true Tony Humphries, Southport and soul collectors favourite finally gets a full single release. "Looking For You" is massive crossover hit from 2005 by American Gospel star Kirk Franklin, who marries Patrice Rushen's "Haven't You Heard" with R&B and hip-hop to produce an uplifting, inspiring and infectious feel good classic. Franklin pilots his ensemble through a joyful song that will have you tapping your feet and clapping your hands in no time - and if put the lyrics and sermon aside, this could be superb dance music, too.
Review: Best known amongst house heads for being the source of the lilting orchestral sample in Pepe Bradock's "Deep Burnt", Freddie Hubbard's 1979 version of "Little Sunflower" is a soul-jazz classic and a half. Since the full version of Hubbard's vocal re-make (the trumpeter first recorded an instrumental take in 1968) only ever appeared on a hard-to-find promo 12", this Record Store Day reissue should be an essential purchase. It remains a gentle, breezy and sunset-ready jazz-dance gem, with Hubbard's emotion-rich vocals and mazy trumpet solos riding Latin-tinged percussion, elastic double bass and some suitably jammed-out jazz pianos. In other words, it's the kind of life-affirming treat that's capable of spreading sunshine on even the cloudiest day.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Immortalised, slowed down funk from The Isley Brothers, an American R&B/soul group from Cincinnati, Ohio, established in the early 1950s. This 7" houses the much loved and often sampled in the hip hop world, "Footsteps In The Dark" (Parts 1 & 2) and "Between The Sheets". The latter is a silky smooth R&B classic whilst the arguably more well-known "Footsteps In The Dark" is an arrestingly beautiful, hood classic/soul masterpiece. The bassy but laid-back harmonious ballad with delicious percussion and Ronald Isley crooning an uneasy lyric on maintaining "a love that lasted for so long" amid the constant temptation of infidelity, makes it worth the entry price on its own.
Etta James & Sugar Pie Desanto - "In The Basement" (Soul Flip edit) (3:20)
John Gary Williams - "My Sweet Lord" (Soul Flip edit) (3:59)
Review: On their latest limited edition salvo, the hardworking Soul Flip crew (AKA experienced DJs and producers Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo) gets to work on two more stomping dancefloor cuts from the golden age of soul. First up on side A is a gently tooled-up and tightened up take on Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's 1966 floor-heater "In The Basement", a hybrid soul-jazz/rhythm and blues jam rich in rubbery double bass, bustling drums, restless handclaps and brilliant lead vocals from the two legendary soul singers. On the flip they tackle Memphis musician John Gary Williams' 1972 cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", which brilliantly re-imagines the former Beatles' spiritual song as a sweaty gospel-soul stomper.
Review: When Leo and his Sunshipp crew asked for the sunshine way back in 1980 they meant it. And with a tune as beautiful as this, they deserved it too. Released in 1980 in various forms (and also on the funk trio's only album in 1978) the most sought after was the 45" that came with the gutsier, more upbeat traditional soul cut "I'm Back For More". But let's face it, this is all about the lead track. A cult Balearic soul funk jam and one of the coolest summer cuts ever pressed to wax, reissues have been on request for over 30 years... Like the summer itself, this won't hang around.
Review: Longstanding reissue kings Soul Brother flex back to this powerful double A last issued by Cultures Of Soul in 2010. Two of Barbara Lynn's fieriest soul sessions, both released on Tribe in '66/'67 respectively, there's a strong northern stomp to proceedings on both sides. "I'm A Good Woman" is characterised by the driving kicks, tight horns and Lynn's urgent vocals while "I Don't Want A Playboy" comes with more of a traditional soul swing. Sleep on this and, in the words of Babs herself, you'll lose a good thing.
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: This excellent 7" single from Athens Of The North boasts more desirable deep funk business. This time dusty-fingered digger Euan Fryer has secured the rights to a sought-after seven from Papa Bear & His Cubs, a long-serving combo whose sole "45" has long been a sought-after item amongst serious soul and funk heads. "You're So Fine" may sound like it was recorded in a cement mixer on a cheap portable tape recorder, but musically it's soul bliss - a wonderfully languid, loved-up song blessed with a superb lead vocal and languid instrumentation. "Sweetest Thing On This Side Of Heaven" is, if anything, even more dewy-eyed - a seductive slow jam whose saccharine lyrics are delivered with heartfelt passion.
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: 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.