Review: To mark Record Store Day 2018, London store Love Vinyl pressed up a tasty 12" containing the best of the disco-era work of Ohio-based soul combo Timeless Legend. Tucked away on the B-side was "I Was Born To Love You", a soaring chunk of sweet and punchy disco-soul from 1980. Here that track gets the reissue treatment from Richard Searling and John Anderson's admirable Expansions imprint. As with the original Dawn-Lite seven-inch single, the inspired A-side vocal version (Part 1) is accompanied by a slightly wilder, largely instrumental flipside take (Part 2) that's worth the entrance price on its own.
Review: The latest must-have reissue on Athens Of The North's psychedelic-minded Ocean of Tears offshoot comes from Symphonic Four, a St Louis-based combo who released one seven-inch - from which both these tracks are taken - on local label Zudan in 1978 or 79. Interestingly, "Who Do You Think You're Fooling" - a languid, bass-heavy deep soul treat with a suitably psychedelic sound - was reportedly recorded in Detroit with members of Parliament/Funkadelic amongst the backing musicians. The A side "Part 1" version is the more straight-laced of the pair, though we prefer the wilder and weirder "Part 2" version on the flip, where odd electronic noises, delay-laden vocals and reverb-heavy instrumentation create a seriously psychedelic mood.
Never Gonna Give You Up (Won't Let You Be) (long version)
All We Need
Remind Me (LP version)
Settle For My Love
Feels So Real (Won't Let Go) (12" version)
To Each His Own
Review: Given the stone-cold-classic status of Patrice Rushen's disco-era recordings on Elektra, it's little surprise to see Strut offering up this superb retrospective of that key period in her career. Naturally, the big club hits are present - "Feels So Real (Can't Let Go)", "Haven't You Heard", "Number One" and "Forget Me Nots" - but it's the quality of the lesser celebrated cuts and album tracks that most impresses. For proof, check the sharp horns and good grooves of "Look Up (Extended Version)", the breezy boogie bounce of "Never Gonna Give You Up (Won't Let You be)" and the electric piano solo-laden seductiveness of "Remind Me (LP Version)". There's naturally plenty of sweet slow jams to savour, too, those to our ears these pale in comparison to Rushen's dancefloor-focused output.
Review: Funk/roots supergroup incoming! LA troupe Night Owls comprises members of The Lions and The Aggrolites and, for this special cover version double-A debut, the vocal fire of Breakestra's Afrodyete on "Break In Every Road". A warm, feel-good twist on the Betty Harris classic, there's a rootsy Jamaican twist to the groove while Afrodyete does the business on the top. Flip for another precision cover version as they woozy up Marvin on the evergreen "Inner City Blues". Trust us, this will make you want to holler...
Review: Xtra xtra read all about it! Backatcha excavate a serious New York disco boogie rarity from 82. One of the first productions by BC Records founder Began Cekic, led by prolific backing-vocalist for the likes of Chic and Talking Heads Dolette McDonald, the result is a sultry downtempo affair with an obscene slap-bass line, sweet synth sprinkles and a strut that's roomy enough for Dolette to do her thing. Complete with an instrumental, this lives up to its name. Special.
Review: Repress time: released last year on a limited run of 45s, Chet Ivey's double-A "Dose Of Soul" / "Get Down With Greater" returns to the relief of collectors and funk lovers who missed out. Two of many swelteringly funky gems on his Sylvia Funk Recordings album curated in 2017, "Dose Of Soul" has a raw edge and looseness that's held together with Ayers-style vibraphone chords, while "Get Down With Greater" is much more of a traditional funk jam, with the organ player and bassist playing at their fullest of flavours and Ivey leading in his inimitable 'poisonous' style. Don't sleep!
Review: Acid Jazz has pulled off something of a coup here by persuading legendary '70s soul man Leroy Huston to part with a couple of previously unreleased cuts. A-side "Positive Forces" was recorded by Hutson in 1977 and sits somewhere between the sweeping, orchestrated bliss of Philly soul, the soaring dancefloor celebration of disco and the loose-limbed instrumental goodness of jazz-funk. It's an absolute stunner, all told, and sounds like it was tailor-made for spins at sweltering summer festivals. On the B-side you'll find a previously unreleased instrumental version of 1975's "All Because of You". While a vocal-free version has previously been released, this particular mix includes a little more drum action at the beginning to assist with mixing.
Review: Garden Of Eden was another one of those obscure, one-shot bands who released a sole single at some point in the 1970s and then promptly vanished from view. That single, "Everybody's On A Trip", has long been sought-after amongst collectors of intergalactic disco-funk, hence this reissue from the Backatcha crew. The title track is a downlow delight, with flanged guitar riffs, spacey synth lines, punchy horns and quality male vocals rising above a hot and heavy groove. Over on the flip "It Takes Two" is sweet, slow and dewy-eyed in the tried-and-tested tradition of B-side ballads.
Review: Already well known in his native France, Anglo-French soul singer Alexis Evans has set his sights on global stardom - or at least reaching his full potential and touring the world. "I Made A Deal With Myself" is his second single since making the move to Record Kicks earlier in the year. The title track is superb - a doozy of an early '60s style soul stomper that sees Evans pitch himself as a modern day version of soul great Jackie Wilson. Flipside "Your Words" is similarly stylistically authentic, with saccharine strings and woozy horns helping to create a suitably sweet, loved-up mood.
Review: Originally pressed (on a limited run) in 2013, LA Latin funk troupe Boogaloo Assassins have reissued these two spellbinding cover versions again due to public demand. Still on a highly limited run, both cuts need to be in your collection: Dawn Penn's "No No No" gets a strict samba switch with lavish percussion and consistent vocal harmonies throughout while Sonny Henry's "Evil Ways" (best known from its Santana cover) gets the dreamy instrumental treatment where the horns and glocks do the narrating over a tight bed of wood blocks, shakers and liquid Rhodes. Killer stuff and Juno is one of the few stores outside of USA which is carrying the 45. Don't Sleep !