Soul & Funk

RIS Featuring Celeste “Love N Music” (Best)

2020-05-21T20:50:31+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Love N Music is an original classic Italo Disco with an Hi-NRG touch. The original song starts with a sweet female voice that seemed to be an hymn to love, a strong pre-house atmosphere soon introduces an extravagant synths as a prelude to the hot bass-line combined with the Italian rap of Celeste. Many of you will recognize its melody used in 2002 by Felix da Housecat on his tune “Happy Hour”. RIS is another one superbe collaboration by Tony Carrasco (Klein + M.B.O.) and the always excellent Aldo Martinelli. Remix by the dj and Danish record collector Flemming Dalum.

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Dr. Togo “Be Free” (Best)

2020-05-21T20:50:31+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Voice of the Kano project and former percussionist of Eric Clapton, George Benson and Chaka Khan, Glen White in 1982 wrote and arranged “Be Free”, one of the most intriguing and elegant Italian disco / boogie song together with the producer Louis “Gigi” Figini (former member of project “Koxo” alongside the unforgettable Leonardo Re Cecconi). An overlooked gem by the West Indian artist brought back to the musical community!

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Mulatu Astatke + Black Jesus Experience ‎”To Know Without Knowing” (Agogo)

2020-05-21T20:50:21+00:00May 21st, 2020|

To Know Without Knowing, Mulatu Astatke & Black Jesus Experience’s album, is their second together. A grooving transcontinental gem, recorded in Melbourne, Australia, and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Filled with the warmth of the mentorship and friendship of their creative partnership honed over a decade of performing together in Africa, Australia, and UK/Europe. Mulatu Astatke is the father of Ethio-jazz and one of Africa’s most influential and enduring musical figures. Black Jesus Experience is a community of artists, centered around a twelve-piece global-funk-machine born of Australia’s vibrant multiculturalism. Mulatu and Black Jesus Experience met in Addis Ababa in 2009, embarking on both a musical relationship and a friendship that has led Mulatu Astake to describe Black Jesus Experience as, “My favorite backing band” and, “…they’re family.” Mulatu’s great contribution to music has been to combine Jazz and funk grooves with Ethiopia’s distinctive pentatonic scales. His musical genius is the sensuality and sophistication with which Mulatu contrasts these minimalist scales with richly chromatic harmony. But Mulatu’s equally great contribution has been to share both his enduringly unique modernity and Ethiopia’s timelessly spiritual music with the world. Black Jesus Experience treasure the special relationship of generosity, mentorship and collaboration they have been privileged to share with this master musician. To Know Without Knowing is the product of this gift.

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Ian Willson ‎”Straight From The Heart” (Be With)

2020-05-21T20:50:20+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Be With Records work with Ian Willson to reissue his self-released, West Coast classic Straight From The Heart, privately pressed and originally released in 1985. This is the only album Ian ever put out. A magical blend of AOR/sophisticated funk/synth-boogie/spiritual jazz and modern soul, it’s a spellbinding record of many colors. You might already know Straight From The Heart for the dubby-disco paranoid-Balearic anthem “Four In The Morning”, and it’s easy to assume this is probably just another one of those one-track LPs. But this is an impressively slick record from start to finish. Album opener “Think About It” is all sorts of right. It’s emotional. It’s tops-off. It’s funk in its purest form. And take the proto-modern-funk of the title track (half Dâm-Funk/half Dâd-Funk). The shimmering, spiritual bossa-jazz of “If I Were You” serves as the album’s soaring centerpiece. A gorgeous suite of cosmic vibes to get Gilles frothing, it sounds like nothing else on the record which makes sense given that it was recorded a couple of years earlier, and is the only track on the LP that wasn’t recorded in Ian’s own studio. Side B opens with the propulsive ode to love that is “Two Is Better Than One”. Wonderfully sparse when it needs to be, it’s also richly percussive and that special kind of California-warm. Frenetic, speaker smashing synth and horn workout “Funk Invasion” dares you not to dance and “A Game Called Love” is heavily indebted to Prince with its lush, deep funk stylings. The sweeping sax-drenched instrumental “Song For Katelyn” is head-nod, beat-heavy AOR for that melancholic magic hour. It all adds up to the ultimate BBQ record. Almost all of Straight From The Heart was recorded over a few months between 1983 and 1984 on Ian’s brand new Otari 8 track in the Oakland, California studio he built just the year before. Only “If I Were You” was recorded elsewhere, at Bay Sound in 1982. Ian produced the album himself and played all of the instruments, except for the guitar of his longtime friend, Peter Fujii. Tower Of Power, Average White Band, Earth Wind & Fire, and Stevie Wonder was the list of influences Ian gave when asked. Why did he put the record out himself? Simple, he had no idea how to go about getting a record deal. The original tapes have long since been lost. This reissue was remastered from Ian’s one-and-only pristine copy.

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Various Artists “Napoli Segreta Vol.2” (NG)

2020-05-21T20:50:14+00:00May 21st, 2020|

After Nu Guinea’s LP, Nuova Napoli, and Napoli Segreta first compilation, NG RECORDS follows up with an exploration into the unknown groovy side of Naples by releasing Napoli Segreta Vol.2.
Famiglia Discocristiana, DNApoli and Nu Guinea team up again selecting more tracks from their archives, for a new compilation containing 9 mysterious Neapolitan tracks, found in the most hidden corners of remote flea markets around the Vesuvius.
But forget classical Neapolitan songs, “‘O Sole Mio” or “Luna Rossa”… Forget about what you expect to find once you land in town… oh and also forget about Google maps. Take a dodgy local guide, keep your eyes open, and follow it to enter the secret downtown, the underground, the routes that no satellite can detect, but beware there is no easy way out.
Napoli Segreta Vol.2 is a musical journey into the sonic landscapes of Naples that you have never heard of before. A variety of genres merging soul, disco, funk, blues, new wave, afro-beat and boogie, including lyrics in Neapolitan urban slang, instrumental tracks with progressive flavour, and also some unexpected covers!

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Medline “Solstice” (My Bags)

2020-05-21T20:50:14+00:00May 21st, 2020|

When we first heard Medline doing cover versions of tracks from the La Plante Sauvage OST, we were blown away. We said something cheeky like: -this thing needs to be on vinyl.- Well wish it and will it enough and it will happen. Solstice is here, and it s a record chock full of covers of legendary original soundtrack, library and jazz funk music. Many of these records are tough or impossible to find, and Medline s concept of interpreting these killer cuts and getting them all together on one record is a rare find itself. This is definitely a record that you can go back to again and again. High quality, brilliant interpretations of these songs, most of which were sampled many times before, is not just a digger s delight, but something that needs to be in a collection. Every track was performed by Medline. He translated the compositions his way, into his world, and the end product is something we will be talking about for years

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Fatima “Yellow Memories” (Eglo)

2020-05-21T20:50:03+00:00May 21st, 2020|

Eglo Records are proud to present Fatima’s highly anticipated debut album ‘Yellow Memories’.

Featuring production work from the likes of Floating Points, Theo Parrish, Oh No, Scoop DeVille, Computer Jay, Knxwledge and more… the velvet toned Swede has truly crafted something special.

Offering a modern take on classic Soul and RnB, the album strikes a beautiful balance of cutting edge, contemporary production, soulful expression, melancholic introspection and vibrant, candy coated melody. An accomplished singer /song-writer with a stunning range, her prowess and versatility are a force not to be reckoned with. As powerful and mesmerising on stage as she is in the studio, Fatima possesses a talent heard all to rarely in todays musical climate.

Two singles have so far been released from the album, including the Flako the produced double A-Side ‘Family’ and ‘La Neta’, the video’s for which can be found HERE and HERE Upfront tracks from the album are already in heavy rotation amongst musical luminaries such as BBC Radio 1’s Benji B, 6Music’s Gilles Peterson and Mary Anne Hobbs as well as wide spread support from contemporary broadcast institutions like Rinse FM and NTS. Resident Advisor recently featured Fatima on their front page having recorded a deeply emotive live performance of the album track ‘Gave Me My Name’ – which can be seen HERE.

Born of Swedish and Senegalese parentage, Fatima moved to London in her early twenties. It was here that she met Eglo Records label bosses Alex Nut and Floating Points. After several chance encounters a relationship blossomed leading to the creation of several now classic releases including ‘Mind’, ‘Redlight’ and ‘Innervision’ as well as her Award winning performances fronting the Floating Points Ensemble. Other collaborations include Dam Funk, Shafiq Husayn (SA-RA) and Scratcha DVA on Hyperdub. Currently residing in New York Fatima will be returning to the UK/EU mid April for a string of live dates and launch parties through out May accompanied by the Eglo Live Band. Her live shows are not to be missed!

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Nick Hakim “Will This Make Me Good” (ATO)

2020-05-14T23:35:38+00:00May 14th, 2020|

“Will This Make Me Good?” is a question Nick Hakim has asked himself since he was young and struggling in school. It is a reflection of what’s happening in his head as he sorts through his life and the tumult around the globe. His new album WILL THIS MAKE ME GOOD articulates a sense of confusion alongside a desire for hope and clarity. It was produced by his longtime collaborator Andrew Sarlo (Big Thief, Bon Iver), who also produced Hakim’s breakthrough debut “Green Twins”.

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Woody Bianchi “Under The Influence Volume Eight: A Collection of Rare Boogie & Disco” (Z)

2020-05-07T20:41:29+00:00May 7th, 2020|

Double LP version. Gatefold sleeve. Z Records continues its commitment to unearthing the obscure and long forgotten tracks from the last 40 years through the ever-popular Under The Influence series. Following on from Red Greg, Paul Phillips, James Glass, Nick The Record, Sean P, Faze Action, and Winston. It’s now the turn of one of the Italy’s most impressive collectors; Woody Bianchi. The story behind Z Records’ Under The Influence series is this: being a seasoned record collector Z label boss Dave Lee/Joey Negro has made the acquaintance of many of the worlds other vinyl junkies. People that may be unknown to the general public but are hardcore enthusiasts who have built some of the best collections of soul, funk, and disco on the planet. The idea of UTI isn’t solely about big name DJs compiling albums but to give a musical platform to those who have the knowledge to put together a track listing of killer tunes. Woody Bianchi is a prolific DJ, producer, remixer, and record collector. His international collaborations with Bob Sinclar, Todd Terry, Arthur Baker, Full Intention, Eric Kupper, Jocelyn Brown, Marshall Jefferson, and many others have created a remarkable profile for him. He has released over 300 productions worldwide and has toured side by side with many of the scenes greatest names. Here you have the pleasure of delving into his vast collection and plucking some of the rarest records out, with many of the tracks costing hundreds if you were actually able to find the originals. As always with ZR compilations a lot of time and effort has been spent on creating these masters from the original vinyl, cleaning them up, removing all the clicks and pops resulting in the cleanest sounding copy possible.

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Adrian Younge Presents Loren Oden “My Heart, My Love” (Linear Labs)

2020-05-07T20:41:18+00:00May 7th, 2020|

“I wrote this song, Is There A Way, after reconnecting with an old love. Someone who I had a deep connection with, and a very loving relationship. It felt as though it was in another lifetime. That lifetime came Almost 10 years later when we reconnected and attempted to try our hand at love again. This song is my heart pouring out to her trying to find a way back to the love that we once had to build on and to grow on and to move forward in our newfound relationship. All the sweet and loving memories that made what we had so special. For me this is a very optimistic song about love, romance, and true happiness with a person that you feel soulmate status with.” – Loren Oden

Born into a musical family in Compton, Ca., Loren Oden grew up in the church.  This served as an incredible training ground for Oden, where he not only studied gospel, but secular greats like Marvin Gaye and Sam Cooke. Being that those icons were bred in the church, Loren discovered sanctity in using his voice as a spiritual guide for love: a way to express his vulnerability, passion and struggles with handling reciprocal affection.   Oden’s transparency, or in other words, connection to people is what makes him one of the most captivating vocalists of the modern era.

Oden’s fledgling career gained momentum as a prominent background vocalist for  Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Kirk Franklin, Erykah Badu and Neyo, to name a few.  Within a couple years, his long-time colleague, composer Adrian Younge, enlisted him as the lead vocalist for the cult classic,  Black Dynamite, a blaxploitation parody theatrically released in 2009.  This was the beginning of Oden becoming the melodious bedrock of Younge’s psychedelic sound.

Music has allowed him to transcribe his emotional tussles; it’s one of the reasons why Oden sings lead on most of Younge’s melancholy catalog, including but not limited, to The Midnight Hour, Something About April, and Marvel’s Luke Cage (scored alongside Ali Shaheed Muhammad).  This is also the reason why Younge has decided to produce Loren’s debut LP, My Heart, My Love.  Their collaborations have served as a means for Oden to not only harmonize his story, but to travel the world doing it with extensive touring.    Loren has also written and recorded for many artists such as Snoop Dogg, Common, The Delfonics, Ghostface Killah, and Bilal.

Oden strives to vibrate frequencies relatable to lovers from all walks of life: a forgotten tenet derivative of classic black soul.  His on-stage performance is empowered with the ability to captivate audiences with mellifluous delivery and acceptance.  Be sure to see Oden as he tours with The Midnight Hour this fall.

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Shafiq Husayn “The Loop Instrumentals” (Nature Sounds)

2020-05-07T20:41:11+00:00May 7th, 2020|

Shafiq Husayn is a talented musician, producer, songwriter, and recording artist who has defied boundaries and worked with some of the top artists in R&B, hip-hop, soul, funk, and beyond. Perhaps best known as one third of innovative Los Angeles musical collective Sa Ra Creative Partners, Husayn has produced for the likes of Erykah Badu, Andre 3000, John Legend, Kanye West, Hiatus Kaiyote, Jurassic 5, Bilal, and many more. Shafiq’s musical roots date back to when he attended parties thrown by both by the Zulu Nation and Uncle Jamm’s Army, carrying crates for pioneering DJ Afrika Islam. By the early 90s he was working under the alias SLJ, producing tracks for hip-hop luminaries like Ice T, Lord Finesse, and King Tee. In recent years, Shafiq has helped launch the careers of some of the most influential new artists to emerge from L.A., serving as an early mentor to Anderson .Paak and working with Ty Dolla $ign before his rise to fame. His solo debut “Shafiq En’ A-Free-Ka” received widespread critical acclaim, and he earned a Grammy for his work on Robert Glasper’s breakthrough album “Black Radio”.

Recently, Shafiq Husayn returned with the long-awaited new project “The Loop”. The eclectic album features an all-star cast of Shafiq’s most prominent collaborators, including contributions from Erykah Badu, Anderson .Paak, Robert Glasper, Bilal, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and more. Blending lush live instrumentation with futuristic synths and otherworldly vocals, “The Loop” is a genre-defying opus incorporating spaced-out funk, raw neo-soul, free jazz, hip-hop beats, and electronic elements. This the official instrumental version of “The Loop”, showcasing the album’s stellar production on limited-edition vinyl.

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The Devonns “The Devonns” (Record Kicks)

2020-05-07T20:41:08+00:00May 7th, 2020|

Straight from the streets of Chicago, Illinois, The Devonns (pronounced “De vaughns”) are the brand new soul outfit and the latest addition of the Record Kicks’ family, whose self-titled debut album that drops April 06, is an assortment of influences taking us back to the heyday of soul.

The band started in 2016 after multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Mathew Ajjarapu dropped out of med school and found himself unemployed and drifting. Listening to music constantly at the time, he found inspiration to put a band together and create his own music. Pairing up with some of the best musicians Chicago has to offer, he founded The Devonns: the rhythm duty is entrusted to Khalyle Hagood (bass), Ari Lindo (guitar) and Khori Wilson (drums).

The result is an album filled with lavish arrangements and catchy melodies which take us on a nostalgic musical journey inspired by chic 70s soul, yet the band don’t hesitate to add their own unique and elegant contemporary stamp to the record.

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Sylk “Sylk” (Tidal Waves Music)

2020-05-07T20:40:41+00:00May 7th, 2020|

Sylk was a short-lived soul & funk band from the Aiken, South Carolina – Augusta, Georgia border area (better known as the CSRA) who released just one album in 1983. Their self-titled (and only) album would become a much sought-after private pressed holy grail within the record collecting community.

Sylk was founded by Leroy Harper Jr. (sax/keyboards) and Ben Moses (bass/guitar). Soon they were also joined by key-members Keith Henderson (drums/percussion) and Michael Simpkins (vocals/trombone). The band also sought out John Howard (who was known for his funky rhythm style guitar + excellent soloing) and David Sanders (a known rock keyboardist in the local scene). Later down the line George Bright and Cathey McLaughlin also teamed up with Sylk…the line-up was now complete. All members were friends, frequented the same music scene or knew each other from high school. Leroy Harper Jr. & Michael Simpkins already made their bones playing together in the local funk band Exit Enterprises, one of the hottest bands in the CSRA area. All these talented musicians (some were playing from the tender age of 15) were ready to get funkin’…it was time to form SYLK and get busy.

Ben Moses (who is now a preacher) was the band leader and it was his idea to write and record the album before the band would start playing gigs. Ben was al tall guy with long fingers who played on a ‘Peavey Natural Wood’ bass guitar (which gave the band its classic funky-smooth sound). Rehearsing at Ben’s house, they were all green first-time song writers…but the songs were flowing in an almost organic fashion. Soon after the writing process was completed, they went and recorded the album at John Peterson’s home studio in North Augusta SC. The engineer on duty was the legendary Jim Loyd responsible for mastering milestone recordings from the likes of The Meters, Johnny Cash and The B-52’s. With a strong album up their sleeve, the live bookings started coming in and the band (wearing P-funk style outfits) made good money playing local gigs. Sadly, after a while some band members fell on hard times and this marked the beginning of the end of the band. In the end, Sylk only lasted a year before calling it quits.

When the Sylk chapter came to a close, founding member ‘‘Funky’’ Leroy Harper Jr. began to focus on his personal musical career. He’s served as a founder for several bands (including Spur of the Moment, Painted Man and Soul Power Posse). The incredible talented sax and keyboard player has also performed with Stevie Wonder, Millie Jackson, James Levi (Herbie Hancock’s The Headhunters) and Tony Cook (The J.B.’s). ‘‘Funky’’ Leroy Harper Jr. joined James Brown in 1991 and started playing/recording (and touring extensively) with the godfather of soul until Brown’s death in 2006. Over the years, harper has made appearances on Late Night with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and The Arsenio Hall Show (among many others). Currently he’s still playing gigs with his band Funky Leroy Harper Jr’s All Starz and shows no signs of slowing down!

Sylk was a true example of a bright light burning out way too quickly, thankfully we are left with the unique (and very rare) document that is their self-titled album. Although it was recorded in 1983, it has a strong 1978-1979 vibe working for it. The entire album is filled with sexy (yet strong) vocals, space-like rhythmic keyboard vibrations, groovy bass lines & fat trombones that compels the listener into a dancing frenzy…one can hear the cosmic touches and influences of The J.B.’s, Bernie Worrell (amongst other P-Funk greats) and Herbie Hancock softly slipping in. This is hot and soulful Southern Funk…smooth as sylk!

Tidal Waves Music now proudly presents the first ever vinyl reissue of this fantastic funk/soul album (originally released in 1983 on Earthquake Records). This rare record (original copies tend to go for large amounts on the secondary market) is now finally back available as a limited vinyl edition (500 copies) complete with the original artwork

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Roy Ayers ‎”Virgin Ubiquity II (Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981)” (BBE)

2020-05-02T20:50:27+00:00April 30th, 2020|

BBE Music announces the first repress of the classic Roy Ayers albums ‘Virgin Ubiquity’ 1 and 2 since 2006, on luxurious 180g vinyl with brand new sleeve notes written by Sean P. The music on ‘Virgin Ubiquity’ was selected and mixed down from previously unreleased multi-tracks recorded between 1976 & 1981, which Roy had in storage. It’s all unmistakably Ayers, but is diverse and fresh enough to be more than a mere adjunct to one of his most productive and popular periods – testament to his and his musicians’ creative abilities, as much of most revered Ayers output stems from this time. These discoveries take their place beside some illustrious company in a timeline bookended by ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’ and ‘Africa, Center Of The World’, several solo and Ubiquity albums, collaborations with Wayne Henderson & Fela Kuti, as well as guesting on LPs by Buster Williams and Herbie Mann. Out of print on vinyl and CD for over a decade now, BBE is delighted to re- present these groundbreaking Roy Ayers titles, neatly coinciding with the 45th anniversary of his classic album ‘Mystic Voyage’ and a UK tour to commemorate it during April 2020.

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Roy Ayers ‎”Virgin Ubiquity (Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981)” (BBE)

2020-04-30T22:45:30+00:00April 30th, 2020|

BBE Music announces the first repress of the classic Roy Ayers albums ‘Virgin Ubiquity’ 1 and 2 since 2006, on luxurious 180g vinyl with brand new sleeve notes written by Sean P. The music on ‘Virgin Ubiquity’ was selected and mixed down from previously unreleased multi-tracks recorded between 1976 & 1981, which Roy had in storage. It’s all unmistakably Ayers, but is diverse and fresh enough to be more than a mere adjunct to one of his most productive and popular periods – testament to his and his musicians’ creative abilities, as much of most revered Ayers output stems from this time. These discoveries take their place beside some illustrious company in a timeline bookended by ‘Everybody Loves The Sunshine’ and ‘Africa, Center Of The World’, several solo and Ubiquity albums, collaborations with Wayne Henderson & Fela Kuti, as well as guesting on LPs by Buster Williams and Herbie Mann.

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Terry Callier “Turn You To Love” (Speakers Corner)

2020-04-30T22:45:20+00:00April 30th, 2020|

When you listen to Terry Callier’s music, it really makes you wonder why it took three decades after the release of his debut album for this singer to be able to live from his music. “Turn You To Love”, »easily Terry Callier’s most underrated album« (allmusic.com), may in the first moment be somewhat astonishing for its rather disparate mix of numbers. Unlike the works by other soul mates, Callier’s songs demonstrate not how soul should be but rather what soul can be. His musical language does away with angry attitudes, and cultivates instead deep and sincerely felt sentiment. This is expressed not only in sprightly funk (“Sign Of The Times”) but also in moderately paced and soulful songs such as “Pyramids Of Love”. His vocal prowess is shown in a wide variation of numbers – from well rounded to smoky, gauze-like phrases (“Turn You To Love”), via a rhythmically freely swinging number with a lengthy text (“Ordinary Joe”), and a narrative, meditative atmosphere (“Occasional Rain”). In between we find a fine mix of diverse voices (“You And Me”) and a drop of the cultivated, indestructible groovy sound of the times (“Still Water”).

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Hector Sithole & On Paper “Love, Love” (Strawberry Rain)

2020-04-30T22:45:19+00:00April 30th, 2020|

Hector Sithole recorded a series of singles during the peak of the Zamrock era with the band On Paper. These singles did fairly well locally but over the years have been overlooked and missed by fans and collectors. Featuring rock, afrobeat and soul elements fused with proto-disco sounds that would create a bridge into Zambia’s short-lived disco scene. Hector’s music will appeal to fans of HARRY MWALE and OSAYE. Taken from the original master reels and pressed at 45 rpm for the best possible sound, we’ve limited this release to 300 copies housed in paste-on covers. Highly Recommended and released for the first time ever as a full length.

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Nobuyuki Shimizu “Corner Top” (Bill Box)

2020-04-30T22:45:16+00:00April 30th, 2020|

Top musicians such as Yasuaki Shimizu, Pecker, Shuichi Murakami, Tetsuo Sakurai, Rei Ohara, Kenji Omura, Hirokuni Ozekata support a wide variety of songs from Jazz-Funk / Fusion to techno pop. One piece that is highly evaluated from overseas and is rare in the used market. In the cover of the super famous song “Konukaame” written by Ginji Ito and Tatsuro Yamashita, Mariya Takeuchi and EPO participated as back vocals. In addition, Latin Flavor’s Organ Fusion title song “Corner Top” and the cosmic funk “Silver Spot” with EPO vocals are exactly the Japanese sounds that are sought “now”.

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Piper “Sunshine Kiz” (Ship To Shore)

2020-04-30T22:45:14+00:00April 30th, 2020|

Riding high on the success of Gentle Breeze, PIPER was eager to put out more new material. Keeping the same members and guest musicians, the band used its excitement and forward momentum – aided no doubt by its ever-growing experience and taste for experimentation – to produce its next album, Sunshine Kiz, within the tiny span of six months. And despite seeing no change in personnel for these latest efforts, PIPER’s musicality was constantly evolving.

Perhaps most obviously, Sunshine Kiz showed the band beginning to break away from its signature style. Instrumentals were no longer the focus as more vocal-centric tracks made their way to the fore. Sunshine Kiz turned out to be a “song album,” and its lyric sheet saw a substantial increase in the number of words. A Drumulator replaced the LinnDrums, and the programmed percussion suddenly sounded more natural. Some songs actually featured live drumming, abandoning programmed beats altogether.

It could be said that this all amounted to, at least partially, a return to PIPER’s roots. Or, maybe more accurately, it was something like PIPER circa 1981 filtered through the signature sound the band had forged with their two Breeze albums of 1983. The title track on Sunshine Kiz was released as their second-ever single – their first since “Far Away” from their debut album. And with this new single there even came a music video.

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Various Artists”Pacific Breeze 2: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1972-1986″ (Light In The Attic)

2020-04-30T22:45:13+00:00April 30th, 2020|

When Light In The Attic released Pacific Breeze: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1976-1986 in 2019, it was the first collection of its kind to be released outside Japan. It proved to be just what music fans had been waiting for—a compilation of sought-after tracks that had been nearly impossible to obtain unless you were well-connected with dealers and collectors, or traveled regularly to the countless record stores in Japan. Pacific Breeze included Minako Yoshida, Taeko Ohnuki, Hiroshi Sato and Haruomi Hosono among other key players of ‘70s-’80s Japanese City Pop, the nebulous genre that encompassed an “amalgam of AOR, R&B, jazz fusion, funk, boogie and disco, all a touch dizzy with tropical euphoria,” as we described it the first time around.

With Pacific Breeze 2: Japanese City Pop, AOR & Boogie 1972-1986 we dig deeper into those sounds of bubble-era Japan. From the proto-City Pop funk of Bread & Butter and Eiichi Ohtaki to the crate-digger favorites Eri Ohno and Piper, the latest entry in Light In The Attic’s Japan Archival Series brings another set of sought-after tunes, most of which have never before been available outside of Japan. Tomoko Aran and Anri, also included in this compilation, are just a few of the artists who have gained popularity in recent years thanks to Vaporwave, the meme-genre that heavily samples Japanese City Pop to create its particular aesthetic.

Pacific Breeze 2 once again feature the artwork of renowned Tokyo-based illustrator Hiroshi Nagai, whose iconic images of resort living have become synonymous with City Pop. Nagai’s urban tropical imagery is a perfect match for the expertly curated tunes, evoking a certain sense of nostalgia for the leisure lifestyles of ‘70s-’80s Tokyo, while simultaneously being perfectly in tune with the current zeitgeist.

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Marvin Gaye “More Trouble” (Motown)

2020-04-16T20:20:01+00:00April 16th, 2020|

Marvin Gaye’s More Trouble, a vinyl-only collection of alternate and extended versions of tracks from his Trouble Man album, is out now on Motown/UMe. It marks the recent 81st anniversary of the great soul man’s birth on 2 April 1939, and is the first time these fascinating examples of his genius have been available on vinyl.

The tracks have been mixed in high resolution audio from Motown’s original 16-track session reels by the famed John Morales, and remastered by Alex Abrash at AA Mastering. Abrash mastered Marvin Gaye’s widely-acclaimed, previously lost album You’re the Man, released last year to mark his 80th birthday.

Gaye’s Trouble Man soundtrack was the ever-unpredictable next move by this creatively inquisitive and restless spirit, after the huge commercial and critical success of his 1971 staging post What’s Going On. It was a chiefly instrumental, orchestral jazz-soul soundtrack for a blaxploitation picture directed by Ivan Dixon and starring Robert Hooks, Paul Winfield and Paula Kelly.

The title track from Trouble Man was one of the album’s few vocal cuts. It became a No. 7 hit on Billboard‘s Hot 100 in January 1973, reaching No. 4 on the R&B chart.

The vinyl More Trouble echoes the design of the original album, with an alternative image of Gaye on the gatefold cover. Additional photography includes scans of the original session tape boxes. There are new liner notes by musicologist Dr. Andrew Flory, who wrote the essay for the Trouble Man: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition gatefold jacket.

The nine tracks include an alternate vocal version of ‘Trouble Man,’ featured in the film’s opening sequence but not on the soundtrack. There’s an extended take of the much-sampled ”T’ Plays it Cool,’ as well as a rare vocal version of ”T’ Stands For Trouble.’

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Zeroh “BLQLYTE” (Leaving)

2020-04-16T21:01:43+00:00April 16th, 2020|

BLQLYTE is the debut album by Zeroh on Leaving Records. From it’s opener whisper of “Culture is a Baby” followed by a euphoric but frightening blast of sound, BLQLYTE moves with the unpredictable energy of a psychedelic trip, where apocalyptic soundscapes and mutated R&B vault between shamanistic musings on morality and earthly maters of modern day Los Angeles. For fans of Earl Sweatshirt, Fly Lo, Aphex Twin, Drexciya and Sun Ra.

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Various Artists “Stone Crush: Memphis Modern Soul 1977-1987” (Light In The Attic)

2020-04-16T20:19:55+00:00April 16th, 2020|

Memphis has always been a studio town, where making hit records looked easy. An unknown Elvis could walk into Sun Studios and cut a side, while Willie Mitchell worked his magic around the corner at the Hi Records studio. This vast studio ecosystem meant that even when Stax Records folded in 1975, everybody still knew somebody who could get them into a real recording facility. The city’s largest player in the business was gone, but the possibilities that it introduced were not.

Stone Crush is the definitive overview of Memphis’ modern soul scene of the post-Stax years. It’s a collection of funky tracks of hope—from dentist O.T. Sykes, who traded dental work for studio time, to the ad-man who moonlighted as the visionary mastermind behind Captain Fantastic & Starfleet, few of them ever had anything to do with a hit, but across the board, each believed. Like Cato Walker, whose father’s gig as B.B. King’s driver got him an in, and The Bar-Kays’ former costume maker Libra, some had tangential connections to the city’s deep-rooted music scene that gave them a head start on their hopeful path to fame. Over a decade in the making, Stone Crush is an expertly curated compilation of these home-grown slices of Memphis stylings, from roller skate boogie to private press soul to bedroom funk—rare sides whose original copies are considered holy grails by DJs and collectors all over. This collection does more than transport us to a time gone by. It helps us hear what couldn’t be heard then.

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Piper “Gentle Breeze” (Ship To Shore)

2020-04-16T20:19:53+00:00April 16th, 2020|

Scoring a hit with their second album Summer Breeze, Piper set out to record their follow up in a similar vein. Members remained the same: Keisuke Yamamoto (guitar, vocals), Takashi Shima (keyboards), and Wataru Ito (bass). Guest musicians included Kazuhito Murata and Hiroshi Koitabashi on chorus, and Tetsuaki Hoashi on percussion.

Recording sessions for the third album began less than 6 months after the second, but the evolution of their sound was considerable. One reason was utilizing the skills of Yuji Toriyama for programming of the Linn Drums. This made it easier for the band to write and arrange their songs to their liking. Second was that the band members were beginning to enjoy making music in this style. Specific ideas were coming together to become distinct songs. The fact that they were able to transcend the BGM style that they initially aspired towards to create a distinct pop sound, is one of the important aspects of this album.

The front cover photo of a snowy scene juxtaposed with the sunny pool scene of the back cover, also had quite an impact. This jacket design was a collaboration between (TV personality and jazz aficionado) Tamori, who took the photos, anddesigner Hajime Anzai. The two would go on to become the popular co-hosts of “Soramimi Hour” on Tamori’s variety show Tamori Club. The duo’s unique visual sense encouraged listeners to enjoy the sounds of summer in a wintery setting – which in turn had a hand in influencing PIPER’s own sound as well.

Gentle Breeze is in one way an extension of Summer Breeze, in other ways it’s one big step up. Many PIPER fans consider this album to be their masterpiece. For fans who enjoy this phase of PIPER, we encourage you to listen to the songs from Gentle Breeze and Summer Breeze on shuffle. That way the meaning catch copy on the obi – “Gentle Beat Pop” – should start to make sense.

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Various ‎”Taiwan Disco – Disco Divas, Funky Queens And Glam Ladies From Taiwan In The 70s And Early 80s” (Aberrant)

2020-04-03T01:01:59+00:00April 3rd, 2020|

Disco divas, funky queens, and glam ladies in ’70s and early ’80s Taiwan! Due to its extremely complex history, Taiwan in the ’70s saw the creation of some incredibly special music in which the sounds being created at the moment from the west collided with the special sensitivity of Taiwanese musicians, creating a delicious mixture you’ll need to hear to believe. Taiwan Disco shines a light on the music created by Taiwanese women during those years (’70s and early ’80s) to present a mind-blowing collection of songs with sounds ranging from wild funk to apace glam, exotic disco or fuzzed-out soul. Here’s the ticket to some crazy Taiwan nights, get those dancing shoes ready, it’s time to shake it! Features Wu Xiu Zhu (吳秀珠), Hua Yi Bao (華怡保), Cui Tai Jing (崔台青), Zou Juan Juan (邹娟娟), Chen Lan Li (陳蘭麗), Wang Xiang Ling (王祥齡), Tian Lu Lu (田路路), Liu Guan Lin (劉冠霖), Wu Xiu Zhu (吳秀珠), Luo Yan Li (駱豔麗), Yu San Shan (于三珊), and Zhang Bei Xin (張蓓心).

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Thundercat “It Is What It Is” (Brainfeeder)

2020-03-27T02:29:28+00:00March 27th, 2020|

Thundercat is set to release his new album “It Is What It Is” on Brainfeeder Records on April 3, 2020, and shares the first music; ‘Black Qualls (featuring Steve Lacy and Steve Arrington)’. The album, produced by Flying Lotus and Thundercat, features musical contributions from Ty Dolla $ign, Childish Gambino, Lil B, Kamasi Washington, Steve Lacy, Steve Arrington, BADBADNOTGOOD, Louis Cole and Zack Fox.

“It Is What It Is” follows his game-changing third album “Drunk” (2017). That record completed his transition from virtuoso bassist to bonafide star and cemented his reputation as a unique voice that transcends genre. “This album is about love, loss, life and the ups and downs that come with that,” Bruner says about “It Is What It Is”. “It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but at different points in life you come across places that you don’t necessarily understand… some things just aren’t meant to be understood.

The unruly bounce of new single ‘Black Qualls’ is classic Thundercat, teaming up with Steve Lacy (The Internet) and Funk icon Steve Arrington (Slave). It’s another example of Stephen Lee Bruner’s desire to highlight the lineage of his music and pay his respects to the musicians who inspired him. Discovering Arrington’s output in his late teens, Bruner says he fell in love with his music immediately: “The tone of the bass, the way his stuff feels and moves, it resonated through my whole body.”

‘Black Qualls’ emerged from writing sessions with Lacy, whom Thundercat describes as “the physical incarnate of the Ohio Players in one person – he genuinely is a funky ass dude”. It references what it means to be a black American with a young mindset: “What it feels like to be in this position right now… the weird ins and outs, we’re talking about those feelings… Part of me knew this [track] was where Steve [Arrington] left us.”

Thundercat forms a cornerstone of the Brainfeeder label; he released “Golden Age of Apocalypse” (2011), “Apocalypse” (2013), followed by EP “The Beyond / Where The Giants Roam” featuring the modern classic ‘Them Changes’. He was later “at the creative epicenter” of the 21st century’s most influential hip-hop album Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp A Butterfly”, where he won a Grammy for his collaboration on the track ‘These Walls’ before releasing his game-changing third album “Drunk” in 2017. In 2018 Thundercat and Flying Lotus composed an original score for an episode of Golden Globe and Emmy award winning TV series “Atlanta” (created and written by Donald Glover).

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Various Artists “Instrumental Gems Vol. 1: Spanish Funk & Groove 1973/1977” (Adarce)

2020-03-20T19:34:08+00:00March 19th, 2020|

This compilation features the rarest and unknown instrumental tracks of that funky groove early sound. Light music along with wind section and keyboard ready to hit the dancefloor, that might be called Spanish-grooves. Composers, musicians, and arrangers like Gregorio García Segura, Rafael Martínez, Antonio Barco, Antonio Latorre, Jaime Botey, etc. During the ’70s, an important number of orchestras and dance bands popped up in Spain but not many of them released their own songs or covers on vinyl, so it can’t be said that the country’s music library has bulky volumes, rather it’s just the opposite. You have to dig deep in the catalog of obscure record labels to find some quality pieces, which Adarce Records will usually attribute to Tinglado 13, Conjunto Nueva Onda, The Matches, Conjunto Don Pelegrin, Rafael Martínez, Carlos de Ros, Salgado y su Grupo, Mesié Bató, Pedro González, Jorge Enrique. Most orchestras played bossa nova, soul, some lounge, and easy listening, and a usual mix of light music with wind section and keyboards, something like “Spanish-soul” or “rhythm’n’blues-pasodoble”. It was a time when the bands survived playing shows with a repertoire based, mostly, on Spanish popular songs and international hits. Many artists recorded with nicknames, many others used licensed songs paying rights to the original authors and some orchestras changed their names when they pressed their records, in an attempt to appear modern or simply for pure commercial purposes, that’s why it is difficult to trace accurately the musical path of many of these artists. This scene was especially intense in Aragon and Catalonia, where a bunch of labels emerged, often simply as platforms for bands to promote their own music. This compilation aims to discover to a wider audience some of the most sought-after instrumental gems by DJs and disco music collectors, eager for soul, groove, and hot sounds. Vol. 1 features Gregorio García Segura, Los Brandis Con María Nevada, Lin Barto, Blas And His Friends, Jorge Enrique, Roberto Serrano, Rafael Martínez, Orquesta A. Latorre, Orquesta Miramar, Conjunto Nueva Onda, Ramón Gil, Mesie Bató, Red-Key, and Unidades. Edition of 500 (numbered).

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Various Artists “Instrumental Gems Vol. 2: Spanish Funk & Groove 1973/1977” (Adarce)

2020-03-20T19:33:36+00:00March 19th, 2020|

This compilation features the rarest and unknown instrumental tracks of that funky groove early sound. Light music along with wind section and keyboard ready to hit the dancefloor, that might be called Spanish-grooves. Composers, musicians, and arrangers like Gregorio García Segura, Rafael Martínez, Antonio Barco, Antonio Latorre, Jaime Botey, etc. During the ’70s, an important number of orchestras and dance bands popped up in Spain but not many of them released their own songs or covers on vinyl, so it can’t be said that the country’s music library has bulky volumes, rather it’s just the opposite. You have to dig deep in the catalog of obscure record labels to find some quality pieces, which Adarce Records will usually attribute to Tinglado 13, Conjunto Nueva Onda, The Matches, Conjunto Don Pelegrin, Rafael Martínez, Carlos de Ros, Salgado y su Grupo, Mesié Bató, Pedro González, Jorge Enrique. Most orchestras played bossa nova, soul, some lounge, and easy listening, and a usual mix of light music with wind section and keyboards, something like “Spanish-soul” or “rhythm’n’blues-pasodoble”. It was a time when the bands survived playing shows with a repertoire based, mostly, on Spanish popular songs and international hits. Many artists recorded with nicknames, many others used licensed songs paying rights to the original authors and some orchestras changed their names when they pressed their records, in an attempt to appear modern or simply for pure commercial purposes, that’s why it is difficult to trace accurately the musical path of many of these artists. This scene was especially intense in Aragon and Catalonia, where a bunch of labels emerged, often simply as platforms for bands to promote their own music. This compilation aims to discover to a wider audience some of the most sought-after instrumental gems by DJs and disco music collectors, eager for soul, groove, and hot sounds. Vol. 2 features Red-Key, Ray Martin, J. Tenafly, Nick Wilson, Blas And His Friends, Conjunto Olivino, El Conjunto De Rafael Martínez, Conjunto Nueva Onda, Greg. Segura Y Su Orquesta, Jorge Enrique, Orquesta Miramar, Dany Roy And His Band, Sarr Incony, and Mesie Bató.

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Decadence “On and On (Fears Keep On)” (Mannequin)

2020-03-20T19:38:18+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Mannequin Records present a new press of Decadance’s “On And On (Fears Keep On)”, one of the most iconic underground Italo-wave tracks ever. Produced by Franco Rago and Gigi Farina, the masterminds behind cult Italo disco projects ‘Lectric Workers, Wanexa, Expansives, Atelier Folie, Peter Richard, and many more, the single was originally released in 1983 by Proto Records. Permeated by a dark and eerie synths, a perfectly programmed Roland TR-808, and an outstanding analog production, “On And On (Fears Keep On)” belongs to dark Italo disco or Italo wave. Remastered by Rude 66, 2018, Berlin.

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Flamingo Pier “Flamingo Pier” (Soundway)

2020-03-20T19:40:17+00:00March 19th, 2020|

2020 repress. Following their self-released debut EP, Flamingo Pier (DJ residents Luke Walker, Dominic Jones, and Bradley Craig) have crafted four dance floor-worthy tracks influenced by the boogie, disco, Afro and classic house. Slick, rolling disco synths and punchy drum machines are woven in with Afro-centric percussion and dreamy vocal chants, for an exotic disco-boogie journey from start to finish. Early support for the EP is already coming from Bill Brewster, JD Twitch (Optimo) and Ray Mang. The EP is being released to coincide with the Flamingo Pier Festival in Waiheke, New Zealand.

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Matao and Atilla Engin “Turkish Delight” (Arsivplak)

2020-03-20T19:41:34+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Arsivplak present a reissue of Matao with Atilla Engin’s Turkish Delight, originally released in 1979. It’s a Turkish jazz-funk delight! Some hard-hitting rhythm section blending into a prime example of the swingin’ sound of the cool influences of jazz, funk, and folk music, with a Turkish flavor. Its fantastic funk jazz groove built on a titanium synth bassline! An instrumental library of traditional Turkish jazz session reaching a great climax in drums and percussion sets, plus electro-bass breaks with Moog and synthesizers from the beginning to the end. Traditional Turkish songs based on drums and synth bass over moody 5/8 fuzz guitars… Album recorded and released in Denmark, 1979, and it has never been released in Turkey. Hard cardboard sleeve; obi.

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Mystery Kindaichi Band “The Adventure of Kohsuke Kindaichi” (WEWANTSOUNDS)

2020-03-20T19:43:22+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Repressed; LP version. Obi; includes four-page insert. Wewantsounds present the first official release outside of Japan for The Mystery Kindaichi Band’s The Adventures of Kindaichi Kosuke, originally released in 1977. The “imaginary” soundtrack to the cult detective book series by writer Seishi Yokomizo is on many DJ want-lists. Arranged by soundtrack master Kentaro Haneda and featuring a mysterious group of the best ’70s Japanese Funk musicians, the album is pure undiluted disco funk. Writer Seishi Yokomizo is an institution in Japan. He could be compared to Agatha Christie with his series of novels based on the adventures of detective Kosuke Kindaichi. The fictional character was born in 1946 with Yokomizo’s first novel in the series and solved mysteries until the late ’70s under Yokomizo’s pen before the death of the writer in 1981. Yokomizo’s novels have been a prime source for film and TV scenarios, so when, in 1977, Japanese label King Records decided to record a concept album based on the Kindaichi novels, it made complete sense. The writer was slightly surprised though. The concept album was arranged by pianist Kentaro Haneda, a key TV and film composer who has worked on many anime films and is also famous outside of Japan for composing the music for the video game Wizardry. For the album, he assembled a supergroup of some of the best Tokyo funk and city pop musicians. The long list includes jazz pianist Hideo Ichikawa who played on the 1971 Joe Henderson In Japan album, drummer Jun Moriya, who is on Joe Hisaichi’s cult Wonder City Orchestra album (1982), percussionist Tadaomi Anai who played with disco singer Eri Ohno, trumpeter Koji Hadori who’s featured on Haruomi Hosono’s Pacific album (1978). Also present on the album are saxophonist Takeru Muraoka who plays on many Tatsuro Yamashita cult albums including For You (1982) and Spacy (1977), Kimiko Yamauchi (koto) who’s on Akiko Yano’s landmark 1976 album Japanese Girl (WWSCD 017CD/WWSLP 017LP), and last but not least, French hornist Koji Yamaguchi who plays on Yazuaki Shimizu’s Kakashi (1982). Together they lay the funk on ten instrumentals filled with pure disco and funk breakbeats, making the album one of the highly-coveted Japanese LPs on international cratedigger scene. Remastered from the original tapes. Faithfully reproduced original artwork; Artwork by renowned illustrator Ichibun Sugimoto. New introduction by Anton Spice.

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Instant Vintage

2020-03-19T20:09:21+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Raphael Saadiq did not rest on his laurels after bringing his famed R&B group Tony! Toni! Toné! to a close in 1997. In the coming years he was a highly sought after producer and session musician, leaving his mark on tracks by D’Angelo, The Roots, and Erykah Badu, and briefly formed the supergroup Lucy Pearl with Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest, and Dawn Robinson of En Vogue. After nearly a decade of working in the realm of New Jack Swing, Saadiq’s interests gradually gravitated towards the burgeoning musical subgenre of neo-soul.

2002 marked Saadiq’s debut as a solo act with the release of Instant Vintage, a record so titled to joke on the fleeting nature of pop culture. It proved to be an album many years ahead of the curve, with its singular focus on organic, instrumentation-driven soul. (With guest appearances from D’Angelo, T-Boz of TLC, Angie Stone, Calvin Richardson, Hi-Tek, and the South Central Chamber Orchestra, among others.) A record that foresaw the arrival of the neo-soul revival, and the mainstream success of nostalgia-mining artists like Amy Winehouse, John Legend, Mark Ronson, and many more.

Instant Vintage underperformed commercially upon its release, having the misfortune of being released at a time when pop audiences were more inured with the electro-infused sounds of The Neptunes and Timbaland. In spite of this the record was an absolute marvel to critics, who praised Raphael Saadiq’s shimmering sounds, and effortlessly warm reproduction of the classic 70s soul of acts like Curtis Mayfield, merged with a then modern neo-soul sensibility. Heavy praise from the likes of Chicago Sun-Times, The Village Voice, USA Today, and many more. Instant Vintage would also go on to earn a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Album in 2003, and would be ranked as one of the Best R&B Albums of the 00s by Rhapsody.

In the nearly two decades since the album’s release in 2002, Instant Vintage has never been reissued on vinyl. Get On Down aims to change all that in 2020 with this sterling LP reissue, featuring remastered audio and an intricately re-created Gatefold sleeve of the original, enigmatic cover art.

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Ikebe Shakedown “Stone by Stone” (Ubiquity)

2020-03-20T19:53:26+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Originally released in 2014.

Ikebe Shakedown’s powerful instrumental soul takes “big unison horns, slinky bass lines, tight little guitar licks—and blends them with tasty grooves culled from ’70s-style horn-driven funk (WNYC Soundcheck).” The Brooklyn-based collective is set to follow up their well-received self-titled debut album with the heavier, more mature sound of their second full-length Stone By Stone.

The self-produced album was recorded at the famed “House of Soul” Daptone Studios in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Notes bassist Vince Chiarito, “Thinking of all the great music that has come out of the Daptone Studio really pushed us to refine our songs and grow as a band. It was really inspiring to record there.” The band adds that, “Stone By Stone is a much more layered and arranged album. The self-titled debut captured the raw energy of us playing live and the new record is much more of a studio effort. Psychedelic textures weave in and out of the grooves while the horn section offers an explosive response. The songs are heavy and danceable and show our moodier, more melodic side.”

The seven-piece band—named after a favorite Nigerian boogie record and pronounced “ee-KAY-bay”—formed in 2008 and has developed a mighty horn section anchored by tight, deep-pocketed grooves. Following 2009’s debut EP Hard Steppin’, the band released their self-titled debut full-length LP on Ubiquity Records in 2011 that Okayplayer called “an adventurous trip through time” and “one of the best releases of the year.” Their music has also been featured on a number of television shows and commercials including HBO’s Eastbound and Down, Mini Cooper and Vans.

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Brownout “Berlin Sessions” (Fat Beats Distribution)

2020-03-20T19:54:00+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Brownout’s legendary status as a “Funk Powerhouse” (Stereogum) is a reputation well deserved. The band of musicians have an impressive resume performing with Prince (RIP), GZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Bernie Worrell (RIP), and accolades from Ozzy Osbourne for their Brownout Presents: Brown Sabbath project. The latter helped grab the attention of Fat Beats Records, who worked with the band to release the critically acclaimed Public Enemy instrumentals project Fear of A Brown Planet in 2018. The Austin 9-piece is back with their first full length album of original music in over 8 years. The album, aptly titled, Berlin Sessions (out March 6, 2020 on Fat Beats) was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and is the first with lead singer Alex Marrero, whom they originally collaborated with on their wildly successful Brown Sabbath records. Berlin Sessions finds the group merging a multitude of styles, from rock to psych and of course the Latin Funk and Breakbeat on which they have built their sixteen-year career and reputation as Austin’s premier party-starters.

NPR recently featured the band on their heralded “Tiny Desk Concert” series, performing songs off the new album. NPR described the diversity of the band, stating, “One of the things you need to know about this band is that they can change traditions or genres almost on a dime. The core members dip into soul, Latin funk, a form of Peruvian cumbia called chicha, and funk covers of both Black Sabbath and Public Enemy. What each configuration has in common is the almost telepathic bond the band has developed after 15 years of working stages across the country. As you can see on the video, it’s so infectious that Prince once used them for a while as a back-up band.”

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Ratgrave “Rock” (Black Focus)

2020-03-20T19:55:07+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Max Graef and Julius Conrad are Ratgrave. ‘Rock’ is their second LP ~ ongoing transmissions of Electronic P-Fusion from Earth. It follows a stellar debut on Funkineven’s imprint Apron. The duo’s sound pallette draws inspiration from 80’s funk, soul, rock and electronic but through a contemporary lens from two versatile multi-instrumentalists. In their own words: “Rock is the essence of energy and vibration we felt in different styles of music, almost like a parallel component connecting all things we like. In the process of recording the new album we kept coming back to this essence no matter what style the original idea was. There was the raw and brutal energy of Jazz-Rock, a lot of video game influences that somehow adhered this essence just as well as quieter Pop and Psychedelic passages that we recorded. Among other things we absorbed a lot of heavy music during the time of the recording like Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, Frank Zappa or Jimi Hendrix and realized while writing our own music how much impact they had even on quieter songs. This is why “Rock“ felt like the perfect title although the music ranges from P-Funk and Spiritual Jazz to various styles of Pop and beyond.“ Max Graef has previously collaborated with Glenn Astro on records for Ninja Tune and both artists have previously released on Tartelet. This marks the fourth official LP on Black Focus, a London label founded by Kamaal Williams

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Various Artists “Whispers: Lounge Originals” (Numero)

2020-03-20T19:57:13+00:00March 19th, 2020|

Ten incredible albums culled from the deepest, weirdest co-op of record enthusiasts ever gathered under one banner.

“We’ve spared no expense packaging these, pairing the idea of the Art of Compilation with living and breathing art, creating little fortune cookies baked in a factory of forgotten dreams. Video games, pyramids, trading cards, matchbooks, mazes, lottery tickets, film canisters, yearbooks, and various other exercises in design absurdity.

A lounge in the Poconos located just inside a Holiday Inn, 1973. The smoky haze clears to reveal a middle aged couple on a one-foot high stage, prattling on about the weather or Watergate before launching into a serviceable cover of Burt Bacharach’s “Do You Know The Way To San Jose?” Tens of thousands of such combos littered restaurants, cruise ships, casinos, lobbies, and cocktail bars throughout the ’60s and ’70s, but far fewer cut a record worth buying from the stage, much less listening to on the home hi-fi. Gathered here are 14 lounge originals from across the entire easy listening spectrum. A spent matchbook’s worth of crooners, bossa nobodies, seafood jazzers, and Donca-Matic enthusiasts all in search for their ticket out of a red leather booth hell.”

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Nick Of Time

2020-03-19T20:32:37+00:00March 12th, 2020|

In Stock March 17, 2020

The James Hunter Six are back with another sublime offering of no nonsense rhythm and blues. Recorded and produced by Bosco Mann, Nick of Time is a shining example of how a master song-smith can continually draw fresh water from a bottomless well. In addition to the uptempo, swinging R&B that has put JH6 on the map, Nick of Time explores so much more! The opening track and lead single, “I Can Change Your Mind”, is a beautiful, mid-tempo rumba that tips the hat to the sound of many early King/Federal releases, but executed with a vibrancy that propels the tune into the 21st Century. The lush arrangements on “Till I Hear it from You” and ” He’s Your Could Have Been” sound like lost tracks from an early ’60s Burt Bacharach session. The straight forward soul of “Brother or Other” (whose timely message is only tantamount to its groove), and the sparse “Paradise for One” (that finds James channeling his innermost Nat King Cole), enrich the album with sounds one may not readily associate with James and Co. – culminating in James’ most exciting full-length release to date.

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Express Yourself

2020-03-19T20:37:26+00:00March 12th, 2020|

The hit title track alone makes this 1970 release worth having, but it’s the other cuts on this record that make it one of the greatest psychedelic soul/funk albums of all time. Charles Wright’s beautiful falsetto kicks off the opening track (and #16 pop hit) “Love Land,” in which this L.A. band takes a page from Philly soul, and “I Got Love,” with its oh-so-funky descending bass line, is a stone groove. But the fun really starts with the first slice of “High as Apple Pie,” which offers just the first six minutes of what turns out to be a 23-minute jam. Adventurous production touches, loose-limbed arrangements, and a bit of old-time gospel make this the love child of Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters,” James Brown, Sly Stone, and the Chambers Brothers’ “Time Has Come Today” (and you can bet George Clinton listened long and hard to this record)! Previous issues of this classic LP have never been up to snuff sonically, so we went in and had it remastered (by Mike Milchner of SonicVision) from original tape sources especially for this release. Pressed in brown vinyl limited to 750 copies!

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Little Beaver “Party Down” (Real Gone)

2020-03-13T20:33:43+00:00March 12th, 2020|

Willie Hale a.k.a. Little Beaver (so dubbed as a child because of his prominent front teeth) was one of the extraordinarily talented musicians Henry Stone assembled at his Hialeah, FL-based T.K. Records label and its assorted imprints. Among the artists who recorded for Stone were K.C. & the Sunshine Band, Timmy Thomas, Gwen McCrae, Betty Wright, and Benny Latimore…and backing them on a lot of those records was Hale, laying down mellow ‘n’ funky, jazz-influenced licks on his hollow-body Gibson. Hale’s talent was so distinctive that when Stone finally let Hale step out of the studio shadows to record his own album on the Cat imprint, the effects were immediate and long-lasting. Featuring contributions from Thomas, Wright, Latimore, and Jaco Pastorius (under the name Nelson “Jocko” Padron), 1974’s Party Down scored a #2 hit with its title track and has been repeatedly sampled by latter-day rap artists ranging from People Under the Stairs to Jay Z. himself (the “Party Life” track on his American Gangster album). Our Real Gone reissue of this nonstop groove-athon features a fresh remastering by Mike Milchner at SonicVision, and comes in a metallic gold vinyl pressing to honor the gold record Little Beaver has hanging on his wall on the front cover…limited to 1000 copies!.

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Bobby Patterson “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” (Real Gone)

2020-03-13T20:33:43+00:00March 12th, 2020|

If this 1972 record for the Paula label was the sum total of Dallas, Texas soul man Bobby Patterson’s career output, then he’d still be reckoned a cult figure among R&B fans. In fact, it’s so good that the fact that he went on to cut five other albums and produce artists ranging from Fontella Bass to Chuck Jackson to Little Johnny Taylor almost seems besides the point. This is a stone soul masterpiece, full of grit and groove, with a breathtaking stylistic breadth stretching from funky soul (“If You Took a Survey”; “How Do You Spell Love”) to romantic soul balladery (“I Get My Groove from You”) to James Brown-style workouts (“Make Sure You Can Handle It”) to socially-conscious, wah wah-drenched commentary (“The Whole Funky World Is a Ghetto”) and all points in between. But what really makes this record mind-blowing is that Patterson wrote all but one song (the one he didn’t write, “Right On Jody,” is an answer song to Johnnie Taylor’s big hit “Jody’s Got Your Girl and Gone”). For its first-ever LP reissue, we’ve pressed up 700 copies in transparent purple vinyl and re-created the original album art complete with lyric sheet. Every soul searcher needs this one!

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Victor Cavini ‎”Japan” (Be With)

2020-03-13T20:33:44+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Be With Records present a reissue of Victor Cavini’s Japan, originally released in 1983. The first Be With foray into the archives of revered German library institution Selected Sound is one of Be With’s favorites on the label. Rare and sought-after for many years now, this is one of those cult library LPs that never turn up. With Daibutsu the giant Buddha of Kamakura’s presence gracing the hefty front cover, this is a record bursting with dope samples for adventurous producers: it’s koto-funk madness! Victor Cavini was the library music pseudonym of prolific German composer and musician Gerhard Trede. He was known for exploring instruments and styles from around the world (he played over 50 different instruments himself) and Japan is his collection of 14 musical sketches painted with traditional Japanese wind and string instruments. These are the sounds of traditional Japanese folk music re-interpreted through Western ears, with the occasional contemporary twist. Contemporary for 1983, of course. These “Pictures Of Japan” are hypnotic, sometimes frantic, but always beautiful. The first twelve tracks offer airy explorations of koto and flute, with other strings and percussion being added and then given their own space. Indeed “Pictures Of Japan XII” is just drums. And then “Pictures Of Japan XIII” seems to come out of nowhere. But the subtle sleaze of its full band sound still doesn’t quite prepare you for the towering climax of “Pictures Of Japan XIV”. This is Japan’s undoubted standout piece, completely and wonderfully at odds with the rest of the album. It’s the reason this has become such a must-have record. It keeps the traditional Japanese instruments but combines them with shuffling funk breaks, electric bass high in the mix and a Godzilla-sized psychedelic fuzz guitar sound that might actually be a traditional reed flute pushed to its limits. Recalling both Rino de Filippi’s 1973 album Oriente Oggi (CNLP 042LP) and Giancarlo Barigozzi’s Oriente also from 1973, the track’s a real head-nod groove for b-boys and b-girls alike that sounds straight out of a late-70s Yakuza film. Indeed, if you were told The RZA or Onra had cooked this up in the lab this century, you’d be convinced. It’s crazy that this dates from 1983. Audio remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. Richard Robinson has handled the careful restoration of the original Selected Sound sleeve.

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Ajate “Alo” (180g)

2020-03-13T20:33:45+00:00March 5th, 2020|

“Three years after their critically acclaimed and sold out Abrada LP the great and joyful Japanese afro groovers Ajate are back with their much awaited brand new album Alo!

Ajate is a Japanese band who plays a unique blend of afro-groove dance music mixed with Japanese traditional festival music called “”Ohayashi””. Formed in 2011 by the band-leader John Imaeda, Ajate consists of 10 Japanese musicians.

Another unique feature of the band is the use of hand-made bamboo instruments as well as traditional Japanese percussion. The “”Jahte”” is a bamboo-made xylophone or balafon with a piezo pick-up mic attached to each key, connected to a pre-amplifier to obtain a loud sound and to add some touch of dirty distortion to its warm and natural acoustic sonority. The “”Piechiku”” is also a bamboo-made string instrument inspired by the west-African “”Ngoni”” or Moroccan “”Guembri”” instruments. The Piechiku uses strings of the Japanese traditional “”Shamisen””. This instrument is also played through a pre-amplifier and John sometimes adds some wah-wah effect to it. All these bamboo instruments are designed, made and named by John Imaeda himself.

On Alo you will also be amazed by the exceptional sound of the Japanese Shinofue flute, which was not on the previous Abrada LP.

Now, add to this unique sound some well-crafted Japanese female and male singing and you get a killer mix of Afro-Funk flavored grooves with traditional Japanese music!

Since the release in 2017 of their Abrada LP on the 180g label Ajate has toured Europe twice and has played a memorable concert at the world famous Trans Musicales festival in France in 2018, which has been followed by another great KEXP Live session.

Here is some music you will not be able to hear anywhere else, by one of the most joyful Japanese band to hear on record and to listen live!

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Piper “Summer Breeze” (Ship To Shore)

2020-03-13T20:33:46+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Led by guitarist/vocalist Keisuke Yamamoto, Piper was formed in Hamamatsu in Shizuoka Prefecture. A move to Tokyo was followed by the release of their first single on Yupiteru Records, thanks to original guitarist Yuji Suzuki who had became an A&R man for the label. Citing British bands like Wishbone Ash and Camel as influences, Yamamoto and Piper nevertheless conjured up classic American sounds on Piper’s recordings, utilizing unusual recording techniques and new technologies like Linn drums to effortlessly blend styles of funk, soul and fusion and simultaneously evoking summer vibes, autumnal breezes, and wintery shimmer.

Summer Breeze is Piper’s second album, originally released in 1984 on Yupiteru. Inspired by the sounds of Masayoshi Takanaka and Tatsuro Yamashita, as well as the concept of “BGM” (background music) championed by YMO, Summer Breeze was a conscious about face from their debut to create a new signature sound and become masters of summery resort vibes. Its smooth sounds belie the bevy of experimentation utilized on the recording, from vocoders and drum programming to recording guitars direct through the board. Even the iconic cover art, with the surfer wearing an impossibly short crop top, is deceiving in its simplicity – it was one of the most expensive jackets produced by the label at the time, due to its use of special spot colors and custom handlettering. The original album featured the marketing copy “Good Weather! Good Sounds!” which perfectly encapsulates the sounds contained on the album.

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LaRombe “From Philly” (Athens Of The North)

2020-03-13T20:33:46+00:00March 5th, 2020|

LaRombé is one of the most talented songwriters I have come across in my years of working for Jazzman and Athens of the North. Having gone through much of his tape archive it obvious what a powerhouse of song writing and composition this man is. LaRombé music is of the strongest calibre all the way, from his first release in 1979 to present day. All of his Soul, Disco & R&B stands the test of time. It’s easy to have one record that with luck ends up great but another thing to write record after record with great hooks you can’t leave alone. Athens of the North is very proud to present ‘From Philly’, Vinyl comes with sleeve notes featuring interview and photos.

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Dae Han “Blue” (Aloha Got Soul)

2020-03-13T20:33:46+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Dae Han is the unsung backbone behind progressive Honolulu acts and international artists. He’s the go-to drummer whenever Japanese rapper Shing02 tours the US and Asia with a full band. In 2019, Takuya Kuroda tapped Dae to organize a band to support the Brooklyn-based trumpeter’s gig at Blue Note Hawaii. Dae also recently teamed up with guitarist Gilbert Batangan and bassist Mark Tanouye to open for Khruangbin. And every year he organizes an always impressive jazz-forward tribute to the late J Dilla.

On the drums, Dae’s swift, technical style compliments every situation, from jazz and funk to R&B, reggae, and hip hop. Much the same, Dae has approached the compositions and arrangements for his debut with craft and purpose.

BLUE, coming in February 2020, came to fruition over the past 12 months with the help of Nelson Cho, the musician and recording engineer behind Lightworks Recordings in Wahiawa, Oahu. Together, the two spent countless hours honing a sound that travels across hip hop, jazz, and house.

The resulting songs act as a diary of the artist’s fateful journey from Washington D.C. through New York to Honolulu, where he resides today. Reflecting on joyful highs and the lowest lows, Dae creates a collage for the listener to hear, appreciate, and understand the path he’s traveled thus far.

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Broken Lamps “Metropolis” (Electric Nerve Music)

2020-03-13T20:33:46+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Introducing Eric Bowr’s third installment to the Broken Lamps music catalog. Like its predecessor Kaleidoscope, Metropolis continues its journey through 70s production music by experimenting with sounds reminiscent to British music libraries like KPM, Chappell and De Wolfe. While maintaining a feel for retro urban counterculture, the album weaves its way through various film genres like Crime Drama, Eurospy,Exploitation and more! By combining bass driven rhythms and funk horns with organ fueled 60s surf tones, Metropolis transports you to the “odd corners” of a vintage film set with an atmosphere soaked in nostalgia. Consider this record to be the soundtrack to your next need-to-know-only mission or late night rendezvous. Brought to you on 180 gram vinyl by Electric Nerve Music in association with Two Headed Dog.

Various Artists “The Best Of Jicco Funk – Vol. 1” (Dig This Way)

2020-03-13T20:33:47+00:00March 5th, 2020|

Possibly the best thing a compilation can do is open the door to a world of music that aside from being unknown to you, is high grade in quality, diverse and open to interpretation in as much as you are left with some if not many questions… particularly when the selected tracks are all from the same record label… When did they start? Why did they start? Who was behind it? Where did the artists come from? What was their inspiration? These are only a few… by the time you get to the end of the eight tracks included on ‘Jicco Funk Volume One’ there may be more. Some background or at least as much as we know: in the early 1970s thru to the ’90s, Onitcha was one of Nigeria’s most important cities sat on the banks of the river Niger about half way between Benin City and Enugu. Aside from the commerce Onitcha was also an important centre for music production, live music thrived and in turn the city had a nightlife which embraced music. It’s where labels like Tabansi and many other smaller companies had their headquarters. It’s where in the late ’60s, the label Jicco was established, an enterprise which would commercialize Kenyan and Congolese music in Nigeria. By the mid to late ’70s Jicco opened itself to new projects, launching a number of sub-labels, from Vox Africa to Guy, more specialized in highlife, native and soukous music to Jicco Funk which was producing small local groups playing reggae, rock and funk. Dig This Way realised they had found something special after discovering the first few releases on Jicco Funk. It’s less about a particular style of music and more about a raw emotive production quality that runs through each of the records. There is a mood and feel to the delivery that expresses a consciousness that’s rooted in a deep soul. The origins of which with hindsight would be near impossible to determine. It’s known that many of the records were produced at the same studio. There are a number of musicians who appear on more than one record. Following an extended period collecting music from the label including a number of months in Nigeria trying to trace family and friends of former band members including the Jicco family, Dig This Way decided to produce a compilation highlighting some of the near unknown music released by Jicco Funk. On the first volume in the series the focus is reggae and funk, particularly the intersection where the two genres converge as a hybrid production that at times is neither one nor the other. Limited to 500 copies.

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Monophonics “It’s Only Us” (Colemine)

2020-03-13T20:33:48+00:00March 5th, 2020|

With a timeless sound that blends heavy soul and psych-rock, Monophonics have built a reputation over the past decade as one of the best live bands in the country. Led by singer Kelly Finnigan, the band of has drawn on their colorful history — both their experiences as veteran touring performers and as individuals growing up in the Bay Area — to create “It’s Only Us,” their fourth release since 2012.

A reflection of what they see as the current state of the world, the record touches on difficult subjects such as broken relationships, mental health issues, gun violence and power struggles, all with an underlying message of unity, resilience and acceptance. The band’s signature style of arrangement has been expanded with top-notch production and creative instrumentation to round out the Monophonics’ trademark soul sound, while Finnigan’s vocals are more powerful than ever. At times these tracks can feel classic, as familiar as an old song you grew up with, while simultaneously raising questions about the state of music in 2020 and what the future might hold.

“It’s Only Us” is the sound of a group continuing to grow as songwriters, musicians, performers and people — reflecting on where they’ve been, and pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the years to come.

LP is packaged in high quality Stoughton Tip-On gatefold jacket, LP stored in an anti-static innsersleeve, and includes a download card. Pressed at Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, OH.

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Cry Babies “Cry Babies” (Far Out)

2020-03-13T20:34:12+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Far Out Recordings present the first ever vinyl reissue of Cry Babies’ self-titled debut album, originally released in 1969. An early formation of Brazilian funk greats Banda Black Rio, Cry Babies took inspiration from the iconic US soul records of James Brown, The Isley Brothers, and Kool & The Gang, all of whom are covered on their first and only album. Pioneering Brazil’s funk fascination, Cry Babies paved the way for the likes of Jorge Ben, Dom Salvador, Trio Mocotó, and Azymuth: with fat, funky drum breaks, big round bass, touches of psychedelic Brazilian surf, and the kind of hazy soulful arrangements that could only emerge from Rio de Janeiro. Produced by one of Brazil’s most prolific musical minds, Durval Ferreira — whose songwriting and production credits also include Sergio Mendes, Deodato, Emilio Santiago, Ed Lincoln, Joao Bosco, Quarteto Em Cy, and Dila — the Cry Babies sound, while distinctly North American in influence, carries all the sunshine warmth of the samba jazz and bossa nova records that were coming out of Brazil at the time. With saxophonist Oberdan Magalhães responsible for the album’s arrangements, it’s no surprise that when Warner Music established themselves in Brazil in the mid-seventies, Magalhães was the man they asked to form a group (Banda Black Rio) to develop this new merging of stateside soul and Brazilian influences. Yet while Banda Black Rio’s tight, groove-heavy sound has awarded them cult status amongst lovers of instrumental Brazilian music, their first formation as Cry Babies is a lesser-known story. Since its first and only release, the original record has remained impossibly expensive and hard to find. This first ever vinyl reissue has been remastered and pressed to 180 gram vinyl, with a high-quality replica sleeve.

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Mike James Kirkland “Doin’ It Right” (Ubiquity)

2020-03-13T20:34:14+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Doin’ It Right was originally released in 1973 and re-issued by Luv n’Haight in 1999. Considered a sacred gem in the soul and rare groove canon, it would fetch $500 and upward on the collectors’ market. Mr. Kirkland’s sweet soulful voice floats off the turntable and into the collective consciousness on killer joints like “Got To Do It Right,” “Love Insurance” and “The Only Change,” plus five other groovy tracks.
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The Sorcerers “In Search Of The Lost City Of The Monkey God” (ATA)

2020-03-13T20:34:15+00:00February 20th, 2020|

ATA Records are proud to announce the follow up to the critically acclaimed debut album from The Sorcerers. Conceived as a soundtrack to an imagined lost European exploitation film, ‘In Search of The Lost City of The Monkey God’ covers a wide range of influences: Ethiopiques Ethio-Jazz rubs up against European library music of the 60s and 70s. The Sorcerers seamlessly blend these disparate elements into one cohesive sound.

Based in ATA Records’ home of Leeds, The Sorcerers form the backbone of the ATA Records house band including drummer Joost Hendrickx (Kefaya, Shatner’s Bassoon, Abstract Orchestra) and ATA label heads Neil Innes (Bass & Guitar) and Pete Williams (Woodwinds & Percussion). Bass clarinets, flutes, and esoteric percussion that sit alongside bass, guitar and drums are essential to The Sorcerers sound providing cinematic textures on top of a solid rhythmic foundation.

The Sorcerers began working on the new album during the winter of 2018 and it was during the writing sessions for this album that the concept for the LP began to take shape. The name for the album was taken from the title of a National Geographic article read by Bassist Neil Innes and was used as the starting point for the entire concept. The library music scene of the 60s and 70s has always been an intrinsic part of the sound of ATA Records and so it made perfect sense to envisage the album as a soundtrack, given the cinematic quality of The Sorcerers music.
Each track was written with a particular scene in mind and the music was then shaped in the studio to best reflect the essence of that scene. Drums, Bass and Percussion provide the solid foundation onto which Flutes, Bass Clarinets, Xylophones and Vibraphones add the atmospheric and melodic counterpoint, deftly weaving between one another to conjure up images of the unforgiving environment of the dense jungle, unknown eyes watching the protagonists of the imagined film as they make their way towards their ultimate goal, their pursuit by unseen assailants, the arcane mysticism of undiscovered cargo cultists and
the ancient ruins of long passed civilisations.
The original debut album rapidly sold out on release and became a highly sought-after LP, commanding prices of up to £85 on the second-hand market. Receiving praise from the likes of Mulatu Astatke, Gilles Peterson, Stuart Maconie & Jazzman Gerald, it has become a cornerstone of ATA Records roster and an intrinsic element of the ATA Records sound.

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Magic In Threes “Three” (KingUnderground)

2020-03-13T20:34:15+00:00February 20th, 2020|

The music would make the perfect fit in movies like the recently released Dolomite revamp, and the now cult classic Black Dynamite. But it doesn’t fit into a blaxploitation soundtrack style box alone. You could imagine iconic rappers like Ghostface or Black Thought using these soundscapes. ‘3’ would even fit comfortably next to classic KPM or De Wolfe library releases from the mid 70’s, just as well as current indie trio, Khruangbin.

A heavy drum break intro and trippy wah-wah guitar licks accompany cinematic strings and stirring horns on ‘Finnish Funk,’ followed by the killer sleazy bass and fuzz guitar of ‘Breezy Day’, two standout cuts both included on previously released 45’s by KU that swiftly sold out.
Contributing to the scene of classically-tinged soul and funk beats with contemporary class, MI3 display a smooth burst of colourful moody grooves with lush Rhodes keys and soulful head-nod breaks.

With stellar musicianship throughout, the band present top shelf tunes for the crate digging Dj and discerning music collector alike. Formed just shy of a decade ago, the group shows skills far beyond their years together.`

The Star Beams “Play Disco Specials” (Mr. Bongo)

2020-03-13T20:34:15+00:00February 20th, 2020|

The Star Beams album is a bit of an enigma. When we first came across their epic dance-floor monster ’Disco Stomp’ it was on a Disco Calypso compilation, so we assumed it originated from the Caribbean. Years later we worked out how wrong we were and that this nugget was actually from South Africa and taken off an ultra scarce album on JAS Pride records from 1976. The next problem was tracking down an original copy and we don’t think we’ve ever seen our Bongo team member Gary Johnson as happy as the day he turned up clutching a copy under his arm.

‘Play Disco Specials’ was produced by Ray Nkwe who also worked with Mankunku Quartet and The Soul Jazzmen, with all writing credits on the album going to Ray, the recording credited to engineer Robin Ritchie and the artwork to Carol Knowles. Other than this, the personnel of the record remains a mystery, but sometimes a bit of mystery is a good thing. Aside from the disco-jazz-funk of ’Disco Stomp’, which has found it’s way into the DJ sets of Theo Parrish, ’Play Disco Specials’ will appeal to fans of The Star Beams South African contemporaries The Drive, Batsumi and Pacific Express.

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Sidiku Buari “Revolution (Live Disco Show In New York City)” (BBE)

2020-03-13T20:34:16+00:00February 20th, 2020|

Revolution (Live Disco Show In New York City) is the fourth and final BBE reissue of Sidiku Buari’s unique and sought-after body of African Disco albums.

Side 1 is (possibly!) ‘live’ throughout, from a 1979 show at the (possibly mythical!) La Cheer Nightclub, NYC, but very well recorded for a ‘live’ album with clean, bright top notes, sharp percussion and heavy bass-lines. Keep The Rhythm Going segues into Ofey Karambani reminiscent of the Kongos’ massive Loft Club floorfiller Anikana-O, whilst This Is Music and Disco Soccer keep up the 120-140bpm pace to complete a side that rocks enough for the lazier DJ to play from start to finish without lifting the needle!

Side 2 consists of four very varied tracks all recorded at Aire L.A.Studios, the two openers Revolution and Together We Can Rebuild It (Ghana Motherland) being polemics against government and army corruption, and a battle-cry for Flight Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings, who ruled the country for a brief period in 1979 when this recording was made, later serving as Ghana’s President from 1981 to 2001. Then there’s a perennial crowd-pleaser Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Side 2 rounding off with the super-heavy Afrobeat-Disco groover, Happy Birthday.

Originally a national athlete, winning silver and gold medals in the Senegal All Africa Games and West African Games in 1963 and a bronze in the All African in Congo Brazzaville in 1965, Sidiku Buari then moved to America on a music scholarship at The York Institute, obtained as a result of his athletic achievements. When one of York’s music teachers, Irvin Mechanic, heard him singing in the Ga language- he suggested putting a rhythm section behind the songs, recording them, and seeing what the American record buying public thought of them. Four classic albums followed in quick succession, after which Buari’s solo output abruptly ceased.

But it was an ending that held within it the seeds of greater musical achievements to come. In 1990 he was appointed to the board of the Musicians’ Union of Ghana, later becoming its President from 1999 until 2007. In 2019, he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Pan-African Republic Honorary Award Society for ‘meritorious contribution to the development of music and movie industries in Ghana’.

Rare ‘live’ album from Ghanaian Disco legend Sidiku Buari, never before reissued. In-demand from collectors across the world, this is a heavyweight Afro-Disco album. Full global press and radio campaigns.

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Various Artists ” Soul Sega Sa! Vol.2 Indian Ocean Segas From The 70’s” (Bongo Joe)

2020-03-13T20:34:16+00:00February 20th, 2020|

The gradual appropriation by the Creole populations of Western instruments and European melodic traditions (quadrilles, waltzes, polkas, scottish, romances, mazurkas), as well as the cultural contribution of committed workers from India laid the foundations of the modern sega.

This crossroads of influences was to continue to grow, especially from the 1950s, when the Birst phonographs arrived, playing all kinds of varieties but also jazz, soul, rock’n’roll, and even Cuban or Brazilian music.

For the Sega, these were the first steps towards a period of intense creativity that would cover the 1960s and 1970s. Amplified instruments arrived, and electric guitars, basses, drums and keyboards quickly replaced violins and accordions. Record production exploded and saw the advent of many micro-labels featuring genius arrangers such as Marclaine Antoine, Gérard Cimiotti, Eric Nelson, Claude Vinh San, or Narmine Ducap who explored the Sega in its many facets. Psychedelic keyboards, fuzz guitars and undulating basses invited themselves on the furious ternary polyrhythms of drums, ravannes, bongos, claves, triangles and maracas, to produce a unique style.

Here are some pearls from this golden age of the segas of Mauritius, Seychelles and Reunion Island that are compiled in this volume 2 for our greatest pleasure!

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