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.
Jon Tye and Pete Fowler have been making music as Seahawks for a decade now. Given the sounds they’ve been exploring over those ten years it was a cosmic inevitability that they would be asked to contribute to the catalog of the legendary library label KPM. They replied with Island Visions, an exploration of sound for vision where they construct “audio micro-worlds to explore and inhabit,” a way to transport the listener away from the everyday without the bother of getting on an airplane. Mostly recorded at The Centre Of Sound in Cornwall, with additional recording at Studio 34 in London, Jon and Pete’s travelling companions on this particular trip were boogie wunderkind Sven Atterton on fretless bass and keys, Nick Mackrory on percussion, and the Seahawks live team of Dan Hillman and Alik Peters-Deacon. From the grooves of Brian Bennett to the moog vibrations of Mike Vickers, the lush textures of Les Baxter to the experimental sounds of Delia Derbyshire and David Vorhaus, this new music channels sounds and moods from across the KPM universe. Like many KPM suites, this is a record of two distinct sides. The sunrise of side A brings a deep meditation, a journey within to renew the jaded self. Side B refreshes with cocktails by the pool and a chance to groove away the evening at some sunset beach party before dancing under the stars in the house of dreams. Pete’s cover for the LP is part map, part postcard; the track descriptions on the back help guide the way. 2020 marks ten years since Ocean Trippin’, the first Seahawks release, and Island Visions is the perfect distillation of the sounds, sights, textures, and moods that Jon and Pete have been exploring over the last decade — sunrise to sunset condensed to two sides of an LP. The normal rules of space and time don’t apply here. This is the first time Be With has worked with Seahawks, but individually Jon and Pete have been members of the extended Be With family since forever (Pete did those posters for our Ned Doheny tour and worked with Jon on the vinyl version of Hatchback’s Colors Of The Sun). Mastered by Balearic engineer of choice Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman and pressed in the Netherlands by Record Industry, the sonic frequencies of these Island Visions have been precision tuned and encoded for optimum traveling conditions.
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.
Reissue of Peter Lüdemann and Pit Troja’s The Now Generation (Percussive Underscores), originally released in 1983. They say: “Documentary and industrial underlays for current themes of modern life”. Be With Records say: Mind-blowing, percussion-heavy, Afro-tinged, cosmic-disco library bomb. An absolutely outstanding record from 1983 and definitely one of the hardest to find on the collectable German library label, Coloursound. The Now Generation (Percussive Underscores) is comfortably one of the very best library records full stop. The record comes galloping out the gate with a pair of rapid synthy-Euro disco bombs — the title-track and “Panama” — before slowing down to a woozy pace on “Inorganic Matter”. “African Nightclub” sounds like it reads, and is a particular favorite of Prins Thomas. Indeed, it was used to great effect on his seminal “Cosmo Galactic Prism” mix for Eskimo back in 2007. It’s followed by the dark, druggy, slow motion industrial groove of “Grease Plant” before “Southerly” lifts the tempo to close out side A with its Latin funk strut of bells and melancholic keys. For some listeners, though, it’ll be all about the opener to side B: “Mechanical Heart”. Seven minutes of building, mid-tempo disco-funk joy, deceptively explosive, club-ready gear for body and soul. The back cover dryly describes the track as “Guitar and percussion, light industrial underlay”. Hmmm. How about, “after finally emerging from a particularly heavy week jamming in a sunless, lawless German warehouse, Chic warily press record on a wayward, illicit instrumental for basement gatherings”. Just wait for those drums at the three-minute mark… The beatless ambience and menacing stabs of the proto-electro “Chemical Threat” follows, before the open drums and incredible fills of the metronomic “Steady Going” and fantastically monotonous funk breaks of “Nepal Trek” round out this sensational set. This is a library masterpiece in no uncertain terms, full of synth funk, Afro beats, exotica, leftfield madness, dancefloor dynamite, and all-around greatness. As with Be With Records’ KPM and Themes reissues, the audio for The Now Generation comes from the original analog tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. Richard Robinson has brought the original Coloursound sleeve back to life in all its metallic silver glory. 140 gram vinyl.
Reissue of Breath Of Danger (Themes), originally released in 1974. They say: “A selection of suspense underscores and drama blackcloths which vary in intensity and cover a wide range of suspense and drama situations”. Be With Records say: A breaky, funky library great masquerading as a horror score. Oh, and the cover art is amazing. Breath Of Danger was originally released in 1974, and rounded up a killer ensemble cast of library legends including Alan Hawkshaw, Brian Bennett, Alan Parker, David Lindup, Kenny Salmon, Barry Morgan, and Ray Cooper. Lindup’s opener “Cold Sweat” sounds like hip-hop-friendly mode Axelrod and, indeed, was brilliantly sampled by Kool Keith for his Dr. Dooom project. Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett’s “The Manipulator” sounds like it arrived straight out of the same sessions as their legendary Synthesizer & Percussion LP from the same year. Over on the B-side Alan Parker’s “Psychosis” is a moving and beautifully restrained funk-guitar/cello/harp workout. Stunning. Kenny Salmon’s “Flying Squad” is a sleazy, flute-enhanced gem and the album closes with “Voodoo”, a seventy-second riot of sound and color from the dynamic drumming-percussion duo of Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper. Sonically, there’s a widescreen vitality in all these tracks thanks to the driving rhythms, vibrant horn sections and blazing guitar work. It renders Breath Of Danger — 45 years old — truly ageless. The Themes series is known for having particularly striking sleeves, which was unusual for library records at the time, and Breath Of Danger’s scraps of comic-book crazy make for one of the most eye-catching. As with all of Be With Records’ other Themes reissues, the audio for Breath Of Danger comes from the original analog tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. Sleeve reproduction duties by Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. 180 gram vinyl.
Reissue of Visual Impact, originally released at 1976. They say: “Descriptive scores for scenes of visual impact”. Be With Records say: Arguably the single greatest album in KPM history. An ensemble piece of staggeringly heavy works from none other than Brian Bennett, John Scott, Steve Gray, Jim Lawless, and Johnny Pearson. Visual Impact includes the insanely ace “Nuplex” by Brian Bennett, a nagging, sweeping, punchy funk piece that exists in a world of its own. If you don’t know, get to know — the record’s worth getting for this track alone. The same goes for the beautifully paced, string-drenched, horn-fed LP opener “Canaveral Scape”, courtesy of John Scott. Truly sublime. Other highlights on the A-side include Bennett’s easy, bass-heavy jazz groover “Sequence Of Events” and the spare, building, undercover funk of Steve Gray’s aptly-named “Low Profile”. The B-side is straight-up fantastic. The percussive, vibey exotica of Jim Lawless’s “Keeping Pace” is followed by five tracks of slick, weighty funk breaks from Johnny Pearson. Check the pure groove of “Jaguar” with its head-nod drum break intro, the creeping piano-strings combo and… er… giant neck-snapping breaks of “Giant’s Causeway”, the speaker-smashing progressive bass groove of “Fugitive”, the tense “Rock Climb” and the sheer heft of “Heavy Load”. Library largeness. If that isn’t enough, John Scott’s incessant “Flight Of The Phoenix” ends the session, brilliantly pilfered by M.O.P. for their much-loved “We Run New York”. Originally released in 1976 but wonderfully timeless, Visual Impact is a rare example of a library record that’s genuinely great listen from start to finish. As with all of Be With Records’ KPM reissues, the audio for Visual Impact comes from the original analog tape and has been remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. Sleeve reproduction duties by Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. 180 gram vinyl.
Reissue of The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story, originally released in 1975. They say: “Composite themes and incidental cues for dramatic application”. Be With Records say: Well, it’s definitely dramatic. No wonder this LP was mined by a multitude of ’70s and ’80s crime shows. Much like Beat Incidental, this true gem includes a raft of enjoyable sub-ten second incidental cues alongside satisfyingly stretched out, hard-knocking sleuth-funk. The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story is a real library-head’s library album. You’ll be treated to some of the best works of no less than five different heavyweights of the genre: drummer Brian Bennett, guitarist Clive Hicks (of The Gentle Rain), saxophonist Duncan Lamont, rock bassist Dave Richmond, and keyboard session giant Steve Gray. Something of a dream line-up, they each contributed stellar efforts to create one of the most sought-after of the legendary KPM albums. Both sides of this LP are dripping with insidious grooves and dramatic spy-score themes, bursting with heavy guitars, swirling flutes, creeping piano-funk, and drum breaks galore. Originally released in 1975, it’s clear that these library heroes were heavily influenced by the tough funk and street soul sonics emerging from the cutting-edge Blaxploitation soundtracks. Dave Richmond’s taut swagger and wah-wah guitar licks of “Nightwatch”, Steve Gray’s sleazy horn and clav-funk on the A-side opener “Theme For A Hunter” and Brian Bennett’s rolling strut of “The Investigator” are just three of the highlights here. That last one being sampled by Jeff Jank under his Captain Funkaho guise on “My 2600” for Stones Throw back in 1999. As with all of Be With Records’ KPM re-issues, the audio for The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story comes from the original analog tapes and has been remastered by Simon Francis. Sleeve reproduction duties by Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. 180 gram vinyl.
Reissue of The All American Powerhouse (Themes), originally released in 1976. They say: “Driving brass and sax ensemble over funky rhythm section, playing tracks of various feel and style”. Be With Records say: From the Lincoln Continental that memorably adorns the cover to the tranquil funk contained within, this glowing ode to the grooving force of 70s American soul music is ice cool all over. With brilliant contributions from the Three Key Alans (Hawkshaw, Parker, Tew) as well as Mike Moran, Les Hurdle, and Keith Roberts, this is driving music for only the vibeiest cats. Originally released in 1976, The All American Powerhouse is one of the very best of the Themes library releases. It’s killer. A feast of dramatic jazz, horizontal, melodic funk, and bouncing sunshine-y West-Coast feels throughout, there also lurks an intense injection of the Blaxploitation sound. Understandable, given the subject matter and year it was released. Highlights include Alan Parker’s confident, horn-heavy wah-wah-fueled album-opener “Sweeny Todd”, Hawkshaw’s graceful “Getaway” glide and dramatic, breathless “Speed Run”, Mike Moran’s loose, organ-driven propulsive B-Boy classic “The Pick-Up” and Keith Roberts’s percussive tour de force “Overide” that closes out the LP. Yet, perhaps the most significant track here is Les Hurdle’s long-adored “Soul Train”. A grooving, bass-heavy library classic, it’s all swirling strings, stabbing horns, heavy open drums and melodic funk-rock guitars. Add in the funky clavinet, and the combination works beautifully. As with all of Be With Records’ other Themes reissues, the audio for The All American Powerhouse comes from the original analog tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Simon Francis. Sleeve reproduction duties over by Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity. 180 gram vinyl.
Be With Records present a reissue of Samuel Jonathan Johnson’s My Music, originally released in 1978. My Music is a stellar spiritual soul/jazz-funk gem, recorded by keyboardist-singer Samuel Jonathan Johnson in 1978. The epitome of a cult classic, it didn’t do much upon its release but steadily found an audience over the decades that followed. This is music that shares the jazzy R&B DNA of contemporaries like Roy Ayers and is an intoxicating blend of mellow moments and more groove-heavy tracks. Spacey keys and lush production give it a luxurious, enveloping warmth. My Music opens with the gorgeous title track: an indulgent slow jam opus. Introducing you to Johnson’s compelling musical vision, it features a rich mélange of production techniques. Dripping in strings, horns, backing singers, popping funk bass lines and swooshing synth waves, it’s an unusually structured cosmic two-stepper that has an irrepressible groove. Accordingly, it’s been a favorite with the diggers and it was sampled by The Alchemist for Jadakiss’s “We Gonna Make It”. The up-tempo “Sweet Love” bubbles over with joy, its uplifting lyrics backed by infectious bass and jazzy Fender Rhodes lines. It follows a cover of “What The World Need’s Now Is Love”, taken at a funereal pace that transforms it into a heartfelt plea for love and understanding. After a full-minute-long opening of lush cinematic strings and horns, “Because I Love You” makes space for Samuel’s voice, accompanied by some keys and just a sprinkle of guitar. It builds back up and then mellows its way out to a jazz lounge finish (in all the right ways). The feel-good ebullience of the Stevie Wonder-esque “It Ain’t Easy” closes out the LP’s first side. The second side bursts open with the heavy bounce and disco-funk basslines of “You”, a slightly off-beat string-laden dancer with insistent horns and a piano-assisted groove. Next up is “Just Us”, a legendary steppers track that could be heard oozing out of deep soul radios and funk sound systems back in the late ’80s. “Yesterdays and Tomorrow” is a moving original ballad that is followed by an exquisite high-stepping paean to mom in the form of “Thank You Mother Dear”. The thumping easy-glide of “Reason For The Reason” brings the album to a close. Mastered by Simon Francis and cut by Pete Norman. Sleeve artwork restored by Be With Records. 140 gram vinyl.
Be With Records present a reissue of Ceasar Frazier’s 75, originally released in 1975. Funky soul-jazz organist Caesar Frazier crafted superior Hammond funk. 75, his second LP, is a rare gem. It’s comfortably his greatest artistic statement. The follow-up to Hail Ceasar! (1972), it’s a taut, grooving set that expands his sound and, put simply, it’s got better songs. The key elements of his debut album are all there — production from maestro Bob Porter, accompaniment from hip players (Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Cornell Dupree, John Tropea) and arrangement from Horace Ott — but the overall sound is elevated. The tightly jamming, expressive jazz-funk makes for a richer, fuller, more satisfying experience. 75 is a mixture of hard-driving originals, deeply beautiful slower numbers to vary the tempo and a couple of classy covers. The crazy bombastic “Mighty Mouse” — a riot of horns, organ and in the pocket drums — became an acid jazz classic at Dingwalls and it’s easy to see (hear?) how. A blissed-out, lushly instrumental take on Seals and Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” follows, perfect for those sunshine sets. Side A closes with the heavenly “Sweet Children”. A loping, funky jazz masterpiece famously sampled by Kanye West for Common’s “Real People” from Be (2005). It opens beautifully, with soaring sax and a funky horn section combining with weightless keyboard tones atop snapping drums. Unsurprisingly, the excellence endures right through to the end. The B side opens with perhaps the album’s most famous track. “Funk It Down” contains the familiar “I can feel the funk” vocal refrain throughout. But it’s the gorgeous, insouciant bridge that you should all know and love, having been used as the hook for Gang Starr’s “Ex-Girl To Next Girl”. A great cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City” comes next, with an unforgettable bass-line which anchors the entire heavy rhythm section workout. Dizzying organ, triumphant horns and sun-dappled guitar grooves combine to create “Walking On The Side”, rounding out a pretty smoking set. This is one of those rare ’70s funk-soul-jazz LPs on which a bad track cannot be found. It’s all essential. So of course finding original copies on vinyl at affordable prices has been tough for years. Reproduced artwork by the Be With Records. Mastered by Simon Francis; cut by Pete Norman.
Be With Records present a reissue of Optimistics’ self-titled album, originally released in 1970. This is some serious top-shelf material out of Baltimore and a certified masterclass in sweet symphonic soul. Optimistics was originally released in 1970 on Turbo and it’s every bit as essential as The Chi-Lites, The Delfonics, and The Moments yet nowhere near as known. Those original copies are ridiculously rare and, of course, the prices are equally ridiculous. Optimistics is a killer LP throughout, beloved of discerning hip-hop producers worldwide and routinely championed by the legendary Pete Rock. The genius George Kerr has handled the production on what is an album of beautiful, naïve soul for mind and body. It radiates a heart-breaking ambience that cuts right to the core. The band of Billy, Harold, James, Charles, and Jerome are described on the back cover as “five young, black knights who have embarked on a musical crusade and they’re gonna slay a lot of dragons along the way”. It’s not entirely known how many mythical serpents were dispatched during the making of this album but we can certainly attest to the sense of evangelical drive. Evergreen opener “You Put Something New In My Life” is a heart-stopping ode to a transformative love. A ballad with spine-tingling chord changes and melodic switch-ups to spare, its sweeping strings and precise drums complement the falsetto delivery perfectly. It’s followed by the equally beguiling “Let’s Love”. Another string-drenched harmony ballad, it revolves around delicate piano and distinctive guitar lines, crying out to be recontextualized by the best sampling technicians. Closing out the A side, the wonderfully restrained “Love Is God Almighty” is harp and horn-driven, barely-there soul from a higher plain. Ushering in the flipside, “Should I Let Myself Go”, sampled recently by Knxwledge, is sensational guitar-soul with a yearning that could bring the most hardened soul to tears. It’s followed by the up-tempo, Temptations-funk of “Man” and quietly-great “If I Could Influence Man”, where the competing vocals ride a chugging, funky breakbeat and delicious guitar licks. The refreshing, groovy “Say It Baby” is an appropriately positive, upward looking closer. Its sentiment and feel speaks directly to both the band name and the title of this, their only album. The whole LP is a winning blend of slow, spine-tingling ballads, and joyously upbeat tracks. Artwork reproduced by Be With Records. Mastered by Simon Francis; cut by Pete Norman.
140 gram vinyl; gatefold sleeve; includes 16-page insert with photos and liner notes. For the first time since its inception in 1983, Steve Hiett’s elusive Down On The Road By The Beach is finally made available outside of Japan. Most recognized in the fashion sphere as an English photographer and graphic designer, Hiett’s transportive audio portraits amplify his serpentine guitar to the infinite blue, recorded across Paris, Tokyo and New York. A career devotee of Brian Wilson’s groundbreaking harmonies, Hiett shot The Beach Boys for Rolling Stone — as well as The Doors, Miles Davis, and Jimi Hendrix — while establishing himself as a fashion photographer. Decamping to Paris in 1972, he began what would become 20-year collaborations with Vogue Paris and Marie Claire. In 1982, representatives from Tokyo’s Galerie Watari visited him to propose a solo exhibition. Asking if he could insert a 7″ of original music into the back of the exhibition catalogue, Hiett laid down “Blue Beach – Welcome To Your Beach” in a Parisian radio station, playing all of the instruments himself, and two more cuts in New York with Yoko Ono, The Doobie Brothers, and Steely Dan hired-gun, Elliot Randall. Once dispatched, there were requests for him to fly to Tokyo to record; it wasn’t until he arrived that he discovered CBS/Sony had facilitated an entire album. Heitt hastily gripped some petty cash, bought a guitar, and retreated to his hotel room to start writing. Entering the studio the following day, he was further surprised by a waiting room of session players known as Moonriders — one of Japan’s most acclaimed rock bands of the 1980s. Intimidated by their indecipherable sheet music, Hiett suggested Randall join them and with money being no object for major labels at the time, his wingman was on the next plane out of New York. Near-ambient arrangements that float in a space between The Durutti Column, Steve Cropper, and Ashra, Down On The Road By The Beach also crowns Hiett the master of recontextualization with his zero-gravity blues visions of “Roll Over Beethoven”, Santo & Johnny’s “Sleep Walk” and the 1967 Eddie Floyd soul hit, “Never Found A Girl”. Produced in coordination between Be With Records, Efficient Space and the artist, this definitive reissue is restored from original masters; extensive liner notes penned by Mikey IQ Jones.
140 gram vinyl; includes four-page insert with photos and liner notes. Three emotional years in the making, Be With and Efficient Space present Steve Hiett’s Girls In The Grass. Pressed alongside the long-awaited reissue of his one-shot masterpiece, Down On The Road By The Beach (BEWITH 001CD/061LP), these ten Balearic soul instrumentals are of equal necessity; unrivalled beauty rescued from the fashion photographer-guitarist Paris Tapes (1986-1997). While recordings unintended for release should often be approached with caution, this is a rare case of unheard material being assembled as an indispensable and coherent piece. Girls In The Grass is something super special. The light and shadow that defines Hiett’s music is arguably more compelling here. It speaks to us in a language that feels profound, yet entirely comforting and familiar. Girls In The Grass reintroduces Hiett’s languid electric blues boogie, crafted on Saturday afternoons with fellow art director Simon Kentish. Kentish would cook, pour some wine, and then utilize his arsenal of technology. He’d dial up a chugging rhythm, together with some ambient pads or keyboard textures, and anchor the weightless gauze of Hiett’s six-stringed touch. Hiett’s guitar sings with the same clean, crisp tone as Down On The Road, animated by a carefree weekend groove. Unlike his defining album which was boiled under pressure, these subsequent sessions have all the time in the world. The naïve melodies chart a missing link between Vini Reilly’s ventures into electronica and Booker T, sounding like sun-warped takes on wordless, fractured non-hits from his heroes The Beach Boys. Remastered from the previously unreleased, original masters by Simon Francis. These private moments are adorned with Hiett’s singular photography and feature typically idiosyncratic liner notes from Mikey IQ Jones.
It seems KPM have long been fans of Smith & Mudd and, after being introduced to each other by mutual friend Andy Allday, the peerless Balearic maestros were invited to contribute to the library label’s digital-only “Album Shorts” project. It makes perfect sense for Be With Records to take on the vinyl release of this instant library classic. But why is it called Tea With Holger? “Holger” is of course Holger Czukay and the whole LP is dedicated to Smith & Mudd’s time spent with him and Ursa Major at Can’s famous Inner Space Studio in Weilerswist, near Cologne. When not recording it seems they spent a great deal of time sat around being entertained by Holger’s stories and drinking many cups of different sorts of tea. The album was recorded over several years in London, Margate, and Gorthleck, a small hamlet in the Scottish Highlands. Mike Piggott, who played with Bert Jansch, handled the strings and played violin whilst Sam Creer lent his virtuoso cello work to the proceedings. They wanted to capture magical improvisational moments live and not do the work later on in editing. They describe the tracks collectively as “Balearic themes including breezy soul, sun-dappled melodies, warm pianos and sweeping strings”. A gentle piano ushers in opening track “The Gardener” soon joined by low, bubbling drums. When the time is just right, lush guitars glisten above a Welsh language vocal that floats like silk. “Innerspace” is a nod to Can’s aforementioned studio. Dark, heavy piano meets rolling drums before warm chords and luscious strings take over, gliding over moody grooves. “Weilerswist” delivers more beautifully rolling piano and guitars over thumping cellos and building drums. The full, string-enhanced version of “Away From Me” is Smith & Mudd’s preferred version, only made available here on this vinyl issue. Tribal tones, piano, and cello set a melodic staccato for violin to soar over while rolling piano lines and gospel organ chords descend into a drum drop. Distant synths introduce sun-drenched guitars and uplifting strings in “Kölner Street”, before a spacey Moog solo leads to a spellbinding, sci-fi drop. The album closes with “Tea With Holger”. Airy vocal swells are punctuated by plucked cellos and picked guitars, all wonderfully warmed by a soulful piano. Cut by Pete Norman and pressed in the Netherlands by Record Industry. Comes in a classic KPM green sleeve complete. 140 gram vinyl.
The melodically adventurous soul of Leon Ware continues its expression in his final opus Rainbow Deux. The album features new songs recorded and performed by Leon before his health turned, leading to his transition on February 23rd, 2017. Co-produced by Taylor Graves, it has stellar musical contributions from the likes of Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Ronald Bruner Jr, Rob Bacon, and Wayne Linsey. Because Leon was always writing, it’s impossible to pinpoint any single moment of Rainbow Deux’s genesis. Six of the songs go back to 2012/2013 and were released in 2014 as part of Sigh, a Japan-only CD collection heavy with Rob Bacon’s tasteful licks and Wayne Linsey’s piano vibes. The rest of the material comes from Leon’s sessions with Taylor. The album was finished-up around August of 2016 in a back-and-forth between Leon and his go-to mastering engineer Toni Economides in the UK. Leon worked on Rainbow Deux with life’s greatest challenge looming over him, yet it is one of his most focused and cohesive solo offerings since the 1980s. The entire record is a vibe: mellow, deep, and smooth as silk. The lyrical themes are eternal, and the music is elegant, soulful, and sensual. The hypnotic throb of “For The Rainbow” opens, coming on like a percussive, slow-mo house shuffle. The exotic “Let Love In” follows with its gradual-build island funk, intricate guitar picks, and sassy female vocals. “Sigh” is a stylish slow jam with serene guitars and polished drums. The easy-burning broken-beauty “The Darkest Night” is the centerpiece of the album with Kamasi Washington’s lurking sax, Thundercat’s signature creeping bass, and Leon’s perfect, seductive sax-soul vocals. “Surrender Now” conjures waves of vocals to swell and wash over the glossy piano, subtly bumping hip-hop drums, and bubbling synth-bass stabs. “Summer Is Her Name” has Kamasi’s effortless, melancholic sunshine sax give way to rising tempos and propulsive rhythms. “Are You Ready” sees a nimble groove of piano and synth rolling around Theo Croker’s sensual trumpet playing. With lush G-Funk sensibilities “Streets (Keep Me Runnin’)” sounds like a lost Dam-Funk produced gem. “Samba Dreams” is the first of two tracks that bring a little Rio magic to Rainbow Deux. “Let’s Go Deep” is a dreamy, between-the-sheets quiet storm anthem and a real showcase for Leon’s vocals. The dripping, honeyed harp-funk of “We Should Be Laughin'” marks the star turn of the brilliant Kimbra. Warm synths radiate shuffling samba soul on “Wishful Thinking” as those Brazilian rhythms return to bring Rainbow Deux to a close. 140 gram vinyl; gatefold sleeve with printed inner sleeves.
Be With Records present a reissue of Sweet And Nice, the vital debut album from Jamaica’s undisputed first lady of song Marica Griffiths, originally released in 1974. It’s reggae at its most soulful. Slinking through a tight ten tracks of R&B and pop-sourced material, it became an instant best seller. Sweet And Nice has appeared over the years with a revised running order and under different titles. But the original’s opening sequence of loping soul is legendary, even beyond reggae circles. These songs are now returned to how they were presented on that first Jamaican release, and under their intended album title. Be With doesn’t mess with magic. Marcia’s version of “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” has long been lusted after, played by genre-hopping selectors to snapping necks for decades now. It’s followed by the sophisticated, rollicking wah-wah funk of “Everything I Own” and the slice of smooth lovers soul par excellence that is “Green Grasshopper” and her ace, lilting Neil Diamond cover “Play Me”. The thundering, humid funk of “Children At Play” “sounds uncannily like a precursor of Massive Attack”, as FACT Mag astutely noted when they put Sweet And Nice at number 16 in their list of the 100 best albums of the 1970s. Otherworldly, moody, and essential. Side two keeps the fire burning. “Sweet, Bitter Love” should leave you swooning, and is also one of the album’s alternate titles. Curtis Mayfield’s already-eternal “Gypsy Man” follows, recast as proto-lovers rock. “There’s No Me Without You” is elevated to canonical status by the majestic, forlorn horns of the Federal Soul Givers and Marcia’s heartbreaking delivery. And if this doesn’t get you then surely the next track will: arguably the definitive version of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”. “I Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” re-takes its rightful place at the end of the LP’s second side… but Be With Records added an entire second record of rare material recorded around the same time as Sweet And Nice, much of it unavailable since it was originally released. Amongst these 14 extra tracks you’ll find the exquisite late-60s singles “Melody Life” and “Mark My Word” which, along with the sumptuous reading of “Band Of Gold”. All material is remastered. 140 gram vinyl.
If ever an album could transport you to the hazy sunshine and imagined halcyon paradise of Southern California in the mid-1980s, could capture the early evening warmth of hanging at an inclusive boogie jam as it approaches “magic hour” in Santa Ana or Anaheim, then it’s Vaughan Mason and Butch Dayo’s Feel My Love. A brilliantly produced deep slung, low rider funk classic originally released on Salsoul in 1983. It’s a masterpiece of “funk love music”.
Yes, this is indeed a perfectly formed five track “mini LP” of unparalleled heat, but there’s one song here that, above the rest, represents Orange County boogie-funk. A straight killer beloved by all that have had the pleasure of moving to it. A track that can fill up a dance floor within seconds of its starting. That song is the eternal title track, “Feel My Love”.
This is a work of art that made people fall in love with the funk. It transcends the limitations of genre. “Feel My Love”’s deceptive simplicity makes it perfect to drop during a house set, a classic funk party or at a west coast rap jam. It’s sexy, deeply emotional, melancholic, hopeful, passionate and just radiates so, so much raw energy. This is music.
The rest of the record is hardly filler though. Opener “Oh, Love” is a dizzying, emotional slow jam. With heaven-sent vocals riding gorgeous, sweeping keys that alternate between sweet twinkling lines and funk-fuelled stabbing. It’s sensational. A rollerskating jam named “Rollalong Songs” is an ultra-swish piece of dance floor dynamite. Its slick drums, staccato piano and neck snapping claps underscore Dayo’s buoyant vocals. It’s essentially “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll Part II”.
The flip begins with “Party On The Corner”. Smoother than silk vocals, day-glo synths, a bubbling bassline and guitar licks that surely received the Prince seal of approval. It’s another example of how Vaughan Mason and Butch Dayo flirt with perfection so routinely. The most majestic closer, the kaleidoscopic, cow-bell-assisted synth-funk heater “You Can Do It” is a proto-rap groover that truly smokes.
This prized LP is a stone cold jam and finding original copies on vinyl at affordable prices has been tough for years. Mastered brilliantly by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman and with lovingly reproduced artwork, this fresh Be With reissue ensures this legendary LP now sounds, looks and feels as sensational as it should.
Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of our favourites from the KPM 1000 series. They say: Hard Afro Pop featuring large percussive rhythm section and front line.
We say: One of the best-loved of all the KPM LPs.
Afro Rock was recorded at Morgan Studios by John Cameron and Alan Parker in London in 1973 as a collection of stripped-down African rhythms, virtuoso jazz instrumentation, fuzzed up wah wah guitars and spaced out library breaks. The percussion is effortlessly funky, and those flutes so melodic, it’s as if the LP was crafted with the beat lovers of the future firmly in mind. As Cameron himself described it in Unusual Sounds, this is “heavy duty drum-and-bass salsa music”.
As with all of our KPM re-issues, the audio for Afro Rock comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!
Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of our favourites from the KPM 1000 series.
They say: A Dramatic Suite Of Themes, Montage, Sequences And Generics. We say: An enormously influential and heavy KPM set of timeless, killer funk breaks from 1972 by the mighty John Cameron.
Jazzrock is an aggressive, percussion-heavy album with an energy that leaves jaws on the floor. Breaks and beats for days with electric piano, bass loops, and pounding percussion. Funky jazz with a deep, tough, soundtrack feel.
And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!
Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of our favourites from the KPM 1000 series.
They say: A comprehensive collection of descriptive contemporary scores.
We say: Just look at the track titles of The Road Forward and swoon: Strangelands, A Man Alone, Sheer Elegance, Mystique Voyage, Cruising. Don’t you just want to hear those? The maestro Alan Hawkshaw really spoils us on this, one of the most sought after KPM greensleeves.
This collection from 1977 is a brilliantly varied blend of silky smooth synths, funk-fuelled clavichord grooves and soft focus space beats. Essential.
As with all of our KPM re-issues, the audio for The Road Forward comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!
Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of our favourites from the KPM 1000 series.
They Say: Underscore moods and links—contemporary beat music idiom.
We say: Includes some of the most sublime, sub-ten second, tracks you’re ever likely to hear, alongside more traditionally-lengthed library funk heat. The dream team of Alan Hawkshaw and Keith Mansfield are here at the helm of one of the most legendary of the legendary KPM albums, originally released in 1969.
Beat Incidental is psychedelic pop-soul that hits hard thanks to fuzz guitars, growling flutes, deep hammond grooves and drum breaks galore: it’s basically “drama jazz”.
As with all of our KPM re-issues, the audio for Beat Incidental comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!
A surefire Afro-Funk classic, long treasured by collectors across the globe, the fantastic self-titled LP from Ghanaian singing/percussion sensation Sidiku Buari nevertheless remains a criminally hard-to find gem. We’re honoured to present the first ever officially licensed vinyl reissue of this undoubted masterpiece. Limited to just 500 copies.With access to the original analogue tape transfers, Simon Francis’ stellar mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.
Be With Records presents a reissue of Judith Ravitz’s Bolerio, originally issued in 1983. Galvanized by a passion for soul, jazz, funk, folk, and Brazilian samba, Bolerio brilliantly reimagines the music of the Brazilian legend Jorge Ben. Increasingly sought-after, housing as it does her seminal take on “Dia De Indio” — often re-edited and sampled, bootlegged but never bettered — Bolerio is a uniquely thrilling LP in its own right. In 1983, Ravitz discovered that Ben was touring Israel with his crack backing band A Banda Do Zé Pretinho. After joining her in the studio, the ensemble reinvented a selection of Ben’s killer tracks that the band regularly performed. On Bolerio “come to Rio”, Ravitz handed them equal billing as they aided a re-contextualization of Ben’s music for an audience that was barely aware of him. These versions are by no means straight re-treads; far from it. The highlights are many and memorable; “Dia De Indio” is a strutting, electronic samba-funk with stabbing bass and fluid arrangements, sounding so current and fresh that it’s hard to believe it’s now 35 years old. Its vibrant ambience has been likened to the wiry dubbiness of King Sunny Ade’s Synchro System; it’s easy to see why. Indeed, the electro elements add a futuristic feel that the original could never comfortably possess. The album begins with a throbbing take on “Boiadeiro”; Ravitz flows wonderfully whilst the band introduce a heaviness and complexity absent from the original, as wild bass blends with an intensity to the guitar playing that’s quite stunning. Ravitz’s cover of “Taj Mahal” incorporates the lush Brazilian boogie of the time whilst “Santa Clara” is morphed into a deep electronic groove. Lent an airiness by this arrangement, the track benefits from Ravitz’s exquisite range and floats by on a bed of warm keys to conjure a gorgeous melodic melancholy throughout. The timeless “Que Pena” gets an injection of warm Israeli funk that eschews the downbeat vibe of the original. The beautifully mournful piano and plaintive horns that grace “Que Maravilha”, coupled with Ravitz’s vocal phrasing of spine-tingling clarity, contribute a depth of feeling and longing that hit hard. The iconic artwork has been beautifully restored throughout, and the music has been remastered from the original tape transfers by Simon Francis. Edition of 500, 180 gram vinyl, includes printed inners. Carefully reproduced original art. Remastered from original tape transfers.
Be With Records presents a reissue of The Moments’ On Top, originally issued in 1971 and a perfect example of symphonic soul. Alongside contemporaneous acts from the early 70s — The Chi-lites, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, The Futures, Blue Magic, and The Main Ingredient — The Moments exuded all that was compelling about deep, harmony-drenched, string-laden soul. The standout here is “To You with Love”, a floating, tender ballad sung by Harry Ray that features the group’s patented handclap-tambourine combo, sweetly repetitive strings, serene guitar and gentle piano. It was famously sampled by J Dilla for “Last Donut Of The Night”, the gut-wrenching finale to his seminal Donuts (2005). Concentrating solely on its sampled history would do The Moments a huge disservice, but its appearance at the climax of Donuts directed many soul fans to their work. Judged entirely on its merit, it’s one of the most heart-breaking songs of any decade and worth the price of admission alone. If that wasn’t enough, On Top also spawned two R&B hits: “All I Have” and “Lucky Me”, each featuring Billy Brown’s ice-melting falsetto. “All I Have” is a sumptuous introduction to the album, with melancholic, understated guitar licks, twinkling keys and heartbeat drums. The triumphant “Lucky Me” is simply gorgeous; all gentle chimes, swirling strings, and falsetto soaring atop proud horns. Also included are “I Can’t Help It” and “That’s How It Feels.” The former features thundering kicks and crashing cymbals underneath flutes and stabbing strings and horns. The yearning vocals embody a Temptations-like delivery at times. “That’s How It Feels” sees Brown’s voice astride a bed of rhythms on a tune more aptly defined as a love suite than a song. Dripping in breakbeats, piano and strings, Brown describes the devastation of losing the one you love before the track brilliantly switches up with a sweeping string-led chorus and heavenly harmonies. The only genuine up-tempo number is “Sweeter As The Days Go By,” led by Brown in his natural, gospel-inspired tenor. A charming but sorrow-filled “I Lost One Bird In The Hand” is an impressive, slow lamenter, with horns and strings dominating the lushly arranged backdrop. Appropriately, things end on a down-lifting note with “Candy Shack.” The original analog tapes were remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis, and the memorable cover art was carefully reproduced. Edition of 500. Carefully reproduced original art. Remastered from original tape transfers.
Larry Jon Wilson came to the party late. When he arrived in Nashville, he had already spent ten years in corporate America. He did not start playing guitar until the age of 30, but five years later he released his debut, New Beginnings (BEWITH 052LP, 2018) and followed it a year later with Let Me Sing My Song To You. A revelation among the hipsters and critics of Nashville, they ensured Larry Jon was immediately embraced as part of the mid-’70s “outlaw country movement” that eschewed slick production in favor of a raw, gritty approach. When a film crew came to document this burgeoning sound, they made straight for Larry Jon’s door. He was a singer and writer of intensely private, painfully moving tales of southern life. With his deep, papa-bear voice, funky southern groove, and richly evocative narratives of rural Georgia, Larry Jon was a unique stylist but his gutsy, greasy sound did not translate into sales. Too funky for the country crowd, too heartfelt for pop radio, he fell between the cracks. New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Song to You play like two halves of a double album, showcasing his unique mix of country, folk, soul and swampy blues. New Beginnings had failed to propel Larry Jon to even the modest cult acclaim enjoyed by his contemporaries; the frustration this conjured can be heard on Let Me Sing My Song To You. Both the title track and the self-deprecating “Drowning In The Mainstream” speak of Wilson’s hope to inch a few steps towards the big time without making too many compromises. Any album containing the likes of the heartfelt, deeply beautiful tribute of “Ballad of Handy Mackey” and the superlative country-gothic funk opus “Sheldon Churchyard” — the lead track from the lauded Country Got Soul (2003) compilation — must rank as essential listening. The audio comes from the original analog tape transfers and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. The same care has been taken with the striking cover art and Larry’s close friend Jeb Loy Nicholscontributed wonderfully unique liner notes, presented beautifully on the printed inner sleeve opposite a gorgeous black and white shot of Larry, mid-performance. Edition of 500. Carefully reproduced original art. Remastered from original tape transfers.
Larry Jon Wilson came to the party late. When he arrived in Nashville, he had already spent ten years in corporate America. He did not start playing guitar until the age of 30, but five years later he released his debut, New Beginnings, following it with Let Me Sing My Song To You (BEWITH 053LP, 2018). A revelation among the hipsters and critics of Nashville, Larry Jon was immediately embraced as part of the mid-’70s “outlaw country movement” that eschewed slick production in favor of a raw, gritty approach. When a film crew came to document this burgeoning sound, they made straight for Larry Jon’s door. He was a singer and writer of intensely private, painfully moving tales of southern life. With his deep, papa-bear voice, funky southern groove, and richly evocative narratives of rural Georgia, Larry Jon was a unique stylist but his gutsy, greasy sound did not translate into sales. Too funky for the country crowd, too heartfelt for pop radio, he fell between the cracks. New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Song To You are so similar they play like two halves of a double album, showcasing his unique mix of country, folk, soul and swampy blues. Driven by a crack rhythm section that included Elvis guitarist Reggie Young, New Beginnings is a rich, literate record. Anyone with even a passing interest in the union between soul and country music will be able to tell they’ve located solid gold as soon as Larry Jon’s deep baritone utters the first appreciative “mm-hmm” a few bars into the opening “Ohoopee River Bottomland”, a fat-bottomed swamp-funk account of hard times in the city and country alike. Funny, nostalgic, sad, wistful, righteously pissed-off: New Beginnings is country-influenced American songwriting at its finest, from the feverish country-got-soul groove pulsating behind the weary sigh of “Through The Eyes of Children” to the elemental lament “Things Ain’t What It Used to Be (and Probably Never Was)”, a country standard that somehow got away. The audio comes from the original analog tape transfers and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. The same care has been taken with the striking cover art; Larry’s close friend Jeb Loy Nicholscontributed liner notes. Edition of 500. Carefully reproduced original art. Remastered from original tape transfers.
Marti Caine’s infamous Point Of View is a groovy blend of slow-mo funk, dark disco and precise pop. Originally released on BBC Records in 1981, it has attracted a considerable cult following this century. The odd charity shop score aside, it has been impossible to find a copy for less than eye-watering sums (often selling for over £200) and, as such, it’s an honour to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue of this sublime record. Featuring expert liner notes written by Bill Brewster – perhaps the record’s most notable champion – this lovingly curated release is limited to just 500 copies.
Marti Caine was a popular UK TV entertainer in the late 1970s onwards and Point Of View presented her with an opportunity to proceed in a hip direction by working with British R&B heavyweight Barry Blue. His legendary reputation was secured with a string of great records, among them the first three Heatwave albums, the Balearic hit “Afro Dizzi Act” by Cry Cisco and the cult smash “Breakin’ In” by Javaroo. However, despite the array of talent working on the album, Point Of View sank without trace at the time. It’s something that Blue attributes to the bizarre way BBC Records worked, and he entertainingly expands upon this within the liner notes.
Musically, the highlights are many and memorable. Its most notorious track is the sublime soul stepper “Love The Way You Love Me”, the reason most people covet this album so profoundly. However, from the dark dubby disco of “Snowbird City” to the moody ballad “Love Is Running Through Me”, the lesser heralded tracks are nothing short of exquisite. Indeed, the chugging elegance of sleazy disco opener “Can I Speak To The World Please?” showcases a string-drenched strutting-funk that would’ve been enviable the world over. It’s that good.
The outlandish artwork – presenting a striking, green-eyed Marti treating a tiger to a headlock – has been faithfully restored and is arguably worth the price of admission alone. With access to the original tape transfers, Simon Francis’ sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g. Sadly, Marti died of lymphatic cancer at the tragically early age of 50 in 1995, so is not here to experience what we hope will be a long overdue reappraisal of the hitherto underheard genius of Marti Caine, the singer.
Voices In Harmony was released in 1973 as “a selection of contemporary pop titles featuring voices, brass and rhythm”. We choose to describe this collection of works by Keith Mansfield and John Cameron as “a string-laced, harmony-drenched KPMclassic”.
From the bright, lilting harmonies of “Liquid Sunshine” to the melting flutes of “Loving Touch” and “Gentle Persuasion”, this is warm, effervescent soul music for dreamy, idyllic moods. The supreme “Husky Birdsong” is so, so smooth, with its unrelenting bossa bassline and warm keyboards. “Half Forgotten Daydreams” is a gorgeous wordless groove.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Voices In Harmony comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
Released in 1976, Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement is legendary arranger Nick Ingman exploring the two distinct ideas of “impressive themes varying in style from ‘Basie to Elgar’” and “a study in the pressure and rewards of achievement”.
Distinctive Themes is a veritable indulgence of variously-tempoed, full orchestra, big band workouts, from relaxed swing to more propulsive themes. The progressively building “Expanding Markets” is a true highlight, with its rolling pianos, contemplative electric guitar solos and moody horns over skipping beats. The dramatic “Against The Odds” is another stand-out.
Race To Achievement is all rugged funk with stabbing chords and strutting horns and it’s probably our favourite side. Of course we have to acknowledge the fantastic “Tense Preparation”, sampled by Prince Paul and Dan The Automator for Handsome Boy Modeling School’s seminal “Magnetizing” with Del Tha Funky Homosapien. But the whole side’s range from tense underscores to fast and punchy chase themes makes this is a gem of the KPM catalog.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
Hot Wax is an assured KPM masterclass from a dream team line-up of Brian Bennett, Alan Hawkshaw and John Fiddy. Here we’re treated to what happens when all three decide to explore “the latest trends in production music”. The latest as of 1976, of course.
John Fiddy’s numbers are sumptuous, string-led and light. Floaty soft-psych underpinned by a solid groove, particularly on “Taste For Living” and “Fresh Start”. If you’re into Koushik and those early Manitoba/Caribou records – and you should be – you’ll appreciate these.
For us, the Bennett and Bennett/Hawkshaw stuff is on another level. “Capitol City” oscillates between driving funk and downbeat sentiment. “Name Of The Game” is tough, smokin’ funk, famously sampled in 2007 by Madlib for Percee P’s “Who With Me”. “Bop On The Rocks” knocks hard and “Full Throttle” features a guitar solo with some of the nastiest, about-to-explode fuzz you’re ever likely to hear.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Hot Wax comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
The two sides of 1973’s Big Business / Wind of Change are mainly the work of the great Keith Mansfield but there’s a killer cameo each from Alan Hawkshaw and David Snell to help deliver “a thematic suite, diverse in mood, applicable to dramatic and environmental situations”. A Be With favourite and truly one for the heads.
The Big Business of side A is all the work of Keith Mansfield. It’s heavy on the suspense and features the vital “Hot Property”, an insistent groove so good that Madlib sampled it to lace the ace “Long Awaited” by Lootpack with Dilated Peoples.
“Sleeping Giant 1” is a more fleshed out version of the equally-dazzling “Fatal Error”, evoking the orchestral magic of David Axelrod. Indeed, it conjures images of Diamond D falling over himself in the early-to-mid 90s to loop its intoxicatingly eerie soundscape. Complete with guitar fills that recall Paris, Texas-era Ry Cooder, you need this record for this piece alone.
The horn-and-flute-led “Tycoon” is a head-nodder and “Power Complex” has some fantastic percussion. Other highlights include the breezy glide of “Whistle Stop Tour” and its sister groove “Clean Air.”
Over on Side B is the more expansive Wind Of Change, which includes the David Snell and the Alan Hawkshaw contributions. But these ain’t no filler. Snell’s shuffling “International Flight” sounds like a smooth Dorothy Ashby track tossed from the heavens. Hawkshaw’s “Road And Rail” is about as luxurious and strung-out as the great man gets and it might just be the highlight of this whole set.
Not to be outdone, if Mansfield’s “Balance Of Power” doesn’t make you feel like king of the world then you must be playing it wrong. Oh, and did we mention “World In Action”?!
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Big Business / Wind of Change comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
Piano Viberations’ “small group jazz featuring piano and vibes with rhythm” makes for a gorgeous Francis Coppieters showcase, surely one of Belgium’s best-kept musical secrets. Released in 1975, and arguably the most low-key of the KPM and Themes records we’re re-issuing, this is easily our current favourite.
“The Open Highway” is the appropriately-named opener, and immediately demonstrates Coppieters’ dexterous interplay between piano and vibes in assured, joyous fashion. The shuffling bossa of “Sales Notes” is a jaw-dropper, well-mined by samplers with impeccable taste. The mellow head-nod drum-break that is “Funky Chimes” brilliantly demonstrates Coppieters’ quiet majestic side with its slow-motion funk rhythm with beautifully reflective notes throughout.
The upbeat and joyful “Cross Talk” closes out side A. Vibes and piano are definitely at the heart of the arrangement here. The quick cut movement of “Piano In Transit” is another gem, driven principally by piano but those vibes along for more than just the ride. On a more gentle, elegiac note, “To Shearing With Love” is a warm, slow, romantic piece in the style of George Shearing. It’s plaintive and sublime.
Piano Viberations is one of those rare library records the original description of which makes as much sense now as it did when it was first released. Piano and vibes with rhythm indeed.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Piano Viberations comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
The “vivid contemporary sounds for a fresh visual image” make up the now canonized Synthesis from Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett. These two greats go deeper than usual on this collection, and the end result is a synth concept record of sorts. Released in 1974, it’s an essential companion piece to their Synthesizer and Percussion LP, released on Themes International Music in the same year.
Like most of our favourite library records, Synthesis has that gloriously funky, “weird electronic music” vibe without ever being inaccessible. With the awesome ARPOdyssey at the fore, Hawkshaw and Bennett have created a blissed-out soundscape that, whilst laid back in all the right places, somehow remains heavy on the funk. It’s a sort of throbbing, proto-G Funk sound and you can find it on many of these low-lit basement workouts.
Take the ice-cool “Alto Glide”. It’s a sunset-funk highlight with an electro-flute refrain that conjures those dreamier Dre / DJ Quick instrumentals from ’91 to ’92. Stereolab, Koushik (again) and all those Ghost Box artists were clearly listening very closely in the years since. The equally relaxed “Mermaid” glides effortlessly with soft, shimmering piano, understated percussion and kaleidoscopic synths. It’s a really beautiful piece.
With these two soft-focus closing tracks allowing the LP to float away over the horizon, the preceding ten tracks have a more insistent, neck-snapping rhythm section to back the synth overload. Highlights include the head-nod funk of “Getting It Together” and the synth break in “The Executive”, which informed classic video game soundtracks.
For once Be With really is stuck for words to describe just how good this record is. Best just to listen.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Synthesis comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
When Alan Parker recorded the killer library soul-funk LP The Voice of Soul with session vocalist Madeline Bell in 1976, some bright spark at Themes decided to also release all of the backing tracks as a separate, and equally innocuously title LP called The Sound of Soul. Thank goodness for bright sparks.
Released as a collection of “unobtrusive musical backings in various rhythmic styles”, the LP’s original description dryly explains “these tracks have been issued without melody and are therefore particularly suitable for use behind commentary. Female vocal versions of these tracks are issued on TIM 1021 The Voice Of Soul and it is possible to edit from vocal version to instrumental version or vica versa where commentary or scene changes occur”.
Madeline Bell was backed by The Rhythm Section, who were for all intents and purposes the Themes International Music house band. So what we end up with here is entire album of instrumental work-outs by a band comprised of the formidable talents of Alan Hawkshaw on keyboards, Alan Parker on guitars, Barry Morgan on drums, Les Hurdle on bass guitar and Frank Ricotti on percussion.
Without Bell’s vocals these backing tracks are given all the room they need to breathe. Each one more than stands up on its own.
The Sound of Soul is a real diggers’ delight and, unsurprisingly, a must-have counterpart to The Voice of Soul.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for The Sound of Soul comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
Veteran library musician Alan Parker recorded with session vocalist Madeline Bell for his Themes International Music label and the result was 1976’s The Voice of Soul.
The sensational uptempo dancer “That’s What Friends Are For” is probably the most well known track on the record, and is a big hit on the rare groove scene, but it is by no means an anomaly. The Voice of Soul is essentially a perfect, sophisticated soul album with heaps of swagger and sass from beginning to end. Its once generic-sounding title is now deservedly definitive.
And the whole LP oozes sex. It oozes sex so much that it could have soundtracked a period porn film. Indeed, parts of it did. “Love Is All” and “You’ve Got What It Takes” both featured on the infamously banned Pretty Peaches from the same year.
As is usual with library records, The Voice of Soul was hard to get even when it was first released. It’s next to impossible now. So here’s your opportunity to own what is in our opinion one of the finest rare soul LPs of the late 70s, and a superb example of Madeline Bell’s superlative vocal talents.
But that’s not the whole story. As well as pitching the record as “a varied selection of modern female vocal features which are equally suitable for background or radio programme usage”, the original release notes go on to explain that “the corresponding backing tracks are issued on TIM 1022 The Sound of Soul. Therefore it is possible to edit from vocal to instrumental version and vica versa where commentary or scene changes occur.”
So yes, all of the backing tracks from The Voice of Soul were released as The Sound of Soul, and we couldn’t re-issue one without re-issuing the other.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for The Voice of Soul comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity
James Clarke’s Mystery Movie was released in 1974 as “modern, small group compositions in various moods. Ideally suited to the new Americanised style of T.V. and cinema film where music is used to create the mood and carry the action”.
So this collection covers a lot of bases, but it does so brilliantly and has absolutely no right to be such a fantastic listen from start to finish.
Mystery Movie is best known for the slick drum breaks underpinning the top-notch jazz-funk chase theme “Car Patrol”, the fuzz riffing and ARP soloing of “The Heavies” and the slow-mo strut of “Mystery Moll”. “Study In Fear” and “Empty Streets” are horror soundtrack fodder of the finest sort.
However, it’s the understated, plaintive pieces that we find the most rewarding. Ambient feels and strung-out fried-folk treats, full of cyclical naïve melodies. Music that evokes the ‘downlifting’ Ronnie Lane and Ron Wood instrumentals from their great Mahoney’s Last Stand LP, as well as the beautiful soundtrack work of Jack Nitzsche and Ry Cooder. You might also recognise “Waiting Game” from being sampled by melodic downbeat masters Express Rising.
Check “Relaxed Theme”, “Quiet Girl”, “Routine Procedure” and “Quietness Sustained” for a melodic, melancholic set, with the last three performed on just acoustic guitar and harp. Gorgeous work.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Mystery Movie comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
Released in the same year as Synthesis over on KPM, 1974’s Synthesizer and Percussion is its essential companion piece. “This record features the many distinctive sounds of the ARP Synthesizer plus percussion in various moods and tempos” is the even more underwhelming than usual library record sales pitch for Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett’s second collection of what is basically minimal G-funk, with overtones of primitive acid house. This is ridiculously good.
This is one of Hawkshaw and Bennett’s wilder joints and aeons ahead of its time. Bennett’s tough drums provide the underpinnings for the prominent bass, keys and bubbling synths high up in the mix, alongside Hawkshaw’s deranged clavinet-funk-rock. There are heavenly break loops galore.
Opener “Mon Amour” is ultra-smooth funk, all inter-weaving melodic lines whilst the seminal “Oddball” is an incredible hard electro strut with a knocking break. “Mile High Swinger” is a tranquil Spaghetti Western whistling theme over double tempo rhythmic movement and the pulsating “Auto Pilot” has a percussive groove elevated by electric piano and synthesizer. Check “Driving Force”, “Home Run” and “Pacesetter” for electroid prog-funk dripped in acid squelch.
All five final tracks are beatless synth workouts, because they can.
As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Synthesizer and Percussion comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
Alan Hawkshaw (piano/Hammond) and Shadow’s drummer Brian Bennett are responsible for some of the slickest, funkiest and most sought-after library records ever made in the UK, particularly ones recorded on the legendary KPM label. Their work has now become the go-to place for sampling in music today. Artists such as Dilla, Nas, and the xx, right through to the billion selling Kanye & Drake have taken Hawkshaw’s and Bennett’s immaculate beat-driven soundscapes for their own usage.
Their new album, in full, iconic KPM cover is a return to the laidback jazz-funk that helped Alan and Brian demonstrate their library chops. The album is classic Hawkshaw/Bennett. It swings, it grooves, moves and thrills with a flair these two have perfected over years.
Standout tracks such as “Hole In One”, “In The Clouds”, “Interchange”, “Oasis”, “On The Nile” and “Corcovado” are no mere excursions in nostalgia, for they carry lots of deft studio work that many a producer would give their right arm for. Hawkshaw’s arrangements allow the drums, guitar, bass, strings, Hammond, flute and brass to swirl elegantly around the 12 original tracks; a masterclass in recording.
Cut by Pete Norman, housed in a beautifully designed Richard Robinson sleeve and pressed at 180g by Record Industry in Holland, this release has been afforded the care and attention it rightly deserves.
A continuation of his kaleidoscopic sun-dappled cosmic-disco, Neon Leon was the much-loved CD-only album by Sorcerer (Californian Dan Judd, one half of Windsurf with Hatchback). Just in time for Spring/Summer, Be With Records present the first ever vinyl issue, completely remastered, as a double gatefold package with freshly updated artwork throughout.
The Deirdre Wilson Tabac’s sole album is a beautiful blend of funk, jazz and pop. Possessing the complex grooves and truly soulful weirdness that The Rotary Connection pedaled so brilliantly, the LP didn’t connect with audiences on its original release. In the decades since, it has attracted a considerable cult following and has correspondingly become increasingly tricky to pick up a clean copy for less than eye-watering sums.
As such, it’s an honor to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue
Oh yes! First ever official reissue of the positively sublime and very rare Butterfly LP, recorded in Tokyo in 1979 by Japanese songstress Kimiko Kasai and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. Due to its super-rare status as a Japan-only release, this exquisite collection of covers never got the recognition it deserved at the time, despite incredibly inspired performances from Kimiko, Herbie and the supremely talented musicians assembled for the project. From heavenly drummer Alphonse Mouzon and renowned organist Webster Lewis to bassist Paul Jackson, reedman Bennie Maupin and the master percussionist Bill Summers, the legendary performers crafted amazingly good vocal versions of Herbie / Headhunters jazz-funk. Unsurprisingly, it has been heavily in demand for many years.
The LP opens with Kimiko’s highly desirable version of “I Thought It Was You”, an elegant take on Herbie’s own anthem. Other superb re-workings include the delicately soulful “Butterfly”, jazzy groover “Sunlight”, the smooth and sexy “Tell Me A Bedtime Story” and the beautiful ballads “Maiden Voyage” and “Harvest Time”. A wonderful example of perfectly understated and masterful jazz-funk soul fusion that shouldn’t be missed, the set closes with a jaw-dropping version of Stevie Wonder’s “As”. This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of this hitherto unavailable masterpiece.
The stunning artwork which adorned the original jacket – complete with OBI strip and sumptuous 4 page folded insert – has been faithfully restored. Simon Francis’ sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g. Essential.
A notoriously jaw-dropping folk-funk classic, long treasured by the Balearic fraternity, the self-titled LP from the brothers Batteau nevertheless remains a criminally underheard gem. Appealing to fans stuck on Ned Doheny’s scorching blue-eyed soul as well as Gene Clark’s rich country-rock, it’s an honour to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue of this undoubted masterpiece of proto-Yacht-Rock.
Like a forgotten piece of baroque folk caught in 1973, Batteaux’s eponymous album somehow sounds magically timeless. A full 45 years after the fact, it remains a mystery as to why they weren’t better known. The lush production and virtuoso playing conforms with the ruling aesthetic of the time – well-crafted, melodic songs performed with precision and balance – whilst the shimmering AOR atmosphere and sun-dappled vocal washes align neatly with the best Crosby, Stills & Nash records.
This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of the hitherto buried genius of Batteaux. The serene aqua artwork which adorned the original jacket – their father worked on a dolphin-human communication project in Hawaii, hence the infamous design – and sumptuous inner sleeve have been faithfully restored. Whilst, with access to the original tapes, Simon Francis’ sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.
Pink Rhythm were a mid-80s evolution of Rocca’s London-based band Freeez, featuring the great Andy Stennett and Peter Maas. “Melodies Of Love” was first released in 1985 yet, still sounding staggeringly fresh, it’s no surprise that discerning DJs call on it now more than ever. As the title suggests, it’s so melodically profound and so effortlessly funky, once you hear it, you never forget it. Accordingly, it has been growing in demand on 12″ for the past decade.
Gliding serenely, its epic, melancholic synths appeal to fans of Italo, whilst its stabbing Moog bassline and wall-shaking drums retain an unmistakable boogie / electro-disco feel. Rocca himself delivers a memorably androgynous vocal that only adds to the majesty. Backed with the strutting sax workout “Walking In The Rain”, this officially licensed, remastered 12″ – presented in a heavier sleeve than the original – is one not to miss.
The Streets’ second album, A Grand Don’t Come For Free, was instantly hailed as another masterpiece to equal Original Pirate Material. Unavailable on vinyl for the best part of the intervening decade, we mark our second release by issuing Mike Skinner’s electronic soap opera on this format.
Soul Food Taqueria continued Guerrero’s guitar soul but represented a step forward with its polished production and greater complexity of instrumentation. Denied the promotion it deserved upon release, it flew under the radar. It is now the most wanted record of his wondrous back catalogue.
Guerrero’s atmospheric touch and subtle guitar provide lush, glimmering pieces of musical texture. Within his spacious compositions, uniquely arranged instruments flourish alongside each other to create a languid soundtrack for halcyon days.
It’s rare that a certain sound is entirely an artist’s own. Although undeniably a stew of impeccable influences – from blues to folk to Latin to dusty funk, soul and hip-hop – one cannot hear a Tommy Guerrero song without immediately recognizing it as his – and his only. A Little Bit Of Somethin’ is a quietly majestic gem. Brimming with Guerrero’s horizontal “loose grooves”, these brief but innovative instrumentals demonstrate a rich variety and, as such, comprise an LP that is aptly titled. An enchanting start-to-finish listen, it was instantly regarded as essential upon release via Mo Wax in 2000. It has aged remarkably well.
A sublime slice of boogie-funk, Alec Mansion has steadily gained the status of a “crate-digging classic”. Accordingly, it has been near-impossible to unearth a physical copy in good condition for many years. Be With is delighted to present the first ever vinyl reissue, remastered in time to grace the discerning terraces and boat parties of the coming summer months.
Originally released in 1983, the LP arrived with impeccable credentials; programming duties were handled by Dan Lacksman (the brains behind Telex, the “Belgian Kraftwerk”) whilst production came from Marc Moulin (of jazz-rock fusion heroes Placebo). At the time its merits were mainly praised by radio and studio heads. Today, Mansion’s masterpiece is lauded by boogie aficionados from Liege to Los Angeles.
Ahmad Jamal is a jazz giant and The Awakening is his iconic masterpiece. The landmark deep trio session – recorded in NYC and released on Impulse! in 1970 – is an essential album and perennially sought-after on vinyl, so Be With Records are delighted to make it available again.
As a “Zen master of jazz piano” and one of its greatest innovators, Jamal evolved his elegant sound with this adventurous record. The Awakening showcased his fast, richly melodic chops in remarkable variation. A consummate orchestrator of his own complex arrangements, Jamal was emboldened here by his potent sidemen. Backed by the exquisite timing of bassist Jamil Nasser and the precision of Frank Gant’s drumming, he was liberated by the reliability of the trio setup. Free to juggle rhythmic dexterity with harmonic intricacy, Jamal brilliantly performed groove-oriented compositions written by himself, alongside wonderful renditions of tracks by Herbie Hancock, Oliver Nelson and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
An exquisite slice of psychedelic jazz-funk, Funk Factory was criminally overlooked upon release but became a crate-diggers classic over time. Yes, the LP is most famous for containing the peerless dusty groove of “Rien Ne Va Plus”, heavily lifted by the Beastie Boys for their Paul’s Boutique standout “Car Thief”. Yes, you’d be correct to assume said gem is worthy of the price of admission alone. Yet, to those in the know, Funk Factory represents so much more than a Dust Brothers sample-source. Indeed, the entire album represents a space-aged opus, featuring tripped-out keys, tight drums and baked synths; all laced by Urszula Dudziak’s ethereal vocals drifting around the exceptional instrumentation.
Funk Factory were boldly led by brilliant Polish violinist and saxophonist Michal Urbaniak and vocalist Dudziak. Two additional, accomplished Polish musicians were involved: virtuoso keyboardist Wlodek Gulgowski and singer Bernard Kafka, founder and leader of great Polish vocal group Novi Singers. To augment this solid foundation, a sensational American rhythm section was assembled, with bassists Anthony Jackson and Tony Levin, drummers Steve Gadd and Gerald Brown and guitarists Barry Finnerty and John Abercrombie.
Legend has it that Urbaniak created this seminal record in response to his American colleagues’ claims that Eastern European musicians were not “funky”. Funk Factory demonstrates that Urbaniak and his cohorts could play funk as well as any American musician. As sophisticated and multi-layered as the best of the genre, it deserves to be as canonical as the greatest works of Herbie Hancock and George Duke. Accomplished and utterly unique, this intoxicating blend of crack musicians created an irresistibly heady dose of transportive funk that sounds every bit as vital today as it would have in 1975.
Original copies are prohibitively expensive so this officially licensed 180g version enables a wider audience to now discover its genius. Dovetailing neatly with the recent interest in forgotten Eastern European grooves, this timely release of a true lost treasure is sure to be one of the year’s essential vinyl reissues.