Review: Afro 45's / Mr Bongo show no signs of stopping their tireless run of form and, 7" after 7", they just keep on producing the goods. There's yet more '70s goodness with this new little scorcher: the A-side is 1973's "Tessassategn Eko" by Bahta Gebre Hiwot, a pensive Ethiopian pop hit for all sorts of music fans to enjoy, but "Ayalqem Tedqem" by Alemayehu Eshete on the B-side is where it's at... just listen to that bass and you'll instantly recognize this wonderful little cover.
Review: Back Pluwatsch, or simply Bajka, is an Indian-born, South-African raised singer with diverse catalogue of music, and an equally compelling set of vocal chords. Her voice was first picked up by London's Jazzman circa 2005, and has travelled across other like like Ubiquity, Raw Tapes, and even on NYC house-techno conglomerate, Ibadan. Philophon feels like a much more natural place for her music to prosper on, a label that's been on our radar since day one, and always comes heavily recommended. "The World" is a true pearl of a song, charged and catapulted into the ether by a deep, raw percussive sway and, of course, Bajka's singular voice. "Invisible Joy" is a similarly deep and tropical, but here the tone is much more jazzy, reminding us of Sun Ra in places. All in all, this is some pretty killer material.
Review: For a classic 7" that makes you wish you could have experienced the rock and roll and blues heyday, these two dusty gems by Lavern Baker and Jackie Wilson are a great start. Taken from 1960, "Bumble Bees" by Baker is a chiming, doo-wop sing-a-long love song with a tastefully disgruntled character, while Baker & Wilson provide the excellent and X-rated "Think Twice", which sings about taboo topics like cocaine, pussy and reefa. It also boasts lyrics like 'son of a bitch', 'I aint gonna kiss your ass no more' and 'I've had enough of your shit' - not to mention the other out-there obscenities for the time which include references to oral sex. Lil Kim and Khia - eat your heart out!
Review: Kalita Records are proud and honoured to announce the first ever official reissue of the four choice tracks from Randolph Baker's privately pressed sought-after 1982 disco album 'Reaching For The Stars', plus an unreleased instrumental take of 'Party Life' sourced from the original 24-track analogue master tapes.
Originally recorded at Jim Morris and Rick Miller's Tampa-based Morrisound Studios, 'Getting Next To You' features both a mixture of both local Florida talent plus jazz superstar Nat Adderley and bassist John Lamb at their finest. Originally pressed in a limited run of just one-thousand copies, with no distribution and most copies being sold in the local city and on Randolph's own merchandise table at the back of live gigs, original copies have long been sought-after by both collectors and DJs alike, acknowledged as a true grail and masterpiece in the disco scene and deservedly demanding extortionate figures to those lucky enough to find their own.
Here, in collaboration with Randolph, Kalita Records have chosen to re-release the four choice tracks from the album: 'Getting Next To You', 'Jazzman', 'Callin' Me' and 'Party Life'. The former is an in-demand horn and chant-filled disco masterpiece, which, as Randolph explains, concerns unity and "everyone on the same level in other words, everyone just loving life". It is arguably the song that Randolph is most well-known for in the disco and funk scene and perfect for the modern discerning dance floor. 'Jazzman' is an instrumental track with prominent trumpet and saxophone solos working with funky basslines to produce a truly great jazz-funk groove. It was "a tribute to Nat Adderley and Duke Ellington's bass player, John Lamb, for being so generous and saying yes to the project". 'Callin' Me' is a soulful disco number featuring the lead vocals of Laurie Erickson and is "about being on the road and ensuring loved ones that you will always come back home no matter what. It was like a promise to ensure loved ones they didn't have to worry". Lastly, 'Party Life' is a joyous disco track with a strong funk bassline and horns. As Randolph recalls, it "was the joy like after an actor finishes a movie. There was nothing but joy. It's finished; let's celebrate big time. Where everyone in the studio yelled at the top of their lungs - The End!" Here, with access to the 24-track master tapes we have been able to include the original version plus an unreleased instrumental take, allowing us to focus on the infectious bassline and make it even more ready for the modern dance floor.
Accompanied by extensive interview-based liner notes and never-before-seen photos.
Bar Konon Mousso (Musicien C'est Pas Quelqu'un) (Ben Gomori N'est Pas musicien edit) (8:00)
Massa Kamba (Ben Gomori's Massabbatical edit) (9:11)
Review: This officially licensed 12" sees prolific British disco producer Ben Gomori take a scalpel to two cuts from veteran African musician Amadou Balake's 2015 album, In Conclusion. On side A you'll find a fantastic, eight-minute extension of the breezy shuffler "Bar Konon Mousso (Musicien C'est Pas Quelqu'un)", where snaking saxophone solos and sun-kissed, juju style guitars rise above a hot-stepping, bass-heavy groove. Turn to the flipside for a thrillingly epic take on "Massa Kamba", a deeper and slightly more musically intricate cut blessed with a blissful; Pat Metheny style jazz guitar breakdown, memorable chorus vocals and evocative horn lines.
Review: For the latest release on their on-point Brasil 45s sub-label, Mr Bongo takes a trip back to 1977, and the early days of legendary fusion outfit Banda Black Rio. Both the cuts here are taken from the band's brilliant debut album, Maria Fumaca, and see them fusing Brasilian samba and jazz sounds with the righteous, dancefloor-friendly grooves of funk and disco. "Maria Fumaca" itself is a deliciously sunny and sweaty affair, with punchy horns, eyes-closed guitar solos and jazz-funk electic piano lines rising above a carnival-ready samba-funk groove. The U.S funk influence comes to the fore more on flipside "Mr Funky Samba", which sounds like Azymuth jamming with members of the T.K Disco, Philadelphia International and Salsoul house bands. Yep, it's that good.
Miele - "Melo Do Tagarela (Rapper's Delight)" (instrumental) (4:10)
Review: Although Brazil's Banda Black Rio remain infamous for the albums that they recorded in the late 1970s, two beautiful LPs that rode that singular wave of samba-ridden jazz dance, 1980's "Miss Cheryl" is an outstanding tune, and we can hear why RCA picked it up back in the day. Mr Bongo provides us with the reissue here and, if you haven't heard it, it's an absolute delight which switches between disco, psych, and something inherently Brazilian - there's even a wacky synth in there, for good measure. Compatriot Miele appears on the flip with "Melo Do Tagarela (Rappers Delight)", a sublime slice of early, electronic boogie that sounds as fresh today as it did back at the tail end of the 70s. A devious little reissue that you should own...
Review: Puerto Rican music legend Ray Barretto has a seriously impressive biography, including spells with the Tito Puente Orchestra and the acclaimed Fania All Stars. This tasty seven-inch single serves up one of Barretto's best boogaloo-era cuts, 1968 single and Acid album track "Mercy, Mercy Baby". It remains a fine song, wrapping a jaunty salsa rhythm in various boogaloo aural hallmarks, including impassioned vocals, funk-influenced horns and an incessant piano riff. Interestingly, this edition doesn't feature the original single B-side, but rather a previously unissued instrumental version. Shorn of the vocals and pop production, it feels breezier and heavier, with additional trumpet solos that will wind their way into your subconscious.
John Turrell - "Won't Get Fooled Again" (Basement Freaks remix) (4:20)
Review: Fizzing funkateers Basement Freaks can usually be relied upon to bring the dancefloor goods. That's certainly the case on this dancefloor-focused seven-inch. On the A-side they rework one of their own classic cuts, offering a punchier and heavier take on 2016 Kylie Auldist collaboration "White Hot". Rich in flash-friend funk guitars, crunchy breaks and life-affirming horns, their new revision is undoubtedly more DJ-friendly than the original album version. Turn to the flip to hear their tidy new take on Smoove collaborator John Turrell's 2013 cut "Won't Get Fooled Again", which they cannily refurbish as a wobble bass-propelled chunk of P-funk flavoured dancefloor soul.
Review: Dedicated to the Hammond-heavy 1960s soul-jazz sounds of Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Grant Green and Reuben Wilson, the Beat Bronco Organ Trio are a fresh outfit with classic inspirations. The Madrid threesome's debut single is something of a retro-futurist treat. We're really enjoying A-side "Easy Baby", a loose and languid fusion of ear-pleasing Hammond licks, laidback, breakbeat-driven drums and flanged jazz guitars that impressively increases in intensity throughout, culminating in a frenzy of sweaty drums and eyes-closed guitar solos. "Geriatric Dance", meanwhile, is even more up-tempo, with high octane Hammond and jazz guitar solos stretching out over a feverish funk drumbeat.
Review: Favourite France drop some absolute truth with this killer reissue of Beckie Bell's 1980 classic "Music Madness", from the album 'In Need Of...'. This is he funkiest disco you can possibly ask for, a chirpy, upbeat tune that calls for the good times. It's the sort of track that can be slapped on in just about any set, anywhere, and Bell's vocals are as infectious as the tight groove that pushes the track forwards. There are a couple of remixes, though, which bring out the best of the original and make it even more playable than before. The first one is a more beat-heavy reinterpretation from Voilaaa, while Tom Noble injects the perfect level of houseness into the equation thanks to a slamming 4/4 and some extra percussion. Perfect, and very much recommended if you've somehow slept on the original.
Review: As famous as "Carolina Carol Bela" is, and as famous as both Jorge Ben and Toquinho are, madly this is the first time this track has ever appeared on a 45! Famously contemporised by D&B artist DJ Marky, its dreamy ebb and flows remain a timeless lesson in the most beautiful Brazilian music. As you'd expect from a super-limited Mr Bongo 7", it's coupled by an equally stunning slice of Latin folk. "Ara" is the creation of one of bossa nova's most decorated ambassadors. Driven by rhythmic staccato vocals, strident jazz-tinged pianos and layers of tangible instrumentation, it's been warming hearts since 1973. Gorgeous.
Cold Diamond & Mink - "Let's Get Together" (instrumental) (4:22)
Review: We just love hearing new soul and funk. Sure, a rare single from the 60s or 70s goes a long way in satisfying our needs, but how good is it to hear NEW music!? That's why we rate Finland's Timmion imprint so highly; they always come through with the goods, and there isn't a single EP they've put out that hasn't interested us... or flown off our shelves! This time, Jonny Benavidez, Cold Diamond and Mink team up for the absolute sexiness that is "Let's Get Together", a seductive soul ballad that is bound to lit up the room instantly! The instrumental is rather fine, too.
Bappi Lahiri - "Dance Music" (Brother Cleve Studio 29 remix)
Review: Ahead of the second Bombay Disco compendium, Cultures Of Soul tease us with two show-stopping Brother Cleve edits. As with the inaugural album, this collection celebrates the subcontinent's more obscure cinematic soundtracks and what's known in India as the item number, the cabaret style dances performed in Asian cinemas. "Jab Chaye" remains in its original incarnation with mild touches on rhythm and arrangement while "Dance Music" has been given a complete flip-around with chunky jacking beats that complement the frenetic tabla drums consummately. Album teasers don't get much more exciting than this.