Candy & The Kisses - "Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me Baby" (2:39)
Val Simpson - "Mr Creator" (2:11)
Review: Candy & The Kisses burst onto the Northern Soul scene with their first single and all-time classic "The 81" co-written and produced by the late Jerry Ross. "Are You Trying To Get Rid Of Me Baby" is a storming soul number that went under the radar for the most part, but is good as any of other hits of theirs like "Chains Of Love" and many others. Flipside "Mr Creator" co-written by Valerie Simpson of Ashford & Simpson was taken up by The Apollas in 1967 on Warner Bros. and went on to become an all-time classic.
Review: For their latest dive into the depths of funk history, Athens of the North travels back to 1978 and the debut of John Hawes and Velma Bunch's obscure Hard Drivers project. The record initially appeared on Hawes' own short-lived imprint, and his since become a sought after 7" amongst serious collectors. "Since I Was A Little Girl" is a disco-era funk gem, with guest singer Vivian Lee providing a brilliantly confident vocal to compliment Hawes and Bunch's driving, horn-heavy backing track. On the flip you'll find original B-side "Straight Talk", a touching torch song full of harmony backing vocals, impassioned builds, and lyrics capable of melting even the stoniest of hearts.
Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing Brazil 45s series, Mr Bongo has decided to change tack. The two tracks showcased here are from the golden age of Brazilian boogie. On the A-side you'll find Marcos Valle's "A Paraiba Nao E Chicago", a largely overlooked cut from his 1981 full-length Vontade De Rever Voce. While not as instantly as infectious as some of his better-known singles, it's still superb; a breezy, blue-eyed soul cut full of rising horns and sweet Portuguese vocals. On the B-side, you'll find Don Beto's 1978 disco-funk jam "Nao Quero Mais", a superb track that was seemingly inspired by the Doobie Brothers' "Long Train Running".
Review: Two premium Latin funk documents on one limited 45, Mr Bongo deliver once again: Marcos Valle needs no introduction to Brazilian music enthusiasts. "Mentira" is a self-cover as Valle takes his 69 classic "Mentira Carioca" and develops the dynamic with a vocal style that's highly reminiscent of Donovan. Flip for Toni Tornado's Black Rio anthem "Me Libertei". Fusing sleazy rock n roll with jazzy Latin soul, madly this is the first time it's ever graced a 45!
Review: Wah Dubplate cannot and will not be stopped. The incorrigible little bootleg unit marches on with its usual mishmash of funky, disco-friendly edits from the most improbable of producers out there and this latest outing is another minor success in what is a whole catalogue of hidden gems. Italy's Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo turn up sounding wild and soulful; the farmer's opening edit of "Bobby's Grapevine" does the Mo-Town tricks, while the latter's re-visioning of "Billy's Missus" gives the original 'hey, Mrs.Robison!' a nice little dance makeover. Sweet as a nut.
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie mix - radio edit) (3:33)
Barely Breaking Even (Louie Vega Boogie instrumental mix - radio edit) (3:31)
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: an all-star re-recording of Universal Robot Band's boogie classic "Barely Breaking Even" that brings together Masters At Work man Louie Vega, original vocalist and arranger Leroy Burgess, iconic disco producer Patrick Adams and an impressive backing band of hired musicians including Michael Kelley (better known in electronic music circles as Metro Area collaborator Kelley Polar). While there are plenty of audible nods towards the early '80s original - extensive use of cowbells, that oh-so familiar synth sound - the re-recording is altogether warmer, fuller and a more contemporary sounding affair rich in sweeping orchestration and tactile synth bass. Both the edited vocal and instrumental versions are superb.
Review: Raw Georgian soul from Ruby Velle and her ever ready Soulphonics: two of the most powerful songs from their recent sophomore album State Of All Things enjoy a little slice of 45 justice. Big full flavoured instrumentation, and an even bigger presence from Ruby herself, across the sides Ruby and co flex their full palette; "Broken Women" is so heavy and urgent it naturally carries a powerful and infectious rock feel while "Forgive, Live, Repeat" taps a little more into the early 70s with its extended organ blasts and more lyrical clarity from the provocative bandleader. Pay attention.
Review: Atlanta troupe Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics treat us to two of the many highlights from their recent sophomore album State Of All Things. Delivered on a limited white 45, both cuts surge with the full spectrum soul they've been developing over the last 12 years. "Call Out My Name", the triumphant Valli-esque album finale is a thumping yet vastly emotional northern soul shakedown while "Love Less Blind" shows the band in a slightly woozier, dreamer state as the band's clam-tight horn section get given the spotlight shine.
Review: Originally out in 1970 on his own self-titled album, Arthur Verocai's "Sylvia" is a peach of a song, one of those sweet and bubbly percussive tunes that blur the lines between modern civilization and the jungle. The Brazilian composer's music has been heavily sought-after in its original format, and Mr Bongo delivers here in fine style with another killer from the LP, "Na Boco Do Sol". Fans of Marcos Valle will appreciate this one for the slow magnetic waves permeating from just about every angle on the record.
Review: Acid jazz survivor Lascelles Gordon struck gold when he established the Vibration Black Finger project in 2016. So far, the fluid collective's releases have been inspired, with Gordon giddily joining the dots between post-punk, spiritual jazz, electronica and much more besides. He's at it again here on a single that marks the project's first release for nearly 3 years. "Sweet Nothing", featuring the sumptuous and smoky vocals of Ebony Rose, is really rather wonderful; a laidback chunk of dubby post-punk soul rich in heavy bass guitar, spacey Moog lines and effects-laden guitars. B-side "Song For Enid", a more experimental-minded affair that sounds like Adrian Sherwood and African Head Charge covering Sun Ra, is arguably even better.
Review: As part of the label's 15th birthday celebrations, the Tramp Records crew has decided to serve up some seriously heavy deep funk. Given that the imprint first found fame championing similarly weight, B-Boy-friendly funk jams, it's rather fitting. The two showcased tracks come courtesy of St Petersburg band the Vicious Seeds, who have slowly been picking up plaudits since making their vinyl debut in 2016. A-side "Illegal Delivery" is something of a dancefloor beast, with razor-sharp guitars riding sweaty, all-action funk drums and a booming, metronomic bassline. "Happy Lobster", on the other hand, is a little more relaxed but no less potent, with the Russian combo wrapping jazzy guitar motifs around a bustling groove.
Review: The moment you put that needle down on "Ye Mele" you will know that you've lit a serious firecracker; that bold piano hook and silver harmonies have that instant classic appeal even if you've never heard it. A bona fide Brazilian classic. It's backed by a 68 track from the Golden Boys. A much more introspective fusion of late 60s American folk, Latin and Ennio-style original score music, full attention is arrested right until the stunning crescendo finale.
Review: 4 Hero don Mark Mac's side project Visioneers gets a worthy vinyl reissue as part of the 15 years of BBE celebrations with this limited edition 45. "The World Is Yours" is a take on the Nas classic which originally (in this version) came out in 2002 on the Omniverse label. The flipside "It's Simple" turned up on the Dirty Old Hip-Hop album for BBE four years later. The Omniverse label was highly collectable at the time, so this will be a welcome release for those who missed the original 45 or just love the 7 inch format. Both tracks are a sweet hip-hop tinged instrumental ride with nice keys and jazzy vibes. Hot!
Review: The Voices Of East Harlem were an ensemble of vocalists who for Just Sunshine Records recorded two albums under the direction of Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield. "Cashing In" is one of their most classic songs, a highly sought after track on original 7" fetches a small fortune on the collectors market. First recorded and released in 1973, it has all the hallmarks of a Leroy Hutson composition and an established audience that crosses the boundaries of northern, crossover and modern soul. The song is coupled here with "Take A Stand', another highly regarded and sought after modern soul room dance floor tracks, never previously released on 7" single until now
Review: Those who watch the X-Factor may remember Voices With Soul; the trio, which is made up of three female members of the Campbell family (Grace, Hilda and Corene) reached the last six of the TV talent competition back in the late noughties. Here, they're in full-on contemporary gospel mode, layering their impassioned, righteous vocals over a lushly produced, slow-burning backing track full of chiming synthesizer melodies, bustling synth bass and tumbling electronic sax solos. Arguably even better is the flipside "Promo Mix", which doffs a cap to classic British street soul - a homegrown 1980s variant that is constantly overlooked by dance music scholars - via tactile hip-hop beats and Soul II Soul style production.
Review: Following the success of the first volume which sold out in 2017, Heavenly Sweetness decided with Francis Falceto to give a follow up - in the form of this box set of Ethiopian singles. It's a tribute of sorts to the music producer Ali Tango, who produced most of these EPs across 6 X 7". Falceto plunged into his impressive collection of records and there are great names of the golden age of Ethiopian music such as Mahmoud Ahmed, Alemayehu Eshete, Ali Mohamed Birra, alongside less known artists to be rediscovered such as Muluquen Melesse, Alayew Mesfin and Seyoum Gebreyes. Including original artwork and labels, plus a poster and six stickers of all the covers. Limited edition, 2000 copies.