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Athens Of The North

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Nathan Bartell
Cat: AOTNCD 035. Rel: 06 May 21
Funk
  1. Top Going Down, Bottom Going Up
  2. If I Ever Fall In Love Again
  3. Sitting Alone
  4. Jody & John
  5. Someone Like You
  6. Moving On
  7. I Want Your Love
  8. Giving Good Lovin
  9. Mystery Lady
  10. Million Dollar Baby
  11. See Me Cry
  12. Snake Out Of Green Grass
  13. Someone Like You (alternate version)
  14. Ooh Baby I Love You
  15. If I Could Win Your Love
  16. That's My Girl
Review: Georgia-born soul singer Nathan Bartell cut a number of obscure deep funk, soul and disco singles in the 1970s and early '80s, most of which are on the wants-list of some of the world's most enthusiastic and knowledgeable record collectors. Athens of the North is therefore doing a good deed by collecting these sought-after "sides" together on an album for the very first time. The self-titled set does a great job of introducing us to Bartell's soulful world via a mixture of righteous funk floor-burners, emotional slow jams, Southern soul numbers, slick boogie numbers and '80s soul treats. In other words, it's a much-needed retrospective of one of underground soul's genuine forgotten talents.
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 in stock $11.63
Nathan Bartell
Cat: AOTNLP 035. Rel: 29 Apr 21
Soul
  1. Top Going Down, Bottom Going Up (3:19)
  2. I Feel It Coming (feat Chuck Robinson) (3:41)
  3. Sitting Alone (3:46)
  4. Jody & John (2:54)
  5. Some One Like You (2:47)
  6. Moving On (2:47)
  7. I Want Your Love (4:16)
  8. Mystery Lady (4:23)
  9. See Me Cry (4:03)
  10. Ooh Baby, I Love You (2:37)
  11. If I Could Win Your Love (2:40)
  12. If I Ever Fall In Love Again (2:52)
Review: Georgia-born soul singer Nathan Bartell cut a number of obscure deep funk, soul and disco singles in the 1970s and early '80s, most of which are on the wants-list of some of the world's most enthusiastic and knowledgeable record collectors. Athens of the North is therefore doing a good deed by collecting these sought-after "sides" together on an album for the very first time. The self-titled set does a great job of introducing us to Bartell's soulful world via a mixture of righteous funk floor-burners, emotional slow jams, Southern soul numbers, slick boogie numbers and '80s soul treats. In other words, it's a much-needed retrospective of one of underground soul's genuine forgotten talents.
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 in stock $20.22
Love Goddess
Cat: ATH 066. Rel: 26 Jul 18
Funk
  1. Love Goddess (4:30)
  2. Good News (Tired Of Bad News) (4:44)
Review: Athens Of The North have worked with some OGs and veterans in their time but Bobby Boyd is by far one of the biggest and influential. Cutting his teeth in the Lafayette Afro Rock Band before going solo, he recorded a whole host of material that remained unreleased. Until now. "Love Goddess" kicks off the collection with a northern soul stomp, big harmonies backed by a tight, slippery funk groove while "Good News" is golden era Boyd funk with its bright horn work, positive sentiment and driving soul energy. This is an amazing piece of investigatory work by Fryer and co. And there's more, too...
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 in stock $5.82
Get A Good Feeling
Cat: ATH 092. Rel: 25 Feb 21
Soul
  1. Get A Good Feeling (4:22)
  2. Just A Little Notion (3:06)
Review: Athens Of The North serve up a mighty fine taster of a singles LP that is due to drop soon of Brief Encounters most popular modern and disco sounds. Both the tunes here are stone cold classics licenced direct from the band. 'Get A Good Feeling' is all big horns and rolling rhythms, disco flourishes and squelchy bass. On the flip, the tone changes completely with the heart aching balladry of 'Just A Little Notion'. Falsetto vocals are off set by warmer backing singers, pained wind leads ring out and spoken word sections bring the intimacy.
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 in stock $10.51
Slow Dance
Cat: AOTN 12014. Rel: 23 Sep 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Slow Dance (4:34)
  2. Slow Dance (Axes) (4:23)
  3. Leave It All Behind (3:32)
  4. Punch (4:35)
Review: It's hard to keep up with the number of releases that Athens Of The North are putting out this month, but you really must try. This one is a gooey and loved up disco 12" from the dream team pairing of Tom Findlay from Groove Armada and James Alexander Bright. They hook up via mutual appreciation over Twitter and worked up a load of new material in the studio as Bright & Findlay. Their first offering 'Slow Dance' is perfection - lush 80s synths, slow-motion boogie beats and drum machines marbled with little guitar riffs and soulful vocals that ate you to a better place. Two further heart melters come on the flip side and we are already in love with this project.
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 in stock $11.07
St Elmo's Fire
Cat: ATH 081. Rel: 12 Mar 20
Soul
  1. St Elmo's Fire (3:59)
  2. St Elmo's Fire (instrumental) (3:38)
Review: As he does on the regular, Athens Of The North chief Euan Fryer has unearthed, licensed and reissued another obscure, impossible-to-find gem. Chuck Brimley's cover of Michael Frank classic "St Elmo's Fire" originally appeared on a tiny Milwaukee-based label in 1981, but pretty much sank without trace (according to Fryer, even local record-diggers didn't know of it's existence). It's something of a seductive, early AM radio gem - a deliciously warm, woozy and dewy-eyed mixture of AOR, soul, soft rock and the kind of glistening jazz-funk that would once accompany 'pages from Ceefax' on late night BBC TV. The track's jazzier elements - think trumpet and sax solos, twinkling electric piano riffs and so on -come to the fore on the accompanying flipside instrumental version.
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 in stock $9.69
Everything That Looks Good
Cat: AOE 016. Rel: 25 Feb 16
Funk
  1. Everything That Looks Good (2:32)
  2. You Don't Deserve (3:03)
Review: A serious self-press rarity from the heart of Clarksville, Suggs never achieved the recognition he deserved during his tenure as a band leading soul man. Still in Clarksville and now a missionary, the sentiments of this recording history peak resonate with what he does now: "Everything That Looks Good" is a JB style message on the lure of temptation while "You Don't Deserve", an instrumental that sees Bubba switching his vocals for equally commanding sax, is a moment for poignant, soul-searching reflection. Lord have mercy.
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 in stock $8.03
Awake O Zion
Cat: ATH 048. Rel: 08 Jun 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Awake O Zion (4:36)
  2. Power (4:24)
Review: Some mighty uplifting gospel action here courtesy of one Elbernita 'Twinkie' Clark-Terrell, an American gospel singer, composer, musician, and evangelist, as well as member of.. get this: The Hammond organ Hall of Fame. She is also a member of The Clark Sisters, an influential gospel vocal ensemble active since the late 1960s. Originally released in 1981 on Armen Boladian's Sound Of Gospel Records out of Detroit (a sub of Westbound Records), this reissue is on Edinburgh-based Athens Of The North a label run by Euan Fryer aka DJ Fryer.
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 in stock $12.17
Coast To Coast
Cat: AOTNLP 045. Rel: 21 Oct 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Love Is The Same (4:00)
  2. I Want You Dear (4:38)
  3. Paula Marie (4:45)
  4. A Woman (Was Made To Be Loved) (4:34)
  5. Reincarnation Of Love (4:05)
  6. Love Is The Same (alternate instrumentals) (5:38)
  7. Paula Marie (alternate instrumentals) (4:32)
  8. Move Your Body (alternate instrumentals) (4:13)
  9. Funkin' Coast To Coast (alternate instrumentals) (6:07)
Review: The second LP on Athens Of The North (Edinburgh) this month is an unreleased soul LP from the American band Coast To Coast, who only released two singles between 1982 - 1983. Core members Mark Beiner and Ben Iverson were involved with acts such as 'The Hornets, Nue Dey Express and Crown Heights Affair in the early '70's. Other band members consisted of Joe Crowley, Carl (Woody Wood) Morton and Jimmy Johnson. Woody and Jimmy used to play together in the early days of seminal rap outfit Run DMC in St. Albans, Queens. Worth a listen for the soothing soul power of 'Paila Marie' alone.
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 in stock $18.82
Just You & Me
Cat: ATH 058. Rel: 22 Feb 18
Soul
  1. Just You & Me (4:26)
  2. Blame It On Me (5:47)
Review: Another tape extracted from the Sony vault for the first time since the record was released in 1980. A floaty disco masterpiece by an American group that has been on the soul scene for time, but deserves a broader appreciation. Edinburgh's Athens Of The North (premium licensed rare music done right!) present this in a rare issue format, with the emotive and uplifting soul power of "Just You & Me" on the A side and the beautiful ballad "Blame It On Me" on the flip - apparently most original copies are missing this track. How the band never made it past one single is a complete mystery, as both of the tracks are incredible.
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 in stock $20.22
So Sad
So Sad (7")
Cat: ATH 107. Rel: 26 Aug 21
Soul
  1. So Sad (4:35)
  2. Maybe What You Do Comes Back On You (3:46)
Review: Crystal Winds is best known for a supreme and sophisticated funk and soul album that was released in 1982 on the Cash Ear label. The tunes from it have never reportedly been on 7" before, so the Athens of the North label boss made it his mission to right that wrong. This one offers up some hugely classy soul sounds for more tender DJ sets or lazy Sunday listening sessions. 'So Sad' is awash with golden chords and intimate, spoken word exchanges between lovers, and on the flip 'Maybe What You Do Comes Back On You' slows down even further, sinking you deep into the richness of the arrangement.
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 in stock $11.63
Lovers Holiday
Cat: ATH 108. Rel: 26 Aug 21
Soul
  1. Lovers Holiday (4:28)
  2. Love Ain't Easy (4:01)
Review: The tireless Athens of the North label boss has many ongoing musical missions but one right now is putting out the first-ever 7" singles from a famous 1970s soul album by Crystal Winds. The band is made up of keyboardist Paul Coleman and saxophonist M.C. Morris Brown, and guitarist Martin Dumas co-wrote the a-side here, 'Lover's Holiday' with Brown. It's a gorgeous number with smooth but funky bass licks and soft backing vocals fleshing out the sumptuous sounds. The energy levels pick up on 'Love Ain't Easy' with its swirling, skyward strings, sapling cymbals and more lovely bass playing.
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 in stock $11.63
For The Love Of You Volume 2
Sam DON/VARIOUS
Cat: AOTNCD 047. Rel: 25 Nov 21
Roots/Lovers Rock
  1. Lorna Fletcher - "Just The Two Of Us"
  2. Sonia - "Easier To Love"
  3. Dave Barker - "I'm Curious"
  4. Valerie Harrison - "Fools Paradise"
  5. Chosen Few - "Dont Keep Me Waiting"
  6. Sylvia Tella - "You Might Need Somebody"
  7. Fallon Jennings - "All Night Long"
  8. Pete Campbell - "Holding Back The Years"
  9. Toyin Adekale - "Smile"
  10. Derrick Cross - "Never Too Much"
  11. Carl Johnson - "I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much"
  12. Trevor Walters - "Blood's Thicker Than Water"
Review: Back in May 2021, Edinburgh's Athens Of The North served up the first volume of this immediately classic series. That one sold out in quick fashion - like, to be honest, most of the stuff this label puts out - and bow comes a second volume which is just as hot. Once again the focus is on pulling together the lovers rock covers the label has put out previously. It kicks off with a super take on the stone cold classic that is 'Just The Two Of Us' while Sylvia Tella's 'You Might Need Somebody' is another standout with its Balearic guitars and slow and sensuous grooves.
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 in stock $11.07
Don't Be Afraid
Cat: ATH 087. Rel: 23 Jun 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Don't Be Afraid (4:23)
  2. Taken For Granted (4:09)
Review: Edinburgh has long fancied itself as the Athens of the North, having gained a reputation since the 1700s as a centre for ideas in philosophy, economics and medicine.The Athens Of The North house band are back as East Coast Love Affair and their soulful and emotive deep disco version "Don't Be Afraid", a version of a super rare Disco 45" by Sky's The Limit, followed by a low slung and minimalistic afro house workout titled "Taken For Granted" on the flip.
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 in stock $12.17
Confrontations
Cat: AOTN 12010. Rel: 03 Jun 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Confrontations (5:21)
  2. Shake (5:58)
Review: Athens Of The North get themselves in party mode with a fourth EP from East Coast Love Affair. There is some series fun to be had in these tracks, with side one. 'Confrontations,' being a rebuild of a rare disco funk 45 by Homegrown Syndrome. On the backside is 'Shake' which goes deeper but still has plenty of dance floor appear. It has tropical perc and whirring electronics that just scream 'dance' while the actual screaming vocal reminds of Moby classic 'Go!' These are hefty tunes, rare as you like, but immediately accessible and high impact.
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! low stock $12.47
Date With The Rain
  1. Date With The Rain (8:03)
  2. Dub With The Rain (7:54)
Review: Nick "Linkwood" Moore and Euan Fryer established East Coast Love Affair with the idea of making it the "Athens of the North house band". They've recently released a slew of singles, of which this sparkling, soulful cover version of Eddie Kendricks' favourite 'Date With The Rain', featuring the silky voice of lover's rock legend Peter Hunningale, is arguably the most revelatory. Rich in leisurely but ear-catching drum machine patters, warming bass and spakrling synth sounds, the duo's full vocal cover version sits somewhere between lover's rock, street soul and mid-80s electrofunk. Fittingly, it comes backed with 'Dub With The Rain', a delay-laden instrumental take that subtly showcases the depth and beauty of the pair's backing track while also adding a little extra low-end grunt. Simply sublime.
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 in stock $11.63
Without You
Cat: AOTN 12016. Rel: 29 Apr 21
Deep House
  1. East Coast Affair - "Without You" (feat Avelino Pitts & L Ross) (7:04)
  2. Mary Love' Comer - "Come Out Of The Sandbox" (East Coast Love Affair mix) (6:43)
Review: Having recently made their debut via a fine lovers' rock cover of Eddie Kendricks classic 'Date With The Rain', East Coast Love Affair (AKA "the Athens of the North house band", according to member and label founder Euan Fryer) return with something rather different. 'Without You' is a deliciously dreamy, effortlessly soulful vocal deep house number that's as immersive, warm and comforting as a loved-up hug from that special person in your life. It sounds like it could have been made in NYC or NJ in the very late 1980s, but that's no bad thing. Over on the flip Fryer and his collaborators provide an authentic, boogie era-style extended remix of Mary Love Comer's 'Come Out of The Sandbox', giving it a reverential but far more DJ-friendly twist.
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 in stock $10.81
Funny Feeling
Cat: ATH 085. Rel: 01 Oct 20
Funk
  1. Funny Feeling (3:28)
  2. Shake Your Body (At The Disco) (2:54)
Review: Athens of the North has barely put a foot wrong of late, but even by their high standards the label's latest 45 is rather special. It sees them flip a thoroughly obscure modern soul seven-inch originally released in 1980 on a "tiny local label" in the U.S called Shore Records. It was, and remains, the sole release by the mysterious E.S Funk. A-side 'Funny Feeling' offers a delicious fusion of floor-friendly grooves - check, in particular, the crunchy, snare-heavy beat - immaculately played and produced instrumentation and a catchy chorus. 'Shake Your Body (At The Disco)' is an altogether funkier, club-focused affair whose most prominent features are a rubbery slap-bass line, dancer-friendly drum-breaks and horn and synth lines that seem to be playfully sparring with each other.
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 in stock $12.17
The Mage
Cat: AOTNLP 016. Rel: 30 Jun 20
Funk
  1. Of My Hands (7:02)
  2. Endless Love (2:11)
  3. Driftin' (7:41)
  4. The Magic Radish (5:35)
  5. The High Priestess (7:46)
  6. Incantation (1:15)
  7. The Mage (5:56)
Review: Although he's released a swathe of albums with his contemporary jazz ensemble and a quartet of collaborative sets alongside Warren Hampshire, "The Mage" actually marks Greg Foat's first solo full-length outing. It's been a long time coming but well worth the wait, as the talented pianist and producer works his way through an evocative set of tracks that variously touch on sax-laden funk breaks ("The Mage", "The High Priestess"), intergalactic synthesizer soundscapes ("Incantation"), slo-mo jazz-funk mood pieces (the spellbinding "The Magic Radish"), folksy ambient jazz ("Driftin'") and beautiful, pastoral pieces that recall Charles Stepney's work with Rotary Connection ("Endless Love", "Of My Hands"). The result is a fittingly brilliant album from one of British jazz's most talented participants.
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 in stock $25.76
Leon Gardner's Igloo Records: Soul On The Fringes
  1. Leon Gardner - "Farm Song" (2:39)
  2. Leon Gardner - "Be There" (6:17)
  3. Leon Gardner - "My Love Is Growing" (2:10)
  4. Essie Lewis - "You're My Love" (2:23)
  5. Leon Gardner - "Who Are You" (1:37)
  6. Leon Gardner - "Beef Jerky" (2:22)
  7. The Jhamels - "I've Cried" (2:42)
  8. Leon Gardner - "Tuff Lover" (2:42)
  9. Leon Gardner - "Wonderful World Of Children" (2:01)
  10. Leon Gardner - "You Don't Care" (2:19)
  11. Wallace Petty - "Ropeokra" (2:26)
  12. Wallace Petty Combo - "Petty Cash" (2:36)
  13. Leon Gardner - "You Gonna Cry" (2:29)
Review: Dancer and Hammond B3 player Leon Gardner never received the recognition his talent deserved, and the lack of success of his Igloo Records imprint - a haven for deep soul and funk, jazz-soul and rhythm and blues in the late 1960s and early '70s - eventually drove him to quitting music. This retrospective, which focuses on his music and other artists he produced for the label, is undoubtedly well overdue and lands a number of years after he passed away. Packed with dancefloor-ready deep funk, simmering soul and spoken word-laden eccentricities, it genuinely is - as the title suggests - a snapshot of "soul on the fringes".
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! low stock $17.45
Leon Gardner's Igloo Records: Soul On The Fringes
Leon GARDNER/VARIOUS
Cat: AOTNCD 043. Rel: 25 Mar 21
Funk
  1. Leon Gardner - "Farm Song"
  2. Leon Gardner - "Be There"
  3. Leon Gardner - "My Love Is Growing"
  4. Essie Lewis - "You're My Love"
  5. Leon Gardner - "Who Are You"
  6. Leon Gardner - "Beef Jerky"
  7. The Jhamels - "I've Cried"
  8. Leon Gardner - "Tough Lover"
  9. Leon Gardner - "Wonderful World Of Children"
  10. Leon Gardner - "You Don't Care"
  11. Wallace Petty Combo - "Ropeokra"
  12. Wallace Petty Combo - "Petty Cash"
  13. Leon Gardner - "You Gonna Cry"
 in stock $9.14
We Are Here To Party
Cat: ATH 076. Rel: 21 Feb 19
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. We Are Here To Party (4:33)
  2. Loving You (4:25)
Review: Athens Of The North return to the disco motherland by way of this scorching groove doublet from Canadian troupe Gratitude. "We Are Here To Party" lives up to its name with vibrant horns and a thumping deep funk focus. Flip for "Loving You", as the name suggests there's a smoother tone and message at play as the band ease us into something a little comfier. Less of a B, more of an AA. Show some gratitude for the tireless AOTN crew!
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 in stock $11.63
Language Of The Birds
Cat: AOTNCD 036. Rel: 06 May 21
Folk/Americana
  1. Eve Of The Deluge
  2. The Falling Rain
  3. Zep Tepi
  4. Then It Was Gone
  5. From Lonely Hours
  6. I Just Didnt Think You'd Care
  7. Autumn's Draw
  8. They Glide The Hills
  9. Only A Moment
  10. Wu Wei
 in stock $9.96
Language Of The Birds
Cat: AOTNLP 036. Rel: 29 Apr 21
Folk/Americana
  1. Eve Of The Deluge (4:57)
  2. The Falling Rain (4:27)
  3. Zep Tepi (3:13)
  4. Then It Was Gone (3:53)
  5. From Lonely Hours (3:24)
  6. I Just Didnt Think You'd Care (5:04)
  7. Autumn's Draw (3:56)
  8. They Glide The Hills (2:48)
  9. Only A Moment (1:45)
  10. Wu Wei (4:31)
Review: Warren Hampshire's most recent collaborative albums with jazz pianist Greg Folk, Galaxies Like Grains of Sand and The Honey Bear, both tended towards the pastoral and folksy, with the pair frequently delivering blends of jazz, folk and Americana that were almost cinematic in scale and tone. Hampshire has taken this sound further on Language of the Birds, combining stripped-back orchestration (strings, woodwind, occasional brass) with finger-picked folk guitars and drifting harmonica sounds. It was an album inspired by the vegetation and wildlife encountered on rural walks, and you can tell. It reminded us a little of Bert Jansch and Martin Jenkins' similarly-minded 1978 album Avocet, which - like Language of the Birds - is a very good album indeed.
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 in stock $20.77
Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand
Cat: AOTNLP 010. Rel: 25 May 21
Broken Beat/Nu Jazz/Nu Soul
  1. Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand (6:12)
  2. Lullaby (4:49)
  3. The Solar Winds (& Cadenza) (4:15)
  4. A Long Way Home (2:42)
  5. End Song (6:59)
  6. All Washed Up (4:43)
  7. How The Nights Can Fly (7:58)
  8. End Song (reprise) (1:55)
Review: This release marks something of a departure for Athens of the North, a label predominantly known for reissuing ludicrously rare funk and soul sevens. For starters, it's a brand new album, written, performed and produced by jazzman Greg Foat and Warren Hampshire, who's best known for being a member of The Bees. Then there's what it sounds like. While there are nods to the organic, immaculately produced soul of Rotary Connection, for the most part Galaxies Like Grains of Sand is a luscious fusion of hazy, Cinematic Orchestra style jazz, folksy downtempo compositions, and the blissful, head-in-the-clouds bliss of new age influenced ambient. Surprising or not, it's an utterly beguiling album
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 in stock $25.76
Since I Was A Little Girl
Cat: ATH 040. Rel: 23 Feb 17
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Since I Was A Little Girl (3:33)
  2. Straight Talk (3:28)
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.
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 in stock $13.01
Beautiful Day
Cat: AOE 036. Rel: 28 Mar 19
Funk
  1. Beautiful Day (2:52)
  2. Beautiful Day (Drums) (3:00)
Review: Athens Of The North celebrate the longstanding contributions of host, presenter, writer, personality and occasional singer Bernard "Spider" Harrison. Recorded sometime around 1970, and fetching large triple figures between collectors, the feel good bluesy soul cut "Beautiful Day" first landed on Lulu Records and has barely seen the light of day since... Until now. And it's loaded with a never-before-released drum cut. Don't sleep, though. Only 500 of these have been pressed.
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 in stock $11.63
Let Love Enter
Cat: ATH 051. Rel: 07 Dec 17
Soul
  1. Let Love Enter (2:55)
  2. Come To Me (3:33)
Review: Incredible late night smoochy stuff right here from one of the most decorated bassists of all time. A major figure in the bands of Miles Davis and Stevie Wonder, Henderson was also a killer solo artist amassing eight artist albums between 76-86. This AOTN "45 showcases his true breadth as "Let Love Enter" lilts on a soft bossa with rising horns, velvet backing vocals and an unabashed come-to-bed message. "Come To Me" gets even deeper under the sheets with as he goes toe-to-toe, cheek-to-cheek with Rena Scott with smoking results.
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 in stock $5.82
Reality
Reality (7")
Cat: ATH 062. Rel: 15 Feb 18
Funk
  1. Reality (3:36)
  2. Hey Hey (3:19)
Review: Previously spotted passing hands for over 5000 quid, this one-off 45" from North Carolina troupe Ice has enjoyed cult status over the years in both the deepfunk and northern soul scenes. Straight from 1980, there's a great balance of classic soul motifs and modern production as "Reality" swoons and sways unhurriedly but emphatically while "Hey Hey" ups the boogie ante with firm focus on the party, sharp switches on the chorus and some insane bass runs. Another ice cold reissue from AOTN.
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 in stock $12.17
Queen Of My Universe
Cat: ATH 063. Rel: 14 Jun 18
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Queen Of My Universe (3:15)
  2. Up (3:59)
Review: The first of two major Infinity licences from AOTN this month, this is a significant excavation even by renowned digger label founder Fryer's standards. Usually seen passing hands for well over 500 quid, this second and last single from the relatively unknown troupe Infinity is a stone cold jam that's been sought after for many many years. Absolute rare groove sleaze on the bass and horns, "Queen Of My Universe" sparkles with soul in every element. Meanwhile "Up" strips things back even further with an uptempo disco twang and tight Q&A vocal play between the band. Infinite love for this one!
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 in stock $11.63
Party Man
Cat: ATH 064. Rel: 14 Jun 18
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Party Man (3:41)
  2. Put Everything In Place (4:00)
Review: The second of two AOTN Infinity 45s, AOTN dish out another superb reissue from the late 70s US seven-piece. Serious funk soul once again; "Party Man" lives up to its name with a thumping groove, slinky slap bass licks and big call and response vocals. Instant feels. "Put Everything In Place" is a little more restrained but still very much party minded with its absurdly lavish bass walks, jaunty piano and delicious Faze-O style falsettos. To Infinity and beyond!
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 in stock $6.37
If I Had You
Cat: ATH 095. Rel: 25 Feb 21
Soul
  1. If I Had You (4:26)
  2. Nothing At All (3:04)
Review: From soul to disco, pop to balladry, Athens Of The North can do it all, and often much better than most. Another exhibit to back that up now comes in the form of this 7" from Isabr'm and his 'If I Had You.' It's a straight up bit of boogie fire, with soul overtones good enough to suit the L850 plus you will pay if you try to get an OG copy. Next to that superb a-side is 'Nothing At All' on the flip, a sombre track with aimless sax leads conveying a sense of romantic loss.
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 in stock $11.07
Athens Of The North Beat Tape
Cat: AOTNLP 040. Rel: 30 Sep 21
Hip Hop/R&B
  1. Partay (0:40)
  2. Theme From Rockay (4:23)
  3. Why I'm Thirsty (1:15)
  4. Rocks Off (4:05)
  5. People (1:25)
  6. Highway 633 (2:17)
  7. Hawaiian Roll (0:46)
  8. Maybe (2:13)
  9. Gotta Go (0:58)
  10. Sirens (0:39)
  11. Melted (2:43)
  12. Eeee's (0:55)
  13. Fancy Guys (1:27)
  14. Attention Earthling (2:58)
  15. In Love, In, Love (0:36)
  16. Jucier (1:57)
  17. Wonderful Licks (1:04)
  18. Piano Factories (1:32)
  19. The Wooden Room (2:07)
  20. Space With Space (1:54)
  21. The Hairy May Jive (1:40)
Review: Athens of the North serves up something of a lovely curveball here with their first-ever beat tape. It is the work of Scottish beatmaker and hip-hop producer Jaisu, who has long been a friend of the label. He crafted this record in his studio in Niddrie from beats already put out on the Athens label. In loading up his MPC with such great source material, he was always sure to serve up some great sounds and so it is - these are lived-in, real, raw beats that have lo-fi fringes, soul vibes and a certain sense of timelessness that stands each track apart. More, please!
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 in stock $18.82
Athens Of The North Beat Tape
Cat: AOTNCASS 040. Rel: 25 Nov 21
Hip Hop/R&B
  1. Partay (0:43)
  2. Theme From Rockay (4:31)
  3. Why I'm Thirsty (1:18)
  4. Rocks Off (4:14)
  5. People (1:30)
  6. Highway 633 (2:21)
  7. Hawaiian Roll (0:49)
  8. Maybe (2:18)
  9. Gotta Go (1:01)
  10. Sirens (0:41)
  11. Melted (2:52)
  12. Eeee's (0:57)
  13. Fancy Guys (1:33)
  14. Attention Earthling (3:00)
  15. In Love, In, Love (0:39)
  16. Juicier (2:01)
  17. Wonderful Licks (1:07)
  18. Piano Factories (1:36)
  19. The Wooden Room (2:12)
  20. Space With Space (1:55)
  21. The Hairy May Jive (1:53)
 in stock $14.13
Be My Lady
Cat: ATH 098. Rel: 25 Feb 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Be My Lady (4:40)
  2. Come Out Tonight (4:19)
Review: Some boogie collectors go weak at the knees at the mention of Christopher Jay's 'What Do You Want Me To Do', a superb single from 1987 that's long been near impossible to find. This isn't that gem, but something arguably even more exciting: some previously unreleased business from the same obscure, overlooked artist. 'Be My Lady' dates from a similar period and sees Jay sing swooning words to a member of the opposite sex over a sunny and kaleidoscopic blend of rubbery bass, clipped guitars and shiny synthesizers. Flipside 'Come Out Tonight' is rather tasty, too. Slower and even warmer, it sits somewhere between 80s soul and yacht rock.
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 in stock $11.63
What Do You Want Me To Do
Cat: ATH 099. Rel: 15 Jul 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. What Do You Want Me To Do (4:32)
  2. What Do You Want Me To Do (edit) (4:24)
Review: Athens of the North is continually one of our favourite labels here at Juno HQ. The Edinburgh based outlet's tireless mission to unearth forgotten gems or shine a light on deserving tracks that may have been overlooked cannot be faulted. This time out Christopher Jay's 'What Do You want Me To Do' from 1987 gets served up on its own 45rpm. It is a glorious bit of disco boogie with a rugged broken beat, funk in the bass and soul in the buttery vocal. On the flip is a subtle edit that hits just as sweet a spot and it comes with a nice picture sleeve, too.
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 in stock $11.63
You're The Best
Cat: ATH 078. Rel: 26 Sep 19
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. You're The Best (4:28)
  2. Train Of Thought (4:29)
Review: Many disco-era modern soul collectors regard, Larom Baker's "You're The Best", which initially appeared in 1978 on an impossible to find, single-sided 7" single, as one of the style's genuine "Holy Grail" records. It's good news, then, that Athens Of The North has secured the rights to reissue it, releasing the full studio version (rather than the shorter edit that was released all those years ago) for the very first time. It's a genuine gem, with Baker's deliciously breezy West Coast soul vocal seemingly floating over a killer backing track rich in hazy horns, bustling slap bass and crunchy Clavinet lines. Turn to the flipside for the more disco-minded "Train Of Thought", one of a string of recently discovered Baker recordings that form the basis of a forthcoming album of previously unreleased tracks.
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 in stock $11.63
From Philly
Cat: AOTNLP 029. Rel: 30 Jan 20
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. It's All In Your Mind (3:18)
  2. Right On Time (4:03)
  3. You're The Best (alternate version) (6:28)
  4. U R The 1 (3:32)
  5. The Ultimate (4:10)
  6. Sweet Sensations (feat Kia Hamm) (4:22)
  7. Love Will Make It Better (3:51)
  8. Spread My Wings (4:35)
  9. Somewhere Someone (5:39)
  10. In The Light (4:20)
Review: Over the years Athens of the North founder Euan Fryer has heard a lot of incredible music, so when he says that La Rombe is the best singer/songwriter he's heard we sit up and take notice. To prove his point, Fryer has trawled through the Philadelphia musician's archive of recordings (it stretches back to 1979) and put together this essential retrospective. There's much to admire throughout, with the assembled cuts mostly mining the overlooked artist's soul, disco and 1980s rhythm and blues work. We'd highlight individual tracks for praise, but such is the quality throughout that naming favourites seems pointless. Take our advice: grab a copy while you can.
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 in stock $22.98
(It's A) Rat Race
Cat: ATH 093V. Rel: 01 Oct 20
Funk
  1. (It's A) Rat Race (vocal) (4:19)
  2. (It's A) Rat Race (instrumental) (4:14)
Review: Athens of the North's Euan Fryer is not the only collector and selector who believes that the Leaders' obscenely rare 1971 single '(It's A) Rat Race' should be considered a genuine deep funk classic. In fact, it was deep funk specialist Keb Darge who first brought the record to the attention of DJs and dancers in the UK in the early 2000s. Happily Fryer has tracked down the band and got their permission to reissue their sought-after classic. Formidably funky, the A-side version features fantastic group vocals rising above a bed of hazy horns, bustling drums, warm bass and razor-sharp, Blaxploitation style guitars. The accompanying instrumental take is superb, too, with a variety of woodwind and brass solos - often drenched in reverb - replacing the group's fine vocals.
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 in stock $13.57
Our Love
Cat: ATH 086. Rel: 01 Oct 20
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. Our Love (4:23)
  2. It's Up To You (3:57)
Review: It was back in 1986 when obscure UK electrofunk band Leval released their sole 7" - a sparkling slab of pop-boogie brilliance that has long been a secret weapon for dusty-fingered diggers and Brit-funk collectors. As this Athens of the North reissue proves, the record remains a brilliant Brit-boogie gem. Check first 'Our Love', a confirmed earworm that sees the band wrap duetting male/female vocals around a deliciously bustling blend of rubbery slap-bass, eyes-closed soft rock guitars, warm synthesizer chords and a dewy-eyed, jazz-funk style breakdown. Flipside 'It's Up To You' is a little more eccentric thanks to an unusual time signature and drum track, but boasts the same addictive blend of male and female lead vocals, slap bass and synths.
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 in stock $12.17
Mono
Mono (LP)
Cat: AOTNLP 048. Rel: 24 Jun 21
Deep House
  1. Bubbles (2:28)
  2. Candy Land (3:19)
  3. Shortwave (1:46)
  4. Rain & Shine (2:07)
  5. Byte Size (5:06)
  6. Squeeze (4:14)
  7. Endcoms (2:12)
  8. I Love You (3:23)
  9. No One & Perfect (3:29)
  10. Date-Line (2:59)
  11. Refresher (2:39)
  12. Kubes (3:25)
  13. Dust Jacket (2:53)
  14. Strangely Enough (1:31)
Review: Linkwood can do no wrong if you ask us. Whatever music he puts out - be it his collabs with jazz great Greg Foat, his melodic deep house abstracts or this new electro tinged collection, it is gold. He recorded this one with some Moog and Oberheim gear in the Athens of the North studio and casts his net far and wide - there is crisp bit lo-fi, starry eyed electro like 'Shortwave' next to more 80s tinged pop-like nuggets "Rain & Shine' and cosmic explorations such as 'Date-Line'. It is the sound of a producer who can create at will, unbound by rules, but defined by excellence.
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 in stock $21.88
Face The Facts
Cat: AOTNCD 042. Rel: 26 Nov 20
Deep House
  1. Theme For City
  2. First Take
  3. Porty
  4. Face The Facts
  5. 3VSR
  6. Meet In The Middle
  7. Don't Throw It
  8. Gold Leith
  9. Down Right
  10. Varial
  11. Shapes
  12. Silver Nows
  13. Up Wrong
 in stock $11.07
Face The Facts
Face The Facts (gatefold 2xLP)
Cat: AOTNLP 042. Rel: 26 Nov 20
Deep House
  1. Theme For City (5:58)
  2. First Take (4:46)
  3. Porty (4:27)
  4. Face The Facts (5:08)
  5. 3VSR (2:32)
  6. Meet In The Middle (5:52)
  7. Don't Throw It (5:06)
  8. Gold Leith (4:23)
  9. Downright (3:05)
  10. Varial (2:38)
  11. Shapes (8:42)
  12. Silver Nows (5:35)
  13. Up Wrong (4:02)
Review: Given their shared musical heritage - both are members of the extended Firecracker Recordings crew - it's perhaps something of a surprise to find that Face The Facts marks the first serious collaboration between Linkwood and Gav 'Fudge Fingaz' Sutherland AKA Other Lands. It's less surprising that the album is really, really good. Touching on warming synth-boogie, head-nodding downtempo jams, mutant beatdown, Balearic beats, sunset-ready soundscapes and warming analogue deep house, the 13-track set is notable for the pair's extensive use of dusty old drum machines, tactile instrumentation (think smooth Rhodes solos, languid guitar solos and blissed-out synths) and Sutherland's hazy, sometimes seductive singing voice.
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 in stock $22.73
Listen
  1. Listen (3:18)
  2. Party (3:16)
Review: When you talk about 'kid funk', it's always long-lost B-sides that record collectors talk about like myths. But, Athens Of the North have managed to get their hands on the masters of a super-rare Virtue 7" that goes for no less that L1000 on the second-hand market in its original form. "Listen" is a deep, sublimely odd little funk tune that is as deep as you can get for boogie and funk; "Party" on the flip is no less of a gem, backed by Little George's supreme vocals and a tight little break, too. Sick.
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 in stock $8.03
Love Tempo
Cat: ATH 061. Rel: 08 Feb 18
Soul
  1. Love Tempo (3:35)
  2. Somebody Help Me Be Fair (4:22)
Review: Athens Of The North strike again. A big spinner for the likes of Floating Points, this rare-as-pigs-shoes 1980 45 from Ohio troupe Love Company has gone for big sums in the past. It's not hard to hear why; "Love Tempo" raises the heat with an unrelenting disco beat, coastal guitar textures and harmonies to swoon to. "Somebody Help Me Be Fair" flips for a much more sentimental story as Love Company unravel the problems of a menage-et-trois. Steamy.
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 in stock $11.63
Keep On Dancin
Cat: ATH 073. Rel: 29 Nov 18
Soul
  1. Keep On Dancin (3:34)
  2. You (3:23)
Review: While Luther Davis is undoubtedly best known for his sought-after disco smash "You Can Be A Star", many collectors and deep funk DJs have long insisted that the more obscure "Keep On Dancin" is even better. Thanks to Athens of the North's timely reissue of the latter, you can now decide for yourself. Certainly, it's a ludicrously infectious, full-throttle disco-funk affair whose extreme dancefloor intensity is helped by Davis and company's liberal use of studio effects, psychedelic backing vocals and some serious eyes-closed guitar solos. This reissue comes with B-side bonus soothing slow jam "You", which is a serviceable chunk of deep soul.
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 in stock $11.35
Say It With Feeling
Cat: AOE 031. Rel: 22 Feb 18
Soul
  1. Say It With Feeling (2:16)
  2. Conscience (2:48)
Review: Excavated from vaults of the Weiss Brothers' longstanding NYC imprint Old Time Records, Beverly McKay's gutsy tales have massaged soul floors for those lucky to have a 200 pound 45. "Say It With Feeling" hits with big backing vocal harmonies before breaking into a classic midtempo bluesy arrangement while "Conscience" strikes with a little more eastern allure, staccato strings and a cat-prowling narrative. Timeless soul.
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 in stock $5.82
James McKenzie & The McKenzie Brothers
  1. James McKenzie - "Lady Is Love" (3:16)
  2. James McKenzie - "Live Again" (4:10)
  3. James McKenzie - "Two Ladies" (3:59)
  4. The McKenzie Brothers - "Hope She Don't Hurt You" (5:06)
  5. James McKenzie - "Wonderful To Be In Love" (3:45)
  6. The McKenzie Brothers - "Felt Her Fire" (4:00)
  7. James McKenzie - "I've Got To Go" (3:37)
  8. James McKenzie - "Birth Is Love" (6:46)
  9. The McKenzie Brothers - "Joni's Little Song" (2:02)
  10. The McKenzie Brothers - "Lonley Girl" (4:00)
  11. The McKenzie Brothers - "Tomorrow Is Your Own" (2:48)
 in stock $15.23
Play With Me
Cat: ATH 080. Rel: 07 Nov 19
Funk
  1. Play With Me (4:22)
  2. In Action (4:16)
Review: Athens Of The North hitting us with big fat juicy slap bass feels right here as an ultra-rare joint from Miami's Frank Cornelius and Gary King aka Myth comes our way. "Play With Me" comes live and direct from 1985 and you can tell in every direction. The production is fat and roomy and the boogie flavours are off the Scoville scale. Meanwhile on the B we have the duo's first single "In Action". Equally funky, salubrious and widescreen but with a little more vocal action, it's another boogie triumph from the Scottish reissue kings.
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 in stock $10.81
She's On The Money
Cat: AOTN 12015. Rel: 29 Apr 21
Disco/Nu-Disco
  1. She Is On The Money (unreleased 14.43 Disco mix) (14:44)
  2. Holiday (4:31)
  3. She Is On The Money (alternate) (4:37)
  4. She Is On The Money (7' version) (4:06)
  5. She Is On The Money (instrumental) (4:08)
Review: Once again Athens of the North boss Euan Fryer has dug deep for inspiration. Even within disco and boogie collector circles, few know the self-released early '80 singles of sometime Sister Sledge backing bandmember Doug Payne. As Fryer has proved on this compilation style EP, Payne's boogie-era jams were genuinely brilliant. The killer cut is 'She's On The Money', a P-funk style wriggler - think squelchy, undulating synth-bass, soulful vocals, sparkling synth lines and bustling machine drums - that's available in a variety of versions. Our pick of the bunch is the previously unreleased extended mix, which stretches out to almost 15 minutes and includes some superb, DJ-friendly stripped-back sections. Also worth a listen is the slap-bass-propelled boogie-funk of 'Holiday', which was originally Payne's debut solo single way back in 1983.
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 in stock $9.96
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