Maxine Brown - "I Wonder What My Baby's Doing Tonight" (2:25)
Chuck Jackson - "Two Stupid Feet" (2:32)
Review: Maxine Brown and Chuck Jackson are two of Wnad Records's finest singing talents, as well as being firm favourites of the Kent label. For that reason they are paired up on this vital 7", which provides DJs with some high grade weaponry. They tackle popular songs from Van McCoy and Luther Dixon respectively. with Brown serving up the super short but sweet "I Wonder What My Baby's Doing Tonight", a soul gem that will make your heart soar. Chuck Jackson's "Two Stupid Feet" is more slow motion and mellow, but makes just as much of an emotional impact.
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: Blue-eyed soul singer Mickey Carroll made his name in the late 1970s, offering up a handful of singles and a couple of rock-solid albums. His musical journey began much earlier though, as "I've Got Plenty Of Nothing" proves. It was recorded in 1969 but never officially released, presumably because Carroll couldn't find a label to put it out on. This then is the track's first release. It's well worth picking up, not least because it fixes his country-tinged, crooner style vocals to a stomping, Northern Soul style backing track with added big band horns. Flipside "Think Love" swings more than it stomps, with an arrangement and vocal delivery that reminded us a little of Terry Callier's "Ordinary Joe".
Review: Although he built his reputation as party-starting DJ, Mister Saturday Night co-founder Justin Carter has always been a singer-songwriter at heart.This debut solo release sees him delivering evocative, folksy vocals over plucked acoustic guitar lines and ghostly backing vocals. The song's fragile, slightly woozy nature comes to the fore on the flipside "Version" mix, which only emphasizes the weary beauty of Carter's lyrics and vocal performance. It's a bit of a sideways step for Mister Saturday Night, but then the label has never played by the rules.
Review: Bridge Boots main man Caserta has previously proved to be one of the most talented re-editors around, up there with higher profile artists such as the Reflex and Joey Negro. His latest offering, a red seven-inch single featuring new rearrangements of Diana Ross hit "I'm Coming Out", is another beauty. On the A-side he offers up a "Long Way Mix" that gives more prominence to Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards' killer backing track (partly via stripping it back to the groove at key points) while retaining most of Ross' vocals. On the flip you'll find a "Sing-A-Long Dub" that strips it back further during key instrumental passages to allow the Motown legend's vocals to shine.
Review: If smooth, synth-powered soul is your bag, we'd suggest checking out this EP from French future R&B star Jean Janin AKA Cezaire. It begins with a sumptuous slice of '80s soul revivalism featuring guests Phabo and Jordan Lee (the really rather good "You Came In Time") and ends with a bubbly chunk of deep electro-soul ("Je Plane", featuring Crenoka). In between, Janin treats us to some sparse, drowsy and distant lo-fi soul ("Beyonce"), a spacey slown jam featuring immaculate lead vocals by Ayelle (the synth-bass-propelled goodness of "The Answer"), and an all-to-short tribute to talkbox-sporting Los Angeles synth-funk jams of the 1980s ("The West Coast").
Review: Sun-kissed soul from 1975, not a lot is known about the Charisma Band besides their powerful musical abilities and their two 45s on Buddah and Columbia. "Ain't Nothing Like Your Love" is a horn-blessed feel-good summer get-together while "Bless The Day" takes us straight to the bedroom with its gliding guitars, velvet falsetto and spellbinding harp. It's not hard to see why originals of this have been known to pass hands for several hundred bob.
Review: Pure boogie, pure voice... UK singer/songwriter Cheri Maree comes correct on this Boogie Back rebirth over two uncut 80s style Brit funk gems. "Starting Over Again" is the more seductive of the two with its silky groove and hushed vocals while "I Want You Back" goes into boogie overdrive with lavish synth bass (wait for the solo), velvet chords and strong backing vocals. If you enjoy Atmosfear or Hi-Tension, you'll love this!
Review: This reissue of American R&B/soul vocal group The Chi-Lites' "Are You My Woman?" (Tell Me So) from 1970 features a very familiar hook that was sampled on Beyonce and Jay Z's 2003 hit "Crazy In Love". Formed in 1959 in Chicago, Illinois, the group was led by Eugene Record and originally called Hi-Lites before adding on 'Chi', which derived from their hometown. They went on to release 15 albums between 1969 - 1990 and are best known for their classics "Have You Seen Her" and "Oh Girl".
Review: Two powerful soul sessions from Alice Clark's eponymous debut 1972 album. "Don't You Care" is a hard-hitting soul standard (that became very popular in acid jazz scene in the early 90s) where Alice opens her heart for all to see while her incredible band ebb and flow with Clark's emotions. "Never Did I Stop Loving You", meanwhile, languishes in sentiment at a slightly lower tempo that allows her to really dig deep for those low notes. The real fun happens as we reach momentum towards the end and every band member brings out their A-game and bounces off each other - backing up Alice every step of the way. You will care about this.
Crowns Of Glory - "Lord, Look At Your People" (Joaquin Joe Claussell mix) (5:48)
Keith Barrow - "A World Of Lonely People" (Joaquin Joe Claussell mix) (7:37)
Review: If the rich history of US gospel soul, funk and disco gets your juices flowing, you need this new 12" from Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell in your life. As with many of the storied producer's edit-focused 12" singles, it has been pressed in limited quantities and should therefore be grabbed before all the copies disappear. On the A-side he offers up a tidy, dancefloor-focused tweak of Crowns of Glory's hard-to-find 1976 gospel soul cut "Lord, Look At Your People", brilliantly teasing out the intro before unleashing the song in all its inspiring righteousness. Over on the flip Clausell turns his attention to the Clavinet-heavy, Blaxploitation-era gospel disco anthem that is Keith Barrow's equally as inspired 1977 gem "A World Of Lonely People".
Review: Stand by for the much anticipated follow up to the unreleased Ronn Colbert 7" on this label earlier in the year. "Just One Kiss Away" is an ultra rare soul stepper from 1981. It finds Ronn and Selah Colbert go up against one another, and both serve up super sultry, seductive vocals that tease and please. Add in steamy chords and soaring strings and you have one helluva smoocher. "Tell Me What I Wanna Hear" is another romantic to and fro between the pair, with a little more tension and build in the rhythm edition that adds an extra element of spice. Both are sure to become re-found classics.
Jimmy Rogers - "What Have I Done" (alternative) (2:24)
Review: The Jazzman cometh! Gerald Short's long-running label is back with a new 7" serving on its Popcorn subsidiary featuring the moody and malevolent styles of jazzy crooner Lew Conetta. "You Got Me Crazy" originates from a '57 45 on the legendary Decca label and was one of only three releases from Conetta. On the flip, Popcorn present an alternate take on "What Have I Done" by bluesman Jimmy Rogers which is so similar to the Conetta track the label suggest it provided the inspiration for "You Got Me Crazy."
Review: Two big cuts taken from the Melbourne trio's sixth album Blind Bet, here the band flip two sides of a ridiculously funky coin. "Mind Made Up" features the vocals of Tru Thoughts starlet Kylie Auldist. Her rich emphatic vocals fit the 70s soul licks perfectly. Smooth and dynamically delivered with big horns, subtle strings, major chords and an instantly catchy chorus, you'll make your mind up on this long before the last horns blast a final cheerio. "Skeletor", meanwhile, is a much more party-focussed jam where big breakbeats provide the back bone for sharp horns, heavy Hammond slapping and warm gravelly vocals.
Review: One song, two versions, one killer Philly 45. The Cooperettes got in first during the mid 70s with a very rare copy that picked up momentum during the Northern/modern soul crossover in mid 80s when copies began to surface and never really lost favour as OG copies on I-D-B go for near L500. Flip for a previously unreleased male harmony version by The Toppiks, fronted by Ted Mills a la Blue Magic. Just sit back and feel those falsettos.
The Poindexter Brothers - "What I Did In The Streets (I Should Have Done At Home)" (3:17)
Review: Soul Junction's latest release brings together two sought-after heavy soul cuts from the studio of the Poindexter Brothers: their own 1969 heater "What I Did In The Street (I Should Have Done At Home)" - a sweet, Vibraphone-sporting slab of rasping, full-throated, horn-heavy sixties soul just dripping with emotion - and a killer cut they produced a year earlier for singer Vivian Copeland. You'll find that song, "Chaos In My Heart", on the A-side. Originally released on Bell, it's an attractive and additive mid-tempo number in which Copeland's fine vocals come supported by low-register horns, shuffling soul grooves and some suitably heavenly backing vocals.
Carolyn Crawford - "Ready Or Not Here Comes Love" (2:26)
Hodges, James, Smith & Crawford - "What Made You Think" (3:11)
Review: We'd advise serious soul heads to take a look at this one. Part of the "Kent Select" series of dancefloor-focused 45s, it features two previously unissued 1971 recordings, both of which were produced by Mickey Stevenson. In some ways, it's incredible to think that Carolyn Crawford's "Ready Or Not Here Comes Love" has never previously been released; it's a genuinely inspired, up-lifting slab of soaring, stomping soul that will get Northern Soul enthusiasts racing for the dancefloor in their droves. Flipside "What Made You Think", credited to Hodges, James, Smith and Crawford, is almost as good, even if it lacks the rushing, celebratory positivity of the sublime A-side. In a word: essential!
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.
Review: Soul doesn't come much bigger or more dramatic than this 1980 stone cold classic from Crystal Clear. It now gets a first ever reissue on a today 7" from Universal and will have you emptying your lungs, swinging those hips and clapping along throughout. To say the vocal is impassioned is an understatement, and strings don't come much sweeter than those in main highlight "Stay With Me". Over on the flip is the more romantic and revered "You're So Unreal", one that still reaches some pretty moving heights along the way.