Review: A stunning soul double A with a percussion heavy smoky soul cover of Leroy Lane & The Upstairs Maids' "There's A Man" and a big-swing, horn-heaved late 60s Motown-style ballad "I Have This World & You". Canadian soul act Joey Irving & Just Us only wrote and recorded a handful of songs and - madly - they couldn't get a deal on home soil so turned to Belgium's Baltic label which was usually the sole preserve of elevator music and native Flemish folk. Few original pressings have been spotted, but when they do they regularly fetch over L200. Jump on this.
Etta James & Sugar Pie Desanto - "In The Basement" (Soul Flip edit) (3:20)
John Gary Williams - "My Sweet Lord" (Soul Flip edit) (3:59)
Review: On their latest limited edition salvo, the hardworking Soul Flip crew (AKA experienced DJs and producers Aldo Vanucci and Del Gazeebo) gets to work on two more stomping dancefloor cuts from the golden age of soul. First up on side A is a gently tooled-up and tightened up take on Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto's 1966 floor-heater "In The Basement", a hybrid soul-jazz/rhythm and blues jam rich in rubbery double bass, bustling drums, restless handclaps and brilliant lead vocals from the two legendary soul singers. On the flip they tackle Memphis musician John Gary Williams' 1972 cover of George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", which brilliantly re-imagines the former Beatles' spiritual song as a sweaty gospel-soul stomper.
Review: Soul Tribe celebrate the epic legacy of Chess subsidiary Argo with two of the label's many outstanding soul burners. Etta's big swing sauce-pot number takes pride of place with all 55 years of sultry devotion still deeply embedded into the recording. Banks' slightly lesser known pastoral ballad sets up camp on the B. Lilting and lolloping with horseback storytelling, it's the perfect foil both musically and narratively.
Review: New funk delivered the old way; Original Gravity follow up the 2017 hype of Floyd James & The GTs debut "The Switchback" with this powerful four-track EP. Charged with a strong northern soul feel both "Keep Lifting Me Higher" and "The Sweetest Thing" lead with the beat as Floyd and his super-tight band bounce back and forth. Flip for more energetic mischief as "The Wig" goes turbo blues while "Sweet Sweet Soul" closes on an epic, riffy sing-along. The title speaks for itself.
Review: JJ and The Beholders blast the doors off with their debut single "Rosegold". A powerful bluesy lament, everything from the spacious production to the hammonds that croon behind Joshua ooze soul and sentiment. Meanwhile on the B we hit northern soul territory with a thumping beat, minimal instrumentation and stacks of room for Joshua's tones to shine through. Behold that that horn led middle-eighth. Pow!
Review: Should you require further evidence of the all-round genius of Curtis Mayfield, look no further than this early '70s funk gem from Patti Jo. "Make Me Believe In You" was written and produced by the velvety-voiced musician in 1973, one of just a few singles released by Patti Jo but undoubtedly now an all-time classic. That rolling drum intro, the ear-wagging piano, the subtle orchestration and, above all, Patti Jo's killer vocal all combine for a perfect example of the halcyon days when funk was beginning to transform into disco. Mayfield himself later covered the track for the closer to his Sweet Exorcist LP! This BGP 7" sees Tom Moulton's extension of "Make Me Believe In You" combined with his remix of the other Patti Jo burner, "Ain't No Love Lost". Any self-respecting DJ needs the A-side though.
Review: Destination 1970: after a string of heartfelt cuts on the likes of Expo, Bobby Jones makes himself known on little known Detroit label Kack Records. Lost in midst of times and long forgotten crates, he's not enjoyed the microscopic revival like so many Chicago crooners of the time. Until now. "Welcome Back A Foolish Man" is a full of orchestral drama and just a little northern stomp while "Lovin' Hard Livin' Good" hits with a wider sense of emotion with prominent strings, rolling percussion and dreamboat backing harmonies. Welcome back for good.
Review: Earlier this year, Durand Jones and the Indications delivered one of the revivalist soul albums of 2019: the conscious, politically charged "American Love Call". Their latest "45" boasts one of the album's standout moments, "Morning In America", a weary but impassioned commentary on Trump's United States that features evocative strings, laidback 60s soul grooves and a stunning lead vocal from Durand Jones. It comes backed by previously unheard cut "Cruisin' To The Park", a lusciously sugary, heartfelt and loved-up affair where drummer Aaron Frazer handles lead vocals. Like the A-side, it's a stunning slice of emotion-stirring soul.
Review: Straight from the Volt vaults! 50 years after their release, Margie's coveted breakthrough tracks get the Expansion treatment. Her famous crossover track "One More Chance" has never not been in favour through the soul phases. And by the way it builds triumphantly, it's not hard to tell. "Nobody" meanwhile has a real kick to its swing and a gradual sense of momentum that really catches you by surprise. Don't sleep on this one.
Review: If you're a talented soul vocalist who wants an authentically fuzzy late 1960s sound, you could do worse than join forces with Timmion Records' in-house backing band, Cold Diamond & Mink. They're in fine form here providing admirable backing to rising star Carlton Jumel Smith. "Love Our Love Affair" is undeniably attractive, with Smith's confident and emotion-rich vocal rising above the band's hazy horns, languid trumpet solos, sun-bright guitar licks and lolloping, hip-hop style funk-soul beats. As is customary, the band's tidy instrumental version can be found - and enjoyed - on the flip.
Apollo Studio Band - "Honkey Tonk Woman" (instrumental) (2:39)
Review: For their latest deep dive into the world of obscure funk, Vienna's Record Shack has decided to reissue two hard-to-find gems from the Just Brothers and Apollo Studio Band. The former's "Honey" was recorded in the 1970s but first released in 2001. Full of their trademark surf style guitars, stomping Northern Soul style beats and dreamy, psychedelic era vocals, it remains one of the outfit's greatest tracks. On the reverse you'll find the thrillingly fuzzy "Honky Tonk Woman (Instrumental)" by the Apollo Studio Band. We found next to no information about the outfit online, suggesting the track was taken from a lauded, private press release. Either way, it's a prime chunk of Northern Soul style instrumental fuzziness that's worth the admission price alone.
The Temptations - "I Can't Get Next To You" (Wonderlove re-edit) (3:54)
Jack Hammer - "Swim" (Wonderlove short re-edit) (3:55)
Review: Wonderlove is the re-editor at the controls for the latest edition of the Soul Flip reworks series, which this time boasts tidy rearrangements of killer cuts from the Temptations and Jack Hammer. It's the former's 1969 single "I Can't Get Next To You" that gets the rework treatment first, with Wonderlove making merry with the track's jangling piano riffs, hybrid rock/soul groove, insatiable vocals and much-sampled drum breaks (which get extended for added dancefloor pleasure). If you're in the mood for something heavier and fuzzier, the "Short Re-Edit" of Jack Hammer's insatiable, spiraling funk workout "Swim" will have you dancing like you've got ants in your pants.