Review: Since 2003, Rachel Modest has been a fleeting presence. We're not happy about that. The soul vocalist has only sung over a handful of EPs, including one on Phil Weeks' Robsoul Recordings, and this new single is really her first solo appearance. Thanks to the young ATA label, we are graced with the majestic tones of "I Try", a powerful soul ballad that instantly cuts to the core and leaves you yearning for more. On the B-side, "Forbidden Love" is similarly seductive in its approach, but this time Modest's tactic is smoother, more contained and sexier. Whichever side you prefer, we think both are fantastic, and that this EP is a true gem among the contemporary soul releases. TIP!
Ruby Andrews - "You Made A Believer (Out Of Me)" (2:39)
Kalyanji Anandji - "Back Ground Music" (2:29)
Jake Wade & The Soul Searchers - "Searching For Soul" (part 1) (2:40)
Hot Butter & Soul - "ABC" (4:43)
Dick Walter - "Spooky Do" (1:33)
Roy Head - "She's About A Mover" (3:13)
Hot City Bump Band - "It's Just Begun" (2:53)
Val Merrall's Orchestra - "The Horse" (3:45)
Frank Pleyer Big Band - "Sally" (3:24)
Art & Ron - "Can't Stop Talkin" (2:55)
Johnny Griffith Inc - "Love Is Just A Word" (3:23)
The Generation Gap - "Family Affair" (2:40)
Tinga Stewart - "The Message" (2:55)
Jerzy Milian Orkiestra - "Gacek" (2:19)
John L Watson - "Rockin' Chair" (with White Mouse) (3:19)
The Alan Tew Orchestra - "Pink Panther" (3:39)
The Rias Orchestra Conducted By Helmuth Brandenburg - "Pru Urebu" (4:55)
Oscar Harris & The Twinkle Stars - "Twinkle Stars Boo Galoo" (live) (3:54)
Review: Magic happens when Mr Thing hits the crates. His ability to unearth recordings you're guaranteed to never have heard before, and join the dots in ways you'd never have thought before, his "Strange Breaks" series is legendary. Long since off-press, to celebrate their 20th anniversary BBE have repressed this seminal 2009 sophomore. From the turbo blues fusion of Roy Head and the speeding Mancini feels of Val Marrall's Orchestra to the more sedate, slinky funk of Johnny Griffith and sunny-side roots of Tinga Stewart, Mr Thing's odyssey remains as inciteful, intriguing and as full of treasure as it did seven years ago.
Review: Strong spiritual funk from five-piece family troupe The New Creation; written in 1973 and released the following year on their own Salaam Recordings, "The Fish Song" is a classic Islamic story delivered with powerful harmonies and a vital positive groove while "Elijah Knows" brings both father and son Rasheed Shakoor Senior and Junior to the forefront for some powerful dulcet duelling as the pair feed off each other and explode into massive harmonies with the full group. Only 2500 OG copies were ever pressed and the band built up quite cult following in the mid-70s in LA. Thanks to Soul Junction, their tale lives on...
Now Is The Time (Ashley Beedle Warbox dubplate special)
Thinking Of Omara
I Am You (live in Chicago)
Flip Ya Lid
Be, I Do
(Man) Tha Journey
Now Is The Time
Bless My Soul
I'm For Real
Set Me Free (Piano dub)
Review: Amazingly, it's 25 years since George 'E.A.S.E' Evelyn and then production partner Kevin 'Boy Wonder' Harper sat down and recorded "Dextrous", their monstrous, bleep-era classic on Warp. A quarter of a century later, Evelyn is still going strong, though the grooves have mellowed a lot in that time. Here, Warp celebrate the producer's epic career with a much-deserved retrospective. All the familiar favourites are present, from the rush-inducing thrill of early dancefloor smashers "I'm For Real" and "Aftermath", to the sinewy downtempo goodness of the decidedly Balearic "Les Nuits", the blazed hip-hop dub of "195 Llbs" and stoner soul of "70s 80s".
Review: Andy Stennett and Peter Maas' Freeez project was a pillar of both the pre-punk and punk scenes across the UK, with their infamous tracks surely having influenced a myriad of post-punkers thereafter. Aside from that, they also operated under the Pink Rhythm moniker, through which they released a limited selection of disco-not-disco and jazz-dance. Perfect for some reissue action right now. India was the second of the three EPs they released in 1985, now out through Be With, and the title track sounds like it hasn't aged a day since thanks to a subtly boogie approach filtered through a cold-wave stance. "Trust Me" a more sensual track, slower and more soulful, while the flipside's "More & More" storms through with a summery, blazed-out drum-machine anthem, followed by a sweet instrumental cut to "India". Ya need...
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Having worked with the likes of Don Cherry and Laurie Anderson, there's little doubting the credentials of Ramuntcho Matta. Emotional Rescue have tapped him up for some truly outernational jams that sport African percussion, skronky jazz tones and an engaging minimalism that's hard to resist. The fretless bass and exotic animal cries of "Ecoute" are especially appealing, while the squelchy sound design in "O Clapo" may well do funny things to all who hear it. It's a startlingly original record that serves as a perfect introduction to a lesser known figure in leftfield music with a great heritage behind him.
Review: By the time "Touch Me In The Morning" was mailed out to American DJs in 1979, Marlena Shaw has long since established herself as one of soul music's greatest voices. "Touch Me In The Morning" was merely a promo-only affair, remixed from the shorter "Take A Bite" album version - but it did become something of a dancefloor anthem in certain underground clubs. Here, the sought-after 12" is given a replica reissue, with the stomping, string-drenched title track being accompanied by exactly the same B-side cuts as the '79 pressing.
Review: Mr Bongo's Brazil 45s series continues its consistently rich vein of form with two more beautifully contrasting - and previously difficult to track down - Brazilian soul jazz fusions from the 70s. Side A is inhabited by one of the era's most interesting individuals. Infamously censored and eventually exiled, Taiguara's chaotic flute, guitar and piano arrangement is a tight weave of melodies, counter melodies and start dynamics. Flip for the classically soul-oriented "Deixa Eu Te Amar" will bright horns, brash drums and a bold vocal from Marisa Rossi. Pow.
Review: French double bassist and composer Henri Texier has made some superb albums over the course of his epic career, but few are quite as exceptional as his 1976 debut, "Amir". Now available on vinyl again for the first time since 1979, the set sees Texier and his collaborators mix elements of traditional jazz with of folk, traditional French music, hypnotic raga jazz and some seriously blissful, hazy chanted vocalisations. It's a blend that's in parts hazy, atmospheric, wide-eyed and surprisingly experimental, despite the easy pleasantness of the majority of tracks. The album has previously been championed by Balearic DJs as much as jazz heads, and listening to this reissue it's easy to hear why.
Review: Atlanta soul duo The Trey J's were active on the live circuit for over 20 years, however they only ever release one 45 on Tee Gem Records. Now, thanks to Soul Junction, it's been realised and given the lease of live it truly deserves. "I Found It All In You" is a rocket-fuelled funk jam with big horns, belly-driven vocals and a chorus you simply can't not sing along to. Meanwhile on the B, "We Got A Thing (Going On)" is a much slower, more heartfelt composition that echoes with Otis level gravitas. Forty four years old and still resonating with power, this is one release you can't go without.
Orlando Julius & The Afro Sounders - "Alo Mi Alo" (parts 1 & 2)
Segun Bucknor & His Revolution - "La La La"
Lijadu Sisters - "Orere Elejigbo"
Peter King - "Shango"
Sahara All Stars Band Jos - "Enjoy Yourself"
Fela Ransome Kuti & The Africa 70 - "Jeun Ko Ku (Chop 'N' Quench)"
Tunji Oyelana & The Benders - "Ifa"
Ofo The Black Company - "Allah Wakbarr"
The Funkees - "Dancing Time"
Monomono - "Tire Loma Da Nigbehin"
Bala Miller & The Great Music Pirameeds Of Afrika - "Ikon Allah"
Sir Victor Uwaifo & His Melody Maestroes - "Akayan Ekassa"
Shina Williams & His African Percussionists - "Agboju Logun"
Gasper Lawal - "Kita Kita"
Sunny Ade & His African Beats - "Ja Fun Mi" (instrumental)
Review: Originally released back in 2001, there's a reason why Strut have reissued Nigeria 70: The Definitive Story Of 1970's Funky Lagos so many times; it's superb and totally lives up to the title! if you've not yet indulged in the compilation, this 2012 triple vinyl pressing is the even more definitive edition, slipping in the 2CD version along with the Nigeria 70 audio documentary that Strut originally included in the 2001 CD issue but has been absent since. With the vinyl now pressed on heavyweight 180g wax, this makes for the perfect introduction into the vivid story of 1970s West African funk. Well done Strut!