Review: As the '70s dawned and Motown relocated to the West Coast, the era of their honey-toned '60s girl groups came to a resounding halt. The Sisters Love were the antithesis of the traditional Motown group and came to the label from A&M, armed with a lot of funk, sass and attitude.
Paired with some of Motown's finest writers and producers - Hal Davis, Gloria Jones, Pamela Sawyer, Paul Riser and Willie Hutch - they got off to a rousing start with the gritty "Mr. Fix-It Man" and went into high gear for the UK only release "I'm Learning To Trust My Man".
Motown had them playing arenas with The Jackson Five (probably not their smartest move!), issued the odd single and scheduled more but Sisters Love's anticipated breakthrough didn't happen.
In 1980 New York DJ Danny Krivit pressed up an extended eight-minute re-edit of "Give Me Your Love", an old B-side from a 1973 single! That song was somewhat of an underground classic but the Krivit mix brought in a whole new legion of fans amongst the rare groove crowd, both in the US and the UK.
Sisters Love had long been rumored to have recorded a complete album for the Motown subsidiary MoWest. Get On Down Records combed the vaults with Motown's help and the result is the original 10 cut album, plus a bonus cut, "Give Me Your Love."
Review: "Stillmatic" found Nas take a new direction back in December 2001. After previous standout gangsta rap efforts, he swerved into more politically and socially thoughtful realms that took him back to his seminal 1995 debut, "Illmatic". Next to commentaries on American politics and a documentation of his beef with Jay-Z, there are plenty of emotional moments, incisive rhymes and story telling raps that play out over classic hip hop production. In 2019, many of the issues presented in this album persists, as does Nas' reputation as one of the best ever.
Review: One of the most iconic groups of the eighties music scene was Run-DMC, no question. They blew up the world of rap with their raw, swaggering beats and impactful lyrical insights, which often came with a tag-team delivery between numerous band members. Their self-titled album remains a high water mark for the band, and the genre at large, with singles like "Rock Box" and worldwide smash "King Of Rock" still resonating today. This landmark album was the first rap full-length to achieve Gold status, and the band kept the pressure on with two even bigger follow up albums in the years after.
Fred Wesley & The JB's - "I'm Paying Taxes, What Am I Buying" (9:48)
Fred Wesley & The JB's - "Blow Your Head" (4:45)
Review: The James Brown's Funky People series first appeared back in the 1980s, and gathered together tracks by artists associated with the Godfather of Soul, many of which he wrote and produced himself. This second edition - here reissued on vinyl for the first time since 1988 - contains a wealth of high quality funk and soul material. While some are naturally very well known - Bobby Byrd's "I Know You Got Soul" being the best-loved of the lot - what sets the album apart is the sublime tracks by Marva Whitney, Lyn Collins, Myra Barnes and Hank Ballard & The Midnight Lovers. Throw in some storming covers of Brown classics from Fred Wesley & The J.Bs and you have an essential collection of tried-and-tested dancefloor dynamite.
(It's Not The Express) It's The J.B.'s Monaurail (8:16)
Here We Come, Here We Go, Here We Are (4:30)
All Aboard The Soul Funky Train (4:33)
Thank You For Letting Me Be Myself & You Be Yours (9:46)
Taurus, Aires & Leo (6:36)
Things & Do (5:18)
Review: Destination 1975: funk is leaning back limbo style to let disco flourish and the fourth LP from James Brown's clam-tight backing troupe is a fine example of just how the two styles flexed. Still heavy with the tight jams, big breaks and firing horn blow-outs but laced with a little disco shine and orchestration in places, it's a fine snapshot of the 70s headiest musical crossroads. The slippery guitars and slinky bass on "Taurus, Aires & Leo", the far-away jazzy textures of "Transmograpfication" and their own fly response to BT Express "The JB's Monaurail" are just some of the many highlights on this fusion-focused album.
Review: Arthur Russell in his early 80s post-rock, far-out outfit Dinosaur L, "Go Bang #5" featured on the band's one and only album 24-24. According to legend Francois was asked to create a dancefloor version as the album version was a little too far-out for the floor. Naturally he delivered while paying total respect to frenetic, leftside thinking of the original with elements, textures and instrumental devices flying in from all sides. Another outright disco legend appears on the B: Walter Gibbons applies a leaner twist that gradually builds into bad trip wooziness before letting loose with an epic percussive section. 35 years deep and this still bangs.
Fred Wesley - "Introduction Of James Brown" (0:19)
James Brown - "Never Can Say Goodbye" (9:10)
The JB's - "Pass The Peas" (5:40)
The JB's - "Honky Tonk" (4:04)
James Brown - "Introduction" (0:45)
The JB's - "Gimme Some More" (3:09)
James Brown - "There It Is" (3:01)
Danny Ray - "Introduction Of Lyn Collins" (0:26)
Lyn Collins - "Do Your Thing" (6:16)
Lyn Collins - "Think (About It)" (4:59)
Lyn Collins - "I'll Take You There" (2:57)
Danny Ray - "Introduction Of Bobby Byrd" (0:26)
Bobby Byrd - "I Know You Got Soul" (2:53)
Bobby Byrd - "(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right" (4:03)
Bobby Byrd - "Keep On Doin' What You're Doin'" (8:51)
Review: The unstoppable Get On Down label doesn't like to discriminate between genres, and through the years they've put out a wide breadth of material from hip-hop, soul and funk artists alike. What we have here is the marvellous fourth instalment of the Get On Down With James Brown series, live at the mythical Apollo, and that means a fully-loaded James Brown experience alongside other big-hitters such as The JB's, Lyn Collins and Bobby Bird. You know the score, this is the hit you need. Get Upp-ah!
Review: According to the oracle that is Whosampled (dot com), Slick Rick's 1988 single "Children's Story" is one of the most sampled hip-hop records of all time. Listening back to this reissue, it's easy to hear why. Based on a killer beat that combines a re-recording of the bassline from Bob James' "Nautilus" with bouncy drums, 8-bit computer game noises and a recurring piano stab, the track shows the British-born rapper storytelling in his uniquely cheeky style. This edition doesn't include the original B-side "Teacher, Teacher" but instead offers another chance to enjoy "The Great Adventures of Slick Rick" album cut "The Moment I Feared", a scratch-happy chunk of on-point 1980s NYC hip-hop that boasts another tall tale from the master of narrative rap.
Review: Timmy Thomas, sometimes known as The Magician, frequently regarded as one of the most sampled men beyond the Brown franchise, he's been referenced by everyone from Drake to Dilla to MC Hammer. Here we find two of his most well known cuts, both taken from his 1972 album, Why Can't We Live Together. There's a wry cosmic sheen weaving and shimmering in the background of the soaking wet Afrofunk groove of "Africano" while the keys of "Why Can't We Live Together" instantly hit with a soul you've heard, felt and loved in so many contexts. Certified classic.