Review: So far, Floating Points' reissue-focused Melodies International label has barely put a foot wrong. As you'd expect given his crate-digging credentials, each chosen release has not only been obscure or hard to find, but also exceptionally good. Predictably, this one is, too. Gloria Jay's 1977 single "Know What You Want" is a heartfelt chunk of saccharine soul featuring some particularly good jazz-funk style solos. Speaking of jazz-funk, this influence comes through further on the slightly more disco-minded, dancefloor-friendly flipside, "I'm Gonna Make It", whose jangling piano riffs and goodtime groove are almost impossible to resist. As ever with Melodies International, the packaging - which includes a foldout poster tucked into the sleeve - is also superb.
A Tribute To Muhammed Ali (We Crown A King) (long version) (9:08)
A Tribute To Muhammed Ali (We Crown A King) (short version) (6:41)
Review: During the funk era, heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali proved a great source of inspiration for many musicians and bands. Dig hard enough and you'll find tons of singles recorded in tribute to the legendary fighter. Le Stim's 1980 disco-funk tribute to "the king of the fighters" is not one of the better-known examples, but it's certainly one of the most scintillating. Here, the sought-after gem - all rousing horns, Clavinet-heavy grooves, spacey synths and starry-eyed vocals - is given the reissue treatment by Melodies International. Like the hard-to-find original, it includes both "long" and "short" versions, with the former - a sweaty, nine-minute workout straight from the top shelf - standing out.
Review: Sam Shepherd's Melodies International imprint has barely put a foot wrong to date, serving up a string of must-have reissues. Predictably, the label's latest offering - a facsimile reissue of a thoroughly obscure but in-demand disco 7" from 1979 - is another belter. A-side "Back Into Your Heart" is particularly potent, offering a rich, cheery and pleasingly fuzzy dance through horn-heavy disco-funk pastures, with a loved-up lead vocal joined by cascading strings, intergalactic synth solos and energy-packed drums. Turn to the flip for "Dance, Dance, Dance", an urgent chunk of funk-fuelled disco-rock that's almost as essential as the majestic A-side.
Everything That Shines Ain't Gold (part one & two) (6:12)
Everything That Shines Ain't Gold (Floating Points edit) (4:38)
Review: You'll be unsurprised to learn that the latest reissue on Floating Points' Melodies imprint is of a record that is fiendishly hard to find. Collectors have long regarded "Everything That Shines Ain't Gold", a sumptuous funk-soul workout full of bold Hammond organ lines and jazzy guitar licks, as something of a "Holy Grail", so it's fantastic see the track getting a worthy reissue. For this edition, you'll find the full version (originally cut into two parts to fit on a 7") on side A, with a fresh Floating Points re-edit on the flip. His revision is naturally tastefully done, rolling with the sweetest instrumental passages before breaking into Moore's superb vocal.
Review: While most of the obscure old records being reissued by Floating Points' Melodies label fetch eye-wateringly high prices on the second-hand market, there's no doubt that they're all astonishingly good. This latest gem - a little-known 1974 7" from folk-soul songwriter Bobby Wright (now Abu Talib) - is another fantastic example. "Blood of an American", a sweet sounding but politically heavyweight song inspired by the singer-songwriter's opposition to the Vietnam War, is every bit as inspired as the works of that better-known folk-soul legend, Terry Callier. In fact, B-side "Everyone Should Have His Day" sounds like a long-lost Callier recording. As ever, the record is beautifully packaged and comes bundled with a 16-page "mini-zine" packed with interviews and articles about the record.
Disco Baby (Floating Points & Red Greg edit) (3:55)
Review: If online chatter is to be believed, this tasty 7" from Floating Points' Melodies label is one of the most keenly anticipated disco releases of the year. For starters, the A-side boasts an obscure (but in demand) solo production from Manhattan Transfer keyboardist Yaron Gershovsky. "Disco Baby" is a prime chunk of jaunty, jazz-funk influenced disco-funk, the keyboardist's own jammed-out riffs and solos taking pride of place in the mix alongside punchy horns and a lolloping groove. Arguably even better, though, is Floating Points and Red Greg's flipside re-edit, which plays around with the original version's all-too-short drum break before letting the synths, keys and horns really sparkle.