Review: Former Adorables member Betty Winston recorded a number of solo songs during the 1960s, several of which were later released on the Grapevine label in the 1970s. Arguably the most potent of all these songs, the Richard 'Popcorn' Wylie produced "Spellbound", eventually appeared on the Talk Of The Grapevine compilation. Happily, Soul Junction has finally secured the rights to the track, and here presents it on 7" for the first time. It's a wonderful chunk of heartfelt Detroit soul, with Winston's fellow Adorables members Pat and Diane Lewis, and sister Jackie Winston, providing superb backing vocals. Thrillingly, this release also includes the previously unissued instrumental version, which shines a light on Wylie's brilliant production.
Review: What a crazy trip it's been for The Coalitions. After a run of success in the mid 70s and an album that was produced but never released in the early 80s, the Philly band finally got the justice they deserved in 2011 as Soul Junction unearthed their work and finally released their album 30 years later. Now the band are back with a brand new song. "Nothin' Left 2 Do" is rooted in classic Al Green style soul but with big flourishes of 80s instrumentation and even 90s R&B vocal croons. "Didn't We Almost Make It" takes us back to 1979 as their instantly distinctive album opener enjoys life on 45 for the very first time. They made it.
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.
Review: Newcomers Energy MC2 are exactly the sort of ensemble needed by the supremely funky Soul Junction imprint. The label have done a great job in continuously finding new, raw talent in the soul game, and these dudes know the score. "If You Break It" features the voice of Vincent Bonham, and it's a veritable lovers tune, made for dance floor antics and Saturday night romance, whereas "Other Side Of The Mirror" is more of a soulful abstraction, a gorgeous little ballad led by the delicate, majestic vocals of Arnell Carmichael. Oh, boy...
Review: Writer, singer and former New York banker, Eric Harris first emerged in the late 2000s with tear-jerking tracks such as "Drama" and the belting "Queen" and has appeared on Soul Unsigned and Soul Junction on various occasions. "Nightlife" is a great example of his Vandross-style depth, tone and warmth while the heartfelt (and just a little steamy) "Backstage" finally sees 45" justice after becoming a cult radio hit in 2012. Pure bedtime music.
Review: Modern day soul from the heart of Manchester and the heat of Barcelona... Elliot Macauley follows up his debut EP "Retro" with this beautiful sun-kissed doublet. "All My Life" sits somewhere between Amp Fiddler and Darondo produced by Louie Vega. Big, hooky, warm and heartfelt; this will work just as well on floors as it will at home. "Mamas Baby Boy", meanwhile, shows Elliot's acoustic guitar skills off as Cleveland Jones adds a crystalline falsetto that pays homage to the most important ladies of the world. Beautiful.
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...
Review: Fresh from 68: Atlanta family trio Scott Three only ever recorded two singles and remained something of a local sensation thereafter. It's a shame as there's a real Jackson Five feel to their delivery, especially on "Running Wild" where the session band breaks down and each member pops above the dense music bed. "Gotta Find A New Love" takes a much bluesier tact with rougher instrumentation and an almost rocky build on the choruses. Spotted passing hands for sizeable sums on one bidding site, this is the first time it's been pressed in over 45 years.
The Way I Love You (with Fat Harry & The Fuzzy Licks)
Be With Me Tonight
Review: Memphis blues institution Preston Shannon teams up with Dutch troupe Fat Harry & The Fuzzy Licks for two tales in timeless soul. "The Way I Love You" is a crooning mid 70s romancer oozing soft sentiments and positive chords as the band back up Preston's Vegas-style showmanship. "Be With Me Tonight" is the seducer of the two... Slinky, early 80s style balladry at its shiniest - all sweet harmonies and gradual builds - Preston's urges are hard to deny. One for the smoochy hours.
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.