Review: We can think of a fair few disco diggers who will be more than a little annoyed by this re-issue. Originally released on the obscure La Shawn label back in 1980, "Take Me I'm Yours" is widely considered to be one of Patrick Adams' best productions. It's certainly something of a dusty gem, with Mary Clark's soulful, country-tinged vocals simply soaring over a reggae-tinged, string-drenched disco groove. It would have been nice to have seen original flipside "You Got Your Hold On Me" included, but it's not a major issue; given the in-demand (and hard-to-find) nature of the A-side, we should be pleased it's come back round again.
Review: Acid Jazz has pulled off something of a coup here by persuading legendary '70s soul man Leroy Huston to part with a couple of previously unreleased cuts. A-side "Positive Forces" was recorded by Hutson in 1977 and sits somewhere between the sweeping, orchestrated bliss of Philly soul, the soaring dancefloor celebration of disco and the loose-limbed instrumental goodness of jazz-funk. It's an absolute stunner, all told, and sounds like it was tailor-made for spins at sweltering summer festivals. On the B-side you'll find a previously unreleased instrumental version of 1975's "All Because of You". While a vocal-free version has previously been released, this particular mix includes a little more drum action at the beginning to assist with mixing.
Review: Two all time funk/soul classics from the Skull Snaps - a funk group active between 1963 and 1973. They were known as The Diplomats up until 1970 and released a number of singles with moderate success. Renamed Skull Snaps, they released an eponymous album on the small GSF label in 1973, before disappearing into obscurity. These selections are from the said album. New 7" reissue label Dynamite Cuts is releasing these two gems as a limited edition 500 only pressing, showcasing the two best tracks on the LP. Both have been heavily sampled in many hip-hop and club classics by Eric B. & Rakim, Digable Planets, DJ Shadow, The Prodigy and Panjabi MC to name but a few.
Review: The shadowy EEE series has already brought us tasty and much-played tech-house interpretations of a familiar jazz-house gem and a string-laden '80s synth-pop shuffler. Their third single-sided affair - as championed by Zip and Riccardo, no less - takes on a much-loved early noughties R&B classic, placing carefully selected and sequenced vocal snippets around a seriously snappy and sub-bass-heavy groove. Although tech-house in style - note the glitchy electronic noises and spacey effects fixed to the beats - the track's infectious rhythm track was clearly influenced by the current electro revival. This added swing and shoulder-swinging looseness, coupled with the familiarity of the vocal elements, makes EEE03 a guaranteed peak-time winner.
Review: Dark Entries' series of leftfield Italo-disco reissues continues with a double-header from prolific Italo disco session vocalist Helen (AKA Elena Ferretti), whose early excursions on obscure Italian labels Out Records and Discomagic have previously been the sole preserve of dusty-fingered crate-diggers. This EP brings together two of her finest EPs; 1983's scarce "Witch" - an exercise in bubbling, synth-pop inclined Italo-disco - and 1985's arguably better-known "Zanzibar". It's arguably the sparse, cowbell-laden "Afro Mix" - think Cosmic Club era Daniele Baldelli - of this track that steals the show, though all four tracks are shot through with that European strangeness that often marks out the best early Italo cuts.
Lafayette Afro Rock Band - "Hihache" (extended Breaks Special edition version) (4:23)
Gaz - "Sing Sing" (extended Breaks Special edition version) (4:27)
Review: More sneaky 45 action from the Breaks & Beats crew, a shadowy organization whose tried-and-tested re-edits offer DJ-friendly extensions of popular break-digging favourites (many of which were sampled on classic hip-hop cuts). Their latest seven-inch excursion begins with a tidy revision of Lafayette Afro-Rock Band's brilliant "Hihache", a low-slung favourite rich in lolloping, head nodding drum breaks, jazzy bass, flanged funk guitars and fuzzy horn motifs. The new version is deferential towards its source material, extending breaks here and there whilst leaving much of the tune in tact. One of the most doubled-up drum breaks in hip-hop history takes pride of place on side B, where Gaz's Salsoul released wiggler "Sing Sing" gets the re-edit treatment.
Review: More from the matter-or-fact Breaks & Beats seven-inch series, which offers up DJ-friendly "slight edits" of funk, soul and disco classics built around extending the drum breaks in sometimes hard-to-mix classic cuts. The tenth volume in the series kicks off with a mix-friendly tweak of Vaughan Mason's roller-boogie anthem "Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll" that expertly stretches out the previously all-too-short instrumental intro. Over on side B, Bad Bascomb's odd but brilliant country-funk hoedown "Black Grass" gets a similar treatment, with Breaks & Beats' un-named re-editor sneakily extending sweaty drum breaks here and there throughout the track. Given the quality of those breaks, this is a very good thing indeed.
Review: Last year, obscure 1980s soul singer Garfield Fleming returned to action with a mini-album of tracks co-produced by modern boogie maestro Simon Tappenden AKA Ourra. Here we get a chance to savour once again his 1981 debut single, the much-sampled "Don't Send Me Away". It's something of a "groove"-era boogie classic, all told, with Fleming's superb lead vocal rising above sweeping orchestration and a chunky groove. It also boasts a seriously good breakdown in which Garfield's repetitive chorus vocals ride a stripped-back but percussive groove. Turn to the flip for the solid original B-side "You Got Dat Right", a jaunty slab of disco powered by honky tonk style pianos and a superb "walking" bassline.
Review: Since 2012, Munich duo COEO has served up a swathe of sample heavy, disco influenced house EPs for such labels as Let's Play House, Toy Tonics, Lagaffe Tales and Razor-N-Tape Reserve. Here they pop up on Razor-N-Tape's main edit label with something different: a quartet of traditional scalpel works from their personal stash. First up is the elastic, horn heavy disco-funk of "Express Lane", which is quickly followed by the skewed Arabic boogie-funk brilliance of "Libyan Sun". Over on side B, "Don't Oho" is a breezy revision of a sun-kissed Afro-disco workout that sounds like it would be capable of causing a commotion in the club, while "Move Your Body" makes merry with a warm, rich and intoxicating early '80s boogie-soul jam of unknown origin.
Review: REPRESS ALERT!: Best Italy turn their impeccable reissue powers towards a surefire burner from 1984 given the stamp of approval by the likes of David Mancuso, Larry Levan and Ron Hardy back in the day. "Come Back Lover" was actually mixed down by another legendary DJ - Tony Humphries - and it shows. Even the original mix plays out with an extended, floor-focused flow that captures the creative energy at work at this epochal time for DJ culture. As ever with Best reissues, there's a plethora of alternative and dub mixes to suit any spinner's specific requirements, with the groove front and centre every time.
Review: 2015 is fast turning into Henry Wu's year. Having already delivered killer 12s of baked deep house/instrumental hip-hop fusion for Ho-Tep and Odd Socks, he now pops up on Rhythm Section International with another brilliant EP. While as deep and blazed as previous excursions, there's a sun-bright freshness to the pleasingly varied selections on offer. Contrast, for example, the deep space, boogie-house slickness of "Yellow Brick", the bruk revivalism of "Neezy (Wok)" - think I.G Culture after a few too many bongs) - and the brilliant deep house/jazz-funk fusion of "Dubplate Special". Arguably best of all, though, is the Latin jazz-goes-deep house warmth of "Croydon Depot". Everyone will have a different personal favourite, though; it's that kind of EP.
Review: More from top-drawer rework merchant DJ Soopasoul, whose cheeky revisions on his Soopastole label are consistently on point and dancefloor-focused. For his latest trick, the long-serving DJ/producer has decided to apply his magic to one of the greatest disco records of all time and a "foundation record" of the hip-hop scene: Chic classic "Good Times". The A-side edit sounds like it has been created using the multi-track parts, as dubbed-out vocal sections ride stripped-back grooves and portions that variously showcase the track's original strings, Nile Rodgers' guitars and Bernard Edwards' killer bassline. The flipside "Part 2" version is similarly minded but more like a disco dub in feel and execution, with the maestro drenching vocal sections in delicious amounts of delay.
Review: For their latest on-point reissue, the Dynamite Cuts crew has raided the bulging back catalogue of soul organist Reuben Wilson. Or, to be more specific, the Cadet-released 1975 set "Got To Get Your Own". Sadly, there's not enough space for the full version of the album's celebrated title track, so Dynamite Cuts has prompted for the no less essential seven-inch edit instead. It remains a stone cold killer that no soul or funk DJ should be without, even in its shortened form. The lesser-known "Tight Money" is no less essential - or heavy, for that matter - with Wilson and pals strutting through a heavyweight Blaxploitation funk cut whose lyrics riff on poverty and Black America's mid-'70s financial crisis.
Dance Your Blues Away (The Mighty Zaf edit) (4:32)
Review: Originally released in 1979 as a B-side to The Neville Brother's "Sweet Honey Dipper", "Dance Your Blues Away" saw Ivan go solo for the first time on this sultry modern soul jam. Laced with a plucky bass and just the right smattering of sleaze, it set the foundations for Ivan's extensive solo career. It also provides the perfect groove tools for The Mighty Zaf to work his editor craft and beef up the vibe with subtlety. Keep on dancing!
Review: Released 40 years ago in 1977 ''Rhythm Of Life '' by James Mason was possibly one of the greatest vocal Jazz fusion releases of all time . New vinyl imprint Dynamite releases a quality limited edition double pack release showcasing the highlights from that album plus some additional rare versions of the tracks. The version of 'Sweet Power Your Embrace'' is taken from the incredibly rare 7 inch promo only issue. On the flipside is a different version of the club floor dancer ''Free'' which features a heavy bongo workout . The 45 second slab on this package features two tracks featuring the vocals from Clarice Taylor on ' I've Got My Eyes On You'' and the superb 'Slick City' which were both never commercially released as a 45 before.
Review: Sophie Sweetland (AKA D.Tiffany) delivered one of the strongest tracks on the Rhythms of the Pacific Vol 2 compilation 12", so it's little surprise to see Pacific Rhythm releasing an entire EP of her productions. Predictably, the Canadian serves up a quartet of tracks inspired by the glowing warmth of stretched-out sunsets and the morning-fresh feel of summer sunrises. She begins with the bustling instrumental hip-hop shuffle of "Get Back to You", before diving headfirst into the crystal clear waters of dub-flecked deep house trip "Blue Dream". Flip for Regular Fantasy hook-up "How RU Plush", a superb fusion of two-step influenced drum machine hits and ambient house chords, and the humid brilliance of "Something About You" (think dream house chords, ambient house textures and tribal drums).
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Compared to some of the ultra-obscure releases buffed up and reissued on Best, Loui$' "Magic Dance" is something of a perennial classic, but that doesn't diminish its value in getting another airing. Loui$ released a modest wedge of killer party anthems in his 80s peak, but this debut 12" in 1985 was the glittering prize. Of all the versions of this release, the rare Blow Up Records edition is the one that gets a look in here, and it's all about that special disco mix of "Pink Footpath". From gutsy analogue bass to shimmering lead pads, it's a dreamy dancefloor jam in every way.
Billy Squier - "The Big Beat" (extended Breaks Special edition) (2:54)
Le Pamplemousse - "Gimmie What You Got" (extended Breaks Special edition) (4:12)
Review: We've said this before, but there's something brilliantly simple about the Beats & Breaks label's "Extended Breaks" series of seven-inch re-edits. There's no superfluous fluff or needless rearrangement, just solid and matter-or-fact extensions of key drum breaks to both aid mixing and light up dancefloors. For proof, check the mysterious re-editors' take on Billy Squier's 1980 heavy rock workout "The Big Beat", which prioritizes the track's fat, bottom-heavy drums and the singer's impassioned vocal yelps while stripping out most of the gnarled guitar riffs. If you need a bit of a breather from the heavy dancefloor pressure, the crew's subtle revision of Le Pamplemousse's drowsy, synth-laden deep disco shuffler "Gimme What You Got" - a string-laden slice of sun-kissed sweetness - should do the trick.
Review: To date we've not been treated to a solo outing from Lazare Hoche - he's most commonly spotted alongside fellow deep house operative Malin Genie, but now he's going it alone with two cuts of assured groovers suited to the hazier hours of a 4/4 throwdown. "Time Guard" is a swooning beauty of a track buoyed by gorgeous synth strings and a nagging groove. "Maths" is a more forthright, club-focused affair that places all the emphasis on sharp, funked up drum machine beats, but there's still a chill in the air that keeps the track firmly rooted in the deep end.
Review: Garden Of Eden was another one of those obscure, one-shot bands who released a sole single at some point in the 1970s and then promptly vanished from view. That single, "Everybody's On A Trip", has long been sought-after amongst collectors of intergalactic disco-funk, hence this reissue from the Backatcha crew. The title track is a downlow delight, with flanged guitar riffs, spacey synth lines, punchy horns and quality male vocals rising above a hot and heavy groove. Over on the flip "It Takes Two" is sweet, slow and dewy-eyed in the tried-and-tested tradition of B-side ballads.
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Immortalised, slowed down funk from The Isley Brothers, an American R&B/soul group from Cincinnati, Ohio, established in the early 1950s. This 7" houses the much loved and often sampled in the hip hop world, "Footsteps In The Dark" (Parts 1 & 2) and "Between The Sheets". The latter is a silky smooth R&B classic whilst the arguably more well-known "Footsteps In The Dark" is an arrestingly beautiful, hood classic/soul masterpiece. The bassy but laid-back harmonious ballad with delicious percussion and Ronald Isley crooning an uneasy lyric on maintaining "a love that lasted for so long" amid the constant temptation of infidelity, makes it worth the entry price on its own.
Review: Madonna, Depeche Mode and Kelis - what do East End Edits have in store for us next? This seventh instalment harks back to the charming deep jazzy house of their inaugural release - think of the legendary St. Germain and that should give you a fairly good idea. The track's smoky, late night jazz bar vibe is complemented by a rolling bass and swinging rhythms that should appeal to the likes of Rhadoo or Petre Inspirescu - legends of the Romanian scene who themselves have lent their deft hand to the French producer's work as remixers in the past, too.
Review: REPRESS ALERT!: Best may be best known for jazz and disco reissues, but they're also dab hands at unearthing forgotten gems from the annals of Italian deep house too. The Countach were last seen in active service back in 1990, dropping just two singles but making sure they were bona fide classics. "Aqua Marina" has plenty of lashings of jazz funk rubbed into its loins, not least on the "Sweet Dream Version". The "Paradise Version" nudges the key of the club mixes and ramps up the reverb, and then the "Original Studio Version" switches up the mood with an organic, live band groove on this crucial 12".
Review: Since its release in 1973, Ze Roberto's debut single "Lotus 72 D" has become something of an in-demand item amongst collectors of soul-fired Brazilian "MPB". So much so, in fact, that Mr Bongo has licensed it and served up this 7" reissue. In its original A-side form, the track is a carnival-ready slab of samba-soul brilliance rich in razor-sharp horn blasts, rich bass guitar, punchy hand-percussion and twinkling jazz piano solos. Roberto's confident vocals take centre stage, inviting us towards the dancefloor. Over on the flip you'll find a "Fast Version" of Roberto's tribute to 1972 Formula 1 champ Emerson Fittipaldi. This has a slightly more dancefloor-centric tempo, an effect achieved when it was accidentally pitched up for inclusion on a 2001 compilation.
Bobby D’Ambrosio - "Moment Of My Life" (feat Michelle Weeks) (9:08)
Carlos Romanos - "121" (Doug Willis Raw edit) (5:15)
Joey Negro - "K-Jee" (Philly World mix) (8:48)
The APX - "Lose Yourself To The Groove" (JN Future Boogie edit) (6:55)
Review: Z Records' compilation style "Attack The Dancefloor" EPs rarely fail to deliver, with big cheese Dave Lee (AKA Joey Negro) collecting together floor-friendly treats with the label's vast catalogue. There's plenty to set the pulse racing on this 12th volume, starting with Negro's organ-heavy revision of Bobby D'Ambrosio and Michelle Weeks' classic '90s house cover of Inner Life disco classic "Moment of My Life". Purist disco thrills are provided by Lee's tidy Doug Willis re-edit of Carlos Romanos' boogie-era disco-funk bumper "121", as well as his vintage cover of MFSB classic "K-Jee". Arguably best of all, though, is Lee's sparkling, synth-heavy "Future Boogie" mix of The APX's revivalist electrofunk jam, "Lose Yourself To The Groove".
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Sideway Invisibility Theory are already well versed in the Romanian minimal scene both individually and as a duo - on top of their releases on Do Easy and Amphia, Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia represent two of the most prolific operators in the second wave of Bucharest-based dance music. With a mammoth wedge of music delivered to Sushitech in the form of two double packs entitled Invisibility Chapter I & II, this single serves as a pint-sized distillation of those records for the DJs with less time on their hands. "Alternate" is right at home on Sushitech, all elegant beat programming and huge, billowing clouds of dub chord. Label regular Steve O' Sullivan is right at home on such smoky ground, although his remix on the B-side blows the vapour away to deliver a tightly woven tool for the heads down crowd.
Review: Given that almost every single Ron Trent record makes us feel toasty and fuzzy inside, it would be fair to say that "Warm" is a rather fitting name for the deep house legend's latest release. A-side "Night Ride" sees him get busy with a vintage drum machine, adding whispered vocals, colourful riffs, undulating synth-bass and chiming melodies to a distinctive rhythm track. It's every bit as delicious and enveloping as you'd expect, with flipside opener "On A Journey" offering a surprise Balearic diversion rich in sun-kissed guitar motifs, swirling chords and a tactile, slow-motion groove. The sunset-friendly fun continues on "Exhale", where rock style guitar solos are buried beneath shuffling samba-house beats and Trent's usual impeccable keys.
Review: If you're a DJ who digs funk, soul and disco, there's a fair chance that you are familiar with Average White Band classic "Pick Up The Pieces", a staple of those kinds of sets - and, of course, hip-hop, where its killer break has been looped countless times over the years - since its initial release in 1974. Should you not own a copy of the distinctive, horn-heavy classic, we'd suggest picking up this reissue, not least because it also boasts the band's lesser-known cover of Ned Doheny classic "Get It Up For Love", featuring vocals from no less than Ben E King, on the flip. Their version of the hazy blue-eyed soul gem sits somewhere between Doheny's original version and the arguably better known Tata Vega disco cover.
Turn Me Loose/My Design (extended version) (13:58)
Turn Me Loose (Sirs cut) (10:32)
Review: Best Records present another deep cover jam Balearic diggers will rejoice at being able to lay their hands on. Blue Night was the brainchild of Peter Miconi, who created "Turn Me Loose" in 1983. All the elements are present here, from the aching blue-eyed soul vocals to rich guitar solos and an irrepressible funk bedded down in the groove, here stretching out for a full 14 minutes of pure sunkissed bliss. On the flip, SIRS takes a careful run at the original that simply reframes the elements with a more pronounced rhythm section - this is someone who knows exactly what the track needs and declines to change anything for the sake of it. Classy stuff, as you would expect from a reissue on Best Records.
Review: On wax by dope demand! This Razor-N-Tape 2013 release has been a cult classic for many years but never seen the light of the 12"... until now, thanks to the constant pestering of the Discogs community. All three tracks from the original release are here but it's "Where You Belong" that most are after due to its beautiful spacious beats, sweeping strings and awesome Dionne Warwick vocal texture. The whole release is charmed, though; "Here's To You Mr. Robinson" gets a little smokey on our souls while "Makes Me Feel" should get us all very blissed out. Do not sleep on this one, it won't hang around.
Review: Astonishingly, Boogaloo's re-make of Pharoah Sanders classic "You've Gotta Have Freedom" is now 24 years old. It was originally included on the B-side of the jazz-loving Swedish hip-hop outfit's 1995 EP "Humongous Steps (Back Down To London)", but arguably became more widely known when it was reissued by G.A.M.M. on 12" in 2003. Here it appears on 7" for the first time, with the band's vocal version - a positive, life-affirming delight that brilliantly flits between sections faithful to Sanders' version and rapped section underpinned by live hip-hop breaks - being accompanied by an equally impressive instrumental take. If it's not already in your collection, this edition should be an essential purchase.
Review: When it comes to exotic, off-kilter edits, you'll struggle to find a stronger series than Jonny Rock's Disco Hamam. This fifth volume is every bit as essential as its predecessors. Beards In Dust claims the A-side with "At The Dawn", a tidy revision of a druggy and "chuggy" version of a blue-eyed psychedelic funk-rock roller that comes complete with some serious sing-along sections. The heady world of Turkish music - a constant source of inspiration at the Disco Hamam HQ - comes to the fore on the B-side. Tales Of Voodoo's "Sharky" is a deliciously percussive, dancefloor-friendly fusion of Middle Eastern exoticism, funk-rock guitars and heavy disco percussion, while Esen Gunduz's "Deve Gucu" is an even sweatier, Italo Disco-era stomper that sounds like something you'd have heard in Istanbul clubs circa 1985.
Review: In honour of Record Store Day 2019, Sweat It Out has pressed up this vibrantly coloured 12" featuring reworks of tracks from Purple Disco Machine's 2017 debut album, "Soulmatic". It's a formidably floor-friendly affair all told. David Penn kicks things off with an unflinchingly heavy version of "Music In You" - all sweeping orchestral breakdowns, mesmerizing vocoder vocals, short piano loops and thunderous house beats - while funky house pioneer Mousse T offers up a suitably elastic and rubbery disco-house version of "Encore". Over on the flipside, Superlover goes all "French touch" on a Cassius/early Daft Punk style version of "Play" (itself a cover of Planet Patrol's electro-era classic "Play At Your Own Risk) before Carl Cox offers up a bouncy, electrofunk-meets-techno take on "Body Funk" that's propelled forwards by restless drum machine cowbells.
Review: A seminal slab of tribal house in its truest form, massive at nights like Body & Soul and consistently drawn for ever since; Joe Claussell's rare remix of his own group Instant House's 92 cult cut "Awade" gets a limited treatment on the Jungle Sounds reissue series. Still just as humid, sexy and bewildering with its rattling percussion, powerful vocal textures and rolling bassline, all laced together with Joe's perennial spiritual signature, this still sounds incredible 27 years down the line. And it comes complete with the previously unreleased "Drum Box Demo" and a selection creative mix tools. An incredible 45, grab it while you can.
Review: After the stunning Ostati album released on Organic Analogue last year, Georgia's HVL is back with a new album on the label for his home turf, Bassiani. As a resident of the infamous Tbilisi club, he knows innately how to communicate the vibe of one of the world's most widely discussed techno clubs, only this time he's taken a slightly tougher stance. "Eyes In The Sky" has a fierce, paranoid acid edge, while "F12 (Korg Patch Mix)" gets into freaky, cerebral techno territory. There are intriguing interludes and skits, and plenty more dancefloor heaters delivered with an inventiveness that once again affirms HVL's status as one of the brightest talents operating in the loosely defined field of deep techno.