Review: More recently spotted with The Georgia Soul Drifters or The Coasters, Early Clover's recording history can be traced back almost 40 years with this previously super-rare 45. With his soft-but-arresting tones, his yearning vocal style is comparable to Stevie Wonder, especially on the slow and dreamy Innervisions-esque "Who Are You?" Meanwhile on the B, "I Wanna Take A Chance With You" switches dreams for funk reality with a Kool & The Gang style feel-good throw down. Silky.
Review: Danny Krivit's officially sanctioned re-edits of Earth Wind & Fire's "Brazilian Rhyme" and "Runnin" have been sought-after since they first appeared on a Japan-only 12" back in 2004. In fact, such is demand that even later bootleg pressings now go for silly money online. As this reissue proves, though, they're arguably amongst Krivit's strongest scalpel works. Certainly, his three-minute revision of the always too short "Brazilian Rhyme" teases it out to just the right length, in the process delivering a sweltering, sing-along summer anthem. The flipside revision of the equally as summery "Runnin" is every bit as good, with Krivit making merry with the original's life-affirming scat vocals and killer piano solos.
The Love I Found In You (feat Chuck Edwards) (4:15)
Review: During the 1970s, San Francisco-based family band The Edwards Generation released a handful of obscure singles that are now sought by funk and soul collectors the world over. These very same collectors should enjoy this tidy seven-inch on Cordial, which offers up two previously unheard recordings from the Chuck Edwards-helmed outfit. A-side "I Like Your Style" is a breezy and laidback dancefloor mover, with a sweet lead vocal, rubbery slap bass, jangling guitars, fuzzy horns and unfussy but floor-ready drums. Chuck Edwards sings lead on the loved-up, West Coast style goodness of "The Love I Found In You", a sunshine-ready number that's arguably the stronger of two killer cuts.
Review: Straight form the heart of London via the mind of Detroit, the ever-consistent Soul Brother crew have laid down another stellar reissue here through Dee Edwards' gorgeous "(I Can) Deal With That". Originally out on the much-coveted De-To label in 1977, the original mix is a delicate, whaling soul monster that'll melt your heart from its first guitar riff - Edwards' voice is truly magnetic over the slow-burning percussion. There's a more stripped-down 'Strings' version to act as the cherry on the cake - you just gotta.
Review: Shots fired from the 37th chamber... The El Michels Affair's long-standing love for the Wu legacy continues on hot 45" with two more perfect covers from their last album. First up GZA's "Shadow Boxing" gets a hazy Booker T-style shakedown with those dreamy hammonds breezing through like top-down caddies. FlipGhostface Killah's "Iron Maiden" gets the swooning, woozy treatment with a breakdown that flips like a wild dream. No one does Wu covers like Leon Michels' troupe.
Review: Deep into his chamber-lurking follow-up Wu odyssey, Leon Michels stumbled upon shy New York twosome The Shacks and convinced them to record this hazy summer-primed 45". Singer Shannon steals the show with softness and honesty as the band weave a psychedelic bed of sliding guitars and faraway harmonies. Both laced with a woozy 60s edge and beautifully playful lyrics, the whole EP sparkles with soul and talent from both The Shacks and Leon's ever-reliable troupe.
Review: Astonishingly, original copies of Energize's 1979 private press single "Piece of Class" have changed hands for over 500 quid online. Helpfully, Rain & Shine have decided to save us all a few bob by slinging out this licensed reissue. The title track is something of a bustling disco-funk gem - a genuinely wonderful fusion of hazy vocals, dueling horn solos, spacey synthesizer flourishes and driving bass guitar. B-side "Star of the Disco" is an even more up-tempo affair, with mazy saxophone solos, rasping horn stabs and starry jazz-funk keys riding a walking bassline and high-octane disco drums.
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: French funk fusioneer Alexis Evans hits home with the second single from his new album "I've Come A Long Way". "She Took Me Back" is the opening track from his LP and you can hear why; soaring deep soul, all swooning and sweeping, it's an instant heart warmer that sets the scene for the whole album. "It's All Over Now" is a much more upbeat take with chunky honky tonks, tight horns and a fantastic band leading on the breakdown. His style, tone and delivery belie his young age. It ain't over yet...
Review: Already well known in his native France, Anglo-French soul singer Alexis Evans has set his sights on global stardom - or at least reaching his full potential and touring the world. "I Made A Deal With Myself" is his second single since making the move to Record Kicks earlier in the year. The title track is superb - a doozy of an early '60s style soul stomper that sees Evans pitch himself as a modern day version of soul great Jackie Wilson. Flipside "Your Words" is similarly stylistically authentic, with saccharine strings and woozy horns helping to create a suitably sweet, loved-up mood.
Review: Not-for-profit label Rain & Shine continues to offer up fine reissues of long overlooked, forgotten and hard-to-find LPs. Their latest comes from gospel musician Steve Elliott, whose self-released 1981 debut "True Image" is considered by collectors to be something of a Holy Grail of boogie-era gospel soul. As this new edition proves, it remains a hugely potent and entertaining set. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the suitably lo-fi synth-soul business of "Skitz-O-Love" and laidback boogie-pop of "One More Time", to the smooth grooves (and even smoother vocals) of "We Were Meant To Be" and sugary "Believe In Me", where female harmony vocals only emphasize the loved-up mood.
Review: Originally released in 1992, Completion Of A Miracle was American R&B and gospel musician Steve Elliott's second LP. New Zealand-based reissue imprint Rain & Shine continue their love for Elliott's self-produced music by giving the album another lease of life. Remastered from the original reel-to-reel tapes, it includes the dancefloor cut "Wake Up". Another essential release set to become a future collector's item. Rain & Shine was established in Auckland, New Zealand in 2017 and only pursues music previously unreleased or never re-issued, and when certain that artists or their families can be directly involved to benefit financially.
Review: Kalita's obligatory Record Store Day offering is something rather special: synth-funk visionary couple Emerson and Leora Sandidge's mythical unreleased album finally sees the light of day, following Emerson's sole private press seven-inch single release way back in 1988. Those two tunes ("Sending All My Love Out" and "Why Are You So Cold?") make the cut on this belated debut set, alongside six other previously unreleased recordings from the same sessions. Their take on electrofunk, boogie and '80s soul is colourful, soulful and synth-heavy, with the included tracks veering from up-tempo club workouts (see "Raw Deal Cocaine Kills") and fizzing dancefloor pop workouts, to sugary ballads and seductive slow jams. In other words, it's a more than tidy selection of rare and unheard gems.