Review: For their latest trawl into the world of rare soul and funk, Outta Sight has decided to reissue Lou Lawton's brilliant "Knick Knack Patty Wack", a punchy, horn-heavy and occasionally stomping 1967 cut that regularly changes hands for eye-watering sums online. Part of the appeal to collectors and DJs is the track's association with the British northern soul scene. The same could be said of Walter Wilson's "Love Keeps Me Crying", another 1967 recording that was only ever released in limited quantities as a "promo-only" 7" single. While not as sought-after as the Lou Lawton track on the A-side, its every bit as cheery and life affirming (despite the presence of rather melancholy lyrics above the driving Motor City production).
Review: Outta Sight's latest monthly rare soul missive contains hard-to-find and overlooked classics from "hard-hitting" New Jersey vocal group Soul Brothers Six and New Orleans Rhythm and Blues man Willie Tee. It's the former's wonderfully sweet and loose "I'll Be Loving You" (first released in 1966, fact fans) that takes pride of place on the A-side, serving up a lightly sauteed soul take on the rhythm and blues template. Willie Tee's 1967 jam "Walking Up A One Way Street", a summery affair blessed with a superb horn section, leisurely groove and brilliant lead vocal from the man himself, can be found on the B-side.
Willie West & The Soul Investigators - "I Just Can't Leave You Alone" (feat Jimi Tenor) (3:44)
The Soul Investigators - "I Just Can't Leave You Alone" (feat Jimi Tenor - instrumental) (3:45)
Review: Long-serving New Orleans soul man Willie West has previous form when it comes to collaborating with The Soul Investigators, Finland's funkiest backing band. He's joined forces with them plenty of times over the years, though this is their first joint release for nearly two years. "I Just Can't Leave You Alone" is particularly sweet, with West's heart-felt vocal combining brilliantly with guest Jimi Tenor's drifting flute lines and the band's rich jazz guitars, fuzzy grooves and '60s style production. The sublime quality of their playing and production is even clearer on the accompanying Instrumental take.
Walter Whisenhunt Orchestra - "Love Is A Hurting Thing" (feat Gloria Ann Taylor) (7:18)
Review: Sometimes, incredibly rare and expensive records don't live up to the hype. We can safely say that Gloria Ann Taylor's "Deep Inside You"- a superb, disco-era chunk of sexually charged soul - is not one of those records. Very few original copies were pressed, which not only explains the eye-watering second-hand prices but also the numerous bootlegs that have appeared over the years. This, then, is the record's first licensed reissue. It's worth picking up, not only for the sublime title track, but also for bonus cuts "What's Your World" - a laidback, super-sweet chunk of laidback West Coast soul - and the lushly orchestrated "Love Is A Hurting Thing".
Review: Released in celebration of Expansion's recent re-serving of two of Leon's early 80s albums - Rockin' You Eternally and Leon Ware - here's a delightful 45 that reminds us of his finest solo moments. "Why I Came To California" is a sun-kissed soul boogie groove with big horns and even bigger chorus. "Rockin' You Eternally" (which is, let's face it, one of the smoothest song titles to ever come from the 80s) showcases Leon's softer side. A ballad steeped in sentiment, play this loud enough and everyone in a five mile radius will stop and get smoochy.
Review: Emotional Rescue previously dived into the plush, soulful and verdant sound of Jaki Whitren and John Cartwright with the reissue of their essential International Times album back in 2013. Sadly Whitren and Cartwright passed away two years ago, and this 7" of previously CD/digital-only material materialises in tribute to these wonderfully talented souls. "That Will Be That" is an effervescent boogie jam with rich synths that interplay beautifully with Whitren's stunning vocal, while "This Time" takes a starkly opposite approach with just the most delicate of keys lingering behind Whitren's powerful, echoing vocal. It's a poignant note of remembrance for two gifted musicians who shone their light into the world.
Jaye Williams - "Let Me Be The One" (vocal) (4:52)
Semi Automatic - "Let Me Be The One" (instrumental) (4:36)
Review: The rebirth of 1980s UK soul and reggae imprint Local Records continues apace with the reissue of another John Collins-produced gem from 1984. In signature Collins fashion, the A-side Jaye Williams version of "Let Me Be The One" portrays many of his reggae influences - think liberal use of delay and reverb, as well as a distinctive lilt to the super-sweet vocals - while basing the musical action around a sharp, rubbery backing track rich in fizzing electronics, spacey synths and post-boogie, electro-influenced drums. The flipside Semi-Automatic version is basically Collins' intergalactic soul rhythm track smothered in snaking saxophone solos, which is no bad thing.
Review: Texan soul man, Frank Wilson, receives a timely repress of his 1965 monster "Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)", a tune which remains highly sought-after in its original format, and one that is bound to fly off these shelves like hot cakes! Outta Sight's done a great job here, and the quality is class, offering the original cut in all its majestic, romantic glory...oh, do we love this! The flipside is the mellow "Sweeter As The Days Go By", a certified love ballad that is a pleasure to the senses, each and every time...
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.
Review: The recently departed Leon Ware is the undisputed king of boogie. The man has released some of the most foundational albums of the disco offshoot genre, and it's probably thanks to him that we've even got electro blasting out of speakers these days. Be With reissued his fourth LP, from 1981, the timeless Rockin' You Eternally, which is a must-have for pretty much anyone who is into ANY style of dance music. In short, it's the absolute truth. "A Little Boogie (Never Hurt No One)" is basically the tune which gave boogie its name in the first place, all bouncy and full of electronic bass, while the rest of the A-side, made up utter classics like "Baby Don't Stop Me" or "Our Time", provides some of the most driving, heartfelt disco-soul known to man. The title track, "Rockin' You Eternally" is as sensual as it is masterfully produced, but our favourite has to be "Don't Stay Away, a luscious, string-led disco monster with an early electronic edge. This is some pioneering business, right here. Elektra's finest.
David Nathan - "Ain't Nothing Like The Love" (unreleased version) (4:03)
Billy Cole Aka Winston Francis - "Smile" (3:41)
Glen Missick & Lovespiration - "Message In Our Music" (2:50)
Sass - "Do It" (3:23)
The Harden Brothers - "Deep Inside Of You" (4:29)
Don Scott - "Love With Me" (2:54)
Jack Sass Band - "Where Is The Love (You Promised Me)" (2:56)
Review: After a series of exceptional singles, SOL Discos fire up the album engine for the very first time with this fantastic exploration of modern soul from the late 70s to early 80s. Curated by label founder Waxist, Message In Our Music features numerous exclusive reissues and unreleased cuts; David Nathan's swooning take on "Ain't Nothing Like The Love", The Harden Brothers' silky smooth "Deep Inside Of You" and the vital up-tempo positivity of Don Scott's "Love With Me" are just a handful of essentials on this immaculate collection. Complete with detailed notes, pictures and quotes from the original artists, SOL Discos have created something genuinely special here.