Review: For their latest dive into the depths of funk history, Athens of the North travels back to 1978 and the debut of John Hawes and Velma Bunch's obscure Hard Drivers project. The record initially appeared on Hawes' own short-lived imprint, and his since become a sought after 7' amongst serious collectors.
'Since I Was A Little Girl' is a disco-era funk gem, with guest singer Vivian Lee providing a brilliantly confident vocal to compliment Hawes and Bunch's driving, horn-heavy backing track. On the flip you'll find original B-side 'Straight Talk', a touching torch song full of harmony backing vocals, impassioned builds, and lyrics capable of melting even the stoniest of hearts. Review: For the latest volume in their ongoing Brazil 45s series, Mr Bongo has decided to change tack. The two tracks showcased here are from the golden age of Brazilian boogie. On the A-side you'll find Marcos Valle's 'A Paraiba Nao E Chicago', a largely overlooked cut from his 1981 full-length Vontade De Rever Voce.
While not as instantly as infectious as some of his better-known singles, it's still superb; a breezy, blue-eyed soul cut full of rising horns and sweet Portuguese vocals. On the B-side, you'll find Don Beto's 1978 disco-funk jam 'Nao Quero Mais', a superb track that was seemingly inspired by the Doobie Brothers' 'Long Train Running'.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: an all-star re-recording of Universal Robot Band's boogie classic 'Barely Breaking Even' that brings together Masters At Work man Louie Vega, original vocalist and arranger Leroy Burgess, iconic disco producer Patrick Adams and an impressive backing band of hired musicians including Michael Kelley (better known in electronic music circles as Metro Area collaborator Kelley Polar). While there are plenty of audible nods towards the early '80s original - extensive use of cowbells, that oh-so familiar synth sound - the re-recording is altogether warmer, fuller and a more contemporary sounding affair rich in sweeping orchestration and tactile synth bass. Both the edited vocal and instrumental versions are superb. Review: As part of the label's 15th birthday celebrations, the Tramp Records crew has decided to serve up some seriously heavy deep funk.
Given that the imprint first found fame championing similarly weight, B-Boy-friendly funk jams, it's rather fitting. The two showcased tracks come courtesy of St Petersburg band the Vicious Seeds, who have slowly been picking up plaudits since making their vinyl debut in 2016.
A-side 'Illegal Delivery' is something of a dancefloor beast, with razor-sharp guitars riding sweaty, all-action funk drums and a booming, metronomic bassline. 'Happy Lobster', on the other hand, is a little more relaxed but no less potent, with the Russian combo wrapping jazzy guitar motifs around a bustling groove. Review: Produced by Leroy Hutson and Curtis Mayfield, released by Just Sunshine Records, over the course of five years, the community-based collective Voices Of East Harlem blessed the world with three albums and a whole string of funky singles, including these two cult tracks. 'Wanted Dead Or Alive' is straight up funk with a strong splash of gospel. One of their most popular cuts, it was taken from their 1973 self-titled album. 'Can You Feel It' on the B offers much more of a rare groove and funk vibe with keys and some powerful backing vocals.
It still sounds as fresh as it did 45 years ago. You feeling it? Review: Those who watch the X-Factor may remember Voices With Soul; the trio, which is made up of three female members of the Campbell family (Grace, Hilda and Corene) reached the last six of the TV talent competition back in the late noughties. Here, they're in full-on contemporary gospel mode, layering their impassioned, righteous vocals over a lushly produced, slow-burning backing track full of chiming synthesizer melodies, bustling synth bass and tumbling electronic sax solos. Arguably even better is the flipside 'Promo Mix', which doffs a cap to classic British street soul - a homegrown 1980s variant that is constantly overlooked by dance music scholars - via tactile hip-hop beats and Soul II Soul style production. Review: Sounds like it came out of Lagos in 1971, actually written and recorded in Lyon in 2015: Voilaaa is the brainchild of Bruno Hovart whose long relationship with Favorite goes way back to his days as Patchworks, Mr President and The Dynamics.
Recording on a whole host of vintage machines and calling upon local African singers both cuts have a real authentic sense of realness; 'Spies Are Watching Me' drives with big horns and swooning strings which isn't dissimilar to the work of The Movers, while the TY Boys-esque 'Le Disco Des Capitales' is a heavier, more concentrated slab of floor-minded disco where the groove takes more of a forefront role. Apparently there's a whole album of this cooking. We can't wait to hear it. Review: Here's yet another rare '80s compilation with even more deep cuts than the last. Where do they find them all? Heavenly Sweetness clearly know but they ain't telling!
They are showing though, and here on Digital Zandoli they reveal 12 newly discovered disco, boogie and zouk tracks recorded about 30 years ago in the West Indies. We're clearly spoilt for choice on this record, but highlights include the synthetic sea breeze grooves of Puzzle Pulsion's 'Mwoin Ka Songe', the mellow Afro grooves of Zanman's 'Poutchi' and the abstract body music via a sandy beach vibes of OR EA's 'Biguine Inferno'. Review: Veteran Swiss DJ/producer Alex Attias has long been one of Europe's more versatile and open-minded DJs, so it's fitting that BBE have given him a chance to flex his curatorial muscles. LillyLillyGood, which shares its name with a monthly party and label Attias runs, was inspired by Attias's desire to present 'really good grooves that people want to dance to or listen to or home'. He's done just that, whizzing through an unmixed selection that giddily flits between trippy, polyrhythmic acid madness (Grooveman Spot), jaunty jazz-funk (Freeeze, Cro Magnon's ultra-deep hook-up with Roy Ayers), synth-fuelled broken beat business (Tatham, Mensah, Lord and Ranks), deliciously spacey deep house (the Zanzibar remix of Nicole Willis's 'Curiosity') and killer disco (Attias's own edit of Velvet Hammer's 'Party Hearty'). Review: Capturing the essence and feels of the long-standing event he runs in his Swiss hometown of Lausanne, veteran digger and selector Attias presents a brand new compendium of sweet compositions that sum up he's at creatively and spiritually. Gems on gems on gems: highlights that we guarantee will appeal to your good tastes and dancefloor include the hypnotic vibraphone wash of Cro-Magnon's 'Midnight Magic', the slept-on jittering funk of Tatham, Mensah, Lord & Ranks's 'Cascade' and Material and Nona Hendrix's ludicrously funky, ultimately sleazy slinker 'Over & Over'.
We suspect you'll be playing this record over and over, too. Review: Few can match BBE when it comes to the funk and disco compilation stakes - the label's been issuing killer compendiums curated by some of the finest and most eminently knowledgeable DJs and diggers since the mid 90s. Soul In The Hole sees them hand the controls to Sadar Bahar, Chicago based DJ described by BBE as the city's 'best kept secret'. Bahar began DJing in the early 80s, a historically important time for music in Chicago and states he was driven by an 'unquenchable desire to create one of the best collections ever'.
This 12 track compilation demonstrates Bahar has achieved that with aplomb, traversing through a colourful range of funk, soul, disco and boogie, with Frederic Mercier's 'Spirit' a real gem. Review: Craig Charles' annual 'Funk & Soul Club' compilations are fast becoming as much of a Christmas tradition as turkey, dodgy decorations and ill-advised snogs at office parties. As with its predecessor, this sixth volume does a good job in showcasing the best in modern funk, soul, Afrobeat and heavy Latin jams, with a few stone cold classics thrown in (see the Mighty Ryeders' peerless 'Evil Vibrations'). Look out for deep and heavy funk gems from the Bamboos, the New Mastersounds and Lance Ferguson's Rare Groove Spectrum, some suitably smooth fare from Courtney Pine and Omar, a scintillating, salsa-focused cover of 'Papa Was a Rolling Stone' by Scotland's Grupo Magnetico, and a dash of dancefloor goodness from funk breaks scene stalwarts Smoove and Turrell. Review: As part of their ongoing 50th birthday celebrations, German jazz label MPS asked Italian musician and crate digger Nicola Conte to trawl through their archives for spiritual gold.
The result is 'Cosmic Forest', an eye-opening set of largely obscure and little known tracks originally recorded between 1965 and 75. There is much 'straight-up' spiritual jazz to enjoy (Nathan Davis' 'Evolution' being a prime example), but it's the cuts that draw on a wider palette of influences that really stand out. Check, for example, the Middle Eastern flourishes of George Gruntz's 'Djerbi', the hippy-ish vocal bliss of The Third Wave's 'Maiden Voyage', the meditative jazz raga that is 'Yaad' by Motihar Trio, Schweizer Trio, Schoof & Wilen, and the tropical drums of 'El Babaku' by El Babaku. Review: The Cuban Brothers drop some heat of their own with this surprising compilation that blurs the lines between original music and DJ composition. La Familia does have some odd their sounds on it, namely the opening 'I Hate Hate', a funky-ass pop tune that kicks this thing off on the right foot, but the majority of it is made from the very artists who launched funk and pop onto the world stage.
Inside, you'll fid some absolute classics from legends like Herbie Hancock, Teddy Pendergrass, A Tribe Called Quest, D'Angelo, and many more hot shots. Review: Dam Funk has been foundational in crystallising Stones Throw's undisputed leadership in the nu-school funk and boogie scene, and he's up there with the great J Dilla in our books. Naturally, he's been asked to mix up the latest series of DJ Kicks and, ladies and gentlemen, it's a real masterclass - one of those comps you can safely leave on and let it do its thing on you. The mood is personified by a fine blend of electronics and tougher, funkier rhythms by artists such as Index, Moon B, and Dam himself. There are also a few rare cuts by Chicago house legend Gemini that fit in perfectly, and a whole heap of wavy, Cali-inspired electronic funk.
Review: Like deep funk? Then you'd surely know of the legendary Keb Darge: the Scottish DJ who invented the term. Known as a leading authority on funk and soul music of the 1960s and beyond, he went from modest beginnings in Wigan, before moving to London in the '70s, bringing the sounds of Northern Soul to punters in the capital. Namely His 'Legendary Deep Funk' night at Soho's seminal strip club turned music venue Madame Jojo's. Following up his last compilation put together with Paul Weller; 2009's Lost & Found (Real R'N'B & Soul) LP, Darge presents hits from the 'Deep Funk' series to celebrate BBE's 20th year. Diggers will most certainly appreciate appearances on here such as Soul Drifter's 'Funky Brother', Kenny Dope's edit of Family Of Eve's much sampled 'I Wanna Be Loved By You', Joe Washington's 'Blueberry Hill' and the classic 'Love Call' by Ramsay and Company amongst many others. Review: Given the depth of his record collection, you'd expect crate-digging hero Andy Smith to be able to put together a rather good disco and boogie compilation.
That's exactly what he does here. Named after his disco-themed DJ collective, Reach Up does a great job in joining the dots between familiar anthems (Disco Dub Band's 'For The Love of Money', World Premiere's 'Share The Night', Freedom's break-diggin' fave 'Get Up & Dance' and Sure Thing's modern electrofunk smash 'Holding Me Tight') and slightly deeper, often overlooked selections (Advance's boogie killer 'Take Me To The Top' and Jimmy Bo Horne's 'Is It In' being great examples). Smith's mix on disc one is typically smooth, entertaining and on-point, while the unmixed second disco offers an opportunity to own the same cuts in full-length, DJ-friendly form.
Review: Sony BMG is, as one would expect, a pretty reliable source of all things music-related. This becomes especially true if we're talking edits, seeing as there is just so much of the stuff coming out at all times. The empirical label have recruited the fast-growing DJ Reverend P, one of those producers who manages to find little nuggets of greatness in every track he touches. There's plenty of party-ready hits being given a makeover here; The Jacksons' 'That's What You Get (For Being Polite)' is tuned up for the dance floor, 'Rockin' After Midnight' by Marvin Gaye is made even sexier, but the special moment lies in 'Love Is Always On Your Mind' by Gladys Knight & The Pips. Big up, Reverend P. Hot soul edits comin' at ya! Review: Selector, percussionist, producer and all-round legend Snowboy represents his weekly Madame JoJo's showcase in album form.
Digging deep across two 12's, Snowboy treats us to 23 undiluted funk and soul cuts. From well-known (James Brown's 'Bring It Up' and Etta James' 'Can't Shake It') to lesser-known (The Shirelles' 'Boys', Dorothy Berry's 'I Say You're Driving Me Crazy'), the whole curation rolls with emphatic consistency and attention to detail. With gems hidden around every corner, even the most ardent of collectors will find many things to love right here. Review: DJ Spinna is known for many things; his productions, sublime DJ mixes and many a hip hop classic as half of Jigmastas.
He's also a complete Stevie Wonder obsessive who runs a popular Stevie-themed club night called Wonderful. A series of albums that expand on the party's concept was a logical next step and The Wonder Of Stevie now arrives at a third volume. This edition has clearly been painstakingly curated by Spinna and BBE, consisting of other people's covers of the man's work. Highlights include sweet and sugary 'Buttercup' by The Jackson 5, the bluesy honky tonk jam 'It's My Pleasure' by Billy Preston and Quincy Jones' pure liquid funk version of 'Betcha' Wouldn't Hurt Me'. Review: For the latest volume in their crate-digging disco series, Under The Influence, Z Records has turned to long-serving British brothers Simon and Robin Lee AKA Faze Action.
In keeping with the series' dusty-fingered ethos, there's plenty of brilliant rarities to set the pulse racing - see the smooth '80s boogie of Leston Paul's 'All Nite Tonight', the sublime Afro-disco brilliance of Bebe Manga, the up-tempo hustle of Oscar Perry's 'Body Movements' and the South American disco swirl of Don Lurio's 'Ruba Ruba' - as well as a smattering of obscure versions of classic dancefloor hits (check Michele Claire's version of 'In The Bush'). You'll also find a smattering of killer Faze Action edits, too, with their version of Midway's 'Set It Out' and Mikki's freestyle-era boogie ham 'Dance Lover' standing out. Review: The Grasso is greener in Bologna: home to two of the most well-connected collectors in Italy. Suppliers to the likes of Kenny Dope, Phil Asher and Dimitri, Gino and Federico have carved their crate craft to insane levels over the last 30+ years.
As shown on this detailed, widescreen boogie, funk and disco collection for BBC. Splattering the vibrant collection with a handful of their own edits (TB Funk's salubrious struts on 'Free Blow', fly-by boogie falsettos on Living Color's 'Plastic People'), the Grasso bro's have put together a package that's eye-opening, enlightening and damn fine to party to. See you on the other side. Review: Curated as part of the iconic street artist's Tate exhibition this year, The World Of Keith Haring unites many of the talented souls Keith knew, or was inspired by, during his prolific rise as one of the most vital cultural spokesmen through the 70s and 80s.
Soundtracking the gritty downtown NYC streets he made his first mark on, this limited collection captures the whole melting pot from b-boy culture with cuts such as 'E.T Boogie' and 'Bump N Grind', raw boogie and soul ('Over & Over') and pure drama ('The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us'). A powerful collection as striking and relatable as his own signature. Review: Curated as part of the iconic street artist's Tate exhibition this year, The World Of Keith Haring unites many of the talented souls Keith knew, or was inspired by, during his prolific rise as one of the most vital cultural spokesmen through the 70s and 80s. Soundtracking the gritty downtown NYC streets he made his first mark on, this limited collection captures the whole melting pot from b-boy culture with cuts such as 'E.T Boogie' and 'Bump N Grind', raw boogie and soul ('Over & Over') and pure drama ('The Guardian Angel Is Watching Over Us'). A powerful collection as striking and relatable as his own signature.
Review: The Spacetalk label returns with this fine compilation by French house shotter, Jeremy Underground. We know him, and you surely know him, though his My Love Is Underground label, an imprint that has produced some of the best deep house in the last five years. He's not in house mode today, though, and instead the DJ shows us his soul roots. Ron Rinaldi's opener 'Mexican Summer' is a real peach of a song, then there's some Brazilian disco-funk through Leila Pinheiro's 'Tudo Em Cima', and the supremely deep and sensual 'Superstar' by NCCU. Other favourites include Maureen Bailey's bittersweet anthem 'Takin' My Time With You', and June Evans' 'Hardly Need To Say', a tune that we could just leave on repeat. A highly recommended comp! Review: As someone who briefly escaped 70's Glasgow and got a taste of the golden age of NYC Disco, Al Kent is a perfect choice to lead you through a classy selection of some choice and rare Disco treats.
Having used his huge collection in the past for re-edits and originals, he also took the bold step of forming his own band in 2007 under the name The Million Dollar Orchestra.The selections here reflect the point at which Funk and Soul mutated into Disco, with most of the tracks capturing that pre-Moroder organic sound. Lee Alfred's Rockin-Poppin Full Tilting for example has a laid back vibe similar to Curtis Mayfield's more uptempo tunes. New Ghetto Express's version of Standing On The Verge of Getting It On (originally by Funkadelic) up's the tempo on the wigged-out classic, again combing the Funk with a Disco groove.Lypso Disco by Smile Street People, as you'd guess from the title, has a playful Calypso lilt and bounce to it. Cosmic Disco by Patricia White on the other hand doesn't sound like something that Todd Terje or Lindstrom got their cues from, but it is a fun song with some brilliantly random thumb-piano playing in the background!Anyone looking for samples will have a field day among these tracks, Sweet Daddy Floyd's I Just Can't Help Myself for example has a break in the middle to die for. You could loop up 4 bars practically anywhere and have something pretty damn funky to work with. For that reason alone, it's well worth having a listen and broadening your horizons.
Review: As the title suggests, Tru Thoughts Covers 2 is the follow up to 2009's hugely popular compilation from Rob Luis' south coast label and features another wealth of intriguing cover versions that have been released and loved as album tracks, singles or one-offs in the ensuing six years. Whilst not as weighty as the full 17 track CD edition, Tru Thoughts have still managed to slip in some real pearlers on this seven track LP version.
Chief among them is the opening track, The Quantic Y Su Conjunto Los Miticos Del Ritmos take on 'Ain't Nuthin but a G Thang', and Hot 8 Brass Band's parping take on 'Ghost Town'. Review: Since the Beach Diggin' compilation series launched a few years back, a number of its obscure, Balearic-minded selections have been given full length reissues of their own. We can probably expect a number of the tracks from this brilliant fifth volume to get the same treatment. As usual, the wide-ranging track list is thick with highlights, from the synth-heavy, French language reggae of Raphael Toine's 1986 bubbler 'Femmes Pays Douces' (taken from the artist's frustratingly hard to find Ce Ta Ou album) and vibraphone-laden jazz-funk smoothness of Yasuko Agwa's sought-after 'L.A Night', to the barely-known brilliance of Andre Maria Tole's Cameroonian gem 'Sweet Dole'. In other words, it's another essential selection. Review: Since the Beach Diggin' compilation series launched a few years back, a number of its obscure, Balearic-minded selections have been given full length reissues of their own. We can probably expect a number of the tracks from this brilliant fifth volume to get the same treatment.
As usual, the wide-ranging track list is thick with highlights, from the synth-heavy, French language reggae of Raphael Toine's 1986 bubbler 'Femmes Pays Douces' (taken from the artist's frustratingly hard to find Ce Ta Ou album) and vibraphone-laden jazz-funk smoothness of Yasuko Agwa's sought-after 'L.A Night', to the barely-known brilliance of Andre Maria Tole's Cameroonian gem 'Sweet Dole'. In other words, it's another essential selection.
Review: On his fourth exploration of the world of global 'Adult Oriented Rock', French crate-digger Charles Maurice focuses on the period between 1977 and '86. That means a greater emphasis on synthesizers, dusty drum machines and the kind of sparkling melodies that would once have drifted from daytime radio at an alarming rate. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the dewy-eyed synth-soul of Arlana's 'When You Call My Name' and the breezy boogie of Omega Sunrise's 'Too Hip', to the sparse Balearic bliss of Isabelle Mayereau's 'Orange Bleue', the flute-laden easy listening hum of Fernando Toussaint, the sax-happy '80s sleaze of Special Occasion's brilliant 'Flyin' To Santa Barbara' and the jaunty Latino jazz-funk of 'Mellow Out' by Pacific Dreams. Review: For those intrigued by the distinctively Gallic but authentically American-sounding world of French disco-boogie, Charles Maurice's ongoing compilation series should be essential listening. Here he serves up a third instalment that's every bit as good as its' acclaimed predecessors. Highlights naturally come thick and fast throughout, from the mid-80s dreaminess of Maya's undeniably Balearic 'Lait De Coco (Dub)' and the Brenda Taylor-ish bounce of Judy Carter's brilliant 'Listen to the Music', to the Leroy Burgess style piano stabs and Patrick Adams-ish disco production of Caramel's 'L'Amour Toujours L'Amour'. Oh, and the late night radio warmth of NST Cophies' 'Segregation', a sweet, undulating workout that will no doubt find favour with Balearic selectors.
Review: On his fourth exploration of the world of global 'Adult Oriented Rock', French crate-digger Charles Maurice focuses on the period between 1977 and '86. That means a greater emphasis on synthesizers, dusty drum machines and the kind of sparkling melodies that would once have drifted from daytime radio at an alarming rate. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the dewy-eyed synth-soul of Arlana's 'When You Call My Name' and the breezy boogie of Omega Sunrise's 'Too Hip', to the sparse Balearic bliss of Isabelle Mayereau's 'Orange Bleue', the flute-laden easy listening hum of Fernando Toussaint, the sax-happy '80s sleaze of Special Occasion's brilliant 'Flyin' To Santa Barbara' and the jaunty Latino jazz-funk of 'Mellow Out' by Pacific Dreams. Review: BBE Records have teamed up with DJ/Producer Mr Thing, to dig deep into his extensive collection to compile a series of albums of rare and sought after breaks. This series reflects brilliantly on his dedication to digging for those untouched and unrivalled samples and breaks as you hear him use in his DJ sets.
As a DJ, Mr Thing never fails to engage the crowd with his winning combination of hip-hop and funk breaks spiced up with his legendary mixing and scratching skills. 'Strange Breaks & Mr Thing' is a crazy good release. Review: It doesn't seem like five years since BBE last invited London crate digger and turntablist Mr Thing to get his fingers dusty by picking out gems from his record collection for the Strange Breaks & Mr Thing series. Predictably, this belated third installment is full of killer selections that lives up to it's subtitled billing as More Rock Funk Soul Jazz & Soundtrack Breaks For Modern Living. Favourites come thick and fast though the low down funk of Dynamic Concept's 'La Da Da' and the jazz-funk goodness of Harry Beckett's 'Ring Within Rings' stand out upon first listen. The cats at BBE spare no expense either with this vinyl edition that features fifteen cuts spread across the two slabs, and there's also Mr Thing's peerless mix available on a CD that's slipped in too.
Review: Magic happens when Mr Thing hits the crates. His ability to unearth recordings you're guaranteed to never have heard before, and join the dots in ways you'd never have thought before, his 'Strange Breaks' series is legendary. Long since off-press, to celebrate their 20th anniversary BBE have repressed this seminal 2009 sophomore. From the turbo blues fusion of Roy Head and the speeding Mancini feels of Val Marrall's Orchestra to the more sedate, slinky funk of Johnny Griffith and sunny-side roots of Tinga Stewart, Mr Thing's odyssey remains as inciteful, intriguing and as full of treasure as it did seven years ago. Review: When Joey Negro and Sean P established the Disco Spectrum series of compilations back in 1999, few DJs were digging for disco. Almost two decades on, we're told that disco was the sound of summer 2017 (and the summer before that).
The time is right, then, for this 'best of', containing the finest cuts from the series' three previous volumes. This time round, the crate-digging duo has opted for a mixture of familiar favourites ('Spread Love', 'Out Of My Hands (Love's Taking Over)', 'Bourgie Bourgie', 'Together Forever' etc.) and harder to find gems.
These include Caribbean disco classic 'Trinidad' by John Gibbs and the US Steel Orchestra, Blair's sumptuous 'Nightlife' and Larry Levan's brilliant remix of Syreeta's synth-laden slammer 'Can't Shake Your Love'. Review: Originally released on CD and digital download way back in 2010, Joey Nergo's superb 'Backstreet Brit Funk' compilation finally comes to vinyl. Given the recent rise in interest in 'Brit-funk' - an early-to-mid '80s UK style rooted in jazz-funk, boogie, electro and soul - the timing seems perfect. It contains some genuinely killer cuts throughout, with highlights including the Hammond-heavy hustle of Ed Bentley's 'Bentley Boogie', the scorching sax solos and huggable grooves of Mirage's 'Summer Grooves', the breezy jazz-funk of Ritual's 'Sore Lip' and the sun-kissed electrofunk/lovers rock fusion of The Cool Notes' 'I Wanna Dance'. The collection also contains a smattering of tidy, DJ-friendly re-edits from the long-serving Essex producer. Review: In recent years, more and more crate diggers have been exploring 'Brit-funk' - a previously largely overlooked British variant of jazz-funk popular in underground UK clubs between the late 1970s and mid '80s.
One such digger is Parisian producer and DJ Saint-James, who here presents his second deep dive into the obscure genre. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the percussive, synth-heavy soul brilliance of Stikki Stuff's 'School' and the pre-Lover's Rock, reggae-influenced electrofunk smoothness of Cruzial's 'Send Me Your Love', to the killer slap bass of The Breakfast Band's club-rocker 'Funksters' and the sparkling boogie badness of 'Keep On Searching For Love' by Scratch (Gonzalez). Review: Discomatin co-founder and all-round Parisian selector don Saint James co-launches his new Chuwanaga label with this expertly curated compilation. In The Red is a deep dive into the exciting funk fusion coming out of London between 1980-83 as a new movement of black British musicians honed a sound that owes as much to soundsystem culture as it does disco. From the glistening instrumental flare of Index to the lavish synths and slap bass of Equa, this captures a unique and currently under-documented moment in groove history.
Skeewiff Electro Swing Gospel Breaks Rar Player
Complete with detailed liner notes, this is a fantastic way to launch a new label. Not to be slept on. Review: In recent times, crate-digging hero Andy Smith has turned his attention to the world of disco and boogie, showcasing the depth of his collection as part of the Reach Up collective. It seems fitting, then, that his latest compilation - a triple-vinyl epic - should explore the disco and electrofunk gems lurking in his vast vault of records. There are a few well-known gems (Disco Dub Band, World Premiere, Freedom and Sure Thing's modern electrofunk anthem 'Holding Me Tight', for starters), but far more overlooked or slept-on gems (Advance's boogie killer 'Take Me To The Top' and Jimmy Bo Horne's 'Is It In' being great examples). The collection also boasts a couple of tasty re-edits, including an unheard one by Smith and pal Nick Halkes of Jimmy Ross's Paradise Garage anthem 'First True Love Affair'. Review: For years now, Newcastle-based funk/breaks fusionist Smoove has been one of Jalepeno's most decorated artists.
His particular brand of party-starting groovery continues to be popular with dancefloors - hence the rather large amount of remix requests he gets. First Class gathers together 13 of his favourite remixes to date, offering a string of soulful, floor-friendly reworks that verge from the boisterous (the heavy percussion of his New Mastersounds tweak) to the banging (a hectic revision of The Third Degree's 'Can't Get You Out of My Head').
There are sweaty moments by the armful, too (check the Bahama Soul Club re-make) and toe tapping jams aplenty (Brenda Boykin). Funk fans will love it. Review: Plenty of compilations have focused on Dutch and Belgian music from the 1980s onwards, but we can think of very few that have mined those countries' 1970s musical output.
'Harde Smart' does just that, focusing in particular on Dutch and Flemish language songs inspired by a heady mixture of funk, soul and French chanson music (a particularly Gallic, easy listening-inspired take on pop music). The expansive 42-track, double CD set contains far too many highlights to mention here, including some genuinely unusual and eccentric cuts that undoubtedly deserve wider attention. Our favourites include the Tower Of Power style psychedelic funk-rock of Daan Broos & Dapokaster's 'Maan-Dag', the reggae-soft rock fusion of Laurentius' 'Zomerliefde' and the Jimi Hendrix-isms of 'Huisje' by Lamp, Lazerus & Kris. Review: Following 2010's inaugural compilation, Analog Africa dig deeper to expand our Ghanaian funk collections: featuring an exciting range of well-known names (K Frimpong, Ebo Taylor, The African Brothers) and more obscure rarities, it's an insightful schooling in the highlife sound and its deeply rooted funk and soul tendrils.
Every track is a highlight, but stand-out jams come from De Frank's Band (thanks to their attention to western rhythm detail), Los Issifu & His Moslems' sedate organ meanders on 'Kana Soro' and Complex Soundz' sermon-like horn blaster 'God Is Love'. Complete with a well compiled and research booklet that tells the full Ghanaian funk story, this is a fine addition to any collection.
Review: New Orleans: one of jazz music's most spiritual homes, the US city was also a hotbed for raw, groundbreaking funk fusion in the 60s. But as most releases experienced limited distribution, many of its most distinctive funk talents remained solely within the city boundaries and have since become something of a collector's boon. As proved with the previous two volumes, the collectors had every right to seek these out.
From the smoky blue grass subtleties of 'Little Baby' to the tribal voodoo fusion of 'Two Way Poc A Way' via the jazz harmonies and aquatic wah wahs of 'Jockey Ride', each one tells a once forgotten tale of raw, spirited grooves, repping New Orleans in a whole way. A must have for all funk aficionados. Review: Welcome to 70s Italy. A time of serious cultural flux, while the country suffered extended periods of military presence and austere pressures, a create counter culture was wafting psychedelically through the family TV sets. Funk-fusion, blues bangers and cosmic sensations were commissioned by the country's leading channels, only to be released in limited amounts (if released at all) before being lost in the annals of musical history. Here's a 35-track flavour of what we missed. From vocal harmonised guitar-weeping dreaminess ('Una Storia') to sleazy, tripped out blues ('Motocross') via pristine jazz boogie ('Contatto'), it's a side to Italy's rich musical history that demands repeat revisits.
It would be criminale not to.