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DISHING UP TASTY VINTAGE JAZZ AND FUNK – R2 RECORDS

Friday, 24 February 2012 10:52 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

HeadhuntersThere's a new reissue company in town – founded by funk and jazz fanatic, Kyri Patsalides, they're called R2 and are based in the UK. The label's debut release – and the inaugural offering in their 'R2 Classics Series' – is a 'twofer' devoted to THE HEADHUNTERS.

Though they began life as Herbie Hancock's band on the keyboardist's classic 'Head Hunters' album in 1973, in '75 and '77 they cut LPs under their own name. Out of print for many years, the group's cult albums 'Survival Of The Fittest' – which includes the classic 'God Made Me Funky' - and 'Straight From The Gate' now return in a gatefold digipak 2-CD set. Release date is March.

Later, in April, R2 intends to reissue a couple of funky and sought-after '70s albums on Arista by keyboard legend, LARRY YOUNG, and his band FUEL - 'Larry Young's Fuel' and 'Spaceball.'

Two collectable RAMSEY LEWIS albums from the '70s – 'Funky Serenity' and 'Salongo,' both originally issued by Columbia – also receive a new lease of life from R2 in April. 1976's 'Salongo' was helmed by Earth, Wind & Fire's Maurice White alongside legendary Windy City producer Charles Stepney.

All of R2's reissues are remastered from the original master tapes. 

Last Updated on Friday, 24 February 2012 11:02

 

HAPPY 20th, DOME...

Tuesday, 21 February 2012 12:51 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

domeThe UK's premier "new soul" label, DOME, is set to celebrate its 20TH anniversary. Label boss and lifelong soul fan, PETER ROBINSON finds it hard to believe that his little label's been going strong for all that time... adding, "Given all the change that's taken place in the music industry in that time and the companies that are no longer around, this feels like quite and achievement".

To celebrate, DOME are releasing a lavish 3 CD box set that covers the many highlights of the label's existence. The music features artists like BEVERLY KNIGHT, LULU, HIL ST SOUL, INCOGNITO, ERIC ROBERSON, DRIZABONE SOUL FAMILY, ANTHONY DAVID, AVERY SUNSHINE, RAHSAAN PATTERSON and many more. As a bonus the set's third CD is stuffed with new songs, previously unreleased remixes, live radio performance and live concert recordings.

The music is accompanied by a stunning 40 page booklet in which PETER reminisces about the label's history. His reflections are accompanied by dozens of previously unseen photos which offer a gallery of who's who in the modern soul world.

'DOME TWENTY YEARS ' is a not-to-be-missed set and there'll be a full review here @SJF very soon.

 

VINTAGE DELLS ......

Friday, 17 February 2012 22:26 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

Dinah_Washington_and_the_Dells_DSTHE DELLS launch their Diamond Jubilee Year with a "new" CD. Celebrating 60 glorious years in the business, they release 'Time Makes You Change' - a 44-track 2CD compilation of their recordings from 1954-1961. It's released on Jasmine Records and opens with a 1954 Chess recording when they were known as THE EL RAYS, before they changed their name to THE DELLS. There follows a comprehensive overview of the group's output for Vee Jay Records, including their doo wop classic 'Oh What A Night' from 1956. The collection concludes with four rare stereo tracks THE DELLS recorded in 1961 with jazz queen DINAH WASHINGTON and arranger / producer QUINCY JONES, while they were working as DINAH'S backing group.

Fortunately, following Jasmine's new compilation, further reissues of THE DELLS' repertoire are planned from a number of companies during the group's Diamond Jubilee Year. Find out more @ www.themightydells.com

Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2012 22:35

 

ASSOCIATIONS ...

Friday, 17 February 2012 22:21 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

assoc_1Fans of that sweet, harmonic pop-soul sound of groups like THE FIFTH DIMENSION and THE FRIENDS OF DISTINCTION need to know that over the last 12 months re-issue specialist CHERRY RED RECORDS have – through their various imprints – made available the bulk of the back catalogue of underrated West Coast harmony group, THE ASSOCIATION.

Now , THE ASSOCIATION were never a soul group. They grew out of the mid sixties California folk-rock scene and went on to score a whole series of US hits and release a slew of now collectable albums. Amongst their biggest hits were the beautiful ballads, 'Cherish' and 'Never My Love' and every soul fan will have numerous covers of those songs by artists of the calibre of THE FOUR TOPS, ETTA JAMES, SMOKEY ROBINSON and indeed the FIFTH DIMENSION whose producer, BONES HOWE, was also responsible for many of THE ASSOCIATION'S recordings.

The Now Sounds label have reissued the first four ASSOCIATION LPs – 'And Then Along Comes The Association', 'Renaissance'(both 1966), 'Insight Out'(1967) and '68's 'Birthday' while the outfit's more expassoc_2erimental 1972 album 'Waterbeds In Trinidad' is out on the Rev-O-La Label. That one features a little-known GOFFIN/KING song, 'Snow Queen'. The other albums feature classics like 'Cherish', 'Never My Love', 'Windy', 'Along Comes Mary', 'Time For Living' and 'No Fair At All'... all great and classy harmony pop from a little known group. Acquaint yourself with them @ www.cherryred.co.uk

Last Updated on Friday, 17 February 2012 22:34

 

SMOKEY VI...

Tuesday, 14 February 2012 16:17 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

smokeyUniversal/Hip-O Select continue their most excellent trawl through SMOKEY ROBINSON'S solo archive with their sixth "twofer". This time around the CD pairs 1980's 'Warm Thoughts' with '81's 'Being With You'.

'Warm Thoughts' is classic SMOKEY – self-produced and with all but one of the songs his own. Feature item is the hit 'Let Me Be The Clock' which hit no. 4 on the Billboard R&B chart and as a measure of the man's writing skills... well, who but ROBINSON could incorporate 'Hickory Dickory Dock' into a tender love song? Don't overlook either the hugely underrated 'Wine, Women And Song' – another beautiful ballad and one of the few straight duets SMOKEY recorded with his first wife, CLAUDETTE.

'Being With You' is different again. Four of the songs were out-sourced while on most of the cuts GEORGE TOBIN was the producer. At the time TOBIN had been working with KIM CARNES and SMOKEY pitched the song 'Being With You' at him as a prospective vehicle for his prodigy. The savvy TOBIN knew that only SMOKEY could do full justice to the songs and the rest, of course, is history. SMOKEY'S version was a world-wide smash and turned the subsequent LP into the man's best selling set ever.

This time around there's two Hip-O bonuses – a Spanish version of 'Being With You' along with an English/Spanish version of it. In all three incarnations, it's still romantically magical.

 

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