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MR BONGO is a long standing UK label (and a lot more) and one of its best selling albums in recent years was their soul compilation, ‘With Love’ – a collection of rare and esoteric music that drew wide praise . Compiled by Bongo’s DJ Miche (Michael Davis), it was a no-brainer to put together a second volume and so we’re delighted to announce that ‘With Love Volume 2’ is about to  hit the streets and were equally delighted to tell you that it’s every bit as good as Volume 1- like that one, it’s stuffed with the rare and the esoteric – but those adjectives don’t always equate with quality; but on this 15/16 tracker they do!

Miche’s mission statement for ‘With Love’ was/is to celebrate under-the-radar artists. Thus there aren’t too many names that are instantly recognizable. Take the album-heralding single – a big, brash cover of Stevie Wonder’s ‘As’ from a band known as The Family Tree. Anoraks might know that the band were led by Julius Brockington who adds a gospel feel to the track whilst keeping it aimed right at the dance floor. Collectors who get hung up on monetary value will tell you that an original copy of this one will set you back over £250! And for those who (crazily) value the value of their music by what it costs rather than by how it sounds, I can tell you that there are some real biggies here! For instance Freedom’s ‘High On You’ is listed on Discogs at £3,000 while Maxwell’s ‘Realize’ is listed at a  cool £1,550. Here you can enjoy both for relative peanuts and for the record, ‘High On You’ is a gorgeous modern soul cut while  ‘Realize’ is a busy, little bustler with a funky undertow (by the way this “Maxwell” is a band sometimes called the Maxwell Project – not, you know who!)

Both those tracks will get you on your feet (if you’re in the mood) and  that’s the spirit of this collection – music aimed at the dancers and, interestingly, not all the music’s sourced from the USA. For instance there’s a couple of cuts from Brazil – Banda 22’s  ‘A Luz Que Brilha Meu Viver’ and Zé Da Lata’s ‘Mistério Brilhante’ while there’s a Chilean tune too – a slinky ‘Te Amare Mas Asi’ from Rogers Mitchell. Gospel is represented  by P.J. City’s ‘Straight Forward (Non-Stop)’

Album highlights for this scribe come from Billy Bloomer. He has two tracks – ‘I Like What She’s Doing’ and ‘You Can’t Hide’. They’re two superb modern soul artefacts and I just love his name! Not much is known about good old BB – but like all the unknowns on the album he delivers some great soul.

‘WITH LOVE VOLUME 2’ is released on Friday 6th October on limited edition 2 x Pink Vinyl LP, 2 x Black Vinyl LP and CD. The vinyl has 15 tracks – the CD, 16. There’s digital too – all via Mr Bongo and I guess you don’t need me to say this one comes recommended!