Review: Those masters of the reissue Mr Bongo come up trumps once more with the re-release of this 1975 collection by accomplished Japanese jazz drummer Akira Ishikawa, who passed away in 2002 at the age of 67. 'Back To Rhythm' saw him teaming up with other leading session musicians to give us his take on 10 classic tunes. His re-versions range from the fairly faithful ('Bongo Rock') to the almost unrecognisable ('Hey Jude', which gets an Afro-lounge makeover), and from distinctly period-sounding (check the synth on 'I've Got To Use My Imagination') to the truly timeless (a laidback, jazz-funked up take on 'I Shot The Sheriff'). But what they never are, is anything less than interesting.
Review: First released in 1981, this classic album gets remastered and reissued by Mr Bongo. Recorded by a group of musicians led by guitarist Andy Sojka and based out of his All Ears record shop in Harlesden, En Trance put the band well ahead of the Brit-funk pack with its forward-thinking fusion of jazz-funk, disco and dub influences. The reissued version of the album includes selected cuts from the single releases "Motivation", the "Invasion" EP and of course "Dancing In Outer Space", the 1979 hit which you probably know already. Rest assured there's plenty more good steppin' where that came from...
Review: Earlier this year, Mr Bongo served up an essential reissue of "En Trance", the killer 1981 debut album by British jazz-funk pioneers Atmosfear. It's little surprise, then, to see them offering a fresh edition of one of the band's lesser-celebrated but nevertheless seriously sought-after releases: 1982 single "Xtra Special". First up is the sun-kissed mid-tempo breeziness of "Xtra Special (Dry Mix)", where Chic style guitars, cascading synthesizer lead lines and super-strong female lead vocals rise above a bubbly boogie groove. There's an altogether more spacey feel to the "Wet Mix", where stretched-out synthesizer sounds and delay-laden electronics bubble away atop a groove that amply showcases the track's killer slap bass motifs.
For The Love Of Money (disco dub) - (4:11) 118 BPM
Review: Disco Dub Band's "For The Love of Money", a one-off collaboration between producer Davitt Sigerson and reggae musician Mike Dorane, has long been considered something of a classic by those who like their disco to come with a big dose of dub-wise flavour. Here the instrumental O'Jays cover, which originally appeared on the Movers label in 1976, is given the remix treatment by long-time fans Mr Bongo. The first track, in which Dorane's instrumental talents take centre stage, naturally comes accompanied by the frequently played Dub interpretation, a typically wild and bass-heavy affair that sounds like it was mixed "live" in one take in true Lee Perry/King Tubby style. If it's not already in your collection, it should be.
Review: Now aged 82 and still recording, Ebo Taylor is a true giant of the Ghanaian music scene whose career goes all the way back to the 1950s. Along the way he's worked with Fela Kuti and been widely sampled by hip-hop producers, and here Mr Bongo bring us four new mixes of three cuts from his 'Yen Ara' album, which was released earlier this year. Ron Trent's take on 'Krumandey' and Nick The Record's rub of 'Mumudey Mumudey' will go down well on house floors, while the Nature Flako remix of the latter and the Black Fan mix of 'Mind Your Own Business' are more geared towards specialist Afro jocks.
Review: Foster Emerson Sylvers was a member of the Sylvers when he was just a kid, and his debut LP form 1973 preceded what the Jackson Five achieved towards the end of the decade. At the time of his self-titled debut, Sylvers was only 11 years old, and the kid from Philly already had enough elegance and panache to perform on any stage across the globe. This magnificent album, reissued by the trusted Mr Bongo, is a pleasure in every single way...for the artist's voice, for the diversity of these soul ballads, and for their irreplaceable charm. There is so much love, so much passion, and so much (true) soul across these 11 tracks - not to mention the fact that tey have been near impossible to find until now! What a corker - do not let this one slide!
Review: Kit Sebastian are English multi-instrumentalist Kit Martin and Turkish vocalist Merve Erdem. Their 2019 debut album 'Mondo Moderne' (also on Mr Bongo) fused psychedelia, jazz, 6Ts pop, Middle Eastern music and hip-hop/funk beats, and now here comes the remix package, with the Natureboy Flako Remix of 'Senden Baska' coming on like 60s lounge music with a breakbeat while - by way of a complete contrast - the Baris K Dub of 'Durma' takes us into experimental techno/minimal territory. Completing the EP is 'Kit Sebastian Vs Halal Cool J', a lazy, dusty groove that finds the pair teaming up with UK hip-hop producer Aly Jamal.