Review: Back in the late 1960s, the Soul Brothers Inc. were the number one soul band in Houston, and the creative mind behind them was Henry Boatwright (he played flute, sax and sang on many songs as well as composing many of the releases for the band's own label). His 1970 solo single, African Slide has been a collector's rarity until now, thanks to Tramp who have re-issued both sides of the seven-inch. It's a thrilling listen too, with the title track being raw, swaggering smokey basement soul and "Git It" taking things up a level in raucous abandon.
Review: Tramp's supremacy as the master's of the funk reissue is almost unchallenged at this point, so far ahead is their lead. Here they have unearthed to ancient gems, originally found relinquishing on the long lost LP, on the Dream Queen album. They first transferred these two tunes to 7" vinyl for all the purists out there, now they've sold out we can all now enjoy them digitally too. The title track features trumpet harmonies a-go-go, bongos and a general far-out 60s groove. "Pearl/Among The Swine" however, adds pianos and xylophones into the heady retro mix.
Review: While Philly's Don Gardner is largely famed for hits such as "I Need Your Loving" and "Glory Of Love", it's releases such as this 1967 Cedric 45" (among other notable and highly rare 45"s on Verve and Sedgewick) that have really stood the test of time and stood out to collectors happy to pay thousands. And for good reason; "Tighten Up Your Love Bone" is a gutsy power R&B soul joint while "Is This Really Love" takes its foot off the gas for moments of pure come-to-bed soul many years before White and Hayes made it their signature. Don really was the real deal.
Review: Tramp are always known for their dedication to releasing long lost R&B singles, often ones that even fans of the genre haven't even heard of. Here they freely admit that no one's heard hide nor hair of the spectacularly named Dynamic Duke Royal for well over 40 years. However, they love these two sizzling '60s soul, blues (and even country) tinged tracks produced Bill Dunham and Sam Montel and featuring the raw passionate vocals of Royal, and they are proud to ensure that now at least more people finally have the chance to share this joy.
Review: Veteran soul survivor Lee Fields recently released the acclaimed return to form album "Faithful Man', but here we're going back to the early days that he was so recently re-exploring. Released in 1974, "Funky Screw" is a raw and authentic slice of late night sweaty funk. Original B-Side, "The Bull Is Coming" is a similarly blistering joint, with a lot of credit to 'The Devils Personal Band' who supply most of the thrills on this largely instrumental workout.
Review: Barely available in its original format, Frederick Knight's first - and most highly sought after - release from the late 60s is a jacking, upstart bit of funky soul that is as relevant today as it was back then. Stepping Down carries an infectious groove, carried by wild organs and driving percussion all the way from beginning to the end, but it's Heart Complication that we've been waiting endlessly for - a slow and chilling soul ballad with Knight's seductive laments cutting deep and wide. Super!
Review: Some serious 7" digital action right here, as James and The Incredible Showmen bring us a sweet cover of the funk king's original 1966 hit "James Brown's Boo Ga Loo", and to be honest, it's a pretty tight take on the original. You just can't go wrong with this record: the guitar flutters like an angel, the trumpets are doing their own damn thing and the drum breaks wouldn't sound out of place in any sampler's library - it's a biggun', so sit back and enjoy!
Review: Jaribu Afrobeat Arkestra describe their sound as "Neo-Afrobeat", yet much of the material on second album Mediacracy looks back to the golden age of Fela Kuti. Sure, there are a few other influences thrown into the pot - juju, highlife, jaunty Afro-soul ("Afro-Soul Knows"), even Morricone-ish spaghetti western sounds (see "Tricky Liars (Part 2") - but their default position is devilishly reverential. That's definitely necessarily a bad thing, though. For starters, the playing and composition skills of the ten-piece band are brilliant. There's also enough disparate strands to entertain all but the most hard-nosed Afrobeat acolyte.
Review: The annals of pop history are full of great artists who sadly became overlooked with advancement of time and fashion. Germany's Tramp records are determined to help restore the profiles of some classic but forgotten acts and they're prepared to do serious digging to do so. The latest act they've chosen to celebrate is Jimmy 'Preacher' Ellis, a classy soul singer from Arkansas who, between 1963-1972, released a series of sensational 45s. Now these singles are gathered here for the first time in over 40 years and prove a rewarding listen for fans of vintage soul.
Review: These days, Pennsylvania-based John Wesley Dickson is an academic and classical guitarist. Back in the late '70s and early '80s, though, he spent much of his time playing in soul, funk and rhythm and blues bands. "Barrows Blues" was recorded and released in limited quantities during that period (1977 to be exact) and is a terrific example of the artist's blues-influenced blue-eyed soul-jazz sound (think Terry Callier mixed with Morrison Kincannon, and you're close). As with the original release, the brilliant title track is accompanied by mellower B-side "High & Dry". This is a more pastoral sounding song that boasts particularly hard-hitting lyrics from Wesley Dickson.