AQUARIUS RECORDS … SOUL POWER FUNK

V/A South Dallas All Stars : Live at the South Dallas pop Festival 1970 (Stones Throw / Now-Again) cd 15.98

V/A Stand Up And Be Counted Vol. 2 (Harmless) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
You know how everyone thinks they can be a DJ now, right? Maybe one of the unlooked-for benefits of this trend is that there are that many more people sifting through dusty ole record bins in dusty ole record stores worldwide, searching for the good breaks to sample and scratch. And perhaps that explains the sudden number of recent, very tasteful, well-done compilations that have graced the shelves here at Aquarius, comps filled with original source material utilized during or created for the breakbeat era’s heyday (mid to late ’70s). And hey, now that these amazing tracks are collected in one place on cd or vinyl, we can listen to them in the safety of our own living rooms — instead of having to brave yuppies and cigarette smoke and $6 drinks to hear perfectly good tunes mangled by DJs of mediocre skills.
« Soul, funk, and jazz from a revolutionary era. » ’60s Black Power / freedom oriented tracks from the likes of The Watts Prophets, Nikki Giovanni, The Voices of East Harlem, James Brown and others.

album cover V/A Studio One Funk (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
Volume ten, if anyone’s keeping count, in Soul Jazz’s homage to Coxon Dodd and his Studio One recording studio / label / school / cultural institution. We already heard Studio One Soul, and we know how much Jamaican music was influenced initially from sounds up north in the states. Dodd himself used to make regular forays up to the US to pick up the newest, hottest singles to play on his sound system early in his career. So why not put together a collection tracing funk through Jamaica’s most influential music stable? Studio One Funk is a little different from its Soul counterpart in that there’s much more original material here, less covers, than the previous collection. Studio One Funk does have its share of cool versions of American funk tunes including a great instrumental reworking of the theme from « Shaft » by our beloved Cedric Im Brooks, Alton Ellis doing « It’s A Shame », Booker T. & The MGs’ « Melting Pot » is given a twist by the Underground Vegetables (no doubt just a creative moniker for whatever the studio group happened to be that day) and « Funky Broadway » done here by Delroy Wilson. Lloyd Wilson’s « Reggae Feet », while not technically a cover, is about as close a James Brown impersonation you can expect from Jamaica!
MPEG Stream: ALTON ELLIS « African Descendants »
MPEG Stream: UNDERGROUND VEGETABLES « Melting Pot »

album cover V/A Studio One Funk (Soul Jazz) 2lp 24.00
Volume ten, if anyone’s keeping count, in Soul Jazz’s homage to Coxon Dodd and his Studio One recording studio / label / school / cultural institution. We already heard Studio One Soul, and we know how much Jamaican music was influenced initially from sounds up north in the states. Dodd himself used to make regular forays up to the US to pick up the newest, hottest singles to play on his sound system early in his career. So why not put together a collection tracing funk through Jamaica’s most influential music stable? Studio One Funk is a little different from its Soul counterpart in that there’s much more original material here, less covers, than the previous collection. Studio One Funk does have its share of cool versions of American funk tunes including a great instrumental reworking of the theme from « Shaft » by our beloved Cedric Im Brooks, Alton Ellis doing « It’s A Shame », Booker T. & The MGs’ « Melting Pot » is given a twist by the Underground Vegetables (no doubt just a creative moniker for whatever the studio group happened to be that day) and « Funky Broadway » done here by Delroy Wilson. Lloyd Wilson’s « Reggae Feet », while not technically a cover, is about as close a James Brown impersonation you can expect from Jamaica!
MPEG Stream: ALTON ELLIS « African Descendants »
MPEG Stream: UNDERGROUND VEGETABLES « Melting Pot »

album cover V/A Studio One Soul 2 (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
If there were any doubt how deep and rich the vaults of Studio One were, Soul Jazz has shown that it’s pretty much a bottomless well of amazingly rich sounds. This time it’s the second in their Studio One Soul series, which shows the influence of American soul & funk on the roots of Reggae. The way that the sounds of folks like Curtis Mayfield, Al Green and early Roberta Flack influenced the music coming out of Jamaica, played itself out so nicely in the delivery from artists in Studio One. The mixture of classic soul melody and roots reggae instrumentation made for a sound that perfectly incorporated two so very important movements in black music in this century. Hearing Jerry Jones tackle the Eugene McDaniel’s penned « Compared to What » or The Heptones taking on Curtis Mayfield’s « Choice of Color » doesn’t sound as much like an homage or cover as it does a solidarity of soul and spirit that makes so much sense and sounds so totally wonderful.
MPEG Stream: DUB SPECIALIST « Darker Block »
MPEG Stream: JERRY JONES « Compared To What »
MPEG Stream: THE HEPTONES « Jumping Jehosophat »

album cover V/A Studio One Soul 2 (Soul Jazz) 2lp 24.00
If there were any doubt how deep and rich the vaults of Studio One were, Soul Jazz has shown that it’s pretty much a bottomless well of amazingly rich sounds. This time it’s the second in their Studio One Soul series, which shows the influence of American soul & funk on the roots of Reggae. The way that the sounds of folks like Curtis Mayfield, Al Green and early Roberta Flack influenced the music coming out of Jamaica, played itself out so nicely in the delivery from artists in Studio One. The mixture of classic soul melody and roots reggae instrumentation made for a sound that perfectly incorporated two so very important movements in black music in this century. Hearing Jerry Jones tackle the Eugene McDaniel’s penned « Compared to What » or The Heptones taking on Curtis Mayfield’s « Choice of Color » doesn’t sound as much like an homage or cover as it does a solidarity of soul and spirit that makes so much sense and sounds so totally wonderful.
MPEG Stream: DUB SPECIALIST « Darker Block »
MPEG Stream: JERRY JONES « Compared To What »
MPEG Stream: THE HEPTONES « Jumping Jehosophat »

album cover V/A Super Cool California Soul 2 (Luv N’ Haight) cd 16.98
There has not been a shortage of amazing soul reissues recently and we sure as heck aren’t complaining. But we gotta say that the two new comps of golden era soul and funk we’re listing this time out are two absolute must haves for vintage soul and funk lovers! You’ll hear about the great « Florida Funk » comp elsewhere on this list but now we’re talking about this collection from Luv N’ Haight, an essential chapter in the history of California soul from 1966-1982. We’ve been playing this in the store pretty much every single day since its arrived (along with that Florida Funk), sometimes sneaking it on multiple times cause it just sounds so damn good! Starting off with the Gow Dow Experience’s version of the Eugene McDaniel penned « Compared To What » which was first made famous by Roberta Flack on her essential recording First Take. The next fifteen tracks keep the fire alive with the kind of spirited soul that’s pretty much impossible to resist. Whether it’s the Bay Area’s own Darondo turning on the sensual heat with his slow burner « Such A Night » or Spanky Wilson getting all sassy with her take of « Fancy » or Johnny Morisette getting super raw singing about being hungry. The perfect collection to be blasting at all summer bbq’s and get togethers. Sounds that are so warm, so bold and still sound so alive today!
MPEG Stream: GOW DOW EXPERIENCE « Compared To What »
MPEG Stream: DARONDO « Such A Night »
MPEG Stream: SPANKY WILSON « Fancy »

V/A Texas Funk (Jazzman) cd 16.98
Great comp of rare funk tracks from Texas (naturally). DJ Shadow contributes to the liner notes.

album cover V/A That’s What Friends Are For (Jazzman) cd 15.98
Fab collection of rare, groovy tracks dug up and dusted off from back in the sixties/seventies heyday of such funky goodness. It’s wide-ranging but carefully curated comp, chock full of soul, gospel, disco, soundtrack and library music of diverse geographic origin: Brazil, England, France, and the USA…. Included is Nina Simone’s classic put-down « Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter » but that’s not the only highlight. Library disco diva Madeline Bell’s title track is another. (By the way, in case you’re wondering, « library music » is music recorded to be sold for commerical purposes, like in advertising, as opposed to music released to the public on its own.) We also were taken by French teen pinup France Gall’s samba/jazz confection « Zozoi » also, and library music « mad scientist » Nino Nardini’s « Poltergeist » too. Heck it’s hard to pick favorites, all of these are definite DJ droolers. These cuts are all selections derived from the Jazzman label’s series of 7″ vinyl reissues, but handily enough for those of us who missed those collectables (or prefer the convenience of a cd) they’ve compiled some of the choicest tracks here. And we must give props to Jazzman for the well-researched linernotes complete with full-color photos, that’s the way to do it!
MPEG Stream: FRANCE GALL « Zozoi »
MPEG Stream: NINA SIMONE « Funkier Than A Mosquito’s Tweeter »

album cover V/A The Birmingham Sound: The Soul Of Neal Hemphill Vol. 1 (This Rabbit Factory) cd 14.98
The Numero Group and their Eccentric Soul series have helped usher in a new era of comprehensive and well thought out reissues of amazing long lost soul music that so deserves the chance to reach more ears. And we couldn’t be happier Since that music totally hits the spot for us. We’re also happy that other labels like This Rabbit Factory are popping up to help preserve more of the sounds of artists and labels that otherwise would just be erased from history. This collection is a look into the soulful sounds that came out of Birmingham, Alabama. Best known as being the center of the Civil Rights struggle this compilation puts its focus on The Sound of Birmingham studio run by a plumber named Neal Hemphill. In his studio the best and brightest of the Birmingham soul scene had the opportunity to record inside a real studio that was dedicated to the sounds of soul. Many of these musicians never even performed live but got to lay down some seriously warm and solid soul tracks in Hemphill’s studio. A very welcome addition to the recent soul reissue explosion.
MPEG Stream: DAVID SEA « Believe In Me »
MPEG Stream: BROADNECK « Psychedelic Excursion »
MPEG Stream: COLD GRITS « Funky Soul »

album cover V/A The Breaks Vol. 4: Original B Boy Street Funk & Block Party Classics (Harmless) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The fourth installment of The Breaks comps is fantastic. Not only are most of the tracks rare collectibles that you’d be hardpressed to find elsewhere, so coveted by DJs are they, but after one listen you realize that these original tracks are stone cold get down funky tunes in and of themselves, not just mere breakbeats that the DJs covet. There aren’t, as far as I can tell, any duds on this record at all. Spanning 1968 to 1977, we’ve got The Turtles’ incredibly heavily sampled « I’m Chief Kamanawalea », The Emotions (female vocal trio who sang on Earth Wind and Fire’s « Boogie Wonderland »), the Blues Magoos, even smooth saxophonist Tom Scott.
Another nice thing about The Breaks comps is that the liner notes are detailed and inspiring, they give you just enough substantial info to make you wanna find out more about each artist, plus they namedrop all the many musicians who love this music too and have sampled these very tracks — on this album alone are tracks used by Wu Tang, NWA, Del, the Beastie Boys, KRS-One, Raekwon, Limp Bizkit (!), Gang Starr, Massive Attack, etc., making the listening experience both new and pleasantly familiar.
RealAudio clip: THE TURTLES « I’m Chief Kamanawalea »
RealAudio clip: THE EMOTIONS « Blind Alley »
RealAudio clip: LA CLAVE « Latin Slide »

V/A The Danque!! (Afrodisiac) cd 12.98

album cover V/A The Funky 16 Corners (Stones Throw) cd 14.98
Super rare funk cuts from the golden late ’60s/early ’70s era. 22 tracks, with notes on each in the booklet, from the obscure but funky likes of Kashmere Stage Band, Ernie and The Top Notes, The Highlighters, Carleen and the Groovers, Soul Vibrations, and eleven others. Plus there’s a seven minute Cut Chemist mix medley as a bonus track.

album cover V/A The In-Kraut (Marina) cd 16.98
Subtitled: « Hip shaking grooves from Germany 1966-1974 ». Hence the « kraut » in the title — nothing to do with the « krautrock » of Can/Faust/Amon Duul/etc., though. Nope, this very entertaining collection of twenty obscure cuts culled from rare soundtracks, singles, and library music sources is all about swingin’ stuff for lounge pad hipsters, with a Teutonic twist. It starts off with the Marlene Dietrichish « From Here On It Got Rough » by Hildergard Knef, which could be a campy cabaret classic, and then ventures on into red light district funk, stoned jungle soul, and big band psychedelia, a lot of it performed by middle aged German jazz and pop musicans cashing in on the younger generation’s trends. The Peter Thomas Sound Orchestra even does a cool cover of « Jumpin’ Jack Flash », believe it or not (never thought I’d really enjoy hearing that particular song again so much). And there’s definitely a spirit of the age, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor on display, from Kuno & The Marihuana Brass’s « Marihuana Mantra » to Vivi Bach and Dietmar Schonherr’s « Molotow Coctail Party ». And (applause, please) the compilers have provided a cd booklet full of detailed notes on each track, full color cover pictures of the original records, and bad puns like the title (« kraut-pleasers »).
MPEG Stream: HEIDI BRUHL « Berlin »
MPEG Stream: VIVI VACH & DIETMAR SCHONHERR « Molotow Coctail Party »

album cover V/A The Rustler Presents: Because You’re Funky (Lo) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The Rustler is this legendary British record collector who’s compiled this look at super rare funk 45s. The sort of no-name, lost-gem stuff that DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist spin on their all-45s tours, including a single that someone offered the Rustler a thousand pounds for! That the almost-completely electronica label Lo put this out is testament to how much this Rustler’s taste is revered by the new electronicists like Luke Vibert. This is a whopping 24 tracks of instrumental fun, wailing saxophones, plink-plank guitar, guys exclaiming « OW! » and « HEUH! ». Some of it veers into Brady Bunch cheese territory, but on the whole pretty straightforward and cool.
RealAudio clip: LES COOPER AND HIS SOUL ROCKERS « Wahoo »
RealAudio clip: DAVY JR AND GUESS WHO « Down Beat »
RealAudio clip: THE FOUR OF CLUBS « Funkity »

V/A The Rustler Presents: Because You’re Funky (Lo) lp 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The Rustler is this legendary British record collector who’s compiled this look at super rare funk 45s. The sort of no-name, lost-gem stuff that DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist spin on their all-45s tours, including a single that someone offered the Rustler a thousand pounds for! That the almost-completely electronica label Lo put this out is testament to how much this Rustler’s taste is revered by the new electronicists like Luke Vibert. This is a whopping 24 tracks of instrumental fun, wailing saxophones, plink-plank guitar, guys exclaiming « OW! » and « HEUH! ». Some of it veers into Brady Bunch cheese territory, but on the whole pretty straightforward and cool.

V/A The Soul of Science (Obsessive) cd 16.98
Exciting new compilation for you « kosmigroov » folks, put together by Kirk DeGiorgio and Ian O’Brien. Lots of great old and new electronic jazz-groove-funk is in the mix, including a super rare and sought after unreleased 1973 Herbie Hancock cut called « The Spook Who Sat By The Door ». Also: David Axelrod, George Duke, The Players Association, Shuggie Otis, Be Bob Dawg, Lonnie Liston Smith, more.

V/A Tighten Up Tighter: A Choice Collection of Funk 45’s (Pure Records) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
The song titles say it all: « Ghetto Boogie », « Countdown To…Soul », « Cold Sweat », « Loaded To The Gills », « Do It », « In The Pocket ». Rare 70’s funk 45s for y’all to get down to. Haven’t heard of many of the artists who performed these lost classics (with James Brown being of course the exception) but they’ve all got the funk all right.

V/A Version Excursion: Soul, Funk & Jazz Covers of Quality & Distinction (Harmless) cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
You know how everyone thinks they can be a DJ now, right? Maybe one of the unlooked-for benefits of this trend is that there are that many more people sifting through dusty ole record bins in dusty ole record stores worldwide, searching for the good breaks to sample and scratch. And perhaps that explains the sudden number of recent, very tasteful, well-done compilations that have graced the shelves here at Aquarius, comps filled with original source material utilized during or created for the breakbeat era’s heyday (mid to late ’70s). And hey, now that these amazing tracks are collected in one place on cd or vinyl, we can listen to them in the safety of our own living rooms — instead of having to brave yuppies and cigarette smoke and $6 drinks to hear perfectly good tunes mangled by DJs of mediocre skills.
The UK label Harmless collected a rowdy bunch of funkified covers here, from Dick Hyman doing « Give It Up or Turn it Loose » to a moaning diva version of « Light My Fire, » the Staple Singers doing Stephen Stills, and of course one of the all time greatest covers ever — Isaac Hayes’ simmering twelve-minute rendition of Bacharach’s « Walk On By » (which was recently sampled by Wu Tang Clan). Very extensive liner notes make reading and listening at the same time a great pleasure.
RealAudio clip: RAY BARRETTO « Pastime Paradise »
RealAudio clip: ISAAC HAYES « Walk On By »
RealAudio clip: RICHARD « GROOVE » HOMES & ERNIE WATTS « Come Together »

album cover V/A Vertigo Mixed …by Andy Votel (Family Recordings) cd 21.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
At long last, back in stock in a somewhat decent quantity! Here’s what we said about this, back in June when we made it a Record Of The Week on list #218…
Been listening to this non-stop since we got it. And selling ’em too, as soon as customers hear it (or even just hear about it, if they’re like us). Wow. Now, you probably know that here at Aquarius we’re partial to the prog. So, when we heard that a DJ mix of obscure tracks from the catalog of ’70s UK label Vertigo, who specialized in prog, heavy psych, and weird-ass jazz rock was to be released, we were, well, psyched. And jazzed. And, uh, progged? Indeed. We were thinking that this could be something really great, as after all there were a lot of great records released on Vertigo (home of the famed « swirl » label). And great it IS, both in terms of the source material and the « 60 course psychedelic smorgasbord » medley-like sound-collage approach taken to putting it together, which maximizes the amount of brilliant hooks and grooves that could be packed into one cd, while making for one dizzying, « swirl » worthy ride.
The story there is that DJ Andy Votel (who compiled the Folk Is Not A Four Letter Word disc we listed last time, among other things) was asked, in a dream-come-true moment, to put together a « best of Vertigo » collection. But since, in his own words, progressive rock tracks are « not short, they’re EPIC » he was faced with a dilemma. How to fit more than just three or four songs on the cd?? His solution was to boil down his favorite Vertigo LPs to short excerpts, stitching together these many « vinyl snippets » into a 68 minute mega-mix. The overall effect is still very « prog » indeed, as it’s definitely a prog move to jump around from one motif to the next, dynamically or schizophrenically changing things up in a short span of time. Yet it all flows well together, this could almost be one tour-de-force album from one AMAZING band!!
The credits list 38 songs by 29 artists, all from Votel’s personal Vertigo vinyl collection — Aphrodite’s Child, Gracious, Colosseum, Affinity, Juicy Lucy, Uriah Heep, May Blitz, Warhorse, Gravy Train, Baker Gurvitz Army, Cressida, Patto, Flied Egg, Nucleus, Atlantis, Frumpy, Freedom, and many more, most of ’em hailing from the UK but also some from overseas, including Japan, Germany and Greece. Vertigo’s best known signing has to be Black Sabbath, and while they don’t appear in the credits I trust you’ll hear something from ’em on here too, first thing (and later on as well, when Votel mixes the harp blowing from « The Wizard » into a May Blitz tune).
Thusly loaded with heaviness, groove, and Mellotrons, you get everthing from (old school) acid jazz to flutey prog to raw proto-metal — all kinds of what gets called « hairy funk » here. Votel also makes use of interjections from what might be radio promo spots for Vertigo — voices exclaiming « Vertigo! Vertigo! » and the like — in order to smooth up his segues. In some ways, this might remind you a little bit of DJ Shadow’s Entroducing, actually, not that these tracks have been fully edited into new compostions. But the love of dusty old prog grooves is the same.
Votel provides liner notes elaborating his enthusiasm for Vertigo (the label’s role in his musical development, as a hip hop DJ with a fondness for prog) and his agonies over this project. Also you get a profile of Barry Winton, famed as the world’s foremost Vertigo vinyl collector. And in addition, a portion of the cd booket is devoted to an appreciation of Keef, resident cover artist/graphic designer for Vertigo…which makes us think it would have been cool if they also presented a selection of covers here to look at, ah well.
Could be the best comp/DJ mix we’ve heard in ages. Boiling down an entire label to its essence over the span of one cd has got to be a tough task, and of course what Votel has selected is only a portion of the whole Vertigo story. But we can’t nitpick with what he’s done, this is a classy piece of work and deserving of kudos from all lovers of ye olde prog/psych. It might even convert some new lovers too! Recommended!!!
MPEG Stream: « track one »
MPEG Stream: « track two »

album cover V/A World Psychedelic Classics 3: Love’s A Real Thing (Luaka Bop) cd 16.98
It’s hard to argue with this one. Indeed, we’re gonna do quite the opposite and make it a Record Of The Week! This collection, the third in the World Psychedelic Classics series on Luaka Bop (David Byrne’s « world music » label), after an Os Mutantes collection and that incredible Shuggie Otis album, is further subtitled: « The Funky, Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa ». Stress on the funk we thinks. Yup, authentic ’70s West African funk with a ‘delic bent. Really really hard stuff not to like.
The dozen tracks here have got it all: Afro-centric chants, polyrhythmic percussion, James Brown style raspy yelps, wicked organ workouts, and even hard wah-wah acid fuzz jams (Ofo & The Black Company’s bad-ass « Allah Wakbarr » is about the last word in that department, though we’d like to hear more). Though some come closer to the compilers’ stated concept than others, all the tracks are winners, from the moody, marimba-based soundtrack theme of Manu Dibango’s « Ceddo End Title » to the Cuban stylings of No. 1 de No. 1’s « Guajira Van » to the percolating political space-funk of William Onyeabor’s « Better Change Your Mind ». And Alison simply says that « Ifa » by Tunji Oyelana and the Benders is her favorite. Probably because it sets itself apart from the other tracks by utilizing a more scrappy electronic sound to back its stripped-down politically-bent Afro-pop-style lyricism.
All the tracks come from the decade of the ’70s, and the bands that recorded them hail from the West African countries of Ghana, Guinea, Senegal, Mali, Gambia, Benin, and Nigeria (but only two tracks overlap with the now-out-of-print 3cd Nigeria 70 compilation). And we think the compliers did a damn fine job, though it seems any survey of West African psych shoulda included a track by Blo, the closest thing to Cream the continent produced as far as we know. Ah well… we can hope for a second volume someday perhaps. Meanwhile, anyone who digs James Brown, Fela, Funkadelic, Orchestra Baobab, or more recent AQ reviewees Konono No. 1 and Black Merda, for instance, will certainly find that love IS a real thing when it comes to how you’re gonna feel about this compilation!!
The liner notes go on about the psychedelic aspect of these bands, and while this stuff is definitely far out and groovy it’s way more James Brown than brown acid. Mention of Haight-Ashbury seems a stretch, and the music of these bands has got as much or more to do with their motherland than, say, the generally more Western-derived psych we’ve heard from Thailand, Cambodia, or Turkey on various other comps we’ve carried. Then again, when you look at rock music influencing African music, you’ve got a full-circle phenomenon to examine. And when we reviewed the (currently unavailable) Love Peace & Poetry: African Psychedelic Music compiliation some months back, the stuff on this new comp is exactly what we felt was missing and should have been included.
In any case, proper psych or not, and with or without much fuzz, this is definitely FUNKY.
The attractive cd booklet includes notes on each track/artist, complete with color album sleeve art where available. Nicely done. Furthermore, this is an « enhanced cd », allowing those with the appropriate computer technology to witness a video of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey’s track « Minsato Le, Mi Dayhome ».
MPEG Stream: SUPER EAGLES « Love’s A Real Thing »
MPEG Stream: MANU DIBANGO « Ceddo End Title »
MPEG Stream: OFO & THE BLACK COMPANY « Allah Wakbarr »

album cover V/A (DAFT PUNK) Discovered: A Collection Of Daft Punk Samples (Rapster) cd 14.98
It’s no secret that many of us here at AQ are huge fans of Daft Punk. In fact Matt, Irwin and Antaeus all went to their concert in Berkeley this summer and still light up when talking about what an amazing night it was. The fact is Daft Punk have perfected their unique strain of dance music, executed in a way that almost anyone can get into, without losing any of the electricity and spirit that makes their sound so special. So it’s always been obvious to us how fun it would be to be able to go through their gigantic record collection. This compilation features tracks that they have sampled on their three albums, so it’s no surprise that it’s filled with all sorts of rare funk, soul and disco gems.
While this works a just a killer comp, it’s especially fun if you’re a Daft Punk fan as we’ve gotten so much pleasure hearing such unmistakably Daft Punk moments in their original incarnations. We also think it’s so cool that they made sure to give full props to their source material and the wealth of vintage dance music that they have borrowed so heavily from. Dance gems from folks we know and love like Karen Young, Cerrone and Sister Sledge to more obscure burners from the likes of Little Anthony & The Imperials, Edwin Birdsong and Breakwater this is a collection that’s been making us dance and smile so wide.
MPEG Stream: EDWIN BIRDSONG « Cola Bottle Baby »
MPEG Stream: KAREN YOUNG « Hot Shot »
MPEG Stream: LITTLE ANTHONY & THE IMPERIALS « Can You Imagine »

VAN PEEBLES, MELVIN What The …. You Mean I Can’t Sing?! (Water) cd 15.98
First Jack Palance, now Melvin Van Peebles…the what’s Water label trying to do?? Flood the ‘exotica’ market with reissues of records that maybe should never have been made in the first place, upsetting the kitsch levels of the universe. But hey, you gotta like Melvin. Sweet Sweetback, y’know?

album cover VINER’S, MICHAEL INCREDIBLE BONGO BAND Bongo Rock (Strut) cd 16.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
With hip hop and dance DJ culture having totally spread to the mainstream, labels like the amazing Strut have been steadily putting out records that illuminate the roots of this culture, records like Disco Not Disco (which explored the shared NY roots of new wave, hip hop, and punk), the Club Africa series (African pop from the ’70s), the Blo reissue (funky afro-rock from Nigeria), and the stellar Tony Allen reissues (percussionist of Fela Kuti’s band) — all music from the ’70s. Now, Michael Viner’s Incredible Bongo Band has contributed so much to this culture in terms of their breaks being sampled hundreds of times (listen to the soundclip, you’ll recognize it) — that it’s sort of funny to realize that they were an L.A.-based Hollywood studio band who came together to record some movie car chase themes and ended up putting out albums that are today revered the world over. Their « Bongo Rock » 7″ sold over two million copies in 1972; that is, after they pulled the cover that showed how white they were and replaced it with a closeup of racially unidentifiable hands playing bongos. During the course of their career, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Nilsoon, Glen Campbell all dropped by to play a little, and the main bongo player Jim Gordon (who co-wrote « Layla ») went cuckoo and killed his mom. The music is epic and fun, and a little cheesy, but should be of value not only to DJs but also for armchair listening.
RealAudio clip: « Apache »

album cover WAX POETICS #16 Apr/May 2006 magazine 7.99
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Bill Withers (« Ain’t No Sunshine ») is the cover star on this latest installment of Wax Poetics, the magazine of hip-hop, jazz, funk, & soul for those of us who appreciate all that good old music (and how it factors in to all the cool new stuff we’re hearing). The art and design of how that music was packaged back in the day is also celebrated by Wax Poetics, with tons of vintage photos and album graphics reproduced. Besides the cover story on Bill Withers, stuff in this issue ranges from a colorfully-illustrated article about Blaxploitation cinema lobby cards to an interview with Cut Chemist to a look back at Herbie Mann’s career to a really cool feature on « mom’s record collection » — a bunch of well known producers like Peanut Butter Wolf, Hank Shocklee, and Prince Paul, talking about the records they heard their mothers playing when they were kids! Always a good read, and visually appealing as well.

album cover WAX POETICS #26 magazine 7.99
Bobby Byrd, Devin the Dude, Barrington Levy, the Osaka Monaurail, a look back at Kurtis Blow’s 1979 single « Christmas Rappin' » (not just a novelty, but a historical milestone)… All that and more is to be found in the 138 colorful pages of this new issue of the wonderful Wax Poetics, essential reading material for all fans of cool old (and new) hiphop, jazz, funk and soul!

album cover WHITE, TONY JOE s/t (Sepia Tone) cd 13.98
This is a reissue of Tony White’s second (or third?) solo album, and the one that is considered his best. A prolific songwriter (the stunning « Rainy Night in Georgia » as well as hits performed by everyone from Elvis to Etta James to Ray Charles), he’s got this husky deep bass of a voice that he lets growl and croon over his own version of blues-based white soul. It’s not blowing us away or anything, but it’s good strong wellcrafted music.
RealAudio clip: « My Kind of Woman »

album cover WILD MAGNOLIAS, THE They Call Us Wild (Sunnyside / Universal France) 2cd 21.00
In the long wake of Hurricane Katrina, it’s good to remind ourselves of the amazing musical legacy of New Orleans. So what better time than now to get this 2 disc reissue of one of the more unique and underrated funk groups of the early seventies, The Wild Magnolias. The first Mardi-Gras Indian group to get signed to a major label (they’re not real Native Americans, but African-Americans partaking in a long-time tradition of street­based competition with rival tribal factions fully decked out in elaborately ornate, feathered Indian regalia), The Wild Magnolias were known for their gospel like call-and-response vocal chants over driving funk rhythms provided by The New Orleans Project led by keyboardist Willie Tee. Compiling their 1973 self-titled debut, and 1975 follow-up, They Call us Wild, the Magnolias mix up original songs sung in native-sounding patois (« Handa Wanda », « Ho Na Nae ») with interesting takes on New Orleans folk standards such as « Saints » and « Shoo Fly ». Includes a PDF version of a 68 page book about their impressive history. An awesome reissue of some bad-ass funk and an amazing peek into one of New Orleans most unique street traditions!
MPEG Stream: « Smoke My Peace Pipe (Smoke It Right) »
MPEG Stream: « Ho Na Nae »
MPEG Stream: « They Call Us Wild »
MPEG Stream: « Ah Anka Ting Tang Boo Shanka Boo »

album cover WILLIAMS, ANDRE WITH THE DIPLOMATS OF SOLID SOUND Aphrodisiac (Pravda) cd 14.98
Andre Williams has been making records for over 50 years now — Wow! Often credited as being the godfather of Rap as his vocal delivery and raw stylings foreshadowed the MC and the birth of hip-hop and beat ’em to the punch by decades. He also of course has always been a serious presence in blues, soul and rock ‘n’ roll as well. This new release finds his voice still sounding as good as ever and it’s an album of seriously solid rhythm and blues. His life’s struggles years of hard times are felt in every one of his songs yet through it all you get the feeling that Williams is that rare kind of survivor that will keep playing music till the day he dies. A documentary is set to come out soon on his life & music so hopefully a whole new crowd will discover the man and his music and realize just how much he contributed to music as we know it.
MPEG Stream: « Do You Remember? »
MPEG Stream: « Uptown Hustle »

album cover WILLIS, NICOLE AND THE SOUL INVESTIGATORS Keep Reachin’ Up (Light In The Attic) cd 13.98
With a seemingly endless supply of amazing soul and funk reissues surfacing seemingly every day, we kept hoping that some current music makers would take some notes and cues from that golden age of soul and funk and start making some seriously raw and tasty soul of their own. Besides the great Sharon Jones & The Dapkings there had been a huge lack of killer modern old school soul. Luckily we think there might be a bit of a renaissance on the horizon. With The Dapkings backing Amy Winehouse and reaching mainstream audiences we think the time is ripe for a whole lot more great soul to replace the overproduced schlock that has dominated the r&b world for way too long now. With a band of great players from Finland of all places, Nicole Willis has made one of the best soul records of the year! After years as a backup and guest vocalist for everyone from Curtis Mayfield, Leftfield and Dee-Lite, Willis is finally the main attraction. After a few impossible to find outings Keep Reachin’ Up seems like it will be the one that makes people stand up and take notice. It’s a good thing too cuz damn does this record smoke!
Much like the Sharon Jones record, if you close your eyes and listen to Willis you feel like you’re in another time entirely. She perfectly recalls that amazing uptempo 70’s soul sound that would influence so many folks and pave the way for disco. Her voice is strong and assured, sexy and dripping with a sensuality that can NOT be denied. You can imagine how much Larry Levan would have loved her voice, as you can hear echoes of Gwen Guthrie, Betty Wright and even The Supremes in her songs. What makes Keep Reachin’ Up so irresistible is the impeccable music and arrangements played by The Soul Investigators who include her husband Warp Alumnus Jimi Tenor whose take on classic sound is scary perfect (and we have to say we might prefer him in a behind the scenes capacity way more that as a front man) and the amazing playing by The Pekka Kuusisto String Orchestra. Every element is perfect. PERFECT! This has fast become a unanimous favorite around AQ (even with Andee who is typically a bit soul-shy) and we’re pretty sure you will fall hard for this as well. So damn good!
MPEG Stream: « Feeling Free »
MPEG Stream: « Keep Reachin’ Up »

album cover WINEHOUSE, AMY Back To Black (Universal Republic) cd 16.98
If you have been paying attention to the British tabloids and gossip blogs lately, then most likely you, like us, have heard about Ms. Winehouse’s drunken antics (her ongoing feuds with white Brit soul-sister Lily Allen, her heckling Bono at a recent awards show, or her oddball sense of fashion), long before you would have actually heard her sing. But who doesn’t love a Hot Mess these days, especially one who can surprisingly deliver the classic soul goods as forcefully as she. Seriously, every time we play this, customers do double takes when they see her skinny frame on the cd and hear this big ballsy voice, they just don’t match up. At least not until you hear the lyrics, especially on the opening track, the very timely « Rehab », and you can see that her rough charm belies some hefty emotional damage. Backed by the Dap-Kings (well, the band sounds like them and she’s touring with them, so we think it’s them) and featuring a cameo by Ghostface Killah, Ms. Winehouse’s second album is a lovelorn soul cocktail made from the tawdry shards of a broken gin bottle.
MPEG Stream: « Rehab »
MPEG Stream: « You Know I’m No Good »
MPEG Stream: « He Can Only Hold Her »

album cover WINEHOUSE, AMY Frank (Universal Republic) cd 14.98
Who is that fresh and smiling face on the cover? Is that really Amy Winehouse? We didn’t recognize her without her ratty beehive, missing teeth, coke boogers and prison tattoos. Oh right, this is her first record. It’s finally available domestically and probably her label fearing she’ll never get it together enough to make another record are eager to get more dough from their falling star. Although we have to admit, Miss Winehouse is a much better artist when she’s battling her demons than when she doesn’t have any, as Frank will attest. Back To Black was one of the best records this year, not just because of the tightness of the band or it’s retro soul focus but also in the sincerity of her delivery, and the almost gut-wrenching honesty of her songwriting.
Frank has some good moments too. Her vocal delivery sounds amazingly older than a 17 year old, but the music relies on a dated blend of jazz and hip-hop tinged R&B that hasn’t aged as well. The songwriting shows promise but it just doesn’t quite add up as a complete work. No wonder Miss Winehouse distanced herself from this record. Too bad she couldn’t convince the label to do the same. Not that it’s really all that bad, just not nearly in the same league as her follow-up.
MPEG Stream: « Fuck Me Pumps »
MPEG Stream: « In My Bed »

WONDER, STEVIE Songs In The Key Of Life (Universal) 2cd 31.00

album cover WRIGHT, BETTY Hard To Stop (Runt) cd 14.98
Betty Wright’s classic album Hard To Stop, a 1973 follow-up album to her hit song « Clean Up Woman », remastered in all its glory. Features « I Am Woman », « The Babysitter », « If You Think You’ve Got Soul » and « It’s Hard To Stop (Doing Something When It’s Good To You) ». If anyone has ’70s SOUL POWER, it is Betty Wright. Well aaaaaallllriiightahh!
MPEG Stream: « Sweet Wonder »
MPEG Stream: « The Babysitter »

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