AQUARIUS RECORDS …. SOUL FUNK POWER

MOORE, RUDY RAY Hully Gully Fever (Norton) cd 14.98
Blaxploitation pioneer Rudy Ray Moore’s early work, recorded in the ’50s and ’60s. Includes rare stuff, previously unissued material, radio spots, Sam Cooke and Willie Dixon covers, etc.

album cover MOORE, RUDY RAY Petey Wheatstraw (Magic Disc) lp 13.98
Clasic Blaxploitation Soundtrack to Rudy Ray Moore’s Peaty Wheatstraw, « the Devil’s Son-in-Law ».
if you like Moore’s Dolemite movies and soundtracks, then this more violent, funky and funny offshoot should get you moving!

album cover MORODER, GIORGIO The Best of… (Repertoire) cd 15.98
What with the current retro electro boogie wonderkinds like Adult. and Ladytron, this is a more than timely release of that suave disco dance-meister with the bad-ass moustache, Giorgio Moroder. « Best of » may be a bit of a misnomer though as this compilation includes the groan-inducing « Solitary Man » and Flashdance ballad « Lady Lady ». Nevertheless, this is a highly entertaining no-holds-barred retrospective. From his silly, bubblegum Ohio Express-ish debut single « Looky Looky » from 1969, to his glammy Spirit In The Sky-esque « Son Of My Father » in ’72, and on into the Aqua Velva disco years and beyond. It’s not until the fifth track though that the disco rump-shakin’ truly kicks in with oozing over-sexed vengeance – « I Wanna Funk With You Tonight »… indeed. The major Moroder highlights though come in mid-cd with the relentlessly groovy « Chase », vocoder-active « E=MC2 » and « Baby Blue ». His later tracks may raise a few eyebrows (like the aforementioned cringers as well as « American Dream »), but they just might also remind you of a certain recording studio scene in the movie Boogie Nights… which is alright with me. You got the touch!
RealAudio clip: « Stop »
RealAudio clip: « Looky Looky »
RealAudio clip: « I Wanna Funk With You Tonight »
RealAudio clip: « Baby Blue »

album cover MULDROW, GEORGIA ANNE Olesi: Fragments Of The Earth (Stones Throw) cd 14.98
Caught us sorta snoozin’ on this one! This release actually came out back in 2006, and Cup heard its strange soulful glory out in Michigan that year. However, its name promptly vanished from her memory banks and we couldn’t track it down until now! From the bio provided by Stones Throw Records it sure sounds like Ms Muldrow grew up within close proximity to some cool shit! Her father invented instruments for Eddie Harris and her mother sang with Pharaoh Sanders. Whoa. Initially Olesi: Fragments Of The Earth seems like a disorienting jumbled mess, albeit a really awesome sounding one — a bunch of different unrelated pieces heaped up precariously into a generous twenty one tracks. All the parts ring familiar on their own in their old R&B, (almost free-) jazz, hip hop and soul ways, but we’ve never heard them arranged together in quite as unconventional a fashion as this! As the album progresses the sense of disorientation lingers, but her fevered vocal delivery and undulating, loping grooves prove infectious. The album definitely walks the fine line between defiant genius and baked madness. Seriously ‘out there’, she clearly had a ‘vision’ for this but it might not be for everyone! A fierce and bizarre debut.
MPEG Stream: « Wrong Way »
MPEG Stream: « Skaw De Beast »

NDEGEOCELLO, ME’SHELL Comfort Woman (Warner) cd 17.98

album cover NDEGEOCELLO, ME’SHELL Presents The Spirit Music Jamia: Dance Of The Infidel (Shanachie) cd 16.98
Me’shell Ndegeocello’s seventh album marks a surprising, bold departure from the familiar sounds of her past works. In fact, The Spirit Music Jamia is her least soul pop and least solo effort to date, leaning more heavily on jazz and collaborations (hence the inclusion of the word ‘presents’ in the title). Heck, this is a downright jazz album, and an impressive, languid one at that. She enlists the fine talents of Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Garrett, Oliver Lake, Jack DeJohnette, Don Byron, John Coltrane’s son Oran among others. On the traycard, she lists her influences for this work as being Miles Davis, Kool Herc, Carl Sagan and Holy Scripture, and she also wittily notes that « these new compositions are suitable for free minds, open hearts and shaking behinds. » That said, some fans might initially feel somewhat alienated from this Me’shell album — she doesn’t sing a note on any of the songs — but those who do approach it with an open mind will surely find it to be a richly rewarding listen.
MPEG Stream: « Mu-Min »
MPEG Stream: « The Chosen »

album cover ONENESS OF JUJU African Rhythms 1970-1982 (Strut) 2cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Spanning the years 1970 to 1982, this is a wonderful double-disc collection of cuts taken from Plunky Branch’s career as the bandleader of such acts as Oneness of Juju and Juju & the Space Rangers, also as a principal behind such personalities as Roach Om and Ndikho Xaba. Generating a big big sound that drew as much from African rhythms as it did from James Brown-style funk and soul / r&b, gospel and free jazz, the various Juju projects made use of African percussion, smooth velvet voiced female divas, Rhodes organ, clavinet, piano, synths, violins, you name it. (It might be a little too « jazzy rare groove » sounding for some, so listen to the soundclips first.) The name Oneness of Juju may not be household to us, yet at the time, a lot of important musicians were super into them. Ornette Coleman, whose free jazz was a lot weirder than Juju’s consistently rhythmic appeal, gave the band use of his legendary NY loft complete with recording equipment; Sun Ra used some of the Juju musicians for Space is the Place; they played at Sam Rivers’ loft; even legendary Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan did a remix for them. And in the ’80s, Branch made it out to Africa where he played with King Sunny Ade and Fela. What a career. Lots of liner notes, as is usual from the excellent African diaspora reissue label Strut.
RealAudio clip: ONENESS OF JUJU « African Rhythms (Album Version) »
RealAudio clip: OKYEREMA ASANTE FEATURING PLUNKY « Asante Sana »

ONENESS OF JUJU African Rhythms 1970-1982 (Strut) 2lp 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Spanning the years 1970 to 1982, this is a wonderful double-disc collection of cuts taken from Plunky Branch’s career as the bandleader of such acts as Oneness of Juju and Juju & the Space Rangers, also as a principal behind such personalities as Roach Om and Ndikho Xaba. Generating a big big sound that drew as much from African rhythms as it did from James Brown-style funk and soul / r&b, gospel and free jazz, the various Juju projects made use of African percussion, smooth velvet voiced female divas, Rhodes organ, clavinet, piano, synths, violins, you name it. (It might be a little too « jazzy rare groove » sounding for some, so listen to the soundclips first.) The name Oneness of Juju may not be household to us, yet at the time, a lot of important musicians were super into them. Ornette Coleman, whose free jazz was a lot weirder than Juju’s consistently rhythmic appeal, gave the band use of his legendary NY loft complete with recording equipment; Sun Ra used some of the Juju musicians for Space is the Place; they played at Sam Rivers’ loft; even legendary Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan did a remix for them. And in the ’80s, Branch made it out to Africa where he played with King Sunny Ade and Fela. What a career. Lots of liner notes, as is usual from the excellent African diaspora reissue label Strut.

album cover OTIS, SHUGGIE Inspiration Information (Luaka Bop) cd 13.98
David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label decided to follow up the Os Mutantes « best of » collection which was volume one of their « World Psychedelic Classics » series with this disc of by long-forgotten seventies singer/songwriter Shuggie Otis. Thus those of us who had never really heard him before were curious — this had better be good! And while Byrne’s back-cover blurb likening this album to « D’Angelo meets DJ Shadow » seems like a stretch, « Inspiration Information » is certainly a great record, fantastic to have back in print (it was originally released in 1974, when Otis was but 22 years old!). Fellow back-cover-blurbist Sean « High Llamas » O’Hagan says « It’s total eclecticism…This is an album that I play for people, and it always gets an extraordinary reaction. » Doubtless, as the music of Shuggie (son of R&B star Johnny) Otis isn’t dated at all, and makes for a trippy, soulful listen, suitable both for Sunday mornings and late Saturday nights… This lost masterpiece features sweet vocals (kinda like Curtis Mayfield), spartan funk, melancholic instrumentals, Pong-era « techno » beats, eclectic grooves, and psychedelic moves worthy of a more obscure, experimental version of Stevie Wonder or Sly Stone. I guess it must be Shuggie’s pioneering use of primitive drum machines and his studio-as-instrument, one-man-band collage of sounds that inspired Byrne’s DJ Shadow comparison. This songwriting approach works well on the classic « Strawberry Letter 23 », psych-pop sequing into Terry Riley-ish minimalism (this song was a hit later in the ’70s for The Brothers Johnson). By the way, that cut and two other tunes included here are not actually from « Inspiration Information » but are taken from Shuggie’s 1971 debut LP « Freedom Flight ». Byrne & Co. decided to add ’em to this reissue, making this disc even more of a necessity (although why that album doesn’t also get a reissue, I don’t know). We’re just shocked that Otis (on the strength of this disc, truly a musical visionary, one who even turned down a guitar gig with the Rolling Stones at the time of this album’s original release!) isn’t better known — it’s a sad story that this album didn’t do well and was indeed the swansong of his short career, as to this day he’s never made another album.
RealAudio clip: « Inspiration Information »
RealAudio clip: « XL-30 »
RealAudio clip: « Strawberry Letter 23 »
RealAudio clip: « Sweet Thang »

album cover OZKENT, MUSTAFA Genclik Ile Elele (B-Music / Finders Keepers) cd 14.98
B-Music’s « Anatolian Invasion » continues. We reviewed the Selda album a few weeks ago, now it’s time for the one with the monkey on the cover, the incredibly groovy 1973 instrumental album from this super-obscure Turkish artist Mustafa Ozkent and his « orkestrasi ». We’re told (and we believe it) that this is one REALLY obscure album, definitely a find for any digger and a welcome reissue from the discerning heads at Finders Keepers/B-music. It’s simply jazzy, sazzy, dancefloor fodder here folks, nothing but a party y’all. Fuzz guitar and Turkish trad. folk grooves like we like, but done all badass as if the JBs, « funky drummer » included, were ushered into the studio with a bunch of Turkish musicians, each teaching the other some new tricks. ’70s funk, Istanbul-style! Totally full of beats and breaks that pioneering hip hop DJs woulda been all over, had hip hop originated in the on the banks of the Bosphorus rather than in the Bronx… The acid organ spasms and rhythmic workouts found here are still fresh and fun today. We know a lot of you dig the Turkish psych reissues we’ve been freaking on, this one should definitely appeal to those who liked the ’70s cop show car chase sounding numbers found on the Edip Akbayram reish. Ten tracks, 30 minutes, and your body WILL be moving long before you need to hit « play » again to start it over.
MPEG Stream: « Burcak »
MPEG Stream: « Silifke »

album cover OZKENT, MUSTAFA Genclik Ile Elele (Finders Keepers) lp 28.00
NOW ON VINYL!!
B-Music’s « Anatolian Invasion » continues. We reviewed the Selda album a few weeks ago, now it’s time for the one with the monkey on the cover, the incredibly groovy 1973 instrumental album from this super-obscure Turkish artist Mustafa Ozkent and his « orkestrasi ». We’re told (and we believe it) that this is one REALLY obscure album, definitely a find for any digger and a welcome reissue from the discerning heads at Finders Keepers/B-music. It’s simply jazzy, sazzy, dancefloor fodder here folks, nothing but a party y’all. Fuzz guitar and Turkish trad. folk grooves like we like, but done all badass as if the JBs, « funky drummer » included, were ushered into the studio with a bunch of Turkish musicians, each teaching the other some new tricks. ’70s funk, Istanbul-style! Totally full of beats and breaks that pioneering hip hop DJs woulda been all over, had hip hop originated in the on the banks of the Bosphorus rather than in the Bronx… The acid organ spasms and rhythmic workouts found here are still fresh and fun today. We know a lot of you dig the Turkish psych reissues we’ve been freaking on, this one should definitely appeal to those who liked the ’70s cop show car chase sounding numbers found on the Edip Akbayram reish. Ten tracks, 30 minutes, and your body WILL be moving long before you need to hit « play » again to start it over.
MPEG Stream: « Burcak »
MPEG Stream: « Silifke »

album cover OZOMATLI Embrace The Chaos (Interscope) cd 19.98
One of the most infectiously exuberant bands I’ve ever seen live, Ozomatli are LA’s premiere latin/jazz/salsa/funk/hip hop sensations. Don’t take those genres lightly — these guys do it all and they do it with joy and energy. The hip hop is real, so is the funk… heck there’s even an « interlude » that sounds like a weird outtake from Mingus’ Black Saint and the Sinner Lady. Lots of touring, good word of mouth, and their well-received self titled debut album from a couple years ago — no wonder everyone wants to work with them. This new album features guest appearances from David Hidalgo (Los Lobos), De La Soul, Common, Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys), Cut Chemist, etc., all augmenting the usual Ozomatli stew of trumpet, tres and jarana guitars, baritone sax, and a million different kinds of percussion.
RealAudio clip: « Pensativo (Interlude) »
RealAudio clip: « Dos Cosas Ciertas »
RealAudio clip: « Mi Alma »
RealAudio clip: « Vocal Artillery »

OZOMATLI Street Signs (Concord Records) cd 10.98

OZOMATLI Vocal Artillery (Interscope) 12″ 6.98
Vinyl single from the new album…
RealAudio clip: « Vocal Artillery »

PARLET Invasion of the Booty Snatchers (Universal) cd 13.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.

PARLIAMENT First Thangs (HDH) cd 14.98
Early Parliament tracks (mostly from their debut « Osmium ») circa ’70 – ’72. Some, like « Red Hot Mama » later were reworked for later Funkadelic output. Essential funk.

PARLIAMENT Mothership Connection (Casablanca) cd 12.98
This is it, the mothership has landed! If you wants to get funked up, start here.

album cover PARLIAMENT Osmium (Sanctuary / Castle) cd 17.98
Got some of these in, thought we ought to get it up on our website. After all, in my (Windy’s) opinion the best Parliament album is this, their first, released in 1970. Removing the « s » from their name heralded George Clinton’s change from the Parliaments’ doo-wop sound to a truly original mix of gospel / country / funk / rock / even classical. That they hooked up with a white woman from England, Ruth Copeland, who wrote several of their most devotional tracks is even more weird, but then you’ve got hear this album to believe just how weird, yet totally accessible and great, it is. Especially if you’re only familiar with Parliament / Funkadelic’s more shiny dancefloor-oriented later material, then this will be a full-on revelation to you, so be *sure* to give the soundclips a try. While some folks choose to take sides over liking either Funkadelic *or* Parliament, Clinton’s bands existed simultaneously and there is so much crossover in personnel and style that they may as well be considered the same band. So I tend to divide their sounds into early and later, myself much preferring the early work of both Parliament and Funkadelic — 1971’s Maggot Brain is my fave Funkadelic masterpiece. Osmium comes with seven bonus tracks to round out the album’s original 10. Essential essential essential!
P.S. This has been reissued several times, including as a Brit import some years back called Rhenium, so note that if you’ve got that one you already have all the stuff here except the bonus tracks.
MPEG Stream: « I Call My Baby Pussycat »
MPEG Stream: « Oh Lord, Why Lord / Prayer »
MPEG Stream: « Funky Woman »

PARLIAMENT Up For The Down Stroke (Casablanca) cd 12.98
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The 2nd Parliament album, from ’74. Old Parliaments soul is updated to mid-’70s psychedelic funk specifications. A classic.

PARLIAMENTS, THE Testifyin’ (Goldmine/Soul Supply) cd 14.98
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Before Parliament & Funkadelic, George Clinton and co. were known as The Parliaments…presented here are their mid-sixties Detroit sessions, 18 soulful tracks worth–including the 1967 hit « I Wanna Testify » and several others later reworked by P-Funk in the seventies. « Good Ole Music » indeed. And plus it’s neat to see the cover pic of a smooth-lookin’ Mr. Clinton and the gang from before they adopted their LSD/Sun Ra-inspired dresscode (i.e. sans multicolored hair extensions, outlandish costuming, etc.)…

PARLIAMENTS, THE Testifyin’ (Goldmine/Soul Supply) lp 11.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Before Parliament & Funkadelic, George Clinton and co. were known as The Parliaments…presented here are their mid-sixties Detroit sessions, 18 soulful tracks worth–including the 1967 hit « I Wanna Testify » and several others later reworked by P-Funk in the seventies. « Good Ole Music » indeed. And plus it’s neat to see the cover pic of a smooth-lookin’ Mr. Clinton and the gang from before they adopted their LSD/Sun Ra-inspired dresscode (i.e. sans multicolored hair extensions, outlandish costuming, etc.)…

PEEBLES, ANN I Can’t Stand the Rain (Hi) cd 14.98

album cover PERKINS, DUDLEY Expressions (2012 A.U.) (Stones Throw) cd 15.98
Not sure what all the hype is about with Dudley Perkins. We half expected some empowered funk in the vein of Gil Scott-Heron or George Clinton, but Perkins gravelly singing/rapping style is just too clunky to carry a full record. And the one skit on this record, a clumsy jab at « Cops »­style domestic abuse cases, falls dead flat. Diehard Madlib fans may want to get this for the breaks and production, but we recommend they wait for the instrumentals version instead.
MPEG Stream: « Testin’ Me »
MPEG Stream: « Come Here My Dear »
MPEG Stream: « Dear God »

album cover PIECES OF PEACE s/t (Cali-Tex) cd 15.98
Some more great classic Chicago soul from the early ’70s (check out the awesome Dells disc we’re listing this time around was well). Pieces Of Peace have been getting a much deserved second life in this great era of soul reissues. They were recently featured on the Numero Group’s Eccentric Soul series on the collection featuring the Twinight label. It’s no surprise we hadn’t heard Pieces of Peace till recently as this one and only full length from the band was never released by their label after it was recorded in ’72 because of the bands breakup shortly after finishing the album. Thankfully it’s getting its time of day 35 years later and what a great artifact of that special musical moment of the Chicago scene in the late ’60s and early ’70s. As informed by spirituals and free jazz as it is funk and soul. Long instrumental stretches of horn fueled deep hitting soul and tasteful vocals never take away from the amazing musicianship that truly shapes these songs. Fans of The Pharaohs (who add their chops to this record) will for sure be in love with this. A great lost discovery brought to life by an exciting new soul/funk reissue label run by DJ Shadow.
MPEG Stream: « Pollution »
MPEG Stream: « Flunky For Your Love »

album cover PRAXIS Warszawa (Innerrhythmic) cd 16.98
Long-delayed (but finally released) new live disc from the Bill Laswell-led, contantly mutating Praxis outfit. This time around, the line-up features bassist Laswell, long-time Praxis participant Buckethead (y’know, the new Guns n’ Roses guitarist!), former Primus drummer Brain, and former Invisibl Skratch Piklz DJs Disk and MixMaster Mike. Recorded in Poland (hence the title), « Warszawa » is heavy on the hip hop turntablist side of things, lots of scratches mixed with Brain & Laswell’s grooves and Buckethead’s light-speed guitar squiggles (which have much in common with the turntable scratching, really). In the context of prior Praxis releases, this isn’t at all dark and industrial (like when Zorn and Mick Harris were involved in the band) or spacey-fusion stuff (from the early Bootsy Collins/Bernie Worrell era of Praxis) but IS definitely funky in a fragmentary fashion, with elements of both ambient music and Hendrix style guitar noise also prominent. One for both Laswell and live turntable/ISP fans.
RealAudio clip: « Flux and Reflux »

album cover PRINCE 3121 (Universal) cd 15.98
OK no matter how indie, underground, death metal, experimental, minimal techno you are you can’t deny that at one point in time you dug Prince at at least one of his songs kicked your ass and made you shake it like crazy. Prince’s 1999 was actually the very first record Andee bought with his own money! Some of us here are still darn proud of our pure love of Prince. An amazing musician and songwriter whose eccentric persona is what usually gets him attention these days insted of his music, but we still think he’s got some juice left in his songwriting. 3121 is one of his stronger albums in recent years with definite nods to his prime past. Of course like most of his recent outings it’s not great from start to finish but when he’s « workin’ up a black sweat » he’s still pretty irresistible.
MPEG Stream: « 3121 »
MPEG Stream: « Black Sweat »

PRINCE s/t (Warner) cd 12.98

PUPPIES Recognize (Convertible) cd 15.98
Thanks goes to Drew of Matmos for bringing this to our attention, a 1996 release of Miami Bass style raps by a pair of pre-teens. Several nursery rhymes and children’s songs get the treatment, including showstopper « Hokey Pokey ». Our favorite « novelty » record of the moment.

album cover PURPLE IMAGE s/t (Radioactive) cd 17.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
When we first put this on, we were like, damn! Opening track « Living In The Ghetto » is some kick-ass, fuzz-filled, freak funk/rock from this all-black ’70s act from Cleveland (whom, of course, we’ve never heard of before, as with so many of the Radioactive label’s reissued rarities). And it was perhaps too much to ask for the whole of their eponymous 1970 album to keep up with the heavy acid rock like that track. No, soon Purple Image take a turn into some smooth and tender R&B territory, though weird synth interludes and psychedelic effects keep our interest, and there’s definitely some more nuggets of tough fuzz rockin’ to be found on here. The album ends with « Marching To A Different Drummer », a meandering fifteen minute mostly-instrumental garage psych R&B fusion jam, with shrill guitars, funky horns, phased drums, wild harmonica… Definitely cool, though they’re no Funkadelic. Still, at least a couple of the cuts on here, particularily « Living In The Ghetto » would for sure make this worth it to any big fan of that Chains And Black Exhaust compilation!
MPEG Stream: « Living In The Ghetto »
MPEG Stream: « Lady »

album cover RAIN, JORDAN Street Lights (Pool Or Pond) cd 10.98
Does technology exist that instantly turns the rapid random wanderings of the mind into music? Listening to Street Lights sure makes us think it must! It’s as if someone’s gone and plugged that machine directly into the (we’re guessing bong-luvvin’) brain of one Mr. Jordan Rain. His new album jumps about so wildly it’ll have you puzzledly scratching your own head at every turn. Hell, we felt we almost had to roll ourselves a fatty just to review it!
If Jordan looks / sounds somehow familiar to you, there’s many possible reasons why. A veritable North Western underground musical legend, he’s been a member of Reeks & The Wrecks (whose sole posthumous release came out on Andee’s tUMULt label a while back), Behead The Prophet No Lord Shall Live, Alamo Social Club and Robert Blake’s High Wide & Handsome Band. He’s also been spotted recently as the frontman for his eight member Yogoman Burning Band.
Anyways, Street Lights is Jordan’s second cd of tunes he wrote, played, and recorded all by himself. The instruments and vocals were recorded through the pinhole mic in his iBook directly into the Garageband computer program, where he overdubbed and mixed everything. The aural effects laden grab bag contains everything from answering machine snippits and non-verbal vocalizing to white boy soul falsetto crooning, trippy dubbed out reggae, slow burning laid back grooves, wild percussive freakouts and even a sing-a-long with a baby. Weird and warped, and maybe best listened to under the influence…
MPEG Stream: « Right Time Rockers »
MPEG Stream: « Happy Monkey Horsie Desert Ride »

album cover REID, STEVE Nova (Universal Sound) cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Soul Jazz has started to release the original albums from whence the tracks came for their excellent cosmic jazz/funk comp « Universal Sounds of America » from a few years back. The Art Ensemble’s magnificent « Les Stances A Sophie » was the first, now here’s this disc by drummer Steve Reid and band, first released in 1976. « Lions of Judah » (the track used on that comp) is perhaps the most intensely funked up cut on here, but isn’t the only highlight by any means. Reid, with his bandmates in the « The Legendary Master Brotherhood » (trumpeter Ahmend Abdullah, saxophonist Joe Rigby, pianist/electric organist Les Walker, and bassist Luis Falcon) also stir up some badass kosmigroove sounds on « Nova »‘s other four cuts, in the Pharoah Sanders/Alice Coltrane vein. Can’t wait for Soul Jazz to come up with more of this stuff!
RealAudio clip: « Lions of Judah »
RealAudio clip: « Sixth House »

album cover RIPERTON, MINNIE Petals: The Minnie Riperton Collection (Capital) 2cd 19.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
Wow, a very nice collection of the best of Minnie Riperton, who possessed one of THE most amazing voices in the history of rock and soul music — hey, everyone from Stevie Wonder to Denzel Washington to George Benson will tell you that. (Denzel said he got thru the toughest time in his life by listening to her Perfect Angel album over and over again.) Her biggest hit « Lovin’ You » amply demonstrated her astonishing (and perhaps unmatched since?) 5 1/2 octave vocal range and ability to hold notes for what seem like minutes.
Minnie grew up on Chicago’s Southside, cut some tracks as « Andrea Davis », then was invited to join the multiracial psychedelic / rock / soul group Rotary Connection. Most people familiar with Rotary Connection back in the day say they should’ve been huge, and that if they had only gotten the exposure they deserved (such as a slot at Woodstock), they would’ve caught on like wildfire — that’s how good they were. Three Rotary Connection tracks are included here, a totally unrecognizable version of Otis Redding’s « Respect », a Cream cover, and an unreal Middle Eastern-ish epic called « I Took a Ride (Caravan) » (see soundclips below).
When Minnie decided to make a series of solo albums, she left the psychedelic heaviness of Rotary Connection for a sound all her own — part soul, part rock, always forefronting her incredible songbird-like voice. She did everything from stark Joni Mitchell covers to down home funky songs like « Reasons » (my favorite song of hers, ever, see soundclips below) to sweet bell-clear love songs penned by her and her husband by the duck pond in the idyllic little Florida backwater house they lived in for two years. Stevie Wonder was proud to produce the tracks, and she enjoyed several « hits » before her untimely death of breast cancer at the age of 31. She is sorely missed.
This 2-disc collection is ultra-handy because it collects Minnie’s best tracks in one place, as well as showcasing previously unreleased demos and live tracks (and admittedly just a few duds). The liner notes are quite extensive and detailed, and the photos are… well, let’s just say you’ll be in love after seeing the photo of her with the overalls and the ice cream cone. Recommended!
RealAudio clip: MINNIE RIPERTON « Les Fleurs »
RealAudio clip: MINNIE RIPERTON « Reasons »
RealAudio clip: ROTARY CONNECTION « I Took a Ride (Caravan) »
RealAudio clip: MINNIE RIPERTON « You Gave Me Soul »

ROSS, TAL A.K.A. Detrimental Vasoline – Giant Shirley (Coconut Grove) cd 14.98
From the overblown liner notes: « After 20 years of self-imposed isolation, original Funkadelic guitarist, Tal Ross, emerges with his solo debut: 2 decades of sublimely distilled musical vision, lyrical expanse and stone grooves, blending fuck, blues, rock, ambient, and psychedelia. »

album cover ROTARY CONNECTION Black Gold: The Very Best Of… (Universal / Island) 2cd 31.00
Nice 2 disc anthology from this Chicago psych- chamber soul-pop hybrid group featuring Minnie Ripperton. Like the Fifth Dimension on LSD, The Rotary Connection were created to bring some youthful pep into Chess Records aging jazz/blues market, through Chess’s subsidiary label, Cadet. Intermixing race and gender and backed by Charles Stepney’s dramatic string arrangements, Phil Upchurch’s seering guitar work and Ripperton’s five-octave vocal range, the group released six albums between 1967 and 1971 before Ripperton departed for solo fame. Never really branching out beyond the midwest and their managements infamous decision to turn down a slot at Woodstock for a more lucrative festival in Toronto, sealed their fate. However, their songs have been sampled in hip-hop for years, most famously the sitar break from « Memory Band » in the Fugee’s « Killing Me Softly » (Also used in Tribe Called Quest’s « Bonita Applebaum »). This compilation takes the best cuts of five of their albums, but completely ignores their Christmas record, Peace!, which being one of the best Christmas records ever, is the only downside to this anthology.
MPEG Stream: « Respect »
MPEG Stream: « Memory Band »
MPEG Stream: « I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun »
MPEG Stream: « Let Them Talk »

RUSSELL, ARTHUR Another Thought (Orange Mountain Music) cd 21.00

album cover RUSSELL, ARTHUR Calling Out Of Context (Audika) cd 15.98
A few weeks back we listed Soul Jazz’s The World of Arthur Russell, the eagerly awaited collection of hard-to-find music from that downtown NYC « disco visionary ». Released almost simultaneously with that disc was this disc of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1985 and 1990. (Russell died in 1992, leaving behind tons of unissued music). If you liked the Soul Jazz comp, you’ll like this. With Russell’s laid back, oft-effected vocals, drum programming, trademark cello, as well as trombone and other instruments, this is some mellow, groovy, experimental dance music indeed. It’s super artsy and ’80s, and thus very cool now. While no one here at AQ has become a big Arthur Russell fan, we’re not surprised to have sold a lot of these already. Perhaps our favorite track on here is « The Platform On The Ocean », featuring some nice fuzz sounds (fuzz cello?) and Arthur’s looped, delayed voice intoning the track title.
MPEG Stream: « The Platform On The Ocean »
MPEG Stream: « You And Me Both »

album cover RUSSELL, ARTHUR Calling Out Of Context (Audika) 2lp 22.00
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A few weeks back we listed Soul Jazz’s The World of Arthur Russell, the eagerly awaited collection of hard-to-find music from that downtown NYC « disco visionary ». Released almost simultaneously with that disc was this disc of previously unreleased tracks recorded between 1985 and 1990. (Russell died in 1992, leaving behind tons of unissued music). If you liked the Soul Jazz comp, you’ll like this. With Russell’s laid back, oft-effected vocals, drum programming, trademark cello, as well as trombone and other instruments, this is some mellow, groovy, experimental dance music indeed. It’s super artsy and ’80s, and thus very cool now. While no one here at AQ has become a big Arthur Russell fan, we’re not surprised to have sold a lot of these already. Perhaps our favorite track on here is « The Platform On The Ocean », featuring some nice fuzz sounds (fuzz cello?) and Arthur’s looped, delayed voice intoning the track title.
MPEG Stream: « The Platform On The Ocean »
MPEG Stream: « You And Me Both »

album cover RUSSELL, ARTHUR First Thought Best Thought (Audika) 2cd 22.00
Fourteen years after his death, the music of Arthur Russell is more alive than ever. Mostly known as a left-field disco producer and classically trained cellist, Russell was also an accomplished avant-garde composer, as evidenced here. Audika records, who re-issued Russell’s World of Echo and Calling Out Of Context releases, focus their attention here on two little known early pieces: Instrumentals Vols. 1 & 2, and Tower of Meaning. It’s no wonder they are so little known. While Instrumentals Vol. 2 was released on Belgian label Les Disques Du Crepescule in 1984, and Tower of Meaning was previously released on Phillip Glass’s label, Chatham Square in 1983, Vol. 1 was made only into a test pressing and for some reason shelved (this is its first official release).
The Instrumentals disc is the most interesting because for music so rooted in the New York avant-garde of the ’70s and ’80s, it’s surprisingly accessible. Instrumentals 1 feels like Rhys Chatham playing with the Penguin Cafe Orchestra as harmonic variations of horns and strings play across bass and drum rhythms, while Instrumentals 2 leaves the rhythms behind. Towers of Meaning, a suite of 7 pieces, has a more classical Gavin Bryars vibe as the horns play out long melody lines with unusual intonations and harmonics with each piece stopping abruptly. Rounding out each disc are two other unreleased compositions, Reach One and Sketch for the Face of Helen. Known to obsessively tweak mixes of his songs (Supposedly, Let’s Go Swimming, a left-field disco classic, was mixed *ninety-six* times) and then never release them, it’s been rumored that Russell left one thousand tapes of unreleased music at the time of his death, making the title of this release a small inside joke. Hopefully Audika, unlike Russell himself, will be able to tell when enough is enough.
MPEG Stream: « Instrumentals 1 »
MPEG Stream: « Instrumentals 2 »
MPEG Stream: « Tower of Meaning »

album cover SADE Lovers Live (Sony) cd 16.98
Hefty 70-minute documentation of Sade’s 2001 world tour. If you can get past the annoyingly extra-loud crowd enthusiasm, you’ll find this is a nice collection. Sade’s chilled out, smooth-as-silk vocal delivery is perfectly matched by the easy-listenin’ trumpet / guitar / percussive backdrop. Warning: if you already know her studio recordings well, the live versions here might be a bit disconcerting since they are slightly sped-up.
RealAudio clip: « Somebody Already Broke My Heart »

SADE Lovers Rock (Epic) cd 16.98
Let’s see… I could start off this review all nostalgic-like, tell you about my first year in college when me and my girlfriends were learning how to smoke cigarettes, we’d sit around the large round banquet tables in the university cafe, surrounded by blue haze and the girl to my left was all into shit like Pseudo Echo, and Karen to the left of me was into U2 and the Alarm « and Zep », but all I wanted to listen to on the jukebox was Sade’s « Your Love is King ». There, now I’ve dated myself. But maybe I shouldn’t tell you all that — cos you’ll think I’m silly… er, cos Sade’s music is timeless not dated. And you’ll be happy to know that Ms. Adu’s icy-cool delivery of the most personal lyrics is much more emotional and warm now. I kind of don’t think that a lot of AQ’s customers are into Sade anymore, if ever, but think about it this way — if she hadn’t gotten all famous and mainstream back then, maybe today you’d be hailing her records as lost gems of quietly gorgeous, sophisticated soul. Think simplicity.
RealAudio clip: « By Your Side »
RealAudio clip: « The Sweetest Gift »

album cover SENSATIONAL GUITARS OF DAN & DALE (SUN RA & THE BLUES PROJECT) Batman and Robin (Universe) cd 16.98
Amid the constant, welcome flood of reissued Sun Ra treasures, this is certainly an oddity (and that’s saying something). Apparently Sun Ra (who plays Hammond B-3 on here), Marshall Allen, John Gilmore and other Arkestra greats decided to cash in on the national Batman and Robin mania back in 1966, and this LP was the result! It’s got Neal Hefti’s famous Batman theme, and about a dozen other Batman-inspired toons (« Joker Is Wild », « The Bat Cave », « Batman’s Batmorang », you get the idea), all of ’em bouncy, jazzy, garagey fun stuff for the kids. Not your typical Sun Ra fare, but quite a novelty, very kitsch. Also features Al Kooper on organ…
RealAudio clip: « Batman Theme »
RealAudio clip: « Penguin Chase »
RealAudio clip: « Riddler’s Retreat »

album cover SIMONE, NINA Silk & Soul (BMG) cd 12.98
It’s been about three years now since Nina Simone passed away, we miss her madly but it’s nice that reissues of her back catalog will keep her voice alive for years to come. This is one of her nicest soul centered albums with totally lush arrangements and of course her voice at it’s most seductive and silky. While retrospectives and best of collections can be nice, when it comes to amazing artists like Nina Simone it’s so important to get to hear how well crafted her albums were, how she was so conscious of the flow and the journey from start to finish. We think you’ll be hard pressed to find a more perfect sounding Sunday morning album. This buried treasure from 1967 is sounding pretty perfect and timeless to our ears almost 40 years later.
MPEG Stream: « Go To Hell »
MPEG Stream: « Some Say »

album cover SISTERS LOVE, THE Give Me Your Love (Soul Jazz) cd 21.00
Most rare groove fiends fell in love with The Sisters Love after hearing the 80’s extended remix of their song « Give Me Your Love » which had disco aficionados like Larry Levan and Nicky Siano in seventh heaven. What’s amazing is that the track was actually recorded in 1973, predating disco and demonstrating that if one dug a little deeper, one might discover that not only were The Sisters Love way ahead of their time but were also not merely a one hit wonder. Thankfully, as they have so many times in the past, Soul Jazz have come to the rescue putting together a totally stunning collection of the SL’s deep hitting soul/funk recorded between 1969-1973. A vocal delivery with that perfect gospel influence that cuts right to the heart of the matter, and the sort of perfect production and orchestration that keeps the songs moving and practically begs to be sampled by the entire Stones Throw roster. Always such a pleasure to get a full helping of a group we only had heard in dribs and drabs before. After listening to this over and over we can safely say The Sisters Love have won a special place in our soul collection, alongside the likes of early Betty Wright, Ike & Tina and Candi Staton. Highly recommended!
MPEG Stream: « Give Me Your Love »
MPEG Stream: « Ha Ha Ha »
MPEG Stream: « Mr Fix-It Man »

album cover SKULL SNAPS s/t (Aztec Music) cd 21.00
Who are the Skull Snaps, you say? Well, if you have been paying attention to hip-hop of the last eighteen years, you will instantly recognize the opening drum break of « It’s A New Day » sampled by The Pharcyde, Gang Starr, Lords of The Underground as well as dozens of others who have sampled that riff and tons of others from this obscure New York soul group. Recorded in 1973, The Skull Snaps, a trio of guitar, bass and drums with killer vocal harmonies, had a more popular following overseas in the Northern Soul scene for such tracks, as « I’m Your Pimp » and « My Hang-up Is You » than they did in the US. Chock full of hooks and breaks, The Skull Snaps lone album is an amazing lost soul document that is finally getting its due. Plus it gets points for being one of the best album covers ever! Hip-hop legacy aside, this is a soul record right up there with Baby Huey, Curtis Mayfield and The Chi-Lites. Features 2 bonus tracks not on the original album. So Cool!
MPEG Stream: « It’s A New Day »
MPEG Stream: « I’m Your Pimp »

SOLE Skin Deep (Dreamworks) cd 16.98
Our newest discovery, thanks to KMEL keeping us company as we tool around town, imagining that our crappy little tape deck is actually a ‘boomin’ system’. Sole manages to out-nasty even Lil’ Kim and Foxy Brown. Wicked stuttering Timbaland style beats and streams of nasty sex style vitriol.

album cover SOUND DIRECTIONS (YESTERDAY’S NEW QUINTET) The Funky Side Of Life (Stones Throw) cd 15.98
Madlib strikes again! This might be the best record to merge hip-hop production and aesthetics with funk and soul. Like the Yesterdays New Quintet records he has made with jazz lineups playing great instrumental versions of early Stevie Wonder songs. With this Sound Directions record Madlib has taken his love of obscure early 70’s funk and soul to new heights. A production team which also includes Peanut Butter Wolf and instrumentation that includes kalimba, electric muffle, trumpet and a whole lot more. Interpretations of David Axelrod and Cliff Nobles and even more obscure ’60s/’70s gems. A breezy undertone accents the entire record. The kind of record you want to play when you have some folks over for food drinks and a good time. Madlib’s touch can be felt in the overall vibe of the recording. Smooth but not polished, a tad lo-fi but still infectious. True soul lives on.
MPEG Stream: « The Horse « 
MPEG Stream: « The Funky Side Of Life »

album cover SOUND OF FEELING Up Into Silence (Sunbeam) cd 16.98
Yes! The Sound of Feeling were a short lived but influential avant jazz-pop vocal group who recorded one full length album called Spleen in 1969 and a split LP with Oliver Nelson in 1968. Along with a handful of unreleased bonus tracks from the early seventies, Up into Silence collects their complete recordings. Comprised of pianist / arranger / singer Gary David, the counterpoint microtonal vocal talents of twin sisters Alice Rhae and Rhae Alice Andrece and rounded out musically with 2 bassists and a drummer, The Sound of Feeling updated the jazz-scat vocal style made popular by Lambert Hendricks and Ross and The Singers Unlimited by channeling John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk instead of Ella Fitzgerald or Louis Armstrong. But at times also referencing 16th-century madrigals, Bartok, the poetry of Paul Verlaine, as well as Simon and Garfunkel and Donovan amongst their many touchstones. Beginning with their take on Coltrane’s version of « My Favorite Things », the first five tracks are from the split LP with Oliver Nelson. The four others are all originals including « Circe Revisited » which features the unusual instrumentation of Marxaphone, an autoharp type instrument with strings tuned to a microtonal scale. But it’s their full length album, Spleen, where the group gets the most interesting. Opening with a bass and piano hook that has been sampled many times, the group’s take on Donovan’s « Hurdy-Gurdy Man » is one of the strangest and beautiful versions we’ve heard, taking the song through so many peaks and valleys (and even out on a few limbs) that never materialized in the original. With tracks like « Hex » and « Along Came Sam », it seems they left the jazz world altogether, and entered a lysergic avant chamber pop territory, with the basses, piano, vibes and drums alternating between killer breaks and restrained near-silent passages amongst the oddly tuned vocal acrobatics. The final 5 tracks were previously unreleased as the group were attempting to expand into hipper territories in the early seventies. The best of them, « Born Amongst The Eagles », continues with the amazing drum fills and some very strange vocal effects. Predicting the vocalese fusion style of Ursula Dudziak and Flora Purim, The Sound of Feeling were like a strange cocktail of Patty Water’s Out vocals and the cool groove of Norwegian jazz singer Karin Krog. Their recognition is long overdue!
MPEG Stream: « Hurdy Gurdy Man »
MPEG Stream: « Hex »
MPEG Stream: « Born With The Eagles »

SPINNA, DJ All Mixed Up : Collection Part 1 (Urban Theory) 2cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A tolerably well mixed 74 minutes of hip hop, soul, electronica, etc from the likes of Nightmares on Wax, Tek9, Terranova, Les Nubians, Runaways UK, 4Hero, etc. As with most of Spinna’s releases, there’s a second disc of the unmixed original tracks by themselves. This idea is cool when the originals are quite different from how they eventually sound when incorporated into a mix (as in the case of his old soul/r’n’b release Strange Games), and makes the DJ look good, too, but in the case of this title, the originals aren’t that different from how they sound within his set. Still, an enjoyable comp.

SPINNA, DJ Strange Games and Things (Barely Breaking Even) 3cd 18.98
THIS IS CURRENTLY OUT OF PRINT OR OTHERWISE UNAVAILABLE TO US AT THE MOMENT, SO PLEASE DO NOT ORDER IT. SORRY.
A three cd collection of classic old soul, disco and r’n’b gems. The first disc is a continuous mix by DJ Spinna, whose skills aren’t all there but somehow his clunkiness adds a charm to the whole thing. The two remaining discs are the originals of each of the records he used in his set, and this is such a treasure trove of good music, 27 tracks in all, well worth the price. With Minnie Riperton, Bohannon, Marvin Gaye, Donald Byrd, Sugarhill Gang, Foxy, Johnny Bristol, Roy Ayers, and many more.
RealAudio clip: MINNIE RIPERTON « Reasons »
RealAudio clip: LEMURIA « Hunk of Heaven »

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