Darrell Banks – 1968 – Darrell Banks Is Here!

For my money, one of the most overlooked, underappreciated, “lost” classic albums in just about any genre. Darrell Banks might have hailed from the North, but his voice and style of soul was all South. I mean, he’s got some grit behind his teeth. Not quite the preacher of Otis, maybe not as emotional as Carr, but still as powerful as either – Darrell Banks career was unfairly cut short. He should have made it, he should be important. At the time of writing this review, I haven’t been on a soul music kick in some time, years in fact. I listen to things here and there, but nothing deep. I’m more likely to listen to The Temptations and early Stevie than throw on Johnnie Taylor and OV Wright. Yet for the past couple years, even though my collection of soul albums is vast and underplayed, “Darrell Banks is Here!” …

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Marvin Holmes and Justice – 1975 – Honor Thy Father + Summer of 73

Never seen it sold under 300 $. A real killer from Marvin Holmes and his hip Oaktown combo Justice – a group who effortlessly blend together jazz, soul, and funk into a wonderfully soaring style – yet one that’s also more than heavy enough to live up to the message-oriented lyrics of the tracks! The album’s one of those rare soul sides that really blows away most of the mainstream from the time – a wonderfully heady album that could only have been cut in the underground – where folks like Marvin were keeping things real, and pushing a social agenda that was way stronger than anything you’d find in the charts! Horns are great, as are the rhythms – and the vocals blend together perfectly on cuts that include “Motherless Child“. Recorded at San Francisco Originally released from Brown Door Records as MH 6581 LP, 1975 Tracks a1 You Better …

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Thelma Jones – 1978 – Thelma Jones

Rip and Research by Mr.Moo Posting and additional info’s by Nikos The first album from Thelma Jones – and a real standout set from mid 70s Columbia! The record is a sweet blend of southern and modern soul, with some fantastic arrangements by Bert DeCoteaux, who also produced the set in a wonderful way that lets Jones retain the deeper qualities of her vocals, but also glide nicely on some warmer modern touches. There’s a really unified feel to the whole record, and tracks are a range of work by 70s song writing greats that include Sam Dees, Leon Ware, Grey & Hanks, and Gamble & Huff. Features the excellent single How Long, her signature tune, the Brad Shapiro produced ballad Salty Tears, and a whole lot of sides overseen by Bert DeCoteaux, the best of which – the mid tempo I Can Dream, and a trio of Sam Dees songs including …

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Marsha Hunt – 1971 – Woman Child

Review by Mat Schofield By her own admission, Marsha Hunt was maybe not the most technically accomplished of the many female vocalists to make their mark in the 1960′s and on occasion she seemed to overcompensate for inappropriate material by singing in the style of someone trying very hard to get noticed. This collection of songs covering sessions from 1969-1971 is a hotch-potch of bluesy show tunes, swamp rock, Dylan, The Band, Traffic and a brace of songs by the fledgling Marc Bolan. Sometimes she’s backed by strings, jazz musicians, rock stars and sometimes it sounds like its a bit of everything. But like Hunt herself, the whole package gels as a sum of its parts, pulling you back again and again for repeated listens. Whether it’s her unpredictable vocals, the ambitious range of material or the top-notch backing, the whole thing seems to work! Tracks A1 Walk on Gilded Splinters 3.30 …

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Prime Time – 1984 – Flying High

Rip and Research by Mr.Moo  Posting and additional info’s by Nikos Sweet keyboards and loads of wonderful 80s grooves – a great little set that perfectly balances jazzy riffing, funky rhythms, and warm soulful vocals! The cover’s a bit slick, but there’s a lot more depth here than some of Prime Time’s contemporaries – an ear both for the mainstream and the soulful underground – and one that has the group sparkling well on both the upbeat groovers and the sweet slow slow steppers! (Dusty Groove) Tracks A1 I Owe It to Myself 3.46 A2 Make Up Your Mind 3.48 A3 Flying High 4.40 A4 I Want Somebody Tonight 2.51 A5 Spinning 3.08 A6 Give It to the Beat 3.41 B1 Love Talk 5.40 B2 I Can’t Get You Off My Mind 5.13 B3 Talk It Over 4.46 b4 Anytime Is Prime Time (Theme Song) 4.46 PRIME TIME was an electro Funk …

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King Errisson – The Magic Man 1976 + L.A. Bound 1977

 The Bahamian percussionist’s two sought-after albums recorded for the Westbound label. “The Magic Man” was released in 1976. “LA Bound” came out in the following year. Produced by Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore, this is serious percussive magic, full of great proto-disco grooves with plenty of drum breaks that call out for sampling. The voodoo-themed “The Magic Man” sees the team take on mixture of funky disco originals and key cover versions such as the Ohio Players’ `Sleep Talk‘. “LA Bound” includes the incredible `Well, Have A Nice Day‘ as sampled by Roxanne Shante on her hip-hop classic of the same name. Tracks A1 Conga Man 3:24 A2 Every Day’s A Holiday 3:45 A3 Dance With Me 3:10 A4 The Magic Man 3:55 A5 Sleep Talk 3:03 B1 Back From The Dead 4:56 B2 Tight Rope 3:45 B3 Listen To The Music 4:04 B4 Last Chance To Dance 4:37  Errisson …

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Syl Johnson – 1968 – Dresses Too Short

 The funkiest album that Syl Johnson ever recorded – filled with short, tight cuts that play more like a stack of funky 45s than the standard soul album of the time! The record draws from the great run of singles that Syl cut for Twinight Records at the end of the 60s – some of the hardest soul coming out of Chicago at the time, with a gritty feel that’s right up there with some of James Brown’s best late 60s work – or even better, some of the other obscure acts working in the American underground at the time. A few tunes are familiar from their popularity as classic 45s – but the album’s got lots more wonderful numbers that are lesser-known – and all of them are great! (Dusty Groove). Tracks A1 Dresses Too Short 2:44 A2 I Can Take Care of Business 3:00 A3 Different Strokes 2:20 A4 Soul Drippin’ 2:24 A5 …

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Bettye Crutcher – 1974 – Long As You Love Me

An overlooked gem on Stax Records – one of the only records ever cut by Bettye Crutcher – also a songwriter with the label, but a hell of a singer on her own! Bettye’s got a style here that’s very unique – still in a Stax mode, but a bit more sophisticated too – with a subtle groove that almost feels like some of the best female soul singers coming out of the Chicago scene at the time! Sir Mack Rice co-wrote most of the tunes with Bettye – and they’ve got a vibe that’s really great – and which has made the record a real standout from Stax over the years – really unified, and really deep – in a way that goes past any easy hit modes or cliches. It includes the sublime track “Sunday Morning’s Gonna Find Us In Love” (Dusty Groove). Tracks A1 Long As You …

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Roy Ayers Ubiquity ‎– 1972 – He’s Coming

 One of the rarest and greatest Roy Ayers albums of all time – the sly, funky and spiritual masterpiece He’s Coming – really the beginning of the funk years from Roy Ayers Ubiquity! This one’s a totally solid mix of soulful jazz, jazzy soul and righteous funk – and it’s straight up wonderful all the way through – with a groove that’s hugely influential to say the least! Includes the amazing track “We Live In Brooklyn Baby“, which has a slow sample bassline in the intro that’s just incredible – plus groovy cuts like the spiritual funk classic “He’s a Superstar“, “He’s Coming“, and “Sweet Tears“. The lineup includes Sonny Fortune on soprano sax and flute and Billy Cobham drums and percussion, and the record’s co-arranged by Harry Whitaker, who’s also on keys and vocals – with other tracks include “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”, “Ain’t Got Time”, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him”, …

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Delegation – 1979 – Eau De Vie

One of my favorite albums at the end of the 70′s, the golden decade for R’n’B.  A sweet bouncy groover – one of the rare albums of modern soul cut by the Delegation! The group in this incarnation are a trio – Ray Patterson, Ricky Bailey, and Bruce Dunbar on vocals – stripped-down harmonically, a perfect fit for the album’s groove-heavy arrangements. The album’s got the same warm finish, with a touch of jazz, that you might find in some of the Arista modern soul albums from the same era – infused with a bit more of a club approach on a few of the more uptempo cuts. Tracks A1 Heartache No. 9 5:16 A2 Sho’ ‘Nuff Sold on You 5:15 A3 One More Step to Take 4:40 A4 Blue Girl 5:12 B1 Darlin’ (I Think About You) 4:19 B2 You and I 5.17 B3 Stand Up (Reach for the …

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Enchantment – 1977 – Once Upon A Dream

Rip and Research by Mr.Moo  Posting and additional info’s by Nikos Soaring soul from Enchantment – one of the smoothest groups of their generation, and an outfit who could sound equally great on the dancefloor or for more laidback listening! The harmonies here are really great – stepping out strongly, and often breaking with an extra effort that almost seems gospel-inspired, but without the cliches that usually mar work of that orientation. Production and arrangements are by Michael Stokes, and very good throughout – full, but stepping back nicely on the more intimate numbers – so that the voices dominate beautifully, and really send home the tunes – in a way that’s almost like that great turn The Dramatics took in their post-Stax years (Dusty Groove). Tracks A1 Sunny Shine Feeling 3:43 A2 If You’re Ready (Here It Comes) 4:42 A3 It’s You That I Need 5:59 A4 You’re The One 4:32 B1 You …

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The Modulations – 1975 – It’s Rough Out Here

 One of the greatest east coast vocal group albums from the seventies, and still a sought-after classic! The band’s an East Coast sweet soul vocal group, with a deep soul feel and some heartbreaking vocals that hit the upper reaches of the harmony style – and they’ve got a super-dope look and style that puts them in the company of groups like Soul Generation, True Reflection, and Natural Four. Norman Harris, Vince Montana, and Bobby Eli all had a hand in this, so you know the production is right, and the sound is large with a sweet Philly mix of moods (Dusty Groove). Tracks A1 Rough Out Here 4:46 A2 Head On Collision With Heartbreak 3:15 A3 Love at Last 5:05 A4 I’ll Always Love You 3:47 B1 I’m Hopelessly in Love 3:18 B2 I Can’t Fight Your Love 3:59 B3 Worth Your Weight in Gold 4:57 B4 Those Were …

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Donny Hathaway – Never My Love : The Anthology

  Review by Michael Patrick Hicks I, like many others, came to Donny Hathaway’s music through his duets with Roberta Flack. Well, one song called “The Closer I Get To You“. It was included on a Flack compilation I had recently bought. His voice just floored me. He sounded like a smoother Stevie Wonder. But the fact is – Stevie Wonder sounded like him. Donny’s debut album had a huge effect on Stevie’s singing. Listen to the change in Wonder’s vocal delivery from 1970 onwards. The Motown genius was so impressed with Hathaway’s debut – he bought a number of copies and gave them as gifts to friends, family and those in the industry.  During his short life, Donny Hathaway released only three solo studio albums. His debut, Everything Is Everything, from 1970; 1971’s Donny Hathaway, and Extension Of A Man, which appeared in ’73. As timeless as these studio …

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