The Politicians Featuring McKinley Jackson 1972

Jackson was a long standing member of Motown’s sessions band, playing trombone on dozens (if not hundreds) of Holland-Dozier-Holland recording sessions for the label.   That would certainly explain how Jackson and company ended up releasing one of the first album’s on the trio’s post-Motown Hot Wax imprint.  Musically the album featured a collection of ten largely-original instrumentals ranging from hardcore funk (‘Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic‘ and ‘Funky Toes‘), to a radio friendly ballad (‘A Song for You’).   Technically these guys were pretty amazing, easily measuring up top Motown’s Funk brothers, Hi Records’ Hodges Brothers, or The Memphis Horns.  Unfortunately, the absence of a singer clearly limited their audience.  Still, it’s one of the better releases on the Invictus/Hot Wax roster. Tracks A1 Psycha-Soula-Funkadelic 3:48 A2 The World We Live in 4:21 A3 Church 3:15 A4 Free Your Mind 2:50 A5 Everything Good Is Bad 4:14 B1 A Song for You 4:34 B2 Speak …

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The Four Tops‎ – 1973 – Main Street People

Review by Mark Brian Mathew Whatever happened to the days we met on Main Street? “Main Street People” kicks off with familiar street sounds, smooth vocal riffs and deep harmonies, all combined within a short introduction of the title track that leads with ease to the next song, the poignant mid-tempo “I Just Can’t Get You Out Of Mind”. Nine tracks further down the road the album finishes off nicely with the full-length rendition of “Main Street People”. What one can find inbetween is a flawless mix of R & B and pop, offering each song either; a cool arrangement, fine elements of lush orchestration, forceful soul rhythms, funky wah-wah guitars or smooth ballad vocals. Never neglecting the group’s trademark left-of-center harmonies and always matched by a skilled backing band in full swing, including the likes of Wilton Felder on Bass or Paul Humphrey on Drums. Tracks A1 Main Street …

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Joe Tex – 1965 – Hold What You’ve Got

Rip and Research by Mr.Moo Posting and additional info’s by Nikos For the most part, this early long-player from Joe Tex favors the goofier side of his musical personality rather than the home-truth moral lessons which often dominated much of his work. While “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show”, “You Better Get It” and the title tune all offer heartfelt advice on love and life, the Caribbean-flavored “I’m Not Going To Work Today” and the Roger Miller-turned-hawk anthem “Are We Ready” both aim squarely for the funny bone, as does the exasperated “You Can Stay”, a rant against noisy neighbors, while the slinky “You’ve Got What It Takes” confronts a seriously sexy woman with an appreciative smile. Of course, being the country boy that he was at heart, Joe Tex’s comic numbers are still seasoned with friendly advice on living a better life, but Tex’s warm, emphatic delivery and the easy-going but potently …

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The Lost Generation – 1972 – Young, Tough and Terrible

They’re young and tough – and especially wonderful too – easily one of the most compelling harmony soul groups to ever hail from the Windy City! The set’s a Chicago soul gem from the early 70s – recorded with a laidback, slightly tripped-out vibe that’s different than the tighter styles of other groups from the same scene – definitely righteous at points, with some of the superbad modes you might hear from an east coast lineup like The Delfonics or Soul Generation, especially when they were trying to get a bit more conscious in their message. Arrangements are great – handled by Tom Tom Washington, Eugene Record, and Cliff Davis – very much at the best Brunswick mode, but again with a deeper sort of vibe too. The title cut’s a monster, and a very fitting follow-up to their earlier “Sly, Slick, & Wicked” track – and the album features …

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Lee Moses – 1971 – Time and Place

Lee Moses, perhaps due to his tragically minimal output, never got inducted into the pantheon of great soul men, but he should stand strong with the likes of Eddie Floyd, William Bell, and other lovingly remembered Stax/Volt artists, or those he mentions in “Got That Will” such as Dionne Warwick or Jimi Hendrix or Sly Stone, as he tells how he has the will to make it big like them, that his name will be on top. His vocal style is distinctively his own, like those artists, he has a raspy, guttural soul voice, somewhere in between early John Fogerty and Otis Redding, and the man plays some mean guitar and could have held his own with luminaries like Curtis Mayfield. All of which makes Time and Place especially poignant. This is a man who really did have what it took to be one of the legends of soul music, …

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Billy Preston ‎– 1970 – Encouraging Words

  “Encouraging Words” was the second and last album on Apple Records for long-time friend and sometimes collaborator with The Beatles – American keyboardist and Soul Singer Billy Preston. And along with his excellent debut LP the year before (1969’s “That’s The Way God Planned It”) – it’s not just one of the labels better offerings, it’s a criminally forgotten Seventies Soul gem – and arguably the best album of his long career. The cast is impressive  – GEORGE HARRISON co-produced the entire album with Preston, ERIC CLAPTON played guitar on 3 tracks – “Right Now“, “Use What You Got” and “Encouraging Words“. RINGO STARR and KLAUS VOORMAN are said to be on Drums and Bass respectively, while DELANEY BRAMLETT also plays guitar on “Encouraging Words” with Eric. The Rhythm Section for THE TEMPTATIONS are on there (Bass, Guitarist, Drums) while members of SAM and DAVE’S band played Drums and …

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Gene Harris & The Three Sounds – 1968 – Elegant Soul

 A key meeting between the Three Sounds trio and the amazing Monk Higgins – done at a time when Higgins was taking his Chicago-crafted grooves to work on the west coast – and doing some really wonderful productions with Dee Ervin! The set features full Higgins backings throughout – a mix of jazz and strings that takes the usual Gene Harris sound into territory that you’d be much more likely to hear on Cadet Records back in Chi-town – a very hip, very soulful style that’s totally great throughout, and a much-needed break from the straighter piano trio sound of other 60s albums the group did on Blue Note. Some tracks are laidback, but others are hard and funky – the kind of sock-solid cuts that have made the album a favorite with sample heads and soul dancers over the years – much heavier keyboard work than we’d ever heard …

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Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – 1975 – To Be True

The third album from the melodramatic smooth soul quintet featured an array of R&B classics. While Teddy Pendergrass was featured on this album, he did not lead every song. The three singles — “Where Are All My Friends“, “Bad Luck“, “Hope That We Can Be Together Soon” were all Billboard R&B Top Ten chart hits, and “Bad Luck” reached number one, sporting an incessant grooving rhythm where Teddy Pendergrass cuts into the lyric with conviction. “Hope That We Can Be Together Soon” features the velvety smooth vocals of Sharon Paige on an easy-flowing number. While Harold Melvin carries most of the vocal duties, Pendergrass steps in for a one-liner and closes out on the vamp. Whereas most ballads climax towards the end of the song, the most climatic part of this number one song is the string and horn intro. This is one of four consecutive great albums to come …

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Rose Royce – 1977 – In Full Bloom

As strong as any of the songs featured on 1976’s Car Wash soundtrack, Rose Royce’s 1977 outing,II: In Full Bloom, allowed them to fully shine in their own right and on their own terms. Although their early incarnation as Total Concept Unlimited had paired them with Motown labelmates the Temptations and given them clout in the label stable, it was the addition of powerhouse vocalist Gwen Dickey and continued pairing with über-producer Norman Whitfield that brought the band into their own. Packed with tight funk jams and horn-heavy construction, tempered only occasionally by Dickey’s sweet ballads, II: In Bloom is a disco-funk masterpiece — a pure fusion of both genres that works better than it has a right to, courtesy of both the band’s own confidence and Whitfield’s artful magic. The wistful and absolutely sublime ballad “Wishing on a Star” opens the set and should have been a chart-heavy hitter. …

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Labi Siffre – 1975 – Remember My Song

 Easily the best-remembered album by Labi Siffre – thanks to some well-used sample tracks over the years! But over and above the fame of the funky tunes “The Vulture” and “I Got The“, the record’s a key part of Siffre’s 70s catalog – a record that’s as great for its complex songwriting and deeply personal lyrics as it is for its Fender Rhodes lines, and tight musical backings from the combo of Big Jim Sullivan. All titles here are originals, and even when the groove slows down there’s a depth that clearly marks Labi as one of the best singer/songwriters of the 70s – a talent who’s been finally rediscovered in recent years, although sometimes only remembered for a few jazzy hooks from these tunes, and not the strength of the whole magilla! Here’s your chance to dip into the Siffre sound at its fullest – on tracks that include …

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Odyssey – 1980 – Hang Together

  Rip and Research by Mr.Moo Posting and additional info’s by Nikos  A wicked groover from Odyssey – and a crack little album that has the trio hitting hard all the way through! The upbeat numbers are great, the ballads are warm and wonderful, and even the midtempo numbers come off perfectly – all with a rich quality that makes the album a real standout in mainstream soul at the time! There’s a few playful post-disco touches on the dancefloor tracks, yet the vibe is all soul all the way through – and the female vocals really soar with this righteous energy that has the group sounding better than ever.    Review By Derek Anderson  Not only was Odyssey’s 1977 eponymous debut album Odyssey, the group’s most successful album, it featured their biggest hit single, Native New Yorker. This was a song that would forever become synonymous with Odyssey, reaching number twelve in the …

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Nico Gomez & His Afro Percussion inc. – 1971 – Ritual

 This album is a monument!! Afro Latin Funk at its best, full of heavy percussions, exciting brass, psychedelic organ grooves & fuzz guitar. Killer beats and breaks all along! 10 tracks including “Ritual“, “Caballo Negro“, “Baila Chibiquiban“, “Lupita” & “Naci Para Bailar“. Note that this rare reissue features the beautiful sexy nude cover and that original LP copies are up to 300 euros nowadays! Essential!! Tracks A1 Caballo Negro 3:09 A2 Naci Para Bailar 4:46 A3 Cuba Libre 3:28 A4 Samba De Una Nota So 3:08 A5 Baila Chibiquiban 3:05 B1 El Condor Pasa 3:40 B2 Lupita 3:41 B3 Pa! Pa! Pa! Pa! 4:46 B4 Ritual 3:54 B5 Eso Es El Amor 3:46  Nico Gomez is a Belgian writer/composer who is famous for his Latin-American sounds. He conducted the famous Nico Gomez Orchestra and also wrote for Los Chakachas, another well known Belgian group. “Ritual” recorded in the early 70s …

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Minnie Riperton – 1974 – Perfect Angel

Minnie Riperton’s first album for Epic – and the record that broke her from a hip Chicago underground artist into one of the seventies’ biggest soul divas! The record moves past the baroque soul of Minnie’s early years with Rotary Connection and Charles Stepney – and hits a mix of mellow compressed LA styles and slicker funkier numbers that do the same thing for her Chicago-trained vocals that Rufus’ backing did for that of Chaka Khan. Of course, it helps that she’s got some superbly sensitive writing and arranging help by husband Richard Rudolph – and Stevie Wonder’s definitely lurking in the background, too. Includes Minnie’s huge crossover hit “Loving You“, a perfect showcase for her beautiful 5 octave voice. Tracks A1 Reasons 3:25 A2 It’s So Nice (To See Old Friends) 4:47 A3 Take a Little Trip 4:11 A4 Seeing You This Way 2:51 A5 The Edge of a …

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