Gershon Jackson – Take It Easy

January 22, 2016 in Singles

Gershon Jackson Take It Easy Strictly RhythmSome energetic trad-style house grooves here from the mighty Strictly Rhythm.

Three mixes of Take It Easy to choose from. On the Eli Escobar Remix, stuttering Latin/tribal beats are married to throbbing synth-bass and topped with a full-lunged, blues-style female vocal and ker-razy Hammond doodles. The Mike Dunn Blackball Ezee Mix has more straight-up 4/4s and a stripped-back, 3am kinda feel all round, keeping the vocal in full effect and adding some positively rude bass squelch. And then finally there’s the Sonny Fodera & Mat.Joe Remix, which has a slightly more ‘now’ (as opposed to ‘classic’) feel.

The latter’s the one you’ll hear out most in clubland, methinks, but to these ears Mike Dunn’s rub just nudges it.

Out: This week

About: Find Strictly Rhythm herehere and here.

Eugene Glasgow – Someday EP

December 27, 2015 in Singles

Eugene Glasgow Someday EP MustHaveSoulFinally for tonight, we have some raw, 90s-style vocal house bizniss coming courtesy of Dubai’s MustHaveSoul – this being the label’s very first release.

On the A, Someday itself starts out with a full minute-and-a-half of intro consisisting of just drums and a piercing synth note, before eventually adding first parping garage-y keys and then looping diva vox, the end result being a cut that wouldn’t have disgraced the mighty Serious Grooves label back in the glory days. It’s accompanied by I’ll Do Anything, which tops a no-nonsense lolloping rhythm with deep-voiced, half-spoken-half-sung male vox, looped “come on!” shouts and some very fine jazz organ work.

File under “real deal shiznit that’ll delight househeads of a certain age”.

Out: This week

About: You can find MustHaveSoul – which is the new record label arm of a long-running club brand – on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Angelo Draetta & Luigi Egitto – Sun Goes

December 27, 2015 in Singles

Angelo Draetta & Luigi Egitto Sun Goes SP RecordingsMore sweet fem vox (see Andi Rivera, below) on this single-tracker from Essex label SP Recordings.

Sitting somewhere between deep, soulful and ‘beach’ house, Sun Goes is predicated around langorous synth sweeps, soaring sax, gently tinkling chimes and, of course, that gorgeous (but uncredited) sultry, wistful vocal. It all adds up to something with a vaguely ‘sunset in Ibiza in the 90s’ feel… but that’s by no means a bad thing.

Not much more to tell you, really.

Out: This week (on general release)

About: Find SP Recordings herehere and here.

Basement Boys – House Legends

December 14, 2015 in Albums

Basement Boys House Legends Groove OdysseyThree quite different compilations to tell you about tonight as we once more play the ‘Monday night albums catch-up’ game, kicking off with this offering from Groove Odyssey. House Legends is their new series paying homage to the giants of the soulful house scene – their answer to Defected’s House Masters, if you will – and so who better to kick the series off than those Baltimore legends Basement Boys?

Here, then, you’ll find 20 of the finest moments in the long (30 years next year!) and illustrious career of both Basement Boys (the production team) and Basement Boys (the label). Kenny Bobien’s You Gave Me Love, Shaun Escoffery’s Days Like These (presented here in Deepah Dub form), Marc Evans’ The Way You Love Me… if you were out and about on the soulful house scene in the 90s and 00s you’ll definitely know most of the tracks here. If you weren’t, of course – which I suspect is really the point – then this is the perfect introduction to a stunning back catalogue. We’re surely about due a soulful house revival any minute now…

Meantime for us older types, there are enough lesser-known gems and unreleased mixes to make this worth investigating even if, like this reviewer, you still own much of what’s here on vinyl. Sheila Ford’s sumptuous Why Can’t You See (remixed by Louie Vega) and the raw garage of Margarate Grace’s God Created Woman would be cases in point, as would the Teddy Douglas Re-Rub of Rochelle Fleming’s I’m Gonna Give It To You; s’good to hear the likes of Teddy Douglas’ The Violin again, too.

All told, a great package from some of dance music’s true originators. Respect is due!

Out: Now

About: You can find Groove Odyssey on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Tim Richards – Soul Music EP

December 4, 2015 in Singles

Tim Richards Soul Music EP Something DifferentMore soulfully inclined house vibes on this latest offering from Liverpool’s Something Different.

In its Orginal form, Soul Music has some dude talking extensively about, well, soul music, atop understated but still floor-friendly rolling beats and some sterling, equally subtle organ chords. The Alternative Mix takes us to a bouncier place and adds disco stabs n’ claps, applying the vocal a little more sparingly and letting the keys do more of the talking. Both are great… but then you see along comes a Terrence Parker remix and when, I ask you, did a Terrence Parker remix ever NOT absolutely kick it out of the park? Pretty much never, is the answer, and his bumpin’ bass-and-organs led rub is well up to his usual standard, nuff said!

Oh!, a chuggier groove with soulful male vocal contributions from Maximum Hush completes what is a strong package all round, but it’s the TP bomb that you need to pick this one up for.

Out: This week (on general release)

About: Find Something Different on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Mark Di Meo feat Sofia R – Into The Night

December 3, 2015 in Singles

Mark Di Meo ft Sofia Rubina Into The Night King Street SoundsSome fine soulful house grooves on this lil’ gem from Italian producer Mark Di Meo, brought to you by the mighty King Street Sounds.

In its Original form, Into The Night is reminiscent of Naked/Om-style deep, soulful house of the early 00s, with Sofia Rubina supplying a full vocal as well as some superb jazzy scat action. The accompanying Instrumental Mix shouldn’t need explaining, while the Rightside Remix is a perfectly acceptable variation on the them. It’s the Groove Delivers Dub that’s floating this reviewer’s boat more, though, which again is quite west coast-y but this time looking more to the more bumpin’ and funk-fuelled sound of labels like Transport and Salted for inspiration… while keeping the scat vox intact.

File under ‘classy house music for grown-ups’.

Out: This week

About: Find King Street Sounds herehere and here.

DJ Shaheer Williams ft Michael Watford – Faith

November 29, 2015 in Singles

Shaheer Williams ft Michael Watford Faith Universe MediaA complete change of pace now as London’s Universe Media bring us a fine slice of gospel-flavoured garage/soulful house from former Ruffneck man Shaheer Williams.

Three mixes of Faith to choose from. On the Soul Groove Mix, Watford’s legendary tonsils are in action atop an insistent piano riff, hip-swayin’ beats and, later on, some ker-razy parping Hammond action. David Anthony ups the tempo a little on his Gospel Mix, which has BVs from Lisa Millett, no less, and which is vaguely reminiscent of Praise Cats’ classic Shined On Me. And then finally another scene stalwart, Ricky Morrison, gives us a Klub Dub Vox mix which adopts a slightly more contemporary, tech-tinged tone while keeping Watford’s vocal intact.

If you’re fiending for uplifting, trad-style soulful vibes that are guaranteed devoid of both wish and wash, you’ll find ’em right here.

Out: This week

About: You can find Universe Media on Soundcloud or at their own website.

Harrison BDP – Transcend EP

October 25, 2015 in Singles

Harrison BDP Transcend EP Gents & Dandy'sA very fine three-tracker here from the always on-point Gents & Dandy’s.

Transcend itself is up first, an understated but still fairly energetic deep house groover built around sumptuous chords, muted kicks, warm bass and some pleasingly raw-sounding keys, atop all of which sits a poetry-style spoken female vocal. Groove Til Tha Grave is a superlative slice of stripped-back, bumpin’ deep Jersey-style garage, while completing the EP is the skippier Don’t Watch, which looks more to early UK garage for inspiration and which sports some killer organ work and cut-up fem vox.

Really strong stuff all round here, but if forced to pick a fave then Groove Til Tha Grave just nudges it for me.

Out: This week (on general release)

About: Find Gents & Dandy’s on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Various – No 256 EP/No 584 EP

October 18, 2015 in Singles

Time to get down with those ever-prolific Various Artists tonight, kicking off with not one but two new additions to the King Street label family’s ‘number series’ of sampler EPs.

No 256 EP Street KingLooking at the No 256 EP first, this one comes on young upstart imprint Street King and as such, the emphasis here is on contemporary house grooves built strictly with the floor in mind. David Mussen & Cool People give us the chunky, throbbing Every Now, Julian’s Ventus flirts with soulful and Balearic idioms, Roni Iron & Kled Mone ft Charitini’s Like A Child veers almost towards Disclosure/Hot Natured chart dance territory (but is pretty cool all the same, thanks largely to Charitini’s vocal, which straddles pop and jazz), while Samplers FX come with the terrace-friendly Don’t Catch Me. All are playable for sure, but the standout of this set for yours truly is The Jacker from MCMXC MADE, a tuff n’ struttin’ affair with lashings of ruff-edged bass and an old school “jack… jack… jack… jack” vocal.

No 584 EP Nite GroovesMoving on to the No 584 EP, this one comes on Nite Grooves but actually treads pretty similar musical ground to the Street King EP.  Le Visiteur’s In My Soul is another quite commercial-sounding cut with a Florence-like vocal, Mister Solo ft Bjorn Maria’s Lost In Time is a deep, dark groove that breaks out into tinkling ivories and a crooning male vocal, Soulfeed’s Triangls is a dark chugger built for warm-ups or late play and Stark D’s Meant To Be is a deep n’ moody late-night headnodder. Pick of the crop though for me is Jolyon Petch & Mobin Master’s Jumpin’, which marries very ‘now’ big dark bass to a snatch of the famous Musique/Todd Terry/Lisa Marie Experience “jumpin’ ” vocal and pianos beamed in straight from the podiums of Angel’s, Burnley circa 1993. And yes, I’m an ageing handbag tart and no, I don’t care.

Out: This week

About: You can find King Street, Street King and Nite Grooves here, here and here, as I’m sure you’re already well aware.

Various – Thank God House Music Is Back Vol 3

October 5, 2015 in Albums

Thank God House Music Is Back Vol 3 Karmic Power RecordsVolumes 1 and 2 in this series from Lenny Fontana’s Karmic Power Records were EPs… with ADE on the horizon, though, they’re cranking things up a notch, and Volume 3 features a whopping 20 tracks, plus a mixed version from Rich More that clocks in just under the two-hour mark. Can’t fault ’em on the VFM front, then!

With 20 tracks on offer you’d expect a fair bit of variety, and you get it, with tracks ranging from the stomping, organ-fuelled strut of Lenny Fontana & Marcus Knight ft Carole Sylvan’s I’m So High (as remixed by Lissat & Voltax), with its full-blown hands-in-the-air chorus, to the deeper, soul-tinged grooves of DJ Dextro & MJ White ft Bruno Soares’ Keep On Pushing, to more commercial numbers like Daniele Sexx ft Paula P’Cay’s Lift Me Up. As such, I’m not sure how many buyers are going to be feeling every track here… but equally, it’s hard to see many house jocks not finding something to play. My personal standout for instance is D’Luxe’s Bitch Please!, which combines two of my favourite things – a big M1 line and mid-90s ‘bitch house’* sweary female vocals. But you’ll have your own favourites I’m sure.

Proof that post-this, post-that and post-every other sodding thing, trad-style house is still going strong in 2015 if you know where to look!

Out: Now

About: Find Karmic Power Records here, here and here.

*Yes, ‘bitch house’ was a thing. Only for about six months in the mid-90s, admittedly, but I quite liked it.