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Monday, 1 March 2021

Six's Company with Acid Jazz

Acid Jazz are a label who's output is nothing short of superbly consistent! Back in December, we looked at four releases on the label and it's safe to say they haven't left the turntable since. February 2021 sees yet more vinyl heaven on its way from the formidable force that is Acid Jazz. Without further a do here's what Eddie and co have lined up for your ears... 

Dean Parrish - It's Time - Purple Mountain Majesty

After a decade gap Dean Parrish has flew straight back into the fore with this life-affirming slice of magnificent soul. In life there's tunes you're gonna hear that instantly make an impact. 'Its Time - Purple Mountain Majesty' is one of those tunes and it's one of those that demands replays, lots and lots of replays. The production on this record is bang on, you can hear every individual note and cord and it hits the ear drums in all the right places. It's a groover, a mover and a tune to get even the oldest soulies up to the floor for one last spin in their Oxford Bags before retiring for the evening. There's a plethora of sounds being utilised here and all of them fit together perfectly under the grand umbrella of soul. Over the last ten years or so many artists have tried to replicate sounds which get people tapping feet across the land but not many have done it as effortlessly and elegantly as Dean Parrish, its huge and available on limited edition 7" here!   

The Brand new Heavies - Live in Tokyo 1992 - Shibuya 357

1991 was a headline year for The Brand new Heavies, they began the year without a singer second on the bill To The James Taylor Quartet and ended it with a Top 3 US hit before embarking on a trailblazing run of 16 Top 40 hits in the UK. Their live performances were revolutionary and stuck in the minds and hearts of many. With N'Dea Davenport at the helm, fronting the band as their guest singer combined with the infectious string of singles from their debut LP, The Brand New Heavies were vastly becoming a band you just had to follow! Shinuya 357 is the quintessential time capsule which can transport you back to those heady days when the Brand New Heavies were going to conquer the world! It's one of the best examples I've ever heard of just how funk should be played and these tunes still stand tall today. The musicianship is second to none and TBNH are a band who know their craft like no other. It's a record full of tunes that stand up alongside studio versions whilst adding their own unique flare and detail that could only come when playing live. Funk masterpieces like "Gimme One Of Those", "Never Stop" and "Stay This Way" just hits home the message that TBNH are the unsung heroes of funk spliced sole and a band that just keep on giving. As always the good people at Acid Jazz are bringing this record to the people on 12th March this year, cop it here!

Rita Joyce - Dancing Close / Back Home Again 7"

Initially released on Ren Cen Records a small independent label which stood in the shadows of Detroit's General Motor's Renaissance Centre, Miles Away Records (An Acid Jazz Group Label) have helped bring this much coveted 7" back into the hands of the people! Over the years, I've bought many a 7" thinking that my most recent pickup would be my crowning glory but as all vinyl heads know there's always more and this seven inches of perfection is my current love affair, I just can't stop playing it. Rita Joyce's voice is innocent, perfection personified and glides across both tracks with such ease. "Dancing Close" and "Back Home Again" were the result of a single recording session at Studio A Recording Studios in the mid 70's which I find astounding, as Rita's voices sounds that of a seasoned professional not a newly discovered talent. "Dancing Close" is 4 minutes of sheer joy that will have people moving from the start to finish. It's one of those soul songs you hear and instantly connect with, delicate vocals intertwined with strong drum beats which sit a the forefront of the track hit you differently with every listen and demand a replay.  There's parallels to Judy Street's "What" here and tunes like this echo my thoughts that the 60's and 70's were the eras of the unsung heroines that didn't receive the plaudits they deserved.  The B-side "Back home Again" shows clear progression in Rita's style with elements of funk, soul and disco coming together to create a superb floor filler. An up-beat tempo runs through the entirety of the track and with Joyce's sublime vocals there's an element of 'feel good' that brings serious joy to the listener, the only downside being I wish there was more! Cop this beauty of a vinyl here!

Soul Revivers - Ft Earl - Got To Live / Living Version 7" 

I'm really digging this release from veteran reggae vocalist Earl 16. Starting his recording career in 1975 as lead vocalist for The Flaming Phonics, a group he formed whilst still at school in Kingston, Jamaica. He moved to London in 1985 working with Mad Professor among others and even onto touring with Leftfield. "Got To Live" is a groover, a dub classic with sharp vocals and instrumentals which pop in all the right places. It brings together all that is well known with Jamaican music and pushes it into 2021 with soul. The flip, "Living Version" is an instrumental track which is less about the dub and more about being a blank canvas for MC's to spit their bars. Bag it here!  

Ipa-Boogie - Get The Music Now / Africa 7" 

For the first time ever on the greatest format of all time (7 inch) Acid Jazz present short versions of both tracks, "Get The Music Now" & "Africa" taken from the highly sought after self-titled album by Ipa-Boogie. Originally released in 1978 these  tracks are some of the only known recordings from this underground outfit. The A-side takes funk into a whole new dimension, it will fully bend your head! The sounds, textures and structure here are mind-blowing and have you listening intently from the get-go. The vocals hit different with each listen and carry the track through to its conclusion. You can always rely on Ed and the good people over at Acid Jazz to turn you onto something new and this is it! The production is stunning and you can pinpoint each instrument, vocal and beat when they happen. The B-side "Africa" wouldn't sound out of place in a 2021 Modcast do and would certainly get people to the floor! Another tune with limitless creativity which has the listener longing for more long after the track has ended. Find it here!

Makin' Time - Honey / Take What You Can Get 7" 

Not released until 30th April 2021, Countdown Records are elated to announce the release of the label's first 7 inch single in over 30 years and what could be more appropriate than the single that never was from label favourites Makin' Time. A many of you will know Makin' Time are undoubtedly one of my favourite bands from the revival era with their catchy, soul-infected pop. Produced by The Truth and 9 Below Zero's Dennis Greaves and Mick Lister this should have been the West Midland's debut single for Countdown however when the band's original line-up changed and Countdown's parent label Stiff Records decided in a change of direction for the band which saw them veering for the pop charts the single was never released, until now... "Honey" opens with hammond chords hitting the organ with force and vigour transporting the listener to the heady days of the 1980's. It's so far removed from what the other bands of the era were releasing, it's fresh, vibrant and seriously bloody infectious pop! Faye Hallam's vocal gets better with every listen and it's one that will send some serious time on your record player. The flip  "Take What You can Get" is a soul jive which runs at 100mph a serious floor filler which will have rooms bouncing at do's up and down the country when the tories let us out! The 30th April sees this belter released for the first time, don't hang around preorder your copy here!  


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In loving memory of Denise Pottinger