Here`s a few songs for Spring. Inspired in part by Quinn Lamont Luke`s Different Aspirations. And in part by a need to give a heads-up on the old Soul that`s been reissued, and taken my money, so far this year.
Quinn Lamont Luke`s Different Aspirations is the only new tune here. There is no bigger compliment than it fits perfectly alongside the classics which follow it (more on Ban Ban Ton Ton from Quinn imminently). Willow Band`s Willow Man is well-known, but hard to find, and expensive when you do, cloud-parting, Latin exuberance. Back in the days of DJHistory bonhomie, Tim Hayter just gave me copy, with a load of other South London dug doubles, when he found the mythical 12. Now reissued by Soul institution Expansion (they`ve been at it for about three decades). Expansion seems to be entering a renaissance. Perhaps by following the model established by Mr Bongo`s Brazil 45s, and repressing a ton of Modern Soul classics as 7s. Eugene Record`s Overdose Of Joy was big upstairs at Shoom (at The Park in Kensington). Where your musical selectors were Terry Farley and Andrew Weatherall. Its lyrics fitting the “recreational hedonism” of the time. Dave Jarvis and the crew at Love Vinyl have stuck it on an AA-sided 45 (Dave, great to see you at Nancy`s gig last month. It had been about 10 years!). Rio-born composer / arranger Arthur Verocai might get mentioned in revered tones now. Original copies of his 1972 self-titled debut LP might change hands for $7000. But despite his pedigree of working with Brazilian stars such as Ivan Lins, Jorge Ben, Gal Costa, Erasmo Carlos and Marcos Valle, and being a musical director for National TV, it sank without a trace upon its actual release. In 2004 Hip Hop`s MF Doom sampled the LP. Upwards of 30 other Hip Hop artists (according to oracle Who Sampled) subsequently plundering it. Prompting B+ & Coleman of Mochilla to track down Arthur and organise a come-back concert for him in L.A. Where Arthur played the music from his LP live for the first time. Encore is his follow-up, which was picked up – for CD only – by Far Out in 2007. Joe & Josh at the label are marking its tenth anniversary with a vinyl edition. It`s worth it for Moonboots` favourite, Bis, alone. Joe Higgs is the largely unheralded “Father Of Reggae”. Responsible for mentoring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Derrick Harriot, Jimmy Cliff and the Wailing Souls, at his Trenchtown tenement. Recorded in 1973 and reissued by Pressure Sounds, There`s A Reward is heavy with the sadness of Joe`s sweet sufferers` vocals. But the song possesses an overall gratitude for life. Both the gifts and obstacles it brings. Frazelle`s Today Is The Day is almost Disco on Euan Fryer`s Athens Of The North. A call for Unity. Sentiments echoed by True Pages Of Life`s Truth & Love. A previously unissued 1976 New York acetate. Now licensed by Vienna`s Record Shack. Sentiments echoed, to be honest, by pretty much all of the Soul and Reggae I buy. Friction Band`s Watchin` You focusses the Unity into simple dance floor desire. `fessed up as joyful chat up. Not creepy voyeurism. Or unrequited navel gazing. Again on Euan`s A.O.T.N. There are countless covers of William DeVaughn`s Be Thankful. But there`s something super upbeat about Donovan Carless` version. Not a current reissue. But something I rediscovered on an Pressure Sounds compilation called 17 North Parade. A collection of the work of producer Clive Chin, at his father Randy`s Studio (at 17 North Parade, Kingston, Jamaica), that had been collecting dust in a pile of vinyl stacked in a corner of the bedroom. I bought it in 1997 for a version of the Mission Impossible Theme and failed to check anything else on it. Now that I am sober, and the OCD tamed, in free moments, home is sometimes like coming to in an unexplored second-hand record shop. Al Green`s Keep On Pushing Love dates from 1993. It got some Joey Negro House mixes in `94. But on the original mix, Arthur Baker attempts that Soul II Soul beat and it`s hard not to hear Let`s Stay Together in Al`s phrasing. Checking the label, Outta Sight actually made this available back in 2014. But Japan`s Jet Set only got copies in a few weeks ago. Don Beto`s Nao Quero Mais is my pick of the treasures found for relative pennies on the recent Brazil 45s on Mr Bongo. Frantically strummed and allegedly “inspired” by The Doobie Brothers` Long Train Running. Larry T & The Family`s L.O.V.E. Love Is The Key is privately-pressed Free-Soul / Soul Jazz from 1980, that goes for around 500GBP. Loose Latin, almost Flamenco in places, arrangements. I have to admit that my copy is a boot. Sorry. The Mad Professor-produced Sane Inmates cover Macca & Jacko`s The Girl Is Mine for Japan`s Octave Lab. Eramus Hall is not a man named Eramus. But a band from Detroit named after a concert venue by Funkadelic / Parliament`s George Clinton. Part of the P-Funk family. Their Just Me & You is another sought after Rare Groove lifted from a 1980 LP and given the 7″ treatment by Expansion. Maureen Bailey then belts out Takin` My Time With You. A perfect end-of-the-night tune on Soul Brother Records. It sounds like something lifted from Mark Seven`s tribute to legendary NYC gay club, The Saint. The Morning Music played there.