funk . soul . jazz . nu-jazz


Genre pick of the week Cover of Black Fire! New Spirits! Deep & Radical Jazz In The USA 1957-75 by Various Artists.
Soul Jazz Records’ new release ‘Black Fire! New Spirits!’ is a deluxe double CD / triple LP album exploring deep, radical and spiritual jazz in the USA from 1957 - 1982.

In the 1960s and into the 1970s jazz music in the USA was in an almost constant state of revolution, with the music and lives of African-American artists radicalised by the advent of the civil rights movement, Black Power and a new spiritual awakening.

For over 20 years now Soul Jazz Records have been exploring this rich area of deep and spiritual jazz music with an array of albums such as ‘Freedom, Rhythm And Sound’, ‘Universal Sounds Of America’, ‘New Thing’, ‘Soul Jazz Love Strata East’ and more. Soul Jazz Records have also released a steady stream of reissues of lost and classic deep jazz releases over the years from artists such as Art Ensemble of Chicago, Steve Reid, Pharaoh Sanders and others.

This new album features groundbreaking and revolutionary artists such as Don Cherry, Archie Shepp, The Last Poets and Yusef Lateef, as well as many rare and deep lost tracks from lesser known artists such as Creative Artists Ensemble, Granchan Moncur, Lloyd McNeill and Tyrone Washington.

This album coincides with the recent ‘Black Fire! New Spirits! Images of A Revolution: Radical Jazz in the USA 1960-75’ book, published by Soul Jazz Books, which as well as including pioneering artists such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Roland Kirk and Alice Coltrane also features many of the artists included in this album.

Apple And The 3 Oranges

Love Brings Out The Best Of You / My Baby

Pure Californian funky soul sunshine from drummer and bandleader Edward 'Apple' Nelson, who first featured for Jazzman way back on the label's 'California Funk' compilation with the tough and gritty 'Curse Upon the World'. Originally issued in scant numbers on Apple's own Sagittarius imprint, 'Love Brings Out The Best In You' is a far lighter affair, a breezy northern soul dancer which lilts away like a hot Cali afternoon.

Archie Bell & The Drells

Here I Go Again / Tighten Up

This HOT double-A side features the 70s Torch dancer “Here I Go Again” - with its crashing backbeat and fabulous “call-to-the-floor” intro. The song was originally released in the USA by Atlantic Records in 1969, to little acclaim at the time, but later spiraled to No.11 in the UK pop charts in 1972 due to demand from the northern soul scene. “Tighten Up” was one of the first songs to be recorded by Archie Bell & The Drells, in Houston, Texas in 1967. The track had originally been developed by the TSU Toronadoes and, coupled with Bell’s unique spoken introduction, caught the imagination of the nation earning the band a gold disc and a No.1 R&B and pop smash. It would become a UK Mod anthem and spawned future club hits care of Willie & The Mighty Magnificents “Funky 8 Corners” and Frankie Crocker’s floor packin’ “Ton Of Dynamite”

Eddie C

Farmer God / The Touch

Heeeeere's Eddie! The Canadian edit maestro swings his leg over his steel horse for another foray into the swinging saloon on the wrong side of town. After the recent split release with Noodleman, Eddie cuts the wagon loose and rides out alone again with another extra fine duo of dubbed out edits. "Farmer God" sees a high plains drifter out of his gourd on powerful peyote, strumming away and riding into the sunset as the steady groove rolls on, topped by exotic guitar solos and smooth woodwind. Sultry and breezy, this little number's gonna tease and please Balearic folks from the dustbowl to the rice paddies.On the flip "The Touch" gives a taste of the classic Eddie C style as a beautiful mid-tempo jam is expertly extended, with only the juiciest parts added to the blender. The producer weaves lyrical guitar, funky piano and a strolling bassline around a trademark mid tempo rhythm, taking us straight to the floor.

Melvin Van Peebles, the filmmaker, musician, author behind the landmark movie Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and the trilogy of 'Brer Soul' albums he released in the 70s has teamed with the UK ensemble Heliocentrics to create an interplanetary space / love odyssey told in twelve chapters.

Van Peebles makes for the Heliocentrics’ ideal foil: he did graduate work in astronomy in Holland in the 1950s and maintains an avid interest in cosmology. The Heliocentrics, as their name conveys, draw inspiration from both the philosophic leanings of the likes of Stephen Hawkings and interstellar mysteries, like those surrounding the Malian Dogon tribe’s knowledge of the Sirius B star hundreds of years before it was discovered. Their music is as indebted to Sun Ra’s interstellar jazz as it is inspired by psychedelia’s spiritual expanse.

'The Last Transmission', presented as a vocal album and an expanded instrumental selection on a bonus disc, can be taken as both the band’s interpretation of Van Peebles’ poem and a musical voyage inspired by Van Peebles’ vivid imagery. The band considers it their defining work, the result of more than a decade of playing and recording together.

In between producer / drummer Malcolm Catto’s thunderous syncopation and producer / bassist Jake Ferguson’s bellowing bass lines, amidst the analog electronics and atmospheric interference naturally accorded by their organic analogue process, Van Peebles’ voice floats in and out, spectral in its tone, complete in its conviction in the unfathomable sense that life’s eruption in the cosmic expanse made, and in love’s ability to transform and transcend death.

The Marlboro Men

(Ride On) Iron Horse

A long established classic of the Deep Funk genre, the Marlboro Men's 'Iron Horse' has been filling dance floors and appearing on wants lists for many a year. As such it's surely long overdue a 45 reissue as is, but what makes this release really special and essential for any funk collector is the inclusion on the flip side of the previously unreleased instrumental version of 'Iron Horse', appearing here for the first time as taken from the original, 40 year old master tapes.

Bobby Wilson

Don't Shut Me Out / Deeper & Deeper

For the first time on 7” comes a soul masterpiece, “Don’t Shut Me Out”, originally only an album track from the LP “I’ll Be Your Rainbow” in 1975. Some compare to Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”, others remember from a ‘final hour’ spin at the Blackpool Mecca, but all agree this is a quality 70s soul ripe for a never before 7” single. Equally fine is “Deeper & Deeper”, another key song from the album, sharpened for 7”, while both sides are produced by Vernon Bullock, orchestrated by former Motown genius Paul Riser and feature The Jones Girls on backing vocals.

Young Jessie

You Were Meant For Me / Mary Lou

Two incredible sides from the legendary Young Jessie. 'You Were Meant For Me' is a timeless piece of jazzy, dancefloor blues from the rapidly changing early 1960s era. On the flipside, an equally excellent updated reworking of Young Jessie's 1956 hit 'Mary Lou'. Cut during his stint with Mercury Records, both sides boast superb production and impeccable musicianship, and of course that trademark, oaky baritone of Obie Jessie himself

Here's a crunching collection of R&B girls, with coyness in short supply. In fact, the sassy singers gathered here on this collection of rockers, wailers, and neo-popcorn favourites tend not to be girls, but WOMEN!

Highlights include Blanche Thomas's You Ain't So Such A Much, written as a response to Hound Dog - faster, tougher, and easier on its feet. Ruth Brown's atmospheric Sure 'Nuff includes King Curtis on sax and Phil Spector on piano, with Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller producing. Doris Payne went on to become better known - and to score a sizeable hit with Just One Look in 1963 - as Doris Troy.

Like Doris, both Marie Knight and Big Maybelle are better known for their sixties soul sides than they are for their fifties R&B ravers, but I've Got A Feelin' and I Thought I Told You Not To Tell Them are jukebox-ready classics.

NEW TO PRE-ORDER: Positive Noise - Classic Indie 7" Series - ... |
Fri 31st - 3:46
NEW TO PRE-ORDER: Positive Noise - Classic Indie 7" Series - ... |
Fri 31st - 3:46
JUST IN: Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia - 20... |
Fri 31st - 3:09
Maxine Peake in the shop, probably looking through our horror film soundtracks selection...
Fri 31st - 2:38
Maxine Peake in the shop!!!
Fri 31st - 2:37
E-newsletter —
Sign up
Back to top