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ATHENS OF THE NORTH

Athens of the North bring us this precious tape extracted from the Sony vault for the first time since the records was released in 1980. A floaty disco masterpiece that has been on the soul scene for time but deserves a broader appreciation. Bursting with soul drenched energy this hand 7” will provide you will all you disco-soul needs and desires. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Fiery and bold, ‘Just You & Me’ is the track to get the party started. The flip side ‘Blame It on Me’ turns the dial down for a smoother calming vibe.

Prophets Of Peace

Get It On

Prophets of Peace are roaring over here with this sizzling track ‘Get It On’, it’s on fire on this new release on Athens of the North. These two unreleased tracks, including ‘You Can Be’ were miraculously found by the team at Numero Group and these were in dying need to be pressed on vinyl. Recorded at Audiotek Studios Inc in 1975, David Z, who engineered Lipps Inc's "Funkytown" and several Prince productions, piloted both these recordings. Everything you need for a funk-filled enjoyment is here. 

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Blasting out from the speakers is the exact sort of funk-disco grooves I like to hear. Dreamy vocals paired with the sensational underlying rhythm is perfect. This 7” is going to fly out so don’t wait around!

After the success of 'Galaxies Like Grains of Sand', Warren and Greg retreated back to the Isle of Wight to start work on long discussed concept album based on a fictional children's book The Honey Bear. Each track a chapter of the book, hypnotic folk pieces mixed with ambient field recordings that Warren and Greg collected around the beaches, cliffs and gardens of the island.

They brought everything together at home, organically forming this beautiful ambient folk tale during the island's idyllic summer evenings. After finishing the initial mixes on the island they brought the tapes up to Scotland and overdubbed with Strings, Oboe and Flute. Whether your 5 or 50, the charm and beauty of The Honeybear is undeniable,

Children fairytale book concept album
Limited Edition pressing



STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: The Honeybear beautifully captures the soft mystical tones of this harrowing ambient folk album following their previous record 'Galaxies Like Grain Of Sand'. The inspiration behind the album of it being a children’s fairytale, you can immediately get the sense of the whimsical innocence by the lovely fluttering of string instruments.

Feeling like you’re missing a funk shaped hole in your life? Ice’s official rare reissue soul funk jam 'Reality' via Athens of the North Records is here to cure that. Super rare modern soul, this massive boogie tune is needed in every collectors’ record shelf. First played by Ian Wright and a few others on the Deepfunk scene and was then picked up by the Northern soul scene where it flourished and made its way to being an all-time favourite.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Look no further for your new favourite funk single. Ice reveals this banging reissue to solve all the searching to be halted, this is the one you need. Smooth funky grooves and impressively swooning vocals, this is a dream.

Athens of the North celebrate Valentines Day with a disco delight depicting the thing that saves the day, tears you apart and keeps you together - I'm talking about love, you dig? This sweet little 7" is a much needed reissue of the cultly adored, but impossible to find deep disco gem "Love Tempo" by Love Company. Absolutely nothing to do with Quando Quango's punk-funk powerhouse of the same name, this is as soulful as you like. Slick bass, romantic guitar chops, velvetine vocals and a solid disco 4/4 come together like an older couple, taking their time to make it right. Flip it for soulful stroller "Somebody Help Me Be Fair", a swooning ballad with unexpected synthery.


STAFF COMMENTS

Sil says: Uptempo soulful disco banger alert. Will put a smile on your face. 100% dancefloor reaction.

Anthens of The North brings us more fire from Aaron Broomfield's archive. We have two sought after sides. 'I'm Gonna Miss Ya' was transferred from tapes by Aaron himself and is a brilliant boogie joint that's highly coveted on many scenes for good reason. On the flip we have got the super rare and relatively unknown 'Does Anybody Really Know' which is a Northern Soul classic dancefloor filler, smooth and cathcy this is easliest the best combination of Aaron Broomfield tracks around, pure bliss!

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: Possibly the most groovy and sharp seven inch you’ll hear this year, ultimate cool vibes over here.

Luiz Mendes Jr or "Junior Mendes" was a ubiquitous figure in the
Brazilian Soul / Funk scene of the 70s and early 80s, contributing to
compositions for bands such as Banda Black Rio , Tim Maia, Sandra de
Sá and many more. This, his only solo album has remained off the map
(unless your a collector of rare Brazilian vinyl) for ages.
An original will set you back an eyewatering £250, now, I like a laid back latin groove as much as the next homem but you have to draw the line in the sand somewhere. At that price you could get a cheap flight to Rio and dig out a copy yourself PLUS you'd also be able to spend your evening sipping on a Caipirinha as the sun sets on Impanema beach. Essentially what I'm saying is under no circumstance should you but this beautiful AOTN reissue, get yourself on Skyscanner and put some work in for a change...

A Super rare disco / modern Banger to end Athens Of The North's prolific and exceptional year. Star Quake formed in Columbus, Georgia and as is always the case it seems, released this one, brilliant 7 inch and then got on with their lives as, who knows? Doctors, Lawyers, Burger flippers?
'Don't you know I love you' is a new kid on the block on the Northern scene with O.G copies easily going for over $1000 and with good reason. It's a disco floater over some brilliant bass, that no home should be without this festive season. It'll certainly be on my soundtrack and will go especially well with an Old Fashioned, I think...





Michael Henderson

Let Love Enter

Final Athens Of The North review of 2017 and what can I find to say about this particular piece of heaven pressed in seven inch form?
I could say that Michael Henderson has played with Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye AND Stevie Wonder.
Or that he might one of the most sampled bass players out there.
I could wax on about how much an original would set you back, about how AOTN have dug a little deeper so that you don't have to (they really should use that as a tag) or that your life will have a big seven inch hole in it this Christmas (careful...) if you don't take this monster home with you. Or I could just shut up and let the music do the talking for me, can you hear everyone else in the shop cheering?




Twinkie Clark

Awake O Zion

Gospel Disco time Again! After the sucess of "The Power of Your Love" Athens Of The North get righteous with the Almighty once more for another slice of peak time, prayer, dance floor action. 
Led by a piano player who's got to be first pick at The Celestial Being on their Friday night open mic spot (apologies if you're not actually dead, piano playing person) this is as joyous as disco can get and handily,  you don't even need to believe to get down.
Twinkie was a Clark Sister before going out on her own and recording both these tracks for inclusion on her very hard to find and horribly expensive 'Ye Shall Receive Power' album in the early eighties. Once more AOTN dig deeper so that we don't have to...





STAFF COMMENTS

David says: If you're a fan of The Joubert Singers 'Stand On The Word' and let's be honest who isn't? Then Twinkie is for you, an uplifting slice of gospel disco that will have you speaking in tongues and feeding the 5000 from Leo's Fish Bar before you can say, Hallelujah!

Stark Reality formed in Boston Mass. in the late sixties, most famous for their improvised take on a 1958 children's album by Hoagy Carmichael.
You might remember Stones Throw reissuing said album about fifteen years ago (15!) or, if you're not using your bus pass yet, Now-Again reissuing their whole back catalogue in 2013.

Athens Of The North main man Yogi, has chosen his favourite tracks and cleaned them up for this cute seven inch which includes the original tv programme illustration on the centre. Limited to 500, as always this will be gone before you can say, 'what kind of a name is HOAGY?!'





STAFF COMMENTS

David says: Psyche funk a go go on the new Athens Of The North seven.If you didn't get the anthologies this is a perfect intro to their off kilter funky ways.

If, like me, you're a sucker for a breathy French accent then boy do I have a record for you. The more eagle eared of you might recognise the backing as a previous AOTN release, Painel De Controle's 'Relax' a sexy slice of Brazillian boogie that has more or less taken up residence on the turntable at the Walker household since its release two years ago. As always an original of this little beauty will place a not inconsiderable dent in your wallet and lets face it, no one wants that at this time of year. Essential

You can always rely on AOTN to reaffirm your belief in music. Just when you think there are no more vaults to be raided; no more two inch tapes gathering dust in attics in Arizona, basements in Boston or under beds in Brooklyn a seven inch will drop that you never even knew existed and that you know you have to have RIGHT NOW!
So here we are, a seven inch that only handful of copies are known to exist, a bass line that's dropped straight from heaven itself and a vocal that could raise the dead. If that trio of treats isn't enough to make you put your hand in your pocket, maybe the fact the Yogi tracked down Benita will and you can help put a smile on her face this Christmas...



More hard to find, impossible not to own goodness from Athens Of The North.

A side 'Third Rock' has been remastered especially for this release. Originally released on a Cincinatti WEBN radio sampler in 1977 it's a dreamy soul classic underpinned by some of the funkiest bass guitar you're ever going to hear.

B side 'Wake Up' was originally released in 1976 and until now, never even sold on Discogs. A gorgeous slice of laid back, conscious soul, with a sweet, sweet vocal and Sylvia Striplinesque bass that will make any miserable Manchester Monday morning a better place to be.

Remastered and limited to 500 for the world. With no repress this won't be around for long, so, you know what to do.

Broomfield Corporate Jam

Stop

Vocalist and mult-instrumentalist family the Broomfield's are new to us but apparently deepfunk heads know the deal. The six Broomfield siblings (vocalist, Diane and her 5 brothers) released some of the best Rare groove 12s and 45s in the 1980s (Although this 45 was recorded in 1979) as well as recording with Betty Wright, KC and the Sunshine Band, Timmy Thomas, Little Beaver, Julio Iglesias, Michael Sterling and many, many more.

Championed by Keb Darge and others on the deepfunk scene in the early 2000s, this record has remained agonisingly elusive, despite being very popular as both sides are brilliant. So, with the help of Symphonical records AOTN got in touch with Aaron to make it happen.

A side 'Stop' is carried by an ace Clavichord and a bass player schooled in the art of knowing that the notes you leave out are just as important as the ones you put in. It might be my favourite AOTN record of 2017 and that baby, is some stiff competition.

On the B we have 'Doin It Our Way', which has the best wah wah guitar this side of Jimi's 'Voodoo Chile' if that isn't enough to make you buy it then I'm wasting my time typing anything else. Awesome.

STAFF COMMENTS

David says: Athens Of The North keep bringing the heat, not that we need it in the shop at the moment. Underpinned by the baddest bass line I've heard this year, unmissable.

Limited to 500 these are Athens Of The North, head honcho Yogi's two favourite tracks from the previously unreleased Raw Soul Express LP that we got in about a month ago. If you like your soul music (there are people who DON'T like soul music?!) on the smoochy side then this, my smoochy, soul loving, friend is the record for you. Both sides of this seven are perfect for getting close to your dancing partner of choice and whispering sweet nothings in their ear while, at the same time, showing off your impressive dancing skills and , if that's not how you like to spend your weekend evenings? Shame on you... 

Athens of the north and Symphoncal Records present the long, lost Raw Soul Express LP. A special, limited, vinyl only release, it's been lovingly remastered from the original tapes. The LP also includes the full, previously unreleased version of their rare-groove and surprisingly rare club classic "The Way We Live" in its full intended format.
Worth the price of admission on it's own, 'The Way We Live' is one of those songs that, when you hear it for the first time, you can't imagine not having it in your life. It's by far the best soul record I've never heard, that I've heard in a very long time and I get to hear a LOT of soul records.
As with all Athens Of The North releases, blink and you'll miss it.


Discovered about 7 years ago, when a good Mancunian friend of AOTN won a copy on ebay, this Willie Dale record changed from an expensive $500 record to a VERY expensive $4000 one almost overnight after being discovered on the Northern circuit.
It isn't a straight up Northern dance floor foot stomper though, in fact, it's pretty psyche in places, having more in common with say,  Shuggie Otis than your usual soul record.
Maybe it's because it can't be pinned down to one genre that it's blown up so much, Willie would sit comfortably in any set from soul to garage making it pretty much essential, again... 




'Chicano Soul Floaters' has to be one of the smaller sub genres of Disco but Nubia is probably the best example you're likely to hear this side of the Atlantic any time soon.
It's a perfect summer record that will soundtrack your rainy, gale force wind, barbeque with aplomb.
AOTN managed to secure the master tapes from original writer George Rivera so it sounds as good, if not better, as the day it was recorded.






Multi talented UK Jazz Pianist Greg Foat has teamed up with Mercury Award nominated "The Bees" member and multi instrumentalist Warren Hampshire to collaborate on a new LP drawing on their diverse musical influences. Classic British library music, 60s Italian soundtracks & lost Americana combined with touches of modern classical, minimalism, Jazz and Folk. Featuring many members of Greg and Warren's previous bands and one of the U.Ks finest Jazz drummers, Clark Tracy, the LP also features an Edinburgh orchestra and soloists hand picked and scored by the boys. Recorded all analogue onto 2" multitrack in Edinburgh, mixed down by Mattias Glavå at his studio in Gothenburg, Sweden then mastered and cut in Helsinki, Finland, it's truly a European affair. 


First released on a 12" by Jazzman over 10 years ago, AOTN do the right thing and reissue it on every funk fans, favourite, format (awesome alliteration! Ed).
Huge on the early seventies deep funk scene and newly remastered this is a biggie.
Featuring a bass line so fat, type two diabetes has got a songwriting credit, this is funk at its most dance floor friendly, originals have gone for nearly £600 which works out at around 20 quid a minute, now that's my kind of hourly rate.
500 for the world folks and we all know what that means...




STAFF COMMENTS

David says: It's called Simple Song for a reason. Big bass line, fat horn stabs. It's the most obvious thing on AOTN in ages and it ROCKS.

Henry Thomas & Rise

My Dreams Are Clouded

BOOOOGGIIIEEEEE!
If you're the kind of guy/gal who thinks nothing of blowing £180 on a singular seven inch then stop reading now, I have nothing to say that you'll find interesting. If however, you're like me and find the prospect of forking out the best part of 200 quid on one record, that's barely three minutes long, both suicidal and the possible catalyst for the breakdown in relations with your loved one then read on because I've got great news.
Our good friends at Athens Of The North have saved us all £169 (ish) and reissued this sexy slice of synth heavy, boogie so that you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home without the prospect of being locked out of it and having to spend the night on your best friends couch.
Also, Henry is alive and well and WANTS you to buy his record and well, when a record is this good, it would be churlish not to...






STAFF COMMENTS

David says: We love a bit of boogie here at Piccadilly and this is as good as it gets, each record comes with a free bottle of Soul Glo.*
*Does not come with free bottle of Soul Glo

JOB's musical journey started as students at the famed Booker T Washington High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. United by a shared love of soul music and sweet harmonies, singers James Davis, Ollie Carbin, and singer-songwriter & musician Billy Bruner began to jam together and eventually formed their own band, J.O.B and, upon graduation in 1977. set to work building a reputation by playing local parties, venues and fashion shows. Very quickly the word of mouth on J.O.B became so strong that they were offered a house band gig at North Tulsa's most popular after hours spot, The Point After. During their tenure at the famed late night spot many bigger acts came to see J.O.B when in town. Tulsa's own Gap Band, Chaka Khan, and Bootsy's Rubber band all paying homage to the trio.
Good quality quarter inch recordings from 1977 are thin on the ground so I can only imagine AOTN delight when this turned up. So, sit back grab a beer and transport yourself back to Saturday evening, 20 August 1977.

Yet MORE heat from Athens Of The North, this week they bring us the never before released, full length version, of the original BBoy classic 'Brazilian Rhyme'. Sampled by MF Doom and A Tribe Called Quest amongst many, MANY others, BR is not just for the hip-hop heads however. The track itself is an uncredited cover of Toninho Horta's "Beijo Partido"; with a groove that's loved everywhere from Impanema beach to Ipswich, it's so evocative of Brazil that you'll imagine you're playing beach football in Rio whilst cooking your beans on toast, though obviously we wouldn't recommend it.
This is one of those buy now or regret it later records, so, buy it now, it's guaranteed to make the sun come out when you play it. 

More heat from Athens Of The North - three releases in a week?! You're spoiling us. This one comes from the brilliant Friction Band (me neither), who emerge out of obscurity via a well deserved reissue. "Watchin You" is a pretty much unheard of outsider soul monster with sweet duet vocals and cosmic keys that will blow your mind. B side 'To The Sky' is a hippie soul ballad that wouldn't sound out of place on a Minnie Ripperton album. Everything AOTN release is worthy of your ear and this is no exception, sweet soul music that they dig deep for so you don't have to.





Yet more reissue fire from Athens Of The North. This Disco Funk Banger was discovered reasonably late on the deepfunk scene. Featuring a big Vivian Lee vocal over a super funky disco break that wouldn't sound out of place on a War record, it's straight to the point, short and sweet and will sleigh any dance floor featuring people with ears. 



HUGE record for fans of disco modern or just good music full stop. Original VG copies go for £200 (eek!).You don't own it, so there's no need to go rooting through your seven inches just to make sure it wasn't in that bumper crop of tunes you got from that charity shop in Little Bogg By The Weye that time. Frazelle is the party record that everyone wants, with Floating Points and MCDE to name just a couple who practically wet their pants when they heard AOTN were reissuing it. Another one that won't be around for long so buy now or cry later when you get shafted on discogs.






STAFF COMMENTS

David says: If ever we needed a great boogie record that shines a light of love and hope on the world, we need it now. Great for the dancefloor and the soul, buy it now before Donald Trump bans it.

The Fruit Band's fleeting existence was only recently revealed by the discovery of a few unsold copies of their sole 1978 single, 'Say It', which quickly became a cult showpiece for savvy DJs and collectors. Athens of the North has since reached out to Cypress Studios of Jacksonville, Florida and discovered a complete album of the group's stylish, dancefloor-smashing funk and deep disco on tape, unreleased for over 30 years. Here the label present their two favourite unreleased tracks on seven inch for the first time. Limited to 500 there'll be no repress, you know what to do kids...



STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Athens Of The North go scrumping in Jacksonville's Cypress Studios and score a pair of previously unreleased disco-funk bombs from Fruit. Mouthwatering stuff!

Penny Goodwin grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin singing in church with Al Jarreau, doing weddings, talent competitions and bar mitzvahs. When she left school she started singing in popular mob run clubs such as Alfie's, Sardino's, and King's Four graduating to clubs in Chicago and Caesar's Palace in Vegas. Despite her huge talent only this one studio LP and seven inch exists, an original of which would set you back £250.

So, let's all drop to our knees and worship at the reissue altar. Courtesy of the indispensible Athens Of The North you can now own this holy grail of jazz funk for a mere £10 (ish), just think of all the good things you can buy with the £240 I've just saved you, really, it's fine, thank me later...



Christopher Spraggins & The Strange Band of Rochester, N.Y released a grand total of one record. Introduced to the world by Cleveland Unlimited Records who still exist to this day, that one record failed to sell, well, anything at all really, so Strange disappeared as quickly as they arrived, until now that is.

Our friends in (athens of) the north have cherry picked the best tracks off that long forgotten album and reissued them on every funk lovers favourite format, the glorious 7 inch.

So, get down people, to the spaced out, trippy, disco funk of Strange and make a bunch of old dudes in Rochester NY that little bit happier and that little bit wealthier.



Penny Goodwin's album is hard to find, so hard to find, in fact that you'll need about £300 of your hard earned pounds for an original on vinyl. Even the solitary seven inch that came out in 1974 would set you back £250 and that friends, could but you a LOT of seven inch singles.

But, fear not, thanks to the good folks at Athens Of The North here's the very reasonably priced, official cd release.

Usually I find that 'long lost' albums have been lost for a reason but 'Portrait Of A Gemini' is jaw dropping brilliant. Not unlike Marlena Shaw's stuff from around the same time, it features  brilliant covers of Gil Scott Heron's 'Lady Day And John Coltrane' and Marvin's 'What's Goin On'.

Now, where's the vinyl reissue?




In their long and storied career, Rochester, N.Y. residents Christopher Spraggins & The Strange Band released a total of one record. But what a record it is. "Madness" is a masterpiece of spaced out and druggy disco which takes a hint of Rick James and heads further through the looking glass with a tripped out sound that's truly unique. Syncopated percussion shuffles along under stardust keys and raspy vocals while the jazzy keys and blaring brass pierce holes in the sky. Over on the flip, "If You're So In Love" goes down the ballad route, veering into Delfonics' territory but retaining that slightly off kilter space sound. The band was introduced to the world in 1978 by Cleveland Unlimited Records who still exist to this day, unfortunately as these things go, the record failed to gain sales needed to justify further releases despite there being more recordings. Some of said recording are on the way, don't sleep as per.

Nobody

I Saw You / Heaven's Love

Mind blowing Minneapolis boogie, there is so much to this story but let's start with their original 1982 press release:

"Hot group, NOBODY, definitely going somewhere!

During the 1960s the American popular music scene was overtaken and dominated throughout most of the decade by a creative surge emanating from Detroit. "The Sound Of Young America" was Motown. As Motown declined another inspired voice took up the slack. Under the direction of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, Philadelphia International, aka "The Sound Of Philadelphia" (TSOP), became the new voice under the early and mid-70s.

As is becoming quite apparent, the 1980s belong to the Twin Cities. Most people thought it would stop with Prince. It hasn't. A new band called Nobody is making sure that it doesn't. And although the group has been wrapped in mystery ever since they started just four months ago, their recently released demo tape (which will shortly be pressed on vinyl) is a monster that has music insiders buzzing with enthusiasm, "Right now nobody knows who we are. Once we become established, however, we will be casting a highly creative shadow that will be profound, and that other people will have to live up to," says the group.

The band has seven members: two vocalists-one male and two keyboard players, one guitar, bass and drums. All but one of the members are from the Minneapolis / St. Paul area, providing how fertile our sometimes mild little town can be. They've all had a diverse amount of experience-from jazz to funk - but their music doesn't fit any particular category. Some of Nobody's members even started out in the church, which gave their music a genuinely soulful feeling that can't be denied.

Nobody was primarily put together by the female lead vocalist; a lady who's sung with manyTwin City jazz and gospel greats. But beyond anything else the band is a team. A team with a mission. A mission to bring quality music to the community. Many of you will soon get to judge the sounds of their debut songs for yourself. KMOJFM is getting ready to add the single "I Saw You" to its playlist, and WLOL's music director said he "loved it." Along with the airplay will be an appearance on Scott Thompson's "Showcase" on KWTN

Meanwhile the group's manager, Jordanna Gold is keeping busy on both coasts attempting to hook up a deal with one of the major labels for this dynamic, multi-talented group that many people say will be busting out by grammy time."


T'Spoon

If You Dance Tonight / Say Yeah

Athens Of The North bring us their second and final release from Billy Bruner's T'Spoon out of his obscure Oil Capital Record label. 'If You Dance Tonight' is almost unknown boogie spin you're never gonna find an original of. On the flip 'Say Yeah' is  1980s sweet soul ballad years ahead of the pack, AOTN boss DJ Fryer have a soft spot for this one - it's one of his favourite end of nighters. Strictly 500 copies only with no repress.


Starting out in late 1960s Chicago as The Fantastic Epics, the young, small group serviced dives of the oft-romanticised Chitlin' Circuit - with all its attendant racial tensions and segregations, rubber-cheque promises and 45 calibre resolutions - before being split up by the military draft. Former Rasputin's Stash band member, Paul N. Coleman himself narrowly escaped transportation to Vietnam, however, and spent his term on home soil instead, expanding his musical chops under the tutelage of an army bandsman with an ear for jazz; a little sunshine in a otherwise cloudy epoch.

After coming out of the service the band reformed straight away. Despite apparent opportunities afforded by hard-earned major management and recording deals, the 1970s seemed to consist of little more than rare peaks of spiritual reward among expanses of misfortune. Whole album recordings were shelved following ownership squabbles between Motown and Atlantic, master tapes vanished seemingly forever and heavy nationwide touring schedules were endured without profit, the group even travelling a thousand miles to one venue they found closed due to race-riots there the day before. While supporting The Impressions in a hometown stadium, Paul was dragged offstage by overzealous front-row fans and had half the beard torn from his face. Hence the group being renamed after the infamous Rasputin. He was, as Paul plainly states: "a man very hard to kill."

Luck eluded them still. The official new name of the band, now an eight-piece, was actually Rasputin Stash. However, after finally having inked a solid album deal with Atlantic's Cotillion subsidiary in 1971, the band's mood was blighted anew as industry members struggled with its pronunciation. A label executive mistakenly added the apostrophe and 's' on its first release and the band got stuck with an irksome misnomer for the remainder of its career. The two evergreen, soulful funk albums the band recorded, an eponymous debut and 1974's 'The Devil Made Me Do It' on Gemigo Records, are rightfully hailed as classics of their day and sold respectably, but without furnishing the band with fiscal dues. An increasingly weathered Coleman would eventually drag the band's contract home to Chicago once more, to Curtis Mayfield's own Curtom imprint, for a couple of single releases around 1977 - but with another renaming of the band, to R-Stash. Before too long the Stash, however it was spelled, was spent. Paul would form another local group, Crystal Winds, for one superb, independently-released 1984 album before slipping unceremoniously out of the broader public eye and into the realms of the obscure.

The previously unheard mid-1970s recordings here, lifted from two disparate sessions, are ostensibly a third and perfectly-realised Rasputin Stash album, if only one of several we might have otherwise heard. Well-earthed, but with a honed commercial polish, it stands as testament to the drive and talent of someone whose travails might have felled a lesser man.

Paul, whose spirits have been renewed by a flurry of recent rediscovery and interest, is still indefatigably working for anyone who wants his music and now fully understands the achievements of which he can be justifiably proud: "One: being able and lucky enough to record your ideas and emotions on wax for the world to experience. Two: a legacy, very important. Three: to have gained the knowledge and experience to call myself, and to be, a good musician. I still keep the dream going by writing and programming my tail off in hopes to get great music to other artists. Causing or creating interest in the music industry and signing contracts is an achievement that many never, ever experience. These types of achievements, I guess, are the things that keep musicians going in a world of uncertainty."


Santiago

Feeling Good / Land Of Leaping No No (Ha-Ka-Cha-Ka-Ha-Ka-Cha-Ka)

Athens Of The North notch up their 30th release with this 45 from Santiago, aka Neftali Santiago from Mandrill. Santiagoo took a break from the band in 1975 and did a little experimenting on the side. These two cuts came out of a six hour session in which three tracks were recorded, all of which were produced by Philadelphia's legendary Sonny Hopson, and feature Santiago's only lead vocal to date. The band Santiago put together only lasted a year, but in that time supported Gil Scott Heron and The Ohio Players live.  On side A 'Feeling Good' is an uplifting jazz-funk / disco stormer with all the right ingredients, great guitar hook, solid horn section and strong vocal. The brilliantly-titled 'Land Of Leaping No No (Ha-Ka-Cha-Ka-Ha-Ka-Cha-Ka)' offers more of a funk groove, featuring plenty of brass and a party atmosphere in the background. Essential funk and disco.


T'Spoon

School Dance / Sweetness

Athens Of The North continue to serve up the goods, hot out the Fryer (DJ Fryer of course) and straight to the platter for your disco delectation. Here, the flawlessly curated label dish out some French boogie collector's catnip in the form of the uber-rare Billy Bruner penned T'Spoon from his obscure Oil Capital Records. The originals are impossible to find even for hardened collectors, and when they do turn up they're always totally battered. Billy released two 45s on Oil Capital, and this AOTN 7" a track from each and gives them the usual fat pressing. On the A-side, "School Dance" is a P-funk burner packed with fat synth bass, smooth vocals and squelching synths, even incorporating the smurf style vocal much loved by everyone's favourite mother funkers. On the flip, "Sweetness" is a whole other kettle of fish; sunkissed, smooth and laid back soul for the lovers out there. Groovesome, hypnotic and loopy, given a different EQ, this could be a Garth Be classic.


Ray Barretto

Pastime Paradise / Mambotango

Stone cold classic! Although Barretto's version of Stevie Wonder's "Pastime Paradise" has been included a couple of times on compilations, every single reissue has used the rock-tinted LP version which is not nearly as good as the original 7" cut. Since Athens Of The North like to do things right and went back to the Sony Tape vault and had the 7" version transferred for the first time since the original 45 was cut. This new pressing sounds fantastic, much stronger than the original, which equals a no brainer for me. On the flip AOTN took another of their favourite tracks from the 1981 "La Cuna" LP and reproduced it 7" for the first time. "Mambotango" is a dreamy sountracky Latin disco number DJ Fryer used to spin on warm up duty - very New York.

Born at Scotland's postpunk crossroads in 1979, Boots For Dancing kicked down the boundary walls of a played-out scene and introduced the UK to a more funky way of doing Punk. Hugely popular as a live act, often wiping the floor with the bands they were supporting, Boots was something genuinely ahead of the epoch's curve and played an important part in the vanguard of the burgeoning Post Punk and Punk-Funk movements. Sadly, Boots For Dancing's light shone brightly but briefly, though the band had connections with, and cross-pollinations between, better-known acts such as The Rezillos, The Human League and Josef K. Their boundless energy and undeniable talent never proved quite enough for great success. Great songs, even bolstered with good looks, are no guarantee of success in the fickle music business. Ultimately, business got in their way and the group disbanded in 1982 with just a few single releases in its canon, though a wealth of potential hits had been put to tape. Athens of the North is proud to present the band's 1982 album-that-never-was - an album that surely would have made them. It still sounds as fresh as it was when recorded.

- The holy grail lost scottlish post punk LP - Extensive Sleeve Notes by Music and Theature writer Neil Cooper'

- Additional Sleeve notes by Jo Callis (Human League /Rezillos) and Mark Hagen (BBC Radio)

Cool Creations Of St Maarten

Wish Upon Love / Nightime On The Beach

Cool Creations Of St Maarten were formed in 1975 by Carlyle Barriteau, Funk Gumbs and Winston Macco. They were all in their last year of High School in St Maarten. The name Cool Creations was inspired by Kool And The Gang, one of their off Island influences. The band mainly played hotels, local dance clubs and carnival parades and in 1977 they recorded one self-titled LP (current Discogs price £73+). These two tracks were taken from that little know but much loved LP which was recorded in San Juan in Puerto Rico. "Wish Upon Love" is a modern 2-step soul / jazz-funk floater of the highest order that's been a favourite summer joint of AOTN boss DJ Fryer for years and recently been getting spins by Four Tet and others. Featuring pattering bongos, Donald Byrd style trumpet and sweet soul vocals make this a winner. With an intro featuring waves lapping the shore, "Nightime On The Beach" is perfect for a Balearic sunset or deep warm-up making for another essential package!

The Tonistics

Holding On / Dimona (Spiritual Capital Of The World)

The first time Athens Of The North head honcho DJ Fryer heard 'Holding On' it was being played by Adrian Gibson, booker / manager / DJ for the London Jazz Cafe (and Piccadilly Records mailorder customer of old) in its heyday in the early 2000s. Fryer thought the track was some crazy obscusre early Jackson Five 45 (as you will too if you give it a spin - this is prepubescent soul-funk of the highest order). As Fryers eyes were on 45s at the time the track passed him by until the Numero Group included it on their fabulous 'Soul Messengers' compilation (essential purchase if you don't own). After quite a bit of badgering, Numero co-owner Rob Sevier let DJ Fryer release 'Holding On' and 'Dimona (Spiritual Capital Of The World)' on Athens Of The North as a 7" - the first time either track has been on a 45.


- Holy Grail Chicago jazz-funk musical reissued for the first time.

- Original first edition artwork in hand made tip-on sleeve

2015 marks the 40th anniversary of the production of the 'Black Fairy' album. "Black Fairy" was the second play / musical produced at the La Mont Zeno Community Theater, a cultural program of the Better Boys Foundation, a family agency located in North Lawndale in Chicago. The play is a musical drama about a Black Fairy who lacks pride in herself and feels she has nothing to offer black children. But when she meets Black Bird and Queen Mother (who take her to ancient Egypt, East Afrika, a southern slave plantation and the streets of Harlem) she begins to get a better understanding of her heritage. Her journey through the past enables Black Fairy to meet Aesop, Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Uncle Remus, Stag-o-lee, Leadbelly, and many other characters in Black folklore and Black history. At the end of her journey, Black Fairy realizes that "being Black is nothing to be ashamed of" and is then able to share her knowledge with other Black children. The dialogue is interspersed with some seriously good jazz-funk and spiritual jazz tracks. The play proved to be such a hit that the show was recorded live and released as an album by Taifa Records in 1975. Athens Of The North have done some serious research and gained the rights for this reissue.



FORMAT INFORMATION

CD Info: First ever release on CD.

Painel De Controle

Relax / Malandrinha

One of an increasing number of astonishingly good licenced reissue labels putting the bootleggers out of business, Athens Of The North has a hit rate that would put a prize fighter to shame. The latest offering, a 7" double whammy of beatific Brazilian disco scalped from Painel De Controle's RCA LPs is no exception, landing two boogie blows right in your sweet spot. Well known to deep diggers and true heads, but often out of everyone's price range, "Relax" is a straight up boogie-disco monster built on a tropical inversion of Chic's "Dance Dance Dance" groove. The familiar bassline keeps your bottom half bouncing, while the Portuguese vocals, flute licks and string vamps all add the exotic flavour which take this to the next level and that's without mentioning the superb percussion breaks. The original Brazilian 7" plays at 33rpm (like many Brazilian 45s), and if you know you're cutting,  you'll know this ain't ideal, so the chance to get a freshly minted 45 pressing cut from a super crisp master should be a no brainer. On the flip, "Malandrinh", an album track from 1978's "Desliga O Mundo", gets a well deserved turn in the spotlight, where the insanely catchy guitar, space age synth and infectious rhythm sparkle like diamonds. Another killer reissue from a label incapable of putting a foot wrong.

STAFF COMMENTS

David says: Athens Of The North is a great reissue label and this really is brilliant. Latin boogie at it's best.


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