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ATHENS OF THE NORTH

Hampshire & Foat

Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand - Reissue

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. 


TRACK LISTING

Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand 
Lullaby 
The Solar Winds (& Cadenza) 
A Long Way Home
End Song
All Washed Up 
How The Nights Can Fly 
End Song (Reprise)

A vibrant kaleidoscope of sound, colour and emotion, British multi-hyphenate James Alexander Bright's new album 'Cool Cool' is set for release on 26th July via Athens Of The North. A dynamic set of urgent funkers, gentle soul ballads, head-nodders, fuzzy folkers and straight-up disco bangers span 10 songs that soundtrack fertile daydreams, esoteric dancefloors, languorous reflection, and wild excursions in nature and beyond.

James' voice, pitched somewhere between Eddie Chacon, Beck and Michael McDonald, takes a confident lead on this new record. Whether tenderly caressing on the title track's beautiful soul minimalism or deployed passionately on boogie machine 'Straight Line'; it's an immediately recognisable signature. Impressive multi-instrumentalism sees him perform on guitar, bass, keys, programming, percussion, production and myriad quirky effects; across song subjects that cover searching for truth, imagining the distant future, teen nostalgia, relaxation exploration, aspirations of freedom, and classic tales of love and romance.

"'Straight Line' started out as a wonky homage to 80s & 90s radio", says James. "It's based on the memory of meeting someone you want to stay up all night listening to music with". Disco highlight 'Your Love' is"based on the feeling of love and chasing it. It has a certain kinetic charm but holds a melancholic note also". Similarly, on soulful paean to romance 'Fall For You' James explains"You know when you've loved. To love is a magical thing whether it's an experience, an object, or a person; we've all loved and lost".

"'Cool Cool' is the most stripped back song I've ever written,"he confesses."Recorded in one afternoon with no special effects or production tricks, it feels quite timeless". In contrast the uninhibited 'Aguas Blancas' flexes with exuberance. James explains"It's a homage to one of my favourite beaches on the island of Ibiza. I was imagining being there as I made this. What's not to like about big waves, a buzzing beach shack bar, and nudity?".

As always with James' music, what started as a solo endeavour organically morphed into more of a family affair. Initially written and recorded at his home studio in the rolling hills of the Hampshire countryside, the tracks on 'Cool Cool' were completed in sessions with regular collaborator Peter Lyons in East London and Linkwood at Athens Of The North in Edinburgh. Old friends and new contribute vocals (Kerry Leatham and Katharine Alice), drums (Gillan McLaughlin and Joris Feiertag), and synths (Reuben Vaun Smith on 'Aguas Blancas'), plus collaborations with Wolverhampton electronic duo Letherette on 'I Feel Alive' and Ugandan/Nottingham singer-songwriter and guitarist Daudi Matsiko on 'Hear'.

James says"Some of these people I was in bands with as a kid, which is a pretty magical thing. I've been a fan of Letherette for years so it was a buzz when I asked Andrew to work on some tracks together and he was really into it. When Daudi shared a guitar part he wasn't sure what to do with on his Instagram stories, I messaged him to say "I'll make a track out of this!" and that then became 'Hear'".

The past six years has seen James release a veritable treasure trove of music: 'Mallorca' and 'Strange Folk' EPs, debut album 'Headroom', joyous second 'Float', an album of collaborations and reworks with cosmic Americana-disco DJ/producer duo Flying Mojito Bros, and a new project with Groove Armada's Tom Findlay as Bright & Findlay.

James balances music alongside the creative duality of a job in illustration and the responsibilities and constraints that come with raising a young family. Utilising any spare moment to write and record new ideas, his creative output under various projects had been relentless. Turning his back on apathetic major label offers in his early 20s, he's released through cult DIY label Tape Club Records, German stalwart !K7 Music and now with Scottish tastemaker Athens Of The North, presenting an evolving vision of a sound that has touched on everything from outsider art-rock to machine funk, mystic folk to experimental jazz.

TRACK LISTING

1. Straight Line
2. Your Love
3. Fall For You
4. Cool Cool
5. Catch My Breath
6. Aguas Blancas
7. I Feel Alive (feat. Letherette)
8. YSYSYS
9. Fuzzy Yellow Magic
10. Hear (feat. Daudi Matsiko)

James Alexander Bright

Straight Line

Electro-boogie-machine 'Straight Line' is taken from 'Cool Cool', the upcoming third album by British multi-hyphenate James Alexander Bright. "'Straight Line' started out as a wonky homage to 80s & 90s radio", says James. "It's based on the memory of meeting someone you want to stay up all night listening to music with".

James' passionate voice, pitched somewhere between Eddie Chacon, Beck and Michael McDonald, takes a confident lead over a melange of body-popping LinnDrum beats, a host of swooping, fuzzy synths, and backseat-rocking bass. Initially written and recorded at his home studio in the rolling hills of the Hampshire countryside, 'Straight Line' was completed with regular collaborator Peter Lyons in East London.

It's backed on 7" vinyl with the wonky dancefloor wobbler 'Oh My', sounding something like Theo Parrish producing Arthur Russell after a sleepless night.

The past six years has seen James release a veritable treasure trove of music, including 'Mallorca' and 'Strange Folk' EPs, debut album 'Headroom', joyous second 'Float', an album of collaborations and reworks with cosmic Americana-disco DJ/producer duo Flying Mojito Bros, and a new project with Groove Armada's Tom Findlay as Bright & Findlay.

James balances music alongside the creative duality of a job in illustration and the responsibilities and constraints that come with raising a young family. Utilising any spare moment to write and record new ideas, his creative output under various projects had been relentless. Turning his back on apathetic major label offers in his early 20s, he's released through cult DIY label Tape Club Records, German stalwart !K7 Music and now with Scottish tastemaker Athens Of The North, presenting an evolving vision of a sound that has touched on everything from outsider art-rock to machine funk, mystic folk to experimental jazz.

A dynamic set of urgent funkers, gentle soul ballads, head-nodders, fuzzy folkers and straight-up disco bangers.

TRACK LISTING

1. Straight Line
2. Oh My

Ike Noble & The Uptights

Good Thing

This month we have three beautifully pressed mostly unreleased Ike Noble 45s with o.g style silver Ink overprinted labels, they look just

On side-A we have the only previously released (but very rare) track on these three 45s. A brilliant, mid-tempo soul chugger that falls between Syl Johnson and James Brown, undeniable, how this did not blow up at the time is beyond comprehension.

On the flip, HUGE deepsoul anthem 'Look a Little Higher' was release at the time but is mad rare, again a hit that never made it. Solid Gold!

TRACK LISTING

1. Good Thing
2. Look A Little Higher

Ike Noble & The Uptights

Money Won't Change You

This month we have three beautifully pressed mostly unreleased Ike Noble 45s with o.g style silver Ink overprinted labels, they look just

Side A on this 45 is a killer previously unreleased cover of James Brown's classic "Money Wont Change You" stepping up the pressure with The Uptight's on backing smashing it out the part, it probably outdoes the JB version.

On the flip, it's Big Boy/Girl ballad time. Stunning unreleased deep soul. Sweet Deep soul heads will hoover this up so be quick.

TRACK LISTING

1. Money Won't Change You
2. She's Got To Be Loved

Ike Noble & The Uptights

It's Bad

This month we have three beautifully pressed mostly unreleased Ike Noble 45s with o.g style silver Ink overprinted labels, they look just

On side A we have the only previously released (but very rare) track on these three 45s. A brilliant, mid-tempo soul chugger that falls between Syl Johnson and James Brown, undeniable, how this did not blow up at the time is beyond comprehension.

On the flip, it is Deep Soul time again with a version of 'Best of Luck to You', also recorded by Sam baker and Earl Gaines, but easily toping both.

TRACK LISTING

1. It's Bad
2. Best Of Luck To You

Modern soul / disco royalty, written by the talented Mark Beiner and co-writer Ben Iverson about Marks x girlfriend. It is up there with the best modern floaters in the game. I still remember the first time I Heard this on the dancefloor at Prestatyn soul weekender (I cannot remember who played it), I set out on a mission to get myself a copy which failed miserably at every turn. Many years later I finnaly met Mark, he had done a great job looking after the tapes and all the epherma surrounding the band after Ben has passed away.

On the flip, an early new york rap 45 by the band, previously unreleased on vinyl (we did do it digitally with the LP).

TRACK LISTING

1. Paula Marie
2. Crack (Instrumental)

A rare but unknown modern soul dancer from band Premonition or Premonitions depending on what release they put out. The A side is well written proto disco dancer, it's no wonder collectors have been calling begging for the TPs on this , as nobody can find an original (my copy is beat to death).

I actually really dig the sweet soul flip, its almost to cheesy but walks the edge well, and has some great rising moments if that's your bag (which is should be).

TRACK LISTING

1. Here In The Name Of Love
2. Righteous Love

Lee Tracy & Issac Manning

Is It What You Want?

The rarest and best genuinely outsider soul 45 to come out of America (I know that's a controversial shout), Lee Tracy's super rare single outing from the outskirts of Nashville is a dream of something bigger that never came in time for him. A beautiful, haunting song cut to cassette with help from his friend Isaac Manning (on the Casio). Flipped with an almost unrecognizable version of Whitney Houston's hit "Saving All My Love For You" which stands all tall as what was the original B-Side. Beyond essential cut of outsider soul.

TRACK LISTING

1. Is It What You Want?
2. Saving All My Love For You

Unreleased lo-fi goodness from the Lee Tracy & Isaac Manning catalog with a little drum work in the studio from ECLA to give it a little more oomph. Fliiped with 'Jesus Going To Clean House', one of the most popular tracks from the LP, a track is so insanely good I had emails from heads who refused to believe it was not a concocted fake rarity, but no, this is the real deal and on 45 now, one time deal 500 only, pic sleeve, you know what to do.

TRACK LISTING

1. Foxy Lady
2. Jesus Going To Clean House

James Alexander Bright

Fall For You

Multi-hyphenate artist James Alexander Bright releases soulfully tender paean to romance 'Fall For You', backed with urgent funker 'Viper Flames'. This new music heralds James' third solo album, currently being recorded and mixed, which is planned for release via Athens of the North mid 2024.

On 'Fall For You' James says "You know when you've loved, to love is a magical thing. Whether it's an experience, an object, or a person; we've all loved and lost. The senses, vibration and elements have a wondrous strength and power. Love is the most powerful of all."

Following the release of !K7 debut album 'Headroom' ("Blissful choruses, sweetly nagging refrains and a lo-fi sensibility. Hard not to love" Mojo), James featured on Groove Armada's album 'Edge Of The Horizon', contributed 'Under The Sun' to the Too Slow To Disco: The Sunset Manifesto compilation and released single 'It's Alright' with Feiertag. His second album, the joyous 'Float' ("Vivid intermingling of buoyant breakbeat drum loops, sunkissed psychedelic folk song, retrofuturist synthesisers and hot buttered British soul" Test Pressing), was released in July 2022 with singles 'Drink This Water', 'Wheels Keep Turning' and 'Sundown' feat Fink paving the way. This was followed in early 2023 by 'Mirage In The Mojave' ("One hundred percent proof dancefloor ready" Louder Than War), an album of collaborations and reworks with cosmic Americana-disco DJ/producer duo Flying Mojito Bros. On radio his tracks have been played across BBC 6 Music (where he's recorded guest mixes for Tom Ravenscroft and Huey Morgan), Amazing Radio, Bandcamp Weekly, Worldwide FM, Soho Radio, KCRW, Triple J and BBC Solent (who chose his track 'Tigers Roar' to soundtrack Portsmouth FC's 2019 journey to Wembley – awkwardly James is a Saints fan).

A new project with Groove Armada's Tom Findlay as Bright & Findlay - married around their shared love of machine-led funk, outsider soul, 70s-80s nautica and 21st century basement disco - was released via Athens of the North in summer 2023. Solid tastemaker support included BBC 6 Music's Gilles Peterson, who included 'Slow Dance' amongst his tracks of the year, and Huey Morgan, for whom the duo recorded a Block Party mix.

STAFF COMMENTS

Paul says: Nestled proudly at the front of my record bag ready for my next Sunday session, Athens Of The North never fail to deliver the goods and this modern soul 7" is just the ticket.

TRACK LISTING

1. Fall For You
2. Viper Flames

Bô'vel

Changes

    Every now and again, a record carves itself an indelible place in the history of a place, a scene or a genre, all under its own steam – without a big budget, without a press campaign, without mainstream radio, just by hitting all the right notes at the right moment. Maybe you had to have been there to really feel it – locked into the pirate stations, a regular at the right clubs, or leaning on the counter in the right records shops on a Saturday afternoon – but if you were, there are some tunes that will always vibrate with the underground cultural energy of their time.

    Bô'vel's 1996 Manchester streetsoul anthem 'Check 4 U' is one of those tunes. The kind of song that makes the over-used phrase 'underground classic' mean something again, it effortlessly distills the sounds of its era into one of the most undeniable, genre-spanning cuts of the mid-1990s. The song resonates with the regional flavours of UK sound-system culture: the sweet club sound of Manchester's vibrant streetsoul scene, the dubwise hip-hop throb of the Bristol movement, and the bass-lore of the reggae sound systems whose wisdom stretched from Leeds to South London and beyond. Built around a humid kick drum and a bin-busting bass pulse arranged in head-nodding syncopation, the song is blessed with an instantly memorable harmonised hook, and perfectly set off by Bô'vel's crystalline vocals. Upful, stepping and tinged with melancholy, it remains one of the most well-loved and highly sought-after UK streetsoul sides.

    The three mixes of 'Check 4 U' appeared as the a-side of a blank-label five-track 12". It was Bô'vel's second release, after a soulful five-track EP issued in 1995 on her own Bô'vel Records had been a surprise success. Produced by Kev Waddington, that initial record had come about almost by accident after a chance encounter in Manchester's HQ Studios, as Bô'vel recalls today: 'We were making these five tracks because we were having bit of an argument with radio not being able to play what they wanted, really, only what the record labels wanted… they never had anybody coming through properly, because everything was pretty much underground. We were making records, like really pop stuff, to take the piss… So in the studio one day, this guy came in – all I know is that his was name was Nigel. And he came in and said, I want to put that five-track EP out with you. We just don't know who the hell he was to this day, really. And he said, you've got to do it 50/50, it's going to be £1000. So I said okay – I just trusted him. I gave him 500 quid. He gave me 1000 records. He just dropped them at the studio. I picked them up and then I went into Manchester city centre and gave it to a couple of DJs on underground radio.'

    Pirate radio loved it. With play on stalwart Manchester pirates like Buzz FM and Soul Nation, the EP immediately blew up. Bô'vel took the record into Fat City Records, Manchester's premier outlet and distributor for soul, hip-hop and dance, who took a batch, quickly sold out and took several hundred more copies; it eventually transpired that a large quantity were selling to Japan, where the combination of soul smarts and classy production had been caught by discerning ears. Elsewhere, friends distributed the record by hand in London and Birmingham, working them through UK's then burgeoning network of independent dance music shops.

    The warm reception the record received encouraged Bo'vel to return to the studio for sessions that would become 'Check 4 U'. The EP had been issued under a Bô'vel Records imprint, but she had sold it to Fat City without disclosing that she was the artist – 'I said, "There's this singer, she's great, she's done this cheesy stuff, try it, it's a bit Kylie Minogue". He said "oh, give us 300", and then he had some more.' For the next release, she decided to keep things completely minimal. 'The next one, I said, right, let's just put it out as a white label, and if people like it they like it, they don't have to see who we are or anything.'

    Though punitive legislation and overexposure had tamed rave culture, and the inflated status of superstar DJs had pushed once underground scenes fully into the mainstream, dance music culture in mid-1990s Britain still retained a certain feral energy. There was still a groundswell of vital local scenes and rapidly changing musical styles, and – combined with local record shops – clubs and pirate radio were still the chief arbiters of influence. 'In the 90s, pirate radio just played the best music. I mean, you couldn't really get music like that anywhere. The same as you couldn't get music like that [being played] in the Reno, which was very different,' remembers Bô'vel, referring to the legendary Moss Side soul club, an underground institution from 1962 until its closure in 1986. 'That's where music really started for me, going to clubs like the Reno at the age 15, 16, 17, and going to places like the Nile [upstairs from the Reno], which was all reggae, you know – that's really where the beats came for me.'

    The production on the new record would reflect these influences more than the EP had been able too. 'I liked a big bassline,' the singer reflects. 'There's a big bassline there on the five-track EP, 'I Can't Get By', which is a really, really good song, but they just could not get the bass – I was so gutted when that came back…if they'd have shown us the master we'd have said no.' These problems were to be avoided on 'Check 4 U' by the involvement of producer Uriah Gale. 'We already had the tune, and Uriah came on board, and I said, it's just not soulful enough. I was working with Kev Waddington, and he said "I just can't do it." So when Uriah came along, the bass was there, but he tidied it all up and made it really cool, and he was tremendous on the harmony,' she recalls. 'Out of all the mixes, his was the best. He was incredible to work with, and also incredibly talented.

    With alternate mixes of 'Life Changes You' from the 1995 EP as the b-side, 'Check 4 U' was issued with blank blue labels and sent out with a DJ one-sheet describing Bô'vel as 'Manchester's favourite soul Diva'. 2000 copies were pressed, and the record was distributed by Jetstar. It quickly became another pirate radio hit. 'Soul Nation and Buzz FM did support me from the very start [along with] every single DJ on Manchester radio,' she recalls, 'They're my biggest fans, the DJs here, I've got to big them up!' Manchester's support was mirrored by pirates around the UK. 'We had the support of radios across the country – I just could not believe it. So we went on a tour… We would go to the pirate stations, do an interview, then do a gig – that's how the gigging came about… gigging in Birmingham, Huddersfield, Liverpool, London – I've got so much respect for the pirate radios down there. They were brilliant… We used to take all my stuff straight to London,' she remembers. 'Each radio was doing pretty much the same thing, in their own style, with their own beats. Like, when I went down to Bristol, I showed them the EP and 'I Check 4 U' and they said, hey girl, you've got the Bristol beat!'

    But her core audience was at home in Manchester. 'London did support me a lot, but not like my home town – they loved me as I love them… Manchester supported me through and through, to this very day,' she remembers. Performing in mid-1990s Manchester was not always straightforward, though: 'In Manchester, it was kind of hard to do gigs, because there was a bit of gang warfare. So, you know, that was a problem. You'd be doing a gig and they'd all be there in their [bulletproof] vests, you know, Cheetham Hill and Moss Side, and it was a bit of a nightmare. And because I was more Manchester side, even though I went to school in Cheetham Hill, I was with a guy from Moss Side. So it was pretty hard gigging in Manchester, I had a bit of a hard time.' Nevertheless, 'my gigs were packed to the rafters…I wasn't scared because I knew I had protection. The gigs were fantastic, here in Manchester and everywhere, and I'm glad and very grateful to be able to say that.'

    A further single followed – the garage-flavoured 'Earthling', made with producer Ben Stansfield – but this would be her final release. 'My life changed,' she remembers. 'I had a split… I was just bringing my daughter up. I used to live in the countryside, and I was having a bit of a different life… I just spent a lot of time writing when I split up – I couldn't sing, it was like my voice wouldn't work. I was just thinking all the time, and not speaking. So I was just speaking through my music… I just became a writer, and I was more looking for other people to sing the [songs], you know? Because there's a lot of talent here in Manchester.' However, she retained access to a studio, and over time she began to record again, working with various producers and amassing a large amount of material.

    It is this unreleased material that we collect on Life Changes – nine unheard Bô'vel songs from the period 1997-2008(dates?), selected from her own archive. Until now, none of this unreleased work has been heard. Not an artist to be constrained by genre, the music showcases Bô'vel's exploration of a wide range of styles, from the dubbed-out downtempo of 'My Man' or 'I Wanna Be Free' to the updated streetsoul of 'Let Down And Liar', via the breakbeat hype of 'Do It Your Way' and the straight-ahead reggae vibe of 'Daydreamer'. This unreleased music is presented alongside the unfadeable 'I Check 4 U' and two classic streetsoul cuts from her 1995 EP, 'Life Changes You' and 'Coming Back'. The common denominator across the album is of course Bô'vel herself: a singer of rare timbral clarity whose musical vision has determined the sound of every record she has made, a prolific and personal song-writer in the UK soul tradition, and the artist behind one of the most celebrated underground soul tunes of the pirate radio era. Still most definitely someone to check for.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: A true slice of Manchester sound system / underground / street soul culture given a well needed second outing. You'll surely have heard "Check 4 U" by now - it receiving a new lease of life across the younger generation of clubbers via the Metrodome remix and repress a few years ago. But the rest of this LP (technically a catch-all of tracks off EPs from her modest discography) is just as informed - a true product of this fine city and its storied musical legacy.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Check 4 U (Original)
    2. It's Not About Me
    3. Best Thing
    4. Knight In Shining Armour
    5. Daydreamer
    6. Coming Back
    7. Goodbye Farewell
    8. Life Changes You
    9. Let Down And Liar
    10. My Man

    The Funnybone Express

    All The Way Down

    Brilliant rough and funky two sider from Charles Barnwell's band The Funnybone express. A very obscure deepfunk spin with that splash of modern sound that was so appreciated at the time (I can't actually remember whether it was Ian or Keb that first played this). It has remained an extremely rare and sought after slab of wax and this limited run of 500 will serve to sort out the heads that know the score. Big up DJ Mr Big Happy (check out his NTS show) and Daniel Mathis (Check his show Reachin' Out on WYXR) for helping unearth this rare banger.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. All The Way Down
    2. Tonight's The Night

    Amazing floaty modern soul / disco goodness out of late 70s Queens, NY. 'Love Is The Same' two brilliant and different versions, both dancefloor fire…

    Mark Beiner met Ben Iverson in 1976 when I was 17 years old, at the time he was a junior at Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens. Mark had taken a part time job as a Produce Clerk at Walbaum's Supermarket on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Queens, where I met Ben Iverson, the "Frozen Food Manager."

    Back then Mark remembers, 'I was going to work early just to talk to him about his musical background and his time spent in the 50's and 60's with the Ohio Doo Wop Group, "The Hornets", or better known as, "Ben Iverson and The Hornets."'

    In 1978 after Ben and I discussed getting together and composing music, I started writing poetry and expressing in writing my break-up with my college girlfriend, Paula. Ben and Mark went on to writing two albums worth of material, which in turn gave us a lot of time and presence on stage at our live gigs.

    The regular Coast to Coast Band members consisted of Ben Iverson on Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitarist and Co-Executive Producer, Joe Crowley, who is known today as "New York Congressman Joe Crowley." Carl (Woody Wood) Morton on Bass Guitar, Jimmy Johnson on Keyboards. Lead Guitarist, Lou Jimenez, currently owns his own recording studio, Music Labs in Elmont, Long Island. On Drums, Eddie Byam, on Alto Sax, Jay Cohen, who in the 70's used to record for "Gary U.S. Bonds." Gary Pevols on Trumpet. On Bone, Scott Burrows, Trumpet player, Steve Becker, along side Neil Levine, Stan Stockley, Tom Russo.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Love Is The Same
    2. Love Is The Same (Instrumental)

    When Ben White was 25 years old Eddy Bongo Brown of the Funk Brothers brought him to Motown to play with Marvin Gay, 5 years later he recorded this single 'I would have to be a fool' and released it himself. Ben comes from a long line of musicians in his family, his cousins are Cab Calloway and Otis Redding.

    Over the years he sessioned for Marvin Gay, Bloodstone, Carl Carlton, High Energy, Harold Johnson, J.W. Alexander, Richard T & The Salsoul Orchestra

    Unfortunately, as is often the case, children came along and Ben moved away from music, this and forthcoming AOTN single 'Give Me Love' were his only solo recordings unless we can find the tapes of his lost LP further down the line.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. I Would Have To Be A Fool
    2. Just Give Love A Try

    East Coast Love Affair

    Tonight (feat. Theo)

    We love to just try things at Athens of the North and when Clara and Theo (our lovely PR friends) were chilling with us at Pikes one evening it came up in conversation that Theo has a lovely singing voice and fancied having a spin in the studio.

    Roll on a month later, and they were home in Edinburgh, and we threw ourselves into a couple of days of experimenting, this is a little electro floater we were all super pleased with that came out of the session. 'Tonight' is a super late night mashy CR78 drum work out with Theo's floaty falsetto smashing out the park, we flipped the OG with a brilliant dubbed out mix that's not to be slept on either.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Tonight (feat. Theo)
    2. Tonight (Dub) [feat. Theo]

    Leonard Grandsons 'The Sands of Zanziibar' is a classy, extremely rare floater which has remained extremely elusive despite having a sound which could make it an extremely popular spin for soulies, disco and rare groove heads.

    Steve Trebbin believes it was recorded in 1977, the studio was in Hollywood not far from the Capitol Records building, Tal Armstrong's office was next to it. Steve recalls a story, "I went into the Capital records offices one time to pitch Leonard to them. I mentioned how much he sounded like Stevie Wonder. After listening, they agreed he sounded very much like Stevie - with a smile they told me they already had one.". Big thanks to Daniel Mathis and DJ Mr Big Happy for helping track down Steve.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. The Sands Of Zanzibar, Pt. 1
    2. The Sands Of Zanzibar, Pt. 2

    Over the past few years, London based DJ and curator Sam Don has shone new light into the Reggae sub-genre of Lovers Rock with his comps 'For the love of You'. His deep, yet deeply accessible selections have opened the ears of many to the genre.

    With this new compilation 'Just A Touch' Sam shines his torch even deeper, this time through crates of UK Underground Soul. He painstakingly researched and tracking down each producer to bring you some of the sweetest soul cuts that will ever grace your eardrums.

    Sam Don explains: Whilst the US is most well-known for soul music, the UK has created its own take on the genre, due to the melting pot of cultures and musical styles that makes the UK so special. I didn't 'set out' to make a compilation like this, but one night an idea came to me, and I sketched it out at home with my record collection. When I saw how well these sounds came together, I started my mission to find the people involved with them and 'Just A Touch' was created.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Bô'vel - Coming Back
    2. Sam - Life (Club Mix)
    3. Marcelle Moncrieffe - Take Me There
    4. Kofi - Step By Step
    5. Pure Silk - What You Do For Me
    6. Jenny B - Sexy Eyes
    7. Sonja Ryshard - Step Back
    8. Cavalier - Don't Touch
    9. Purely Fizzycal - Straight To The Top
    10. Dennis Planter - I Still Dream Of You
    11. Taffy - Passion
    12. Weekend In Paris - Hold Your Head Up

    The vocalist, saxophonist, composer and arranger Bobby Boyd, arrived in New York at a young age after completing his schooling in Augusta, GA. His musical adventures began in the mid-60s with the release of his debut single "My Type Of Dancin'" on Veep Records in 1965, a fledgling R&B subsidiary label of United Artists. Encouraged by their positive impact on his career, he went on to release his second single "Whatcha 'Gonna Do About It" on Bang Records in 1968.

    In 1970, he formed the Bobby Boyd Congress and, feeling that the funk scene in America was over-saturated, took the decision to re-locate to Paris, France. In 1971, they released a single and an exceedingly rare self-titled album on the tiny private-press label Okapi Records, followed by a further single on Disc-AZ in 1972. After four years of life in Paris (where he was joined by touring artists such as the Ohio Players, Lionel Richie with the Commodores and Chaka Khan), Boyd returned to New York leaving the rest of the band to record as Ice (aka The Lafayette Afro Rock Band).

    One day he got a lift from Jimmy Boyd, George Benson's manager, who introduced him to George at his home recording studio in the Bronx. The two got on so well that Benson became a life-long mentor and produced tracks which ended up being released in 1976 as a self-titled album on Tiger Lily. The label was basically run as a tax-scam and without promotion coupled with a tiny pressing run, it was pretty much doomed to instant obscurity.

    Bobby was introduced to other outstanding artists such as Ralph MacDonald, Roberta Flack, Anthony Jackson, Steve Ferrone and Earl Klugh. As the 1970s came to a close, Bobby performed with artists such as Tony Silvester and Cuba Gooding (of The Main Ingredient) and Ecstasy, Passion & Pain. Athens Of The North have released previously unreleased material from this time, and here we continue to preserve Bobby Boyd's unique legacy and bring his music to a wider audience.

    To this day, Bobby can still be found performing at some of New York's finest jazz clubs.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Why Are You Cryin'
    2. Good Woman
    3. Happy Hooker
    4. Ain't What You Know
    5. 'Cause I Love You
    6. Girl, I Can Feel Ya
    7. How Do You Hang On To A Dream
    8. Let Bygones Be Bygones
    9. To Be In Love With Yourself
    10. On This Side Of Town

    Wendy Walker & Legal Assault

    We've Got One

    One of the finest tracks from Anthony Brightly's work with a young Wendy Walker. This track has always been a personal favourite, so whilst working with Anthony on another project we thought why not do a nice little 45 of this classic. Flipped with Legal Assault's, 'Nice & Slow' also from the Sir George label, this is another long time spin, it's a no-brainer all Killer 45. Strictly AA

    TRACK LISTING

    1. We've Got One
    2. Nice & Slow (feat. Dan-Elle)

    Ben And The Tight Squeeze Band

    Thumping For You

      Another two deepfunk/soul tracks from Benjamin Robinson of Coco and Ben fame's tape archive. You might be forgiven for thinking is 45 is unreleased, but there is only enough copies of the original small hole pressing out there to count on one hand.

      'Thumping For You' is a hypnotic floaty soulful funk banger with that catchy guitar that reminds you right away of the Coco and Ben connection, and the loose vibe just hits the dancefloor.

      Brandon's song keeps the hypnotic loose vibe going for the flip, I can see me late night dancing to this one outside in the hills this summer.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Thumping For You
      2. Brandon's Song

      Sometimes after hoping and dreaming for so long, miracles really do happen. Athens of the North have gifted us this marvelous Marion Javius track and we couldn’t be more grateful.

      ‘Roll on 15 years and I was speaking to my record fiend and friend David Haffner who helps with releases on AOTN. It turned out he had been sitting on the multi-track tapes for Marion Javius for some time and was cool with us doing a 45. Having multi-track was an opportunity for me to fix the little bug bears with the OG mix. On first listen, I was delighted to hear a vocal take without the "Shamwooon" on the chorus, so myself and Linkwood got on the case to rebuild an ECLA version without the Game Show bar ends and "Shamons" that had been haunting me for years.’

      Enjoy this special seven knowing all is right in the world now this is here!


      TRACK LISTING

      1. Waiting In The Wings (East Cost Love Affair Mix)
      2. Waiting In The Wings

      Ben And The Tight Squeeze Band

      AM Funk

      Two Killer unreleased Memphis deepfunk tracks from Benjamin Robinson of Coco and Ben fame's tape archive, working with Robert Garcia & Daniel Mathis on all of Bens tracks has been amazing, to find quality unreleased material is always the dream. 'AM Funk' is a driving disco tinged Sisterfunk club banger that I have been smashing dance floors with since I got the tapes transferred. On the flip 'Summer Rest' is a more floaty instrumental soul funk track, also rock solid. You know the score.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. AM Funk
      2. Summer Rest

      2023 Starts with a doubler sided disco action from East Coast Love Affair - Taking the vocal from obscure Minneapolis lo-fi band 'Quiet Storm' master tape (Big up Numero Group) and building a whole new deep disco 45. 'Get Down' is deep dance floor chugger using the O.G studio gear that would have been used at the time, strictly analog business. On the flip, 'Can You Deal' is a more uptempo boogie joint. Both killers as always. Lots more from ECLA this year!!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Get Down (feat. Quiet Storm)
      2. Can You Deal (feat. Quiet Storm)

      James Enard was raised in Lafayette and got his start with the Ohio based group "Perfect Element". This all happened during the groups session time in Louisiana recording with Jimmie Mouton and Michael Lockett (Two essential figures form Louisiana).

      James played an important role with the group and actually wrote their song "Let Me Be The One For You" while he was laid up in the hospital. He parted ways from them after the group made it clear they didn't want to tour even turning down a gig to open for Prince in New Orleans. He linked up with a fella named Kennith and started Kingdom Records and released "How Close". James and Kennith had a falling out over creative differences and as luck would have it James was invited to play at the Apollo with a group "For U2 See".

      TRACK LISTING

      1. How Close
      2. How Close (Remix)

      Race 'N Rhythm was originally a 12 member jazz group out of Oakland. The members were multiracial, which inspired the name.

      The group was managed by jazz-master Rudolph Peters. He also owned the small Oakland based record label "Northstar Records." After playing the local jazz circuit for a few years, the group decided to put out their first and only 7" single. Luckily for Race 'N Rhythmthey were under the guidance of Harvey Scales's right hand "William Scott Harralson.", William was a brilliant soul pianist and songwriter. Aside from all the work he did with Harvey Scales, he also co-produced two amazing Bay Area record grails; 'Debravon Lewis - The Little Things" and 'The Stars - (We Are The Star's)'.

      With the local success of the single, the group signed on to record a full album titled "Album One". Members Sharon Nance and Gerald Goudeau worked closely together, finding romance, and eventually they got married. They became the driving force behind the groups further success. For decades Race 'N Rhythm played and toured Japan, Canada and all the United States. Sharon and Gerald continued working together until Sharon's passing last October.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Space Saver
      2. Candybar Superstar

      Channelling his considerable improvisational skills to evoke notions of island life, his concept was to create something that could work equally well in the wilds of the Western Isles as in the sunnier spots of the world that we all yearned to escape to at that time. The more he played with this idea of groups of islands, of archipelagos the world over, the more it also became about people themselves experiencing isolation as individuals, while still feeling a sense of togetherness with others in the same boat.

      Working a little at home but mainly here at Athens of the North studios, he would come in each day over the course of a few weeks and just hit record, playing at times almost without mind. Sometimes the mood would call for keys, strings, or drums through delays for days and days. Often, the music would happen by chance as much as by design. One rule he tried to adhere to was to not overthink things, capturing moments honestly with minimal editing or digital processing.

      What we've ended up with is a beautiful, spontaneous, timeless and honest meditation on what it is to be at once both alone and part of a larger whole.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Braidbit
      2. SoLong SoFar
      3. Ambergris
      4. Zeniba
      5. Cave Code
      6. Selkie Road
      7. Open Sea
      8. HomeWords
      9. Landmasses
      10. Circles

      Arthur Ponder, a life long Macon, Georgia resident, started his singing career in the 60s replacing Otis Redding in Johnny Jenkins & The Pinetoppersafter Otis went solo. Although he gigged extensively, he did not actually make it onto a record until around 1970. Presented here, we have mostly his 80s Modern Soul output Solo and with local group Side Show, some with was released on 45 others remain unreleased till now. Special thanks to Angelo Angione who went above and beyond to help with this project and Arthur Ponder - The Prince of Georgia Soul.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Lonely Girl (feat. Side Show)
      2. Sexy Lady
      3. If You Want My Love
      4. My Love
      5. Let's Get Together For The Wrong We Have Done
      6. Whatcha Gonna Do About It
      7. You Are The One For Me (feat. Side Show)
      8. Oh Baby Why You Want To Make Me Cry
      9. You Talk Too Much
      10. It's You Girl

      The final William Stuckey release unfortunately did not make it on time for the man himself who sadly passed last year, with support of his family we are very happy to do this 45 justice.

      The previously unreleased 'Everything That's Good In Life' A Very suitable unreleased track up there with his finest moments, it's got everything that would have made this a classic over the years and no doubt will make it a future classic for years to come, flipped with an alternate 7" Mix of 'Hold Me Close' this is a rock solid 45. You know what to do.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Everything That's Good In Life
      2. Hold Me Close (7 Inch Mix)

      Norfolk & Midnight Love

      Mamas Baby Boy / You Are My Doll Baby

      One of America's finest guitarists, Gordon Banks is most well known as Marvin Gaye's tour bass player in the 70s and co-writer in the 80s (as well as becoming his brother-in-law). He has also played with New Birth, Edwin Hawkins & Gladys Knight & The Pips. Norfolk and Midnight love were Gordon's post Marvin (Passed in 84) local bands, these two tracks were recorded between 86-88. You can hear Gordon's writing skills coming through with a far more late 80s pop vibe, like late Marvin joints, which I love.

      Personally it's an honour to work with such a huge talent, Gordon's bass playing on 'Life is For Learning' still give me goosebumps every time.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Disco heaven with Norfolk & Midnight Love seven, loved up soulful happiness pressed on wax right here for your listening pleasure. A welcomed reissue of these two tracks, more where that came from please

      TRACK LISTING

      1. You Are My Doll Baby
      2. Mamas Baby Boy

      Billy Bruner is not only Tulsa's OG soul man, but he also wrote the best 80s soul tribute to his home city, T-U-L-S-A, not just a great nod but an earworm of the highest order. Flipped (as we love to do) with an unreleased ballad called 'I Want To Hold You' found in the archive. It came from a rough tape so we have done our best to bring it back to life, we pulled it off pretty, so don't sleep on the B-Side kids.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Be still my beating heart! All the right amounts of disco, romance and 80's soul. It's not that often that the B-side is as good as the A but this is just divine on both. Highly highly recommend.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. T-U-L-S-A Song
      2. I Want To Hold You

      Homegrown Syndrome

      Got The Love

      Home Grown Funk was also known as "Homegrown Syndrome," a controversial name bestowed to them. Before heading to LA they gigged all over Memphis. Some of the members were from an earlier 70s group called "Brothers Unlimited" and had earlier ties during the 60s with the "Memphis Invaders" (a peaceful civil rights activist group).

      With aspirations of pushing Homegrown further, a few members including Jerry Jones made the move out west. It was LA 1977 when they were introduced to Ike Tuner through a mutual friend "Ricky G". It was a casual meetup. Then one night Ike had his son Ike Jr. go check them out while performing at the Soul Train hangout spot "Maverick Flats". Ike Jr. praised their performance to Ike and he had them come out to his Inglewood studio. The group walked into the studio with a funky track already playing and that's when Jerry Jones improvised this opportunity and started singing. Ike then turned and said… "Who is that singing?" Jerry said, "Thats me." Then Ike replied " YOU BIG MUTHAF***A! You could be my new Tina." From that point the group cut bunch of tracks with Ike over the years up until they're feature on his 1980 album "The Edge."

      In 1981 Perry Kibble (Keyboardist for Taste Of Honey) was at "Concerts In The Park" and heard Home Grown Funk performing. He linked up with the group and got them a deal with Arista. During this time they recorded their hit track " Confrontation." Perry suggested that the group change their name because he didn't want another group with the work "Funk" in it and hence "Homegrown Syndrome." They also use the Arista studio to cut an unreleased acetate with tracks "Got the love" and "Party Vibes" which we have here

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Got The Love
      2. Party Vibes

      One of the bangers of Dave Haffners amazing disco with a feeling comp on 45, one of San Diego's finest independent disco 45s. Make sure and check the LP on the incredible Cordial Records, with unreleased tracks.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Disco Thing
      2. Your Love

      'Language Of The Birds' LP was recorded solo shortly after completing 'Galaxies Like Grains Of Sand' and 'The Honey Bear' with jazz pianist Greg Foat. 'Language Of The Birds' is noticeably influenced by Warrens love of walking the countryside and woodlands on the Isle of Wight. It's also influenced by his interest in Catastrophism/ Extinction events and the use of Symbolism employed in the Art, Architecture and Writings used to communicate knowledge of such events to subsequent civilizations.

      Warrens personal folk musings hint at 60s Psychedelic Folk but with a deeper connection to nature and the part we all play within it, it's impossible not to be drawn into his music and artwork which provokes memories of old children's books, Fairy tales, and the transportive paintings associated with them.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Eve Of The Deluge
      2. The Falling Rain
      3. Zep Tepi
      4. Then It Was Gone
      5. From Lonely Hours
      6. I Just Didn't Think You'd Care
      7. Autumn's Draw
      8. They Glide The Hills
      9. Only A Moment
      10. Wu Wei

      A collector and DJ from Dallas, Texas, Chad "High-C" Burnett of Rehash Media, first exposed Bartell's "Top Going Down, Bottom Going Up" in the "Excavations" section of the Rehash web site in December of 2001. For all intents and purposes, the 45 had been unknown to collectors but caused a quite a stir while everyone who heard it searched for more copies. The 45 remained out of reach until February of 2004 when noted British collector/DJ Ian Wright turned up a copy and began to play the 45, giving it further exposure by way of a radio show featured on the deepfunk.org web site.

      Hailing from the small farming town of Ashburn, GA (population roughly 4400) noted as the "Peanut Capital of the World", young Nathan Bartell had grown up around music, playing trumpet in the school band and jazz band. After graduating from high school in 1962, Bartell moved to Atlanta where he found and enjoyed a thriving music and night club scene, catching then local acts such as Gladys Knight, The Tams, as well as the many touring acts that came through town and played clubs like The Palladium, The Pink Pussycat, The Casino and The Royal Peacock

      The point at which the story truly begins to take shape was a fateful night in the summer of 1967 at a nightclub on Bankhead Highway near Northside Drive. The house band was doing its thing, but the crowd was thinking about Wilson Pickett's current hit "Funky Broadway" as they kept shouting for the band to perform the song. After some discussion amongst the band, a few of the musicians decided they knew the song well enough to give the people what they wanted, provided somebody knew the lyrics, as their singer did not. Bartell took the stage, and must have done the job right, as he continued performing with bands in clubs all over Atlanta such as The Oasis, and the most important of Atlanta nightclubs, The Royal Peacock.

      By April of 1968, following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, Bartell was married to a woman who also came from Ashburn. She didn't care much for Atlanta, so the couple moved back home to Ashburn. Music was still boiling in Bartell's blood, however, and it wasn't long before he began singing with a group called Eddie and the Cascades from just up the road in the (even smaller) town of Cordele. Eddie and the Cascades performed in clubs around South Georgia until the band broke up in 1972. Despite the length of the band's existence, sadly, the opportunity to record never presented itself.

      Toward the end of Bartell's time with Eddie & the Cascades, he met Jesse Boone, whose musical legacy was already well underway. Boone brought Bartell into his studio with members of his own band, The Astros, to record his first Soul-Po-Tion single "Ooh Baby, I Love You", which was backed with "If I Could Win Your Love". According to Bartell, the single sold quite well regionally, and Hi Records approached Jesse Boone about releasing the single nationally. Boone declined the offer, hoping to draw more attention to his label and boost the momentum of his Soul-Po-Tion label. While sales were apparently good enough to attract a nationally distributed label, this one is quite possibly his most obscure 45.

      Capitalizing on the regional success of "Ooh Baby I Love You", Bartell toured around the southeast, often with Jesse Boone & the Astros, playing dates in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Carolinas. Touring, as it can certainly do with young musicians, began to take a toll on Bartell's marriage, which was splitting up by the time he was ready to record his second single. Soul-Po-Tion label mate Freddie Wilson, following his own debut single "What Would It Be Like", had written a new song, which Jesse Boone listened to with Bartell in mind. "Top Going Up, Bottom Going Down" was a song that fit very well with what Bartell was feeling at the time, so Boone put him in the studio with Soul-Po-Tion's house band to record Wilson's composition. Where Freddie Wilson's style was very much from the mould of James Brown, Bartell gave it a more personal touch. That said, Bartell admits that the single's flip side "Johnny and John" was basically a blatant attempt to cash in on the success and sound of Johnnie Taylor, particularly through the use of reverb and echo effects.

      Playing on the "Top Going Down…" session were O.C. Glaydens (a.k.a. A.C. Raven, a.k.a. O.C. the Wildman) on guitar, Johnny Badden on bass, Bruce Jones on saxophone, and a fella with the last name of Caldwell on drums. Nathan doesn't remember Mr. Caldwell's first name, but if he was Boone's first call drummer for Soul-Po-Tion recording sessions, then this is a man who clearly needs more attention. Even some of the less significant Soul-Po-Tion singles some top shelf drumming.

      As Bartell remembers, the Freddie Wilson song was written specifically for Bartell to record. This indeed may be the case, but it is also possible that Freddie Wilson presented the demo to Boone for himself. What exactly happened next is something of a mystery. Either Boone specifically wanted the song to be recorded by Bartell, or Bartell's 45 came out before Wilson tried to do a polished version beyond his original rough demo recording. No matter how exactly the series of events transpired, Boone clearly did not want the two versions competing for sales against each other, much less on his own record label. Either theory is plausible. Regardless, Nathan Bartell's classic 45 emerged from the small label in Albany showing exponentially more style and musicianship than his debut.

      Back to 1975 now…. While Bartell continued the southeastern club circuit, Jesse Boone was setting up a new record label, Albradella. The label kicked off with a couple of singles from Florida artist Chuck Roberson, but Bartell came back in 1976 with his new band, The Shandells, to record the "Moving On" single, with the b-side, "Sitting Alone". "Moving On" is a driving up-tempo funky soul dancer, with a deep ballad on the flip featuring Melvin Roberts on lead vocals. One more single was released on the Albradella label in 1979, "That's My Girl" parts 1 and 2 and "Someone Like You" b/w "Running Through the Night".

      For a good part of the early 1980s, The Shandells worked both on their own, and backing other musicians on tour, such as Z.Z. Hill while he toured for his 1982 album "Down Home". The work with Z.Z. Hill put Bartell in touch with Tommy Cough of Malaco, who Bartell cites as an important mentor and influence in aspects of his career ever since. This influence has had no greater impact than in helping Bartell start up his own label, Eureka Records, an endeavor which he undertook in 1985 and continues to operate today.

      Eureka was started when Bartell had approached Jesse Boone with the idea of recording in a new studio rather than Boone's own studio. Boone was not not keen on releasing recordings on his labels which were not produced in house, which is understandable when you own the studio and the label. So, Bartell and his band went to Sunbelt Sound Studios and began to record songs for an album which was to be titled "Let Me Love You". It seems that nine songs were cut in 1987 for this project. Unable to take them back to Albradella, Bartell started his own Eureka Records and published his songs under his own Co-Rey Music. Of the nine songs recorded, only four would actually see their eventual release on vinyl, as two 7" singles. But even with the Eureka label off the ground, Bartell did not sever his friendship or business ties with Jesse Boone.

      By 1987, the Soul-Po-Tion and Albradella labels were both out of business, for the most part. Boone set up a new but short-lived venture called Vanity Records, which seems to have been for the express purpose of putting together one last project with Nathan Bartell. This is how Bartell's only R&B album was released. There was, however, one slight problem. Bartell's name is nowhere on it. Instead, Boone named the artist Timothy Gaye. The exact reason for this is still unknown though Bartell casually dismissed this decision as "one of Jesse's marketing ploys". The album is comprised of songs written by Boone, Roshell Anderson, Homer Chambers, a version of Eddie Floyd's "Knock On Wood" and a track written by Bartell's brother Keith, who also handles lead vocals on the song "Million Dollar Baby". The Jesse Boone-penned "If I Ever Fall In Love Again" b/w "Knock On Wood" was released as the only single from the album, which is slightly ironic since "Giving Good Loving" is easily the strongest track on the album.. One last single on the Vanity label followed the album, with Bartell (under his own name again) providing the song "Someone Like You" but sharing space with Chuck Roberson's "I Feel It Coming" on the flip side.

      Bartell continued performing in night clubs, but not traveling as much, when a fateful turn ended his secular music career. Bartell went through a series of seemingly random religious encounters, the death of his 19 year old son who was coming home from his first year of college, and a collapsed lung. In 1991 Bartell was hospitalized with a recurrence of his lung ailment. While in the hospital, Bartell became born again and cites his acceptance of Jesus as what finally healed him for good. During this time, he also endured the death of his youngest son, who died at the age of 17. Bartell prayed to God that if he could make it through all of these events, he would never sing R&B music again. Music was still what Bartell wanted to do with his life, however, and formed a Gospel group called Nathan Bartell & Reality. Crossing the bridge between the traditional Gospel quartet style and a more contemporary sound, Reality has recorded three albums since 1995, and all on his own Eureka label and is still performing at Gospel events in Southern Georgia today.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Top Going Down
      2. I Feel It Coming
      3. Sitting Alone
      4. Jody & John
      5. Someone Like You
      6. Moving On
      7. I Want Your Love
      8. Mystery Lady
      9. See Me Cry
      10. Ooh Baby, I Love You
      11. If I Could Win Your Love
      12. If I Ever Fall In Love Again

      Doug Payne is a graduate of LaGuardia High School of Music & Art (also known as FAME) in Manhattan NY, and Howard University in Washington D.C. He performed as a member of the Sister Sledge tour ("We are Family") has produced several recordings for quite a few East Coast acts and worked as the Music Director for The Dreamlovers, Eddie Holman, The Coasters and the house-band for the Atlantic City television show Chat-24.

      We are happy to present two of his self released singles in full on one long 12". She Is On The Money is a A+ Boogie floor filler this previously unreleased in this full version massive 15 Mins long mix direct from master tape. On the flip we have Doug's first single "Holiday" which was previously 45 only and very hard to find, plus some other mixes of "She is On The Money" from a second tape, HEAT!

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Holidaaaaay! Ultimate boogie dancefloor filler right here for you folks, drenched in soul-disco-boogie goodness. ‘She Is On The Money’ you can’t not move to, it’s impulsive. An absolute must.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. She Is On The Money (Unreleased Full Version)
      2. Holiday
      3. She Is On The Money (Alternate Version)
      4. She Is On The Money (7 Inch Mix)
      5. She Is On The Money (Instrumental)

      Peoples Pleasure

      Dreaming Our Lives Away / A Feeling Inside

      Two of the best tracks from one of the Rarest 70s soul LPs on the planet, 500 copies only with a nice brand free label. One time press. The finest floaty modern soul you can buy.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Dreaming Our Lives Away
      2. A Feeling Inside

      Linkwood & Other Lands

      Face The Facts

      I can't actually remember why we decided to do this project other than ask ourself, why had it not been done years ago? let's do it! Linkwood and Other Lands are well known from their various outings on Firecracker, Night Theatre, The Nuclear Family, Rush Hour, Dekmantel, AOTN and many other labels, both talented musicians and fierce producers. The plan was simple, drop them into the mostly finished Athens of the North studio and cross the streams….

      The results are nothing short of spectacular but putting them into words or genres on paper is somewhat of a challenge. Folding modular textures, post-punk, Electro, House and Techno even ending in some lush Balearic business, they have moulded their years of experience and translated it into something new.

      What strikes me when listening to the LP is both their voices have come through in this production. Other Lands guitar work and Vocal and Linkwood deep sense of Rhythm and structure. The recording of this LP was just pre-covid which seems strange as it fits now so well. Like a dream of what it would be like to be out In the city night in all its different factions.



      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: This shimmering dancefloor stormer from Linkwood & Other Lands hits all the high points of a night out, the slow start, blistering, groove-filled highs and slow, languid finish. Brilliantly satisfying, and perfectly crafted.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Theme For City
      2. First Take
      3. Porty
      4. Face The Facts
      5. 3VSR
      6. Meet In The Middle
      7. Don't Throw It
      8. Gold Leith
      9. Downright
      10. Varial
      11. Shapes
      12. Silver Nows
      13. Up Wrong

      Companion 45 to the forthcoming unreleased LP of L.A soul singer, composer and producer LaRombé. We transferred all of larombes tapes in Holywood and pulled sa ton of Amazing track starting with this the original full-length masters of Modern Soul Grail 'You're The Best' (Running an extra one and a half mins) flipped with a previously unreleased track 'Train Of Thought. You know the score, 6k for an OG.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Millie says: Finallllllyyy! The long awaited LaRombé is here at last. Full on funky-goodness, so much energy it could fill a room instantly. Make sure you play this one nice and loud!

      TRACK LISTING

      1. You're The Best
      2. Train Of Thought

      Part two of our nod to the world of library from Athens of the North introduce Greg Foat journeys into the world of synthesis with good friend James Thorpe. This new LP was recorded in the old Bees Studio on the Isle of Wight earlier this year, a special, different piece of work which I was delighted to receive on ¼ inch tape without warning. Greg's output continues to be prolific without ever tiring, he never plays it safe and is always looking forward whilst having an ear for our musical-heritage.





      TRACK LISTING

      1. Elementary Physiology, Pt. 1
      2. Elementary Physiology, Pt. 2
      3. Balloon Ride
      4. Circadian Rhythms
      5. Diametrically Opposed
      6. Grockle Box
      7. Living The Dream
      8. Platform Game
      9. Stacey's Theme
      10. Photosynthesis
      11. Chronobiology 

      Nubia

      The Time Is Right

        '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.






        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.

        TRACK LISTING

        Keep On Smiling (Live)
        Just A Song (Live)
        Love Everything About You (Live)
        Valentine Love (Live) 

        Lew Kirton

        Something Special / Love, I Don't Want Your Love

          Athens Of The North reach release number 8 in fine form, continuing to deliver nothing but dancefloor brilliance for all the rare groove, jazz-funk, soul, disco and boogie heads out there in vinyl land. This latest 7" features two essential cuts from early 80s love machine Lew Kirton previously only available on unwieldy and thinly pressed LP. Remastered for the occasion, Lew is bigger and bolder than ever, prepare for some serious seduction. On the A-side, "Something Special" gifts us a private screening of Lew Kirton's 'the amorous adventures of an early 80s club soul lothario', as the soul man hurls his big vocals over a smooth and buoyant post disco groove. There's a touch of Love Unlimited Orchestra in there, but Lew's emotion adds a raw touch which veers away from the polish of the Barry White vehicle. On the flip is Lew's straight up jack of Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive", a pure shameless anthemic dancefloor disco smasher that's certain to demolish dancefloors all over the globe with that catchy guitar line and Lew's massive vocals. 



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