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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)

'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

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)

'Without You' is the second release from Athens of the North house band, it's a lovely deep house side with obvious influences. 'Without You' came together while warming up some new gear that had landed in the studio during lockdown and as often happens when you're not trying too hard something just comes together. For the vocal we had a multitrack tape of Avelino Pitts from the band Gold (Sadly he passed a few years ago) and Edinburgh singer Lucy (more to come from her soon). While we may be known for disco and funk AOTN crew grew up in the early 90s, so house is our bread and butter, so you will be hearing more.

On the flip side is something we have been wanting to do for some time, I always loved Mary Love's 'Come Out Of The Sandbox' but felt the structure of the track was a little tricky to play out. We went ahead and restructured the track as well as adding synth parts and created a 12-inch mix that never was (but should have been). We brought to the mix to Ady Croasdell at Ace Records (who currently own the rights) and asked if he would let us release the track legitimately, thankfully Ady liked it and kindly gave us the green light, so delighted that it's not only out but licensed correctly.



STAFF COMMENTS

says: Your deep house instalment from side A, when flipped discover the soulful energy needed right now… sets this 7” on firrrreee!

TRACK LISTING

1. Without You (feat. Avelino Pitts & Roni)
2. Come Out Of The Sandbox (East Coast Love Affair Mix)

Obviously to attempt a cover of classic only works if you go down a different route with the track, the idea came from talking good lovers covers with friends, much to my surprise there was no 'Date With The Rain' cover which felt like it would have been perfect (someone please correct me and send me a copy if there is one). I had been chatting to lovers legend Peter Hunnigale often during the making of 'For The Love Of You' compilation and asked him if he would be up for doing a vocal on a cover, and he said yes, so we got to work, hope you like the result.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: East Coast Love Affair smashing it with this hit single ‘Date with the Rain’, the definition of easy going and joyful. The dub version is equally as slick and has even more disco vibes.

TRACK LISTING

1. Date With The Rain (feat. Peter Hunningale & L. Ross)
2. Dub With The Rain (feat. Peter Hunningale & L. Ross)

Of the many 1000s of reggae versions, Derrick Cross' version of Never Too Much has got to be one of the sweetest. Unfortunately, with a price tag of 500 euros plus, it's a local Hackney record that has become inaccessible to most.

Fully licensed by our man Sam Don and released on 7 inch for the first time, this late night melter provides a taste before the second instalment of our 'For the Love of You 2' compilation coming later in 2021 compiled by Sam and locked down during lockdown.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Who could resist this lovers rock version of Never Too Much? First time released on 7" this is the ultimate cover of the truly iconic track.

TRACK LISTING

1. Never Too Much
2. Never Too Much (Instrumental)

As a prelude to the singles LP Athens of the North drop a 7” reissue of Brief Encounters most popular modern / disco side against possibly their best ballad, deep soul spin. A stone cold classic all the way. Get a Good Feeling does what it says on the tin, ultimate disco groove to get you out of a funk. Equally as good, Just a Little Notion is ultra smooth soulful vibes. 

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Beautiful soulful tracks from Brief Encounter here, drenched in pure silky smooth soul each side is a joy to listen to. An absolute must for any Athens of the North collectors!

TRACK LISTING

1. Get A Good Feeling
2. Just A Little Notion

Spirit Of Love

The Power Of Your Love

Gospel is not something we often delve into at AOTN, I like the odd track but to make the grade it has to be really good. I used to play 'He's Alright' (the B-Side of this 45) from the LP back in the day when you could pick it up for $10. At that point nobody cared or was looking for Gospel Disco (especially on LP) but Times and tastes catch up with us out there on the front line ;) so when I heard Floating Points play 'The Power of Your Love' at the Plastic People closing party I was surprised as I had all but forgotten about the LP (credit where credit is due). I jumped into action, hit up Calvin Bridges who wrote and recorded the LP (and is still recording gospel to this day) and he was happy to help out, so here we have it, A now historic track flipped with my preferred B side and old secret weapon, this will fly.

STAFF COMMENTS

says: There's no holding back with Spirit Of Love, warming and uplifting this 7" is just the perfect balance of gospel and soul goodness! It's flying off the shelves so you better be quick...!

TRACK LISTING

1. The Power Of Your Love
2. He's Alright

This first ever re-release of William Stuckey's extremely rare southern soul LP. When Brian Sears told me William was still with us and living locally I was shocked that nobody had spoken to him up till now. Not only that but he still had the multitrack tapes at his house.

Unfortunately the tapes were in a bad way and needed some serious work. Our good friend Dan at Audio Archiving Services in Holywood went above and beyond to restore the tape in small sections (despite baking it was still oozing gunk onto the tape transport and heads) then joining the audio back together perfectly. I know not many people would have gone to this trouble and I'm grateful as this music had one last chance.

The mix down at AOTN studio is brighter and clearer than the o.g whilst being true to the original mix, William was over the moon with the result when he heard it and we are excited to bring it to Vinyl, CD and Digital

Special thanks to Brian, Dan and Linkwood for the work on this project. Securing special music for the future is what we do and we just caught this one in time.

TRACK LISTING

1. The First Time
2. Wise Men Say
3. Got Plans
4. Country People
5. Just Around The Corner
6. Hold Me Close
7. If You Want To
8. Love Of Mine

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

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

Andrew Wasylyk

Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation

    Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation is the third in a trio of records by Andrew Wasylyk which unearth and reshape the landscape of Eastern Scotland as shimmering and inventive instrumental music. Where Themes for Buildings and Spaces (2017) toured the architecture and industry of Dundee, evoking a place caught between decay and regrowth, the Scottish Album of the Year Award shortlisted The Paralian (2019) explored the littoral exchanges between sea and shore on the North Sea coastline.

    Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation carries a trace of this arc on a return upriver, drifting back inland along the River Tay's inner estuary: a record of the low light on winter fields, empty suburban streets at dawn, the deep clear waters of the quarry excavated to build the city. Ten songs circling landscapes for meaning, channelling half-heard melodies and misremembered memories; caught somewhere between settling down and setting out towards the shining levels of the estuary and beyond.

    The record is threaded with the influences of people, place and musical lineages – David Axelrod, John Barry, Virginia Astley, Mark Hollis, Alice Coltrane – yet as with all of Andrew's solo work it has a deft, clear voice all of its own. Recorded between Summer 2019 and January 2020, Fugitive Light… displays his talent as a multi-instrumentalist and composer: all hushed drum grooves, rolling waves of plucked acoustic guitar, cascading upright piano, Bob James-inspired Fender Rhodes, rippling clàrsach harp, and ECM-worthy electric guitar motifs. As on The Paralian, string arrangements are by fellow Tayside musician Pete Harvey, known for his work with King Creosote, Modern Studies and The National Theatre of Scotland.

    This is a record scored through with patterns of light: the song titles evoke last sunbeams, the fugitive light of water, the violet hour of autumn, cemetery silhouettes, and the half-light of the moon; the arrangements aglow with subtle shifts of texture and refractions of melody. Fugitive Light… is an atmospheric (in both the sonic and elemental sense) evocation of the ebb of the world, something that Andrew describes as, "simultaneously about knowing loss and accepting love, the optimistic and the downhearted, where the lightness and dark gather together." 

    Andrew has a knack for writing melodies that seem at once timeless yet entirely individual: emerging somewhere between spiritual jazz, neo-classical and library music, diffracted by the blues and greys of the wide Tay firth. The instrumentation has a soft-focus glow of its own: piano keys gently pressed, the metronomic click of analogue drum machines, the well and wash of strings and brass, a singing saw whirring into the heavens. Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation is another Wasylyk song-cycle wonder; a wander through glimmering internal and external landscapes.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Despite the times we live in, there remain beacons of musical light in an otherwise shadowy world. It's my hope that people will hear Andrew Wasylyk's latest outing and like me, be taken away on a dreamlike bed of carefree strings and soaring plucked harps. On his second album for Athens Of The North, Andrew takes the sound of his previous album, 'The Paralian' and injects those stories with a little more of everything, more ambient joy, more curative groove and more heart. As the equal and opposite to this, we get the meditative lows and mournful minor-key intersections that make the bliss seem all the more profound.

    For the soaring, sun-dappled morning of “Last Sunbeams Of Childhood” we get a thoughtful and pensive “In Balgay Silhouettes”. It's this sense of balance that really sets this music apart, with elements of jazz and folk tempered by an ambient leaning persuasion akin to the sleeper Prefab Sprout hit of 2003/2019, ‘I Trawl The Megahertz’. It's no easy feat to take in all this breadth of sound and to make it your own, but ‘Fugitive Light And Themes Of Consolation’ couldn't have seemed any more effortless, with restful interludes and seismic emotional shifts taking place seamlessly in the blink of an eye. It's an organically growing whole, cohesive and emotional without being overblown or pretentious. A true treasure.

    TRACK LISTING

    1 A Further Look At Loss
    2 Last Sunbeams Of Childhood
    3 Fugitive Light Restless Water
    4 The Violet Hour
    5 Everywhere Something Sublime
    6 In Balgay Silhouettes
    7 Awoke In The Early Days Of A Better World
    8 (Half-light Of) The Cadmium Moo
    9 Black Bay Dream Minor
    10 Lost, Aglow

    Premonition

    Don't Act Like A Fool

    Athens of the North boss Euan Fryer recently described Premonition as "the best obscure New York boogie act you've never heard of". He'll be releasing an entire album of their rare and unreleased material later in the year, but first he's treating us to a reissue of their best-known moment - impossible-to-find 1986 soulful boogie slammer "Don't Act Like A Fool". The track ticks all the right boxes -rubbery slap bass, mid-80s FM synth sounds, passionate male lead vocal, needless but delicious sax and electric guitar solos etc - and is little less than an overlooked dancefloor heater. On the flip you'll also find original B-side "In Love", which Fryer brilliantly (and accurately) describes as a "mid-tempo floater".

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Don't Act Like A Fool
    2. In Love

    LaRombé is one of the most talented songwriters to have graced our eardrums at Piccadilly. Having gone through much of his tape archive it obvious what a powerhouse of song writing and composition this man is. LaRombé music is of the strongest calibre all the way, from his first release in 1979 to present day. All of his Soul, Disco & R&B stands the test of time. It's easy to have one record that with luck ends up great but another thing to write record after record with great hooks you can't leave alone. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: LA soul writer LaRombé is on the notoriously good label for all things funk and soul Athens of the North. 'From Philly' is an archive of all his best stuff, with the hit single ‘You’re The Best’ which created a storm of fiery soul and R&B, it’s a favourite at Piccadilly!

    TRACK LISTING

    1. All In Your Mind
    2. Right On Time
    3. You're The Best (Curtom Mix)
    4. URThe1
    5. The Ultimate
    6. Sweet Sensations
    7. Love Will Make It Better
    8. Spread My Wings
    9. Somewhere Someone
    10. In The Light

    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

    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 

    Gratitude

    We Are Here To Party

    Gratitude's rare Canadian disco 12" is well know to the heads, there is also a VERY rare 7" with a slightly alternate mix that is almost entirely unknown (not even listed on Discogs).

    'We Are Here To Party' is a driving Deepfunk disco banger in the vein of King Tut. On the flip 'Loving You' is a Chic influenced disco production as strong as the A-side, always good when its a solid flip as well. We have taken the 12" Versions and put it on to 45, the forthcoming David Haffner compilation will have the even rarer 7" Version on it. Back into disco turf, loads more on the way.




    TRACK LISTING

    1 We Are Here To Party
    2 Loving You 

    This Hampshire & Foat project should not come as too much of a surprise to those familiar with Greg & Warren's music, influenced heavily by not just Jazz but the library sound of the 60s and 70s along with film soundtracks from the same golden era. Greg& Warren are avid collectors of this music, Greg sends me links night and day to LPs he has picked up digging on his travels. This constant search sends him down new musical pathways and often sparks a whole new concept for projects. Warren and Greg are both fiercely creative talented individuals which means we have to keep them working, a challenge for us all, but the music rewards the effort many times over. Side one is five tracks in very distinct styles, musical paintings for the big screen. The vast sound of the Japanese influenced Jasmine, The Spaghetti Western melancholy of Mariposa Lily, the call to action that is Antonio's Theme, The Breezy Vintage sports car in the sun that Coastal Drivepaints, and Lost in Nostalgia, a late night Poirotesk piece.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: If "The Honeybear" saw the band languidly exploring an enchanted woodland by day, then "Night Shade" encapsulates the magic of said woodland at night; full of beguiling spirits and esoteric wanderings...

    says: Hampshire & Foat have yet again created a captivating album, this one is clearly packed with things that have influenced that and the result is a beautiful mix of ambient and folk.

    TRACK LISTING


    1 Jasmine
    2 Mariposa Lily
    3 Antonio's Theme
    4 Coastal Drive
    5 Lost In Nostalgia
    6 Introduction
    7 Nightshade (Echo Flute & Bowed Bass)
    8 Nightshade (Main Theme)
    9 Nightshade (Solo Strings & Solo Fender Rhodes)
    10 Nightshade (Pizzicato Strings & Walking Bass)
    11 Nightshade (Multi-Tracked Piano)
    12 Main Theme (Reprise) 

    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

    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.

    TRACK LISTING

    Reality
    Hey, Hey

    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) 

      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.



      TRACK LISTING


      1 You
      2 Space V 

      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."


      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."


      TRACK LISTING

      1. Love And Happiness 
      2. Get Down 
      3. Oo Girl 
      4. Dance With Me 
      5. Dark Moon 
      6. Everybody's A Masterpiece 
      7. Sweet Vibe
      8. Party Lights [clip]
      9. Boogie 
      10. Confusion 
      11. Pick Up The Apple

      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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