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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)

Born the seventh child and the youngest of Rev. and Mrs. Clougies Young in the city of Lake Charles, La.Raised in the Church of God in Christ in Lake Charles, La. Earl began singing in church as early as six years of age.

He performed in my church choir and high school Gospel Choir in San Francisco under the mentoring of Professor Johnny Land.

Before forming his own group Earl did background vocals for Patti Labelle's song Quiet Time in 1978 after which he formed his small group and recorded this one solitary single in 1983.

Probably one of the finest gospel bangers every cut to vinyl, that's all that needs said.

TRACK LISTING

1. Take Them In Prayer
2. Let Him Be Your Everything

Our second LP this month is an unreleased magical modern soul LP from the band Coast To Coast, the full story below by band leader Mark Beiner...

I met Ben iverson in 1976 when I was 17 years old. I was a junior at Newtown High School in Elmhurst, Queens. At that time, I took a part time job as a Produce Clerk at Walbaum's Supermarket on Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights, Queens, where I met Ben Iverson who was the "Frozen Food Manager." In between the music, this job was steady income, and he and his Wife, Diane, started a family and raised two Daughters, Tonia and Cytherea, whom I am still in contact with today.

Back then, I remember 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." However, Ben was somewhat quiet and at a loss for words when I questioned him with regard to "Ben Iverson and the Nue Dey Express", as well as his short career as Manager and Songwriter for Brooklyn's own, "Crown Heights Affair" in the early 70's.

Between the 50's and 60's, "Ben Iverson and The Hornets" shared billing at music events with recording artists such as, The Drifter's, Bill Haley and The Comets, Pat Boone, Etta James, Mary Wells, Nancy Wilson, Jackie Wilson, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Lloyd Price and Al Green. Many of these names got their start in the 50's, which Ben met at music concert events hosted by Radio Disc Jockey, Alan Freed. Alan was truly the first Concert Promoter for Doo Wop, Rhythm & Blues, and early Rock & Roll.

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 girl friend, Paula Vasta. Paula's middle name was Marie, so in kidding around, I would call her "Paula Marie." Ben thought my lyrics were "powerful" and wanted to put them in music. Thus our first recorded 45 rpm record called "Paula Marie", backed with "I Want You Dear." This launched our musical partnership and within a year, the Coast to Coast Band was formed. Ben and I 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. Woody and Jimmy used to hang and play rap in its early days with "Run DMC" in St. Albans, Queens. 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, whom we lost to Testicular Cancer at the age of 25, along side Neil Levine, Stan Stockley, Tom Russo and additional members that came and went that we used for live gigs and studio recordings.

In addition, special recognition goes out to our Producer, Recording Engineer and Multi-sound Recording Studio, Owner, Dave Weiner and staff. Dave and I launched Multi-Sound Records under the Multi-Sound label in 1980.

Last, of course myself, Mark Beiner, where I served as Executive Producer, Songwriter, Business/Marketing Manager, and background vocals.

Unfortunately, Ben Iverson passed away on March 21, 2008, and cannot be here to share this with us, but his music and voice still lives on!

TRACK LISTING

1. Love Is The Same
2. I Want You Dear
3. Paula Marie
4. A Woman Was Made To Be Loved
5. Reincarnation Of Love
6. Love Is The Same (Alternate Instrumental)
7. Paula Marie (Alternate Instrumental)
8. Move Your Body (Alternate Instrumental)
9. Funkin' Coast To Coast
10. Love Is The Same (Alternate Take)

We enjoyed comping Volume one so much and had such a positive response, we went right onto producing For the Love Of You Volume 2.

Having bumped this in the car for months I can assure you Sam's selection here probably betters the first. Again it is strictly soul covers featuring interpretations of Grover Washington Jr., Midnight Star, Meli'sa Morgan and Simply Red and loads more.

Its been great working with Sam brining attention to such a wonderful UK music scene and we both would like to thank all the artists and producers who went the extra mile to make this happen…


…The end of 2021 just got a bit sweeter.

TRACK LISTING

1. Lorna Fletcher - Just The Two Of Us
2. Sonia - Easier To Love
3. Dave Barker - I'm Curious
4. Valerie Harrison - Fools Paradise
5. Chosen Few - Don't Keep Me Waiting
6. Sylvia Tella - You Might Need Somebody
7. Fallon Jennings - All Night Long
8. Pete Campbell - Holding Back The Years
9. Toyin Adekale - Smile
10. Derrick Cross - Never Too Much
11. Carl Johnson - I Wish He Didn't Trust Me So Much
12. Trevor Walters - Blood's Thicker Than Water

Tom Findlay (Groove Armada) and James Alexander Bright's relationship started on Twitter (a place where hope usually goes to die) However, Tom had listened to James' recent release on the radio reached out to chat about working together on some tracks. Over a few months in the studio they created a mountain of work, some of which would feature on Groove Armada's recent 'Edge Of The Horizon' album.

Having enjoyed working together so much, they decided to start their own project and Bright & Findlay was born. The first track they worked on together is featured as the lead on this 12" was 'Slow Dance' Funky party track with its feet firmly in 80s boogie territory and. Following tracks
seemed to interweave / play alongside each other. Drums machine / chorus laden synths and guitars, and a soulful vocal are a staple of their sound.


When Tom and James sent the EP over I was down from 20 seconds into the first track, 80s Boogie, Tangerine dream, Disco rap style rhythms yet totally their own thing. Slow dance was one of those tunes I could see myself dropping mid-set when I want to cool it down and focus the room again, dance floor fire.

TRACK LISTING

1. Slow Dance (Jazz Mix)
2. Slow Dance (Axes)
3. Leave It All Behind
4. Punch

During the production of two singles (This being the first) unfortunately William Stuckey passed away, below are some words from my partner in the project Brian Sears regarding our work with him pm his LP.

Brian Sears - I'm not one that likes to write but I wanted to say a few things about William Stuckey. William Stuckey passed away last in August 2021 at age 73, and is an artist that I've been working with since last summer. He was a key fixture in the Little Rock music scene and most notably was one of the driving forces behind the legendary True Soul label. Lee Anthony, the owner of True Soul Records, once told me that William Stuckey was the most talented musician he had ever worked with, and if you know anything about that label or Lee Anthony, that's quite a compliment.


When I reached out to William last summer about re-releasing his material, he ignored my calls and messages. Fortunately, I was able to reach his son, Erreyon who was kind enough to listen to me. I've worked a lot of terrible sales gigs in my past and "getting to the point" is sometimes a hard thing to achieve, especially when you're trying to talk about the music business and music that's 50 years old. But the point was simple, his music matters and deserved to be preserved. This resonated with William and Erreyon and they gave Euan Fryer and myself a chance.There was a memorable handoff of the master tapes in a parking lot and from that point forward I knew William Stuckey trusted me. Trust is something he had to do a lot in his life due to the fact that he was visually impaired and I'm thankful he trusted us. As I wrote before, there was a long process of transferring the tapes, but it was successful, and the album has never sounded so good. William had incredible hearing and was able to pick out details most might not detect. He was gifted and that shined through his own playing and voice through copious recordings. Speaking with him after he finally heard the newly remastered album, the way he had intended for it to sound, is something I'll never forget. Moments like that are really the reason why I feel so compelled to work with older musicians that didn't get a fair shake the first time.

Meeting William Stuckey face to face earlier this summer was one of the highlights of my year. We laughed and hung out at his place where he had lived for the past 50 years. I told him his music was internationally known and the re-release was well received. He was humble and felt like a long lost friend that I hadn't seen in a long time. I'll never forget that. I told him I wanted to take some photos, and I'm so glad I did.We had a good time and it was a beautiful summer night and as I left his place his neighbours noticed me walking to my car and wanted to chat, so we talked briefly and it ultimately lead to one of them getting into their car and cranking "The First Time" on the stereo system in their driveway. I wasn't sure if Stuckey could hear it from his house, but part of me knew he probably could and hearing his song echo in the background as I drove off and thinking about Stuckey and the time we shared and his music being appreciated by so many, even in that moment, is a wonderful memory. I'd like to think he was smiling.His music and legacy will live on forever.
Rest in peace to a great one.

TRACK LISTING

1. The First Time
2. The First Time (Instrumental)

Crystal Winds legendary sophisticated soul LP first released on the privately pressed Cash Ear label in 1982, it's mad to me these amazing tracks have never made it to 45 yet so time to put that right, the classiest of classy 70s soul sides for your Djing and listening pleasure, you all know how much I love floaty 70s joints, not sure it gets better than this.


The key figures behind Crystal Winds were Paul Coleman and M.C. (Morris) Brown, both alumni of the band Rasputin's Stash which had had two albums out in the mid-'70s which had done reasonably well for Atlantic subsidiary Cotillion and Chicago indie Gemigo, respectively.

Between them, keyboardist Coleman and saxophonist Brown wrote the vast bulk of the album (guitarist Martin Dumas co-wrote Lover's Holiday with Brown, and one J.Lagrone is added to the credits of So Sad and Signs of Winter's Time) and handled the male lead vocals, with the distaff element provided by Theresa Davis. Brown wrote the horn arrangements, the pair did the string arrangements, and legendary concertmaster Rich Tufo (associated with Curtis Mayfield and other Curtom acts including Linda Clifford) was also on hand for the album (credited with conducting and orchestrating both strings and horns). Guitarist Dumas had also been a member of Rasputin's Stash, as had drummer E.Frank Donaldson (who plays on two tracks).

TRACK LISTING

1. So Sad
2. Maybe What You Do Comes Back On You

Martin Dumas Jr, Paul Coleman and Morris Browns, sublime 70s soul / 2 Step LP is IMO is some of the best sophisticated soul from the 1970s, Production, Vocals, Writing are all on point. On this 45 we are not messing around, two of the best cuts from the band 'Lover's Holiday and 'Love Ain't Easy', first time on 45 for them both. Licenced direct from the band members. You know what to do!

TRACK LISTING

1. Lovers Holiday
2. Love Ain't Easy

Pure 70s soul on this incredibly rare 7”, it would have set you back £500ish for the original even if you did find one!

The track is popular for a reason, from the excellent flute build up at the start, the sense of urgency through the track, and catchy chorus! On the flip side it changes things up and showcases a class ballad from the LP, still an absolute hit to bring out as the DJ, everyone will love you for it!


TRACK LISTING

1. Strung Out On Your Love
2. All My Love For You

On a creative explosion of late, Linkwoods productions have branched out in many directions, a collaboration LP with jazz Genius Greg Foat, Another with Local Edinburgh Legend Other lands with a load more yet to surface.

Linkwood now comes back to solo work with a hyper focused piece of electro goodness. Lo-fi but all the better for it, Mono comprises 14 deeply distilled tracks. After producing some more complex records it was time for a pure palate cleanser, we locked Nick in the Athens of the north studio for a week with his friends Moog and Oberheim to see what might happen. Somewhere between Electro, Early 80s Synth pop and techno the album is an extremely listenable piece as a whole, unpretentious and timeless. Sprinklings of Dave Stewart pop noodles, Newbuild, Early Era Nu Groove but very much Linkwood at the same time, I can't recommend this enough.

TRACK LISTING

1. Bubbles
2. Candy Land
3. Shortwave
4. Rain & Shine / Byte Size
5. Squeeze
6. Endcoms
7. I Love You
8. No One's Perfect
9. Date-Line
10. Refresher
11. Kubes
12. Dust Jacket
13. Strangely Enough

East Coast Love Affair

Confrontations

For the 4th ECLA and the start of things opening up (maybe) Athens Of The North have gone full party mode, nothing too serious, just good dancefloor fun. Side one is a rebuild of a rare disco funk 45 by Homegrown Syndrome, while the flip houses "Shake", a deeper but no less dance floor friendly affair, sampling an AOTN 45 from a few years back to create a whole new Belizean disco house joint - winner winner chicken dinner!



STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Two pretty hefty, rare-ass disco cuts here from AOTN which kick hard. Old elements, reblended and reconstructed for post-COVID fun and frolics when the clubs open again - get in!

TRACK LISTING

1. Confrontations
2. Shake

'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)

'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

Millie 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

Millie 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

Millie 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)

Brief Encounter

Get A Good Feeling

    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

    Millie 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

    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

    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

    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

    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 

    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 

    Andrew Wasylyk is the alias of Scottish writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Andrew Mitchell.

    In 2018, Andrew was extended a residency invite from arts centre and historic house, Hospitalfield, Arbroath, Scotland to create new music for their restored, 19th century, Erard Grecian harp.
    During Wasylyk's five-month sojourn he created melodies and progressions echoing the building's unique relationship with the looming North Sea horizon. Using not only the harp, but the house's original grand piano, Andrew explored the Angus landscape and beyond, gathering field recordings on trips to neighbouring Seaton Cliffs and Bell Rock Lighthouse (the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse).
    Winter slipped into spring, and harp-led compositions gave way to an ambitious third, full-length album, exploring a range of themes utilising a broad palette of instrumentation, including flugelhorn, euphonium, oboe, string trio, vintage synthesisers, drones and upright piano.

    From the wandering, Bob James-esque, Fender Rhodes and shimmering strings in the study of coastal light, "(Welter) In The Haar", to the plaintive brass and farewell transmission blowing through, "Adrift Below A Constellation", punctuated by the fragility of Wasylyk's sole lead vocal of this collection - "The Paralian" (a dweller by the sea), is a conclusion embued with blue and golden melodies that land in a territory akin to experimentalists such as Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno. Through which, Wasylyk weaves the listener along a Modern-classical, Ambient and Jazz dream of Scotland's east coast.

    Athens Of The North team were stunned by the luminous beauty and creativity at play in this work. Falling between genres and time, it stands next to 60s British Jazz, effortlessly blending notes of Library and soundtracks with dashes of British Folk.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Athens Of The North have always been a big hit in the shop, with their jazzy hazy folk offerings proving particularly popular (Hampshire & Foat come instantly to mind), but nothing has quite hit home like the mind-blowing debut from ‘Andrew Wasylyk’ (aka Dundee’s Andrew Mitchell). From the outset, the paddling ambience and perfectly weighted piano of “Through The Field Beyond The Trees Lies The Ocean” sets the scene perfectly for the lysergic journey that is ‘The Paralian’. While “Greendrive #2” slowly ambles from plucked harp (I mean really, it could be anything, the last time I spoke to him he was off picking up a vibraphone because it’s yet another sound to shape into the electro-acoustic narrative he so perfectly forms) into a meandering percussive stroll through the Scottish countryside, it’s follower “Journey To Inchcape” that forms the peak of this narrative microclimate. Slowly swelling horns and reverbed CR-78 work away beneath the melancholic woodwind and shimmering guitar, hinting at sorrow, but working through it with a combination of otherworldly, soothing ambience and momentous stoicism. Later, we explore the same story arcs, but with each stroke rendering a broader and more colourful palette. The slightly tense “Flight Of The Cormorant” for instance giving way to the anxiolytic majesty of “Mariner’s Hymn” by way of the brittle “Westway Nocturne”, dispelling all tension and making every moment of dispirited majesty all the more necessary. ‘The Paralian’ is a masterwork, and an unbeatable way to spend a winter evening.

    TRACK LISTING

    1 Trough The Field Beyond The Trees Lies The Ocean
    2 Greendrive #2
    3 Journey To Inchcape
    4 Welter In The Haar
    5 Dreamt The Breakers Spill
    6 Flight Of The Cormorant
    7 Westway Nocturne
    8 Mariner's Hymn
    9 Adrift Below A Constellation
    10 Unsurfacing 

    Brief Encounter

    Where Will I Go

      One of the most coveted unreleased Low Rider / Soul Ballads. A huge tune for Summer twenty eighteen, up there with infamous Darling Dears. This had only ever been released on a Japanese compilation 20 odd years ago without the bands consent (and with some of the channels missing) Athens of the North bring us the full unreleased version for the first time. Hot off the press this golden two track seven inch has everything you could ever want – or need! This is a big one for people who know the score. 

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

      STAFF COMMENTS

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

      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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