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The melodically adventurous soul of Leon Ware continues its expression in his final opus Rainbow Deux, released on double vinyl by Be With Records.  Co-produced by Taylor Graves, it has stellar musical contributions from the likes of Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Ronald Bruner Jr, Rob Bacon and Wayne Linsey. The album features new songs recorded and performed by Leon before his health turned, leading to his transition on February 23rd 2017.

Taylor Graves came into Leon’s musical family in 2002 when he, his brother Cameron and the Bruner brothers Ronald Jr and Stephen (Thundercat) were playing along with their schoolmate Kamasi at an L.A. jazz club. Taylor, Cameron, Ronald and Stephen became Leon’s band for his debut shows in Japan in 2002 and Taylor continued to work with Leon as his mentor and collaborator over the next 15 years.

“Leon was ALWAYS writing something or developing his musical palette” his wife Carol Ware tells us, so it’s impossible to pinpoint any single moment of Rainbow Deux’s genesis. Six of the songs go back to 2012/2013 and were released in 2014 as part of Sigh, a Japan-only CD collection heavy with Rob Bacon’s tasteful licks and Wayne Linsey’s piano vibes. The rest of the material comes from Leon’s sessions with Taylor.

Describing Leon’s and his process, here’s Taylor: “We’d start by having some great homemade food! Then a glass of wine ‘to slow down time’. After we’d have our fill and smoked our joints we’d go into his studio room to listen and create.”

The album was finished-up around August of 2016 in a back-and-forth between Leon and his go-to mastering engineer Toni Economides in the UK.
Leon worked on "Rainbow Deux" with life’s greatest challenge looming over him, yet it is one of his most focused and cohesive solo offerings since the 1980s. The entire record is a vibe: mellow, deep and smooth as silk. The lyrical themes are eternal, and the music is elegant, soulful and sensual.

The album opens with the hypnotic throb of “For The Rainbow”, coming on like a percussive, slow-mo house shuffle. Gilles Peterson is a fan. The exotic “Let Love In” follows, with its gradual-build Island Funk, intricate guitar picks and sassy female vocals. It explodes when it hits its stride. “Sigh” is the stylish slow jam close-out to side A. Serene guitars and polished drums create neck snapping funk, with a swaggering finger-snap strut.

Side B opens with the easy-burning broken-beaty “The Darkest Night”, the centrepiece of the album. Kamasi Washington’s lurking sax, restrained and beautiful, unfurls into the dank, sticky atmosphere of Thundercat’s signature creeping bass laid over his brother’s in-the-pocket drums. Leon’s vocals are perfect, a masterclass in seductive sax-soul.

“Surrender Now” conjures waves of vocals to swell and wash over the glossy piano, subtly bumping hip-hop drums and bubbling synth-bass stabs. It’s got the trademark Leon layers. “Summer Is Her Name” has Kamasi’s effortless, melancholic sunshine sax give way to rising tempos and propulsive rhythms.

“Are You Ready” is a total highlight (and we’ve been playing it out for ages). It’s a nimble groove of piano and synth rolling around Theo Croker’s sensual trumpet playing. Digi-soul at its finest. With lush G-Funk sensibilities “Streets (Keep Me Runnin’)” sounds like a lost Dam-Funk produced gem. All tough kicks and snares and street sounds. Leon’s hood pass will be forever intact.

“Samba Dreams” is the first of two tracks that bring a little Rio magic to Rainbow Deux. Leon created a whole body of work in partnership with Brazilian legend Marcos Valle that includes “Rockin’ You Eternally” - a hit for Leon - and “Estrelar” – a hit for Marcos. Leon channels his obvious love of Brazilian music here through more of Croker’s sumptuous trumpet, played over loose percussion. “Let’s Go Deep” is next up. A dreamy between-the-sheets quiet storm anthem and a real showcase for Leon’s vocals.

The dripping, honeyed harp-funk of “We Should Be Laughin’” marks the star turn of the brilliant Kimbra. Leon first met her on-stage to do an impromptu duet of “Inside My Love” during an open-air celebration of Minnie Riperton in July of 2014. Kimbra was working with Taylor on her music and he brought her to Leon’s house to do some writing. This was the result.

Warm synths radiate shuffling samba soul on “Wishful Thinking” as those Brazilian rhythms return to bring Rainbow Deux to a close.

During an apartment move Leon and Carol rediscovered some watercolours Leon had done years ago. One of these paintings had been dubbed “Deux Hearts” and Leon decided it should be on the cover of Rainbow Deux, getting as far as approving a draft concept for the artwork.
Carol has overseen developing that draft into the final gatefold sleeve. It brings together quotes, photographs and tributes in what is a reflection on the music, relationships and philosophy of the sensual minister.
Gerry “the gov” Brown, Leon’s long-time sound engineer, was by his side throughout the project, recording and mixing. The album was mastered by Toni Economides and Simon Francis’ additional sensitive work makes sure this double LP sounds like it should on vinyl.

Be With’s first ever release was Leon’s eponymous LP. Re-issuing that album planted the seed of a relationship that has grown to grant us the privilege of presenting his crowning achievement. We know that Leon’s fans all over the Earth will love Rainbow Deux. But we also hope that this album, the final entry in a phenomenal body of work, will reach new fans and find fresh conduits for the spirit of this oft-unsung hero of Soul.

Leon always said “they will get it when I'm gone.”
He also said that “the spirit never dies”…

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLtd LP Info: 140g vinyl, double LP, gatefold sleeve, printed inner sleeves.

"Sweet And Nice" is the vital debut album from Jamaica’s undisputed first lady of song Marica Griffiths. It’s reggae at its most soulful. Slinking through a tight ten tracks of R&B and pop-sourced material, it became an instant best seller. 45 years after its initial release the LP is available again on vinyl as a double LP and remastered to sound sweeter than ever!

"Sweet And Nice" has appeared over the years with a revised running order and under different titles. But the original’s opening sequence of loping soul is legendary, even beyond reggae circles. These songs are now returned to how they were presented on that first Jamaican release, and under their intended album title.

Marcia’s version of “Here I Am (Come and Take Me)” has long been lusted after, played by genre-hopping selectors to snapping necks for decades now. It’s followed by the sophisticated, rollicking wah-wah funk of “Everything I Own” and the slice of smooth lovers soul par excellence that is “Green Grasshopper” and her ace, lilting Neil Diamond cover “Play Me”.

The thundering, humid funk of “Children At Play” 'sounds uncannily like a precursor of Massive Attack', as FACT Mag astutely noted when they put "Sweet And Nice" at number 16 in their list of the 100 best albums of the 1970s. Otherworldly, moody and essential.

Side two keeps the fire burning. “Sweet, Bitter Love” should leave you swooning, and is also one of the album’s alternate titles. Curtis Mayfield’s already-eternal “Gypsy Man” is up next, recast as proto-lovers rock.

“There’s No Me Without You” is elevated to canonical status by the majestic, forlorn horns of the Federal Soul Givers and Marcia’s heartbreaking delivery. And if this doesn’t get you then surely the next track will: arguably the definitive version of Ewan MacColl’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”. Yes, seriously.

“I Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” re-takes its rightful place at the end of the LP’s second side… but we couldn’t leave it at that. So we added an entire second record of rare material recorded around the same time as "Sweet And Nice", much of it unavailable since it was originally released. Some of these songs have only ever been found on now unattainable 7" singles and no, rarity doesn’t always correspond with quality, but in this case we’re talking about some seriously jaw-dropping music.

Amongst 14 extra tracks you’ll find the exquisite late-60s singles “Melody Life” and “Mark My Word” which, along with the sumptuous reading of “Band Of Gold”, are now £100 records, if you can find them! Just sayin’. There‘s also a fantastic version of “The First Cut Is the Deepest” and an alternate take of “Play Me” with producer Lloyd Charmers adding his own vocals.


Alex Chilton

It Isn't Always That Easy

    "We adore Big Star and Alex Chilton more than words can express. Being able to present two of Alex’s staggeringly beautiful demos on vinyl for the first time (on a cute picture sleeve 7", no less) is an absolute honour for us at Be With.

    “It Isn’t Always That Easy” and “If You Would Marry Me” both sound like templates for some of Alex’s best-known Big Star numbers. These demos come from the transitional recording sessions he made with Terry Manning at the Ardent studio in 1969, but were missing from the vinyl version of the wonderful Free Again compilation that was released in 2012.

    Caught between the end of the Box Tops and the birth of Big Star Alex’s song-craft was already remarkable - as these demos prove - and this release represents a fascinating, exploratory period in the career of one of pop’s most enigmatic talents.

    “It Isn’t Always That Easy” is the real knockout. A tender, acoustic ballad that, stylistically, could have appeared Big Star’s “#1 Record”. Yes, it really is that good. A deeply affecting, ruminative lament that explores the ravages of Alex’s short career to date, it is also one of the sweetest and most delicate melodies he ever wrote. A song this stunning shouldn’t just be kept for the Big Star completists.

    Over on the flip, “If You Would Marry Me” finds Alex in earnestly romantic mode. It’s just him and a piano, albeit one that is played in a poppy, uplifting fashion to complement the optimistic mood: “I could make you feel so glad inside and so alive” he confidently declares. It’s quite the gem. It really should be mandatory for this to be played at every wedding.

    Unfortunately there seem to be no photographs of Alex from around the time he was making these recordings. But luckily we were put in touch with Pat Rainer who was photographing the Memphis music scene that Alex was still part of a few years later.

    Happy to be described as “a friend with a camera who was hanging around”, Pat’s candid pictures of Alex included one of him asleep on the floor of the Ardent studio. Even though the photograph was taken 9 years after the demos were recorded, we think this intimate portrait makes a fitting cover for these equally intimate songs."


    Yes! Tommy Guerrero’s much-loved 4th LP – the smooth West Coast classic From The Soil To The Soul - gets its first ever vinyl release. As the follow up to his revered Soul Food Taqueria, this album was originally released by Quannum Records 2006 but only on CD. Working with Tommy directly, the LP has been fully remastered, cut on to heavyweight wax, and comes with artwork freshly reworked by the man himself.

    From The Soil To The Soul represents a continuation of Tommy’s blissful guitar-soul whilst demonstrating increasingly complex chops and a slightly darker side to his distinctive sound. His spare, effortless funk is blended here with elements of Americana, heavy psych, lo-fi fuzz and intoxicating Latin rhythms. Combined with his typically breezy, laid-back San Franciscan style, it’s a vibe from start to finish.

    Recorded primarily in his home studio, Tommy wrote, arranged and played nearly all the instruments, including bass, guitar, keyboards, percussion and kalimba. Renowned street artist Barry McGee, aka Twist, designed the cover art which Tommy has now recast in a deep, deep red for the vinyl version.

    As ever with Tommy, the highlights are many and memorable. From twinkling, sun-drenched opener “Hello Again” to the penultimate, punk-rocking track “Let Me In Let Me Out” (featuring the melodic yet fearsome rapping of Lyrics Born), the variety across the LP is relentless, but satisfying, and without once losing focus.

    We’re treated to the gorgeous hip-hop blues of “The Under Dog”, Meters-style Hammond B-3 jams like “War No More” and “No Guns More Glory” and Balearic bangers like Bing Ji Ling’s star-turn on the sleazy “Don’t Fake It.”

    Curumin’s soulful guest vocal elevates the already-great Brazilian lounge feels of “Salve” to hitherto unscaled heights and the heavy, driving basslines - funky and warm on “Badder Than Bullets”, sombre and intense in “Tomorrow’s Goodbye” and “Molotov Telegram” – never fail to move both body and soul.

    But our favourite track is the beautiful breezy pop of “Just Ain’t Me”. A bittersweet, skipping ballad which boasts an incredibly rare instance of Tommy singing. “What you want from me, I can never give” he repeats throughout, lending the already-melancholic atmosphere greater poignancy. It would’ve been number 1 across the planet in a parallel universe.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    David says: First time on vinyl for Tommy's seminal fourth album and Be With's third release of the week. Remastered and reworked with the help of the man himself. Unmissable.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: Remastered, 180g vinyl, first time on vinyl!

    It's rare that a certain sound is entirely an artist's own. Although undeniably a stew of impeccable influences – from blues to folk to Latin to dusty funk, soul and hip-hop – one cannot hear a Tommy Guerrero song without immediately recognising it as his - and his only.

    The cult skater from San Francisco is globally renowned as one of the original members of the legendary "Bones Brigade" team. And as an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, his laid-back soul is beloved by all who've basked in its blissful glow.

    There's something elemental about this music that really stirs the soul. Strikingly beautiful and instantly addictive, it's a kind of funk-fuelled, melody-driven, groove-based magic. There's a serenity and heart in the playing that radiates warmth and splendour, as if crafted for endless sunsets. His albums that surfaced on Mo Wax at the turn of the century have been treasured since their release and it's one of his most vital LPs that returns today.

    The originals were quietly pressed on to a single piece of vinyl and they have been lovingly remastered, cut nice and loud on to heavyweight double vinyl and presented in deluxe gatefold jackets. “Soul Food Taqueria” continued Guerrero's guitar soul but represented a step forward with its polished production and greater complexity of instrumentation. Denied the promotion it deserved upon release, it flew under the radar. It is now the most wanted record of his wondrous back catalogue.

    Guerrero's atmospheric touch and subtle guitar provide lush, glimmering pieces of musical texture. Within his spacious compositions, uniquely arranged instruments flourish alongside each other to create a languid soundtrack for halcyon days.

    As ever, the diversity on display is beguiling. From bossa nova, samba and cumbia rhythms to understated folk, funk and soul grooves, this is another exotic set of mellow gold; perfectly represented by ESPO's memorable artwork. Furthermore, the title's hybridity reflects the intoxicating sweep of stylistic flavours served up, reminding us that, however tricky it is to categorise Guerrero's special blend, it's always a pleasure to indulge in something so creative and adventurous.

    Dubby, bass-heavy instrumentals give way to moody folk-soul – witness "It Gets Heavy", featuring melancholic vocals from Gresham Taylor – whilst "Thank You MK" is a gentle ode to the tropics, featuring ethereal instrumentation, bright bass and warm, jazzy guitars. The second half in particular contains a number of stunning ambient tracks – check "Lost Unfound", "Another Brother Gone" and "Broken Blood" - built around minimalist, laid-back grooves and detailed guitar orchestrations which wouldn't be out of place on the latest Jonny Nash release.

    Guerrero closes this flawless set with a moment of true beauty. Restrained and graceful, "Falling Awake" is a pared back piece containing meditative guitar melodies set against melancholic piano arrangements. It brings proceedings to the most peaceful close. Seductively good, it reminds you just how great simplicity can sound.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Superb slacker funk and sunkissed downbeat from legendary skater Tommy Guerrero. A classic that's filling the margarita shaped hole in my life on this sweltering Piccadilly afternoon.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP Info: 2019 Repress.

    Be With are back on the tail of brilliance with an ace reissue of a total disco destroyer, oft overlooked because it's more or less impossible to find.
    In 1980, Randy Muller’s Skyy dropped the monumental “Here’s To You”, comfortably one of the greatest dance singles of all time. Released on Salsoul, “Here’s To You” is now exceptionally hard to find in its original form. On this special Be With double-header, we present the sought-after 12" mix and back it up with the strutting “You Got Me Up”, which has never been on a 12" before. Naturally, both are cut loud and bumping for devastating dance floor power.
    A sure-fire classic of the NYC club scene and a true block party rocker, “Here’s To You” beautifully combines sweeping synth-strings, loose cymbal hits and swaggering lyrics delivered with enviable style. But the real hero is *that* bassline. Oh, wait, no, actually, it’s *that* synth refrain halfway through. Harnessing the Oberheim Matrix 12 to emulate a horn section has provided goosebumps on discerning dance floors ever since.
    As Muller expressed in his 2007 Red Bull Music Academy lecture, “It’s a very special record, it’s positive and has that spontaneous, life-giving spirit in the groove. Everything locks, just pure chemistry.”
    If that wasn’t enough, over on the B-side is “You Got Me Up”, a real hidden gem from Skyy’s Skyway LP. Also released in 1980, the track is a wonderful showcase of the group’s airtight rhythm section and Muller’s uncanny ear for a groove and a melody.


    If ever an album could transport you to the hazy sunshine and imagined halcyon paradise of Southern California in the mid-1980s, could capture the early evening warmth of hanging at an inclusive boogie jam as it approaches “magic hour” in Santa Ana or Anaheim, then it’s Vaughan Mason and Butch Dayo’s Feel My Love. A brilliantly produced deep slung, low rider funk classic originally released on Salsoul in 1983. It’s a masterpiece of “funk love music”.

    Yes, this is indeed a perfectly formed five track “mini LP” of unparalleled heat, but there’s one song here that, above the rest, represents Orange County boogie-funk. A straight killer beloved by all that have had the pleasure of moving to it. A track that can fill up a dance floor within seconds of its starting. That song is the eternal title track, “Feel My Love”.

    This is a work of art that made people fall in love with the funk. It transcends the limitations of genre. “Feel My Love”’s deceptive simplicity makes it perfect to drop during a house set, a classic funk party or at a west coast rap jam. It’s sexy, deeply emotional, melancholic, hopeful, passionate and just radiates so, so much raw energy. This is music.

    The rest of the record is hardly filler though. Opener “Oh, Love” is a dizzying, emotional slow jam. With heaven-sent vocals riding gorgeous, sweeping keys that alternate between sweet twinkling lines and funk-fuelled stabbing. It’s sensational. A rollerskating jam named “Rollalong Songs” is an ultra-swish piece of dance floor dynamite. Its slick drums, staccato piano and neck snapping claps underscore Dayo’s buoyant vocals. It’s essentially “Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll Part II”.

    The flip begins with “Party On The Corner”. Smoother than silk vocals, day-glo synths, a bubbling bassline and guitar licks that surely received the Prince seal of approval. It’s another example of how Vaughan Mason and Butch Dayo flirt with perfection so routinely. The most majestic closer, the kaleidoscopic, cow-bell-assisted synth-funk heater “You Can Do It” is a proto-rap groover that truly smokes.

    This prized LP is a stone cold jam and finding original copies on vinyl at affordable prices has been tough for years. Mastered brilliantly by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman and with lovingly reproduced artwork, this fresh Be With reissue ensures this legendary LP now sounds, looks and feels as sensational as it should.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    David says: Yet more heat from Be With, the reissue label de jour. They're so hot at the moment they have their own fire department just in case things get out of hand.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl.

    The self-titled LP, originally released on Salsoul in August 1981, is one of the greatest albums of the post-disco era. It’s one of Be With’s favourite ever LPs and they're on a mega-buzz to give it the reissue treatment. With all the touchstones of Burgess’s finest work - breezy grooves, undulating synths, funk-drenched bass and life-affirming lyrics - delivered with gospel-derived vocals and harmonies - it’s a record to uplift both body and spirit.

    Already a cult soul figure as lead singer of seminal vocal group Black Ivory, Leroy Burgess cut his teeth as arranger, vocalist and songwriter with legendary producer Patrick Adams on essential late-70s projects like Phreek and Dazzle. He went on to define the essence of “boogie”: the vibrant underground dance sound that stood in contrast to commercial disco. With its reduced speed - mid-90 to under 110 BPM - the cool boogie of Burgess has the disco bounce, just more laidback.

    All six tracks here could have been stand alone 12" hits. Indeed, some of them were. But together they are also an incredibly cohesive album, where all the compositions are deeply relevant to each other. In short, it’s essential; a thrilling showcase for Burgess’s finest arranging and production work - with his vocals at their euphoric peak alongside the inventive rhythm section of Aaron (Sonny) T. Davenport on drums and James Calloway on bass.

    Opener “(You’ve Got) That Something” is a balmy sunshine groover with an insistent chorus whilst the timeless vocal of “Dancing Into The Stars” - married to percolating synth and airtight drums - showcases the chemistry between Burgess and the rhythm section.

    The fusion of funk and gospel-influenced harmonies which propels “Something Else” is remarkable - deep, joyous and bouncy. Infamously mixed by Larry Levan, “I Know You Will” is an easy glide, all rollicking electric piano underpinned by a precise and relentlessly upbeat groove. “Lay It On The Line” radiates smooth, understated brilliance, elevated by interstellar keys and finally album-closer “Sweet To Me” is a chilled-out gem of profound soulful elegance.

    Logg has long been a hit with the likes of Kenny Dope and Dam-Funk whilst, in the last decade, MCDE and Harvey Sutherland have routinely cited it as a huge influence. Accordingly, finding original copies on vinyl at affordable prices has been a thankless task. This fresh Be With reissue ensures this legendary record now sounds, looks and feels as sensational as it deserves to.

    Mastered brilliantly by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman and with lovingly reproduced artwork, we think this is a reissue that does justice to this classic LP.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    David says: Yessir, I like to boogie. Do you like to boogie too? If so this Leeroy Burgess, Salsoul nugget is definitely for you. Six slices of pure heaven.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl.

    Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of their favourites from the KPM 1000 series.

    They say: A Dramatic Suite Of Themes, Montage, Sequences And Generics.

    We say: An enormously influential and heavy KPM set of timeless, killer funk breaks from 1972 by the mighty John Cameron.

    "Jazzrock" is an aggressive, percussion-heavy album with an energy that leaves jaws on the floor. Breaks and beats for days with electric piano, bass loops, and pounding percussion. Funky jazz with a deep, tough, soundtrack feel.
    As with all of their KPM re-issues, the audio for "Jazzrock" comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. They’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
    And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 180g vinyl, remastered from the original tapes.

    Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of thei favourites from the KPM 1000 series.

    They say: A comprehensive collection of descriptive contemporary scores.

    We say: Just look at the track titles of The Road Forward and swoon: Strangelands, A Man Alone, Sheer Elegance, Mystique Voyage, Cruising. Don’t you just want to hear those? The maestro Alan Hawkshaw really spoils us on this, one of the most sought after KPM greensleeves.

    This collection from 1977 is a brilliantly varied blend of silky smooth synths, funk-fuelled clavichord grooves and soft focus space beats. Essential.

    As with all of their KPM re-issues, the audio for The Road Forward comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. They’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.
    And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP Info: 180g vinyl, remastered from the original tapes.

    Alan Parker / John Cameron

    Afro Rock - 2019 Reissue

    Be With have raided the KPM archives to re-issue another of their favourites from the KPM 1000 series.

    They say: Hard Afro Pop featuring large percussive rhythm section and front line.

    We say: One of the best-loved of all the KPM LPs.

    Afro Rock was recorded at Morgan Studios by John Cameron and Alan Parker in London in 1973 as a collection of stripped-down African rhythms, virtuoso jazz instrumentation, fuzzed up wah wah guitars and spaced out library breaks. The percussion is effortlessly funky, and those flutes so melodic, it’s as if the LP was crafted with the beat lovers of the future firmly in mind.

    As Cameron himself described it in Unusual Sounds, this is “heavy duty drum-and-bass salsa music”.

    As with all of their KPM re-issues, the audio for "Afro Rock" comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. They’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.

    And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 180g vinyl, remastered from the original tapes.

    A singular presence in 21st Century pop, Róisín Murphy is a genuine maverick. Her seminal 2007 album Overpowered received widespread acclaim from music critics yet, arriving at a time of waning major label interest in vinyl, it was released only as a hyper-limited double LP. Accordingly, in the decade since, it has been obscenely difficult to find. It is a true honour to finally reissue this thoroughly modern dance-pop classic on Be With. Whilst remaining true to the loud pink and orange wax of the original release, this remastered edition enjoys the bonus inclusion of fan-favourite “Parallel Lives”, finally making an appearance on vinyl.

    A sumptuous, all-killer electro-disco gem, every song could’ve been a smash. With its heavy disco influence - deep beats, lush synths and subtle horns and strings - Overpowered was focused solely on the dancefloor. Inspired by the Eighties proto-house of D Train, Mantronix and Gwen Guthrie, but also recalling the intelligent pop of Yazoo and early Eurythmics, Overpowered presented sensual electronic soul for the heads and the hips.

    Her collaborators, including Timbaland mentor Jimmy Douglass, Bugz In The Attic and Richard X, constructed a gleaming shrine to the spirit of Bobby O and Giorgio Moroder by stitching together crisp synthesised beats with the slicker tics of early house. The lead single and title track lifted the bassline squelch from the dawn of cosmic disco -- La Bionda's "I Wanna Be Your Lover" -- and the follow-up, "Let Me Know", effortlessly incorporated the chorus of Tracy Weber's 1981 boogie bomb "Sure Shot".

    The wonderfully dank, sticky R&B of “Primitive” is Murphy’s favourite track from the album: “I mean, who gets to put primordial soup in the first line of a song? That idea of not always being in control of the primitive parts of yourself, the bits that fall in love or the bits that dance or lose the plot or drink too much, and putting that across … that’s pop for me. It’s playing with all the different colours of the rainbow of life.”

    Murphy’s blistering vocals are versatile enough to elevate the icy textures of "Dear Miami", the sexed up kaleidoscopic funk of "Footprints" and the grace of "You Know Me Better". Sharp, witty and heartbreaking, here Murphy laid claim to being the kind of strident disco singer “Dusty Springfield never quite had the abandon to become”, as Pitchfork noted in their original, glowing “8.0” review.

    Overpowered was considered an instant classic and, sounding deeply prescient, it has aged gloriously. There has long been an acknowledgement of Murphy’s influence on other artists’ gonzo fashion, and many musicians have spent the last decade crafting dancefloor tracks that embrace piano house and disco, even if they’d pale when held next to "Let Me Know". Shifting from the glam pop of "Movie Star" to the buzzing acid of "Cry Baby", when the dubby ballad for her dad, "Scarlet Ribbons", wends its way to the sweetest of endings, you realise you've been immersed in the best grown-up dance-pop album since Madonna's Ray of Light.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    David says: Much needed and beautiful reissue of Roisin's 2007 debut album. Inspired pop music for the discerning adult in your life...

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP Info: Pink and orange coloured double vinyl.

    “Larry Jon Wilson? He can break your heart with a voice like a cannonball.” - Kris Kristofferson.

    Larry Jon Wilson came to the party late. When he arrived in Nashville, country soul pioneer Tony Joe White had already made six albums. Townes Van Zandt had made seven, Mickey Newbury eight. Kristofferson, the accepted High Priest of the New Nashville, had made five. Larry Jon, by the time he arrived, had spent ten years in corporate America.

    He did not start playing guitar until the age of 30, but five years later he released his debut, New Beginnings (1975) and followed it just a year later with Let Me Sing My Song To You, both on Monument Records. A revelation among the hipsters and critics of Nashville, the LPs ensured Larry Jon was immediately embraced as part of the mid-70s “outlaw country movement” that eschewed slick production in favour of a raw, gritty approach. When a film crew came to document this burgeoning sound, they made straight for Larry Jon's door. The legendary Heartworn Highways (1981) featured his mesmerising performance of “Ohoopee River Bottomland”.

    He was a singer and writer of intensely private, painfully moving tales of southern life. With his deep, papa-bear voice, funky southern groove, and richly evocative narratives of rural Georgia, Larry Jon was a unique stylist but his gutsy, greasy sound did not translate into sales. Too funky for the country crowd, too heartfelt for pop radio, he fell between the cracks. We hope the long-overdue reissue of his first two albums will go some way to rectifying this. Indeed, both New Beginnings and Let Me Sing My Song to You - so similar they play like two halves of a double album – showcase his unique mix of country, folk, soul and swampy blues.

    New Beginnings failed to propel Larry Jon to even the relatively modest cult acclaim enjoyed by his likeminded contemporaries. And some of the frustration this conjured can be heard on 1976′s Let Me Sing My Song To You. Both the title track and the self-deprecating “Drowning in the Mainstream” speak of Wilson’s hope to inch at least a few steps towards the big time without making too many compromises. Any album containing the likes of the heartfelt, deeply beautiful tribute of “Ballad of Handy Mackey” and the superlative country-gothic funk opus ‘Sheldon Churchyard’ – the lead track from the lauded Country Got Soul compilation - must rank as essential listening.

    The audio for Let Me Sing My Song To You comes from the original analogue tape transfers and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the striking cover art and we were honoured when Larry’s close friend Jeb Loy Nichols kindly agreed to contribute wonderfully unique liner notes, presented beautifully on the printed inner sleeve opposite a gorgeous black and white shot of Larry, mid-performance.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 180gram 2018 reissue – remastered from original tape transfers, carefully reproduced original art, strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide – no repress.

    The Moments

    On Top

      The Moments’ On Top is a perfect example of symphonic soul. Amongst true heads, this is considered the most valuable of all their albums; an original copy of this LP, if you can find one, starts at around $75. Alongside contemporaneous acts from the early 70s - The Chi-lites, The Stylistics, The Delfonics, The Futures, Blue Magic and The Main Ingredient - The Moments exuded all that was compelling about deep, harmony-drenched, string-laden soul.

      The standout here is undoubtedly "To You with Love", a floating, tender ballad sung by Harry Ray that features the group’s patented handclap-tambourine combo, sweetly repetitive strings, serene guitar and gentle piano. It was famously sampled by J Dilla for “Last Donut Of The Night” - the gut-wrenching finale to his seminal Donuts. Concentrating solely on its sampled history would do The Moments a huge disservice, but its crucial appearance at the climax of Donuts directed fresh generations of pre-disposed soul fans to the absolute canon. Judged entirely on its merit, it’s one of the most heart-breaking songs of any decade and worth the price of admission alone. It’s the sweetest, most goose-bump inducing 3 minutes of aural bliss you’re ever likely to be exposed to.

      If that wasn’t enough, On Top spawned two minor R&B hits: "All I Have" and "Lucky Me", each featuring Billy Brown's ice-melting falsetto. Opener “All I Have” is a sumptuous introduction to the album. With melancholic, understated guitar licks, twinkling keys and heartbeat drums, it’s a gem. The triumphant “Lucky Me” is simply gorgeous; all gentle chimes, swirling strings and, again, scarcely believable falsetto soaring atop proud horns.

      Also included are two singles that are different from anything the group had ever done; "I Can't Help It" and "That's How It Feels." The former features thundering kicks and crashing cymbals underneath floating flutes, progressively stabbing strings and horns. The yearning vocals embody an almost Temptations-like delivery at times. "That's How It Feels” is a two-parter wherein Brown's voice bestrides a bed of rhythms on a tune more aptly defined as a love suite than a song. Dripping in breakbeats, piano and strings, Brown describes the devastation of losing the one you love before the track brilliantly switches up with a sweeping string-led chorus and heavenly harmonies.

      The only genuine uptempo number, where anomalous happiness reigns, is "Sweeter As The Days Go By," led by Brown in his natural, gospel-inspired tenor. A charming but sorrow-filled "I Lost One Bird In The Hand" is an impressive, slow lamenter crooned by Ray, with horns and strings dominating the lushly arranged backdrop. Appropriately, we end on that down-lifting note that we've all come for: "Candy Shack."

      The audio for On Top comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the memorable cover art, handling the reproduction duties with the utmost attention to detail.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: 180 gram 2018 reissue – remastered from original tape transfers, carefully reproduced original art, strictly limited to 500 copies worldwide – no repress.

      Alan Parker And Madeline Bell

      The Voice Of Soul LP (Themes Reissues)

      2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

      Veteran library musician Alan Parker recorded with session vocalist Madeline Bell for his Themes International Music label and the result was 1976’s The Voice of Soul.

      The sensational uptempo dancer “That’s What Friends Are For” is probably the most well known track on the record, and is a big hit on the rare groove scene, but it is by no means an anomaly. The Voice of Soul is essentially a perfect, sophisticated soul album with heaps of swagger and sass from beginning to end. Its once generic-sounding title is now deservedly definitive.

      And the whole LP oozes sex. It oozes sex so much that it could have soundtracked a period porn film. Indeed, parts of it did. “Love Is All” and “You’ve Got What It Takes” both featured on the infamously banned Pretty Peaches from the same year.

      As is usual with library records, The Voice of Soul was hard to get even when it was first released. It’s next to impossible now. So here’s your opportunity to own what is in our opinion one of the finest rare soul LPs of the late 70s, and a superb example of Madeline Bell’s superlative vocal talents.

      But that’s not the whole story. As well as pitching the record as “a varied selection of modern female vocal features which are equally suitable for background or radio programme usage”, the original release notes go on to explain that “the corresponding backing tracks are issued on TIM 1022 The Sound of Soul. Therefore it is possible to edit from vocal to instrumental version and vica versa where commentary or scene changes occur.”

      So yes, all of the backing tracks from The Voice of Soul were released as The Sound of Soul, and we couldn’t re-issue one without re-issuing the other.

      As with all ten re-issues, the audio for The Voice of Soul comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

      Alan Hawkshaw And Brian Bennett

      Full Circle LP

        Their NEW album, in full, iconic KPM cover is a return to the laidback jazz-funk that helped Alan and Brian demonstrate their library chops. The album is classic Hawkshaw/Bennett. It swings, it grooves, moves and thrills with a flair these two have perfected over years.

        Alan Hawkshaw (piano/Hammond) and Shadow’s drummer Brian Bennett are responsible for some of the slickest, funkiest and most sought-after library records ever made in the UK, particularly ones recorded on the legendary KPM label. Their work has now become the go-to place for sampling in music today. Artists such as Dilla, Nas, and the xx, right through to the billion selling Kanye & Drake have taken Hawkshaw’s and Bennett’s immaculate beat-driven soundscapes for their own usage.

        Their new album, in full, iconic KPM cover is a return to the laidback jazz-funk that helped Alan and Brian demonstrate their library chops. The album is classic Hawkshaw/Bennett. It swings, it grooves, moves and thrills with a flair these two have perfected over years.

        Standout tracks such as "Hole In One", "In The Clouds", "Interchange", "Oasis", "On The Nile" and "Corcovado" are no mere excursions in nostalgia, for they carry lots of deft studio work that many a producer would give their right arm for. Hawkshaw’s arrangements allow the drums, guitar, bass, strings, Hammond, flute and brass to swirl elegantly around the 12 original tracks; a masterclass in recording.

        Cut by Pete Norman, housed in a beautifully designed Richard Robinson sleeve and pressed at 180g by Record Industry in Holland, this release has been afforded the care and attention it rightly deserves. Essential.


        STAFF COMMENTS

        Patrick says: The kings of the KPM library scene, groove barons Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett hit the studio together for the first time in years and treat us to an eagerly anticipated LP of new material. As you'd expect from this pair of heroes, it's a far out and funky affair. KPM x BeWith for the win!!!

        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        Keith Mansfield / John Cameron

        Voices In Harmony LP (THE KPM Reissues)

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        Voices In Harmony was released in 1973 as “a selection of contemporary pop titles featuring voices, brass and rhythm”. We choose to describe this collection of works by Keith Mansfield and John Cameron as “a string-laced, harmony-drenched KPM classic”.

        From the bright, lilting harmonies of “Liquid Sunshine” to the melting flutes of “Loving Touch” and “Gentle Persuasion”, this is warm, effervescent soul music for dreamy, idyllic moods. The supreme “Husky Birdsong” is so, so smooth, with its unrelenting bossa bassline and warm keyboards. “Half Forgotten Daydreams” is a gorgeous wordless groove.

        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Voices In Harmony comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        James Clarke’s Mystery Movie was released in 1974 as “modern, small group compositions in various moods. Ideally suited to the new Americanised style of T.V. and cinema film where music is used to create the mood and carry the action”. So this collection covers a lot of bases, but it does so brilliantly and has absolutely no right to be such a fantastic listen from start to finish. Mystery Movie is best known for the slick drum breaks underpinning the top-notch jazz-funk chase theme “Car Patrol”, the fuzz riffing and ARP soloing of “The Heavies” and the slow-mo strut of “Mystery Moll”. “Study In Fear” and “Empty Streets” are horror soundtrack fodder of the finest sort. However, it’s the understated, plaintive pieces that we find the most rewarding. Ambient feels and strung-out fried-folk treats, full of cyclical naïve melodies. Music that evokes the ‘downlifting’ Ronnie Lane and Ron Wood instrumentals from their great Mahoney’s Last Stand LP, as well as the beautiful soundtrack work of Jack Nitzsche and Ry Cooder. You might also recognise “Waiting Game” from being sampled by melodic downbeat masters Express Rising. Check “Relaxed Theme”, “Quiet Girl”, “Routine Procedure” and “Quietness Sustained” for a melodic, melancholic set, with the last three performed on just acoustic guitar and harp. Gorgeous work. As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Mystery Movie comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        When Alan Parker recorded the killer library soul-funk LP The Voice of Soul with session vocalist Madeline Bell in 1976, some bright spark at Themes decided to also release all of the backing tracks as a separate, and equally innocuously title LP called The Sound of Soul. Thank goodness for bright sparks.

        Released as a collection of “unobtrusive musical backings in various rhythmic styles”, the LP’s original description dryly explains “these tracks have been issued without melody and are therefore particularly suitable for use behind commentary. Female vocal versions of these tracks are issued on TIM 1021 The Voice Of Soul and it is possible to edit from vocal version to instrumental version or vica versa where commentary or scene changes occur”.

        Madeline Bell was backed by The Rhythm Section, who were for all intents and purposes the Themes International Music house band. So what we end up with here is entire album of instrumental work-outs by a band comprised of the formidable talents of Alan Hawkshaw on keyboards, Alan Parker on guitars, Barry Morgan on drums, Les Hurdle on bass guitar and Frank Ricotti on percussion.

        Without Bell’s vocals these backing tracks are given all the room they need to breathe. Each one more than stands up on its own.

        The Sound of Soul is a real diggers’ delight and, unsurprisingly, a must-have counterpart to The Voice of Soul.

        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for The Sound of Soul comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        Keith Mansfield / Alan Hawkshaw / David Snell

        Big Business / Wind Of Change LP (THE KPM Reissues)

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        The two sides of 1973’s Big Business / Wind of Change are mainly the work of the great Keith Mansfield but there’s a killer cameo each from Alan Hawkshaw and David Snell to help deliver “a thematic suite, diverse in mood, applicable to dramatic and environmental situations”. A Be With favourite and truly one for the heads.

        The Big Business of side A is all the work of Keith Mansfield. It’s heavy on the suspense and features the vital “Hot Property”, an insistent groove so good that Madlib sampled it to lace the ace “Long Awaited” by Lootpack with Dilated Peoples.

        “Sleeping Giant 1” is a more fleshed out version of the equally-dazzling “Fatal Error”, evoking the orchestral magic of David Axelrod. Indeed, it conjures images of Diamond D falling over himself in the early-to-mid 90s to loop its intoxicatingly eerie soundscape. Complete with guitar fills that recall Paris, Texas-era Ry Cooder, you need this record for this piece alone.

        The horn-and-flute-led "Tycoon" is a head-nodder and "Power Complex" has some fantastic percussion. Other highlights include the breezy glide of “Whistle Stop Tour” and its sister groove “Clean Air.”

        Over on Side B is the more expansive Wind Of Change, which includes the David Snell and the Alan Hawkshaw contributions. But these ain’t no filler. Snell’s shuffling “International Flight” sounds like a smooth Dorothy Ashby track tossed from the heavens. Hawkshaw’s “Road And Rail” is about as luxurious and strung-out as the great man gets and it might just be the highlight of this whole set.

        Not to be outdone, if Mansfield’s “Balance Of Power” doesn’t make you feel like king of the world then you must be playing it wrong. Oh, and did we mention “World In Action”?!

        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Big Business / Wind of Change comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        Francis Coppieters

        Piano Viberations LP (THE KPM Reissues)

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        Piano Viberations’ “small group jazz featuring piano and vibes with rhythm” makes for a gorgeous Francis Coppieters showcase, surely one of Belgium’s best-kept musical secrets. Released in 1975, and arguably the most low-key of the KPM and Themes records we’re re-issuing, this is easily our current favourite.

        “The Open Highway” is the appropriately-named opener, and immediately demonstrates Coppieters’ dexterous interplay between piano and vibes in assured, joyous fashion. The shuffling bossa of “Sales Notes” is a jaw-dropper, well-mined by samplers with impeccable taste. The mellow head-nod drum-break that is “Funky Chimes” brilliantly demonstrates Coppieters’ quiet majestic side with its slow-motion funk rhythm with beautifully reflective notes throughout.

        The upbeat and joyful “Cross Talk” closes out side A. Vibes and piano are definitely at the heart of the arrangement here. The quick cut movement of “Piano In Transit” is another gem, driven principally by piano but those vibes along for more than just the ride. On a more gentle, elegiac note, “To Shearing With Love” is a warm, slow, romantic piece in the style of George Shearing. It’s plaintive and sublime.

        Piano Viberations is one of those rare library records the original description of which makes as much sense now as it did when it was first released. Piano and vibes with rhythm indeed.
        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Piano Viberations comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        Alan Hawkshaw And Brian Bennett

        Synthesis LP (THE KPM Reissues)

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        The “vivid contemporary sounds for a fresh visual image” make up the now canonised Synthesis from Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett. These two greats go deeper than usual on this collection, and the end result is a synth concept record of sorts. Released in 1974, it’s an essential companion piece to their Synthesizer and Percussion LP, released on Themes International Music in the same year.

        Like most of our favourite library records, Synthesis has that gloriously funky, “weird electronic music” vibe without ever being inaccessible. With the awesome ARP Odyssey at the fore, Hawkshaw and Bennett have created a blissed-out soundscape that, whilst laid back in all the right places, somehow remains heavy on the funk. It’s a sort of throbbing, proto-G Funk sound and you can find it on many of these low-lit basement workouts.

        Take the ice-cool “Alto Glide”. It’s a sunset-funk highlight with an electro-flute refrain that conjures those dreamier Dre / DJ Quick instrumentals from ’91 to ’92. Stereolab, Koushik (again) and all those Ghost Box artists were clearly listening very closely in the years since. The equally relaxed “Mermaid” glides effortlessly with soft, shimmering piano, understated percussion and kaleidoscopic synths. It’s a really beautiful piece.

        With these two soft-focus closing tracks allowing the LP to float away over the horizon, the preceding ten tracks have a more insistent, neck-snapping rhythm section to back the synth overload. Highlights include the head-nod funk of “Getting It Together” and the synth break in “The Executive”, which informed classic video game soundtracks.

        For once Be With really is stuck for words to describe just how good this record is. Best just to listen.

        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Synthesis comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        Nick Ingman

        Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement LP (THE KPM Reissues)

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        Released in 1976, Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement is legendary arranger Nick Ingman exploring the two distinct ideas of “impressive themes varying in style from ‘Basie to Elgar’” and “a study in the pressure and rewards of achievement”.

        Distinctive Themes is a veritable indulgence of variously-tempoed, full orchestra, big band workouts, from relaxed swing to more propulsive themes. The progressively building “Expanding Markets” is a true highlight, with its rolling pianos, contemplative electric guitar solos and moody horns over skipping beats. The dramatic “Against The Odds” is another stand-out.

        Race To Achievement is all rugged funk with stabbing chords and strutting horns and it’s probably our favourite side. Of course we have to acknowledge the fantastic “Tense Preparation”, sampled by Prince Paul and Dan The Automator for Handsome Boy Modeling School’s seminal “Magnetizing” with Del Tha Funky Homosapien. But the whole side’s range from tense underscores to fast and punchy chase themes makes this is a gem of the KPM catalogue.

        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Distinctive Themes / Race To Achievement comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.

        2018 Reissue – Remastered From Original Tapes, Carefully Reproduced Original Art.

        Hot Wax is an assured KPM masterclass from a dream team line-up of Brian Bennett, Alan Hawkshaw and John Fiddy. Here we’re treated to what happens when all three decide to explore “the latest trends in production music”. The latest as of 1976, of course.

        John Fiddy’s numbers are sumptuous, string-led and light. Floaty soft-psych underpinned by a solid groove, particularly on “Taste For Living” and "Fresh Start". If you're into Koushik and those early Manitoba/Caribou records - and you should be - you’ll appreciate these.

        For us, the Bennett and Bennett/Hawkshaw stuff is on another level. “Capitol City” oscillates between driving funk and downbeat sentiment. “Name Of The Game” is tough, smokin’ funk, famously sampled in 2007 by Madlib for Percee P’s “Who With Me”. “Bop On The Rocks” knocks hard and “Full Throttle” features a guitar solo with some of the nastiest, about-to-explode fuzz you’re ever likely to hear.

        As with all ten re-issues, the audio for Hot Wax comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. We’ve taken the same care with the sleeves, handing the reproduction duties over to Richard Robinson, the current custodian of KPM’s brand identity.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl edition.


        A certified UK boogie bomb, originally released in 1982, and coming hot on the heels of the Be With Records Pink Rhythm reissue campaign. Original copies are incredibly hard to come by so grab a copy of this officially licensed, fully remastered, reissue before the 500 copies (for the world) find their forever homes.

        Side On were a one-off UK soul dream team, consisting of Peter Maas (Freeez/Pink Rhythm bassist), Everton McCalla (Freeez/Light Of The World/Potion) and the legendary Rick Clarke (Potion). 

        Originally released on Beggars Banquet, it's a huge, feel good, Brit Funk classic and a massive record with everybody's favourite boogie aficionado, Dam-Funk.

        Unmissable.

        STAFF COMMENTS

        David says: Hoowee it's getting hot in here, did someone put the heating on? No? Then it must be the fire that is Side On's 'Magic'playing in the shop. The ace, Beggars, Brit Funk classic, lovingly restored just for you, you lucky LUCKY people.

        Oh yes! First ever official reissue of the positively sublime and very rare Butterfly LP, recorded in Tokyo in 1979 by Japanese songstress Kimiko Kasai and jazz legend Herbie Hancock.

        Due to its super-rare status as a Japan-only release, this exquisite collection of covers never got the recognition it deserved at the time, despite incredibly inspired performances from Kimiko, Herbie and the supremely talented musicians assembled for the project. From heavenly drummer Alphonse Mouzon and renowned organist Webster Lewis to bassist Paul Jackson, reedman Bennie Maupin and the master percussionist Bill Summers, the legendary performers crafted amazingly good vocal versions of Herbie / Headhunters jazz-funk. Unsurprisingly, it has been heavily in demand for many years.

        The LP opens with Kimiko's highly desirable version of "I Thought It Was You", an elegant take on Herbie's own anthem. Other superb re-workings include the delicately soulful "Butterfly", jazzy groover "Sunlight", the smooth and sexy "Tell Me A Bedtime Story" and the beautiful ballads "Maiden Voyage" and "Harvest Time". A wonderful example of perfectly understated and masterful jazz-funk soul fusion that shouldn't be missed, the set closes with a jaw-dropping version of Stevie Wonder's "As".

        This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of this hitherto unavailable masterpiece. The stunning artwork which adorned the original jacket - complete with OBI strip and sumptuous 4 page folded insert - has been faithfully restored. Simon Francis' sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g. Essential.

        Originally released in Japan only, back in 1979, "Prone" is considered by most aficionados to be Ned Doheny's crowning glory. Even better than the superlative "Hard Candy" in fact. So quite why this AOR / mellow jazz-funk gem has not been available legitimately on vinyl for over 35 years is anyone's guess. To celebrate "Be With Ned", the West Coast maestro's first ever tour of the UK and Europe in March 2015, Be With Records do tha right thing and proudly present the first ever officially licensed reissue of this forgotten-funk classic. What makes this release truly special is the inclusion of the full-vocal version of jazz-funk classic "To Prove My Love", a total oversight on other pressings. Produced again by the legendary Steve Cropper, "Prone"'s super-smooth grooves showcase Ned's beautifully laid-back vocals, virtuoso playing and forever-wry lyricism. Aside from "To Prove My Love", it boasts some of Doheny's most under-appreciated tracks; witness the slickness of "Think Like A Lover", "Guess Who's Lookin' For Love Again" and "Funky Love". Pressed on audiophile 180gram vinyl and featuring the original artwork for both jacket and lyric-insert, this limited reissue is one to treasure.

        Plush

        Fed (RSD18 EDITION)

          THIS IS A RECORD STORE DAY 2018 EXCLUSIVE, LIMITED TO ONE PER PERSON.

          Double LP, pressed at 45rpm, gatefold sleeve, download code

          Michael Wycoff

          Looking Up To You / Diamond Real (Tee Scott Instrumental Mix)

          Two seminal 12" mixes of a pair of Michael Wycoff heavy hitters from 1982. One a two-step favourite and one a Loft classic, these sought-after versions have never been paired on the same record.

          Side A features the smooth-gliding anthem "Looking Up To You". The unmistakable snap of that sighing intro is unlike anything else. As such, it's no surprise that Leon Ware, celebrated master of the unexpected chord, has his fingerprints all over the track. Co-written with Zane Grey, "Looking Up To You" stands among the very best of Leon's staggering bank of compositions, both solo and with Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton and Marvin Gaye. It's such an influential track, serving as the sample foundation of a massive top five R&B hit for Zhane in 1993, but it has never been bettered upon. Original 12" copies – if you can find them – go for over £50 today, making this side worth the price of admission alone.

          If that wasn't enough, it's arguable that the B-Side wins again. A staple of David Mancuso's New York Loft parties, the Tee Scott mix of uplifting boogie gem "Diamond Real" is on another level entirely. A DJ legend of infamous clubs Better Days and Zanzibar and a trailblazing innovator, Tee Scott mastered the art of the reconstructive club mix.

          For maximum destruction of discerning dancers, Be With have opted for his heavenly dub. 7 minutes of devastatingly slick dance floor dynamite, at once polished and dilapidated, its ecstatic charm is universal.

          Devout lovers of modern soul have long worshipped the rapturous, sophisticated funk of Michael Wycoff. In combining that richly elegant voice, redolent of Donny Hathaway, with the production of keyboardist and arranger Webster Lewis, it's no surprise that both of these tracks became vital club classics of the early 80s R&B scene. Clear, full-bodied and bright – the 12" versions of these tracks are notoriously punchier than those featured on Wycoff's LP, and feature boomin' low end and neck-snapping drums. Buy on sight.



          STAFF COMMENTS

          Patrick says: MASSIVE Be With 12" here pairing Michael Wycoff's biggest hit, the hair raising disco/club soul/jazz funk gem'Looking Up To You', with a rare Tee Scott instrumental mix of Loft classic "Diamond Real". Pressed to perfection, this is must have tackle for the collector and DJ alike.

          FORMAT INFORMATION

          12" Info: One copy available

          Arthur Russell epitomised the spirit that defined downtown NYC in the 70s and 80s. Yet his inability to complete projects resulted in limited output. Be With now present the reissue of Event Horizon, an album Arthur did finish with his cult group The Necessaries. Criminally neglected for 35 years, its scarcity on vinyl has caused it to evade his most diehard fans and its relative obscurity has rendered it largely unknown, even amongst Arthur acolytes.

          Arthur played keys in the new wave/power pop quartet, as well as writing half the songs and contributing his inimitable vocals and avant-garde cello. Fronted by the muscular guitar of lead singer Ed Tomney, the band was rounded out by Ernie Brooks (The Modern Lovers) on bass and drummer Jesse Chamberlain (ex-Red Crayola). The record was produced by the legendary Bob Blank and featured the pulsing trombone of Peter Zummo.

          Event Horizon represents the partial overhaul given to The Necessaries' first record Big Sky (1981). Renamed and relaunched in 1982, The New York Rocker described the revised LP as benefitting from "some shuffling, some trimming of deadweight and the setting of real gems in their place. The biggest plus – "More Real" - is easily the prettiest song the Zombies never wrote". That track, as well as the towering "Driving And Talking At The Same Time" (below), "Detroit Tonight", "On The Run" and "The Finish Line", came from the pen of Arthur. They are undoubtedly the best tracks on the album, wonderfully capturing Arthur's softer, more melodic approach to pop.

          With an uncompromising post punk attitude, The Necessaries blended distorted guitars and loud drums with melodious, intelligent songwriting. It's weird and minimal, but it's still resolutely pop. Like much of Arthur's work, the songs are warm, shimmering and modern; catchy, hypnotic and utterly timeless. As well as handling a lot of the lead vocals, he arranged the tracks too, stripping away some of the new wave poppiness and adding his signature beautiful moodiness. It sounds like the most transcendent idea of what pop music could be.

          Event Horizon should've been one of the most influential records in rock music history. Like most slept-on classics, it didn't make the immediate impact it intended to, and was forgotten by Sire and, eventually, by fans. Nevertheless, Arthur forged ahead with his solo career after abruptly quitting the band by jumping out of the van at the mouth of the Holland Tunnel in New York, while on the way to an important gig.

          Whilst Event Horizon will appeal to all Arthur Russell completists, it demands further examination beyond his fans. It's long been an elusive missing piece to the lore of the downtown scene, but it won't be for much longer. Art Pop? Jangle Pop? Power Pop? Whatever. Far ahead of its time, this is pure pop for now people.

          The original, iconic artwork has been faithfully restored whilst Simon Francis' dextrous mastering adds real clarity throughout. As ever, the record has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g. Additionally, the album features extensive liner notes on a printed inner sleeve by renowned writer and friend of the downtown scene Mikey IQ Jones.

          Letta Mbulu

          In The Music... The Village Never Ends

            Originally released in South Africa in 1983, 'In The Music... The Village Never Ends' is one of those holy grail African records that barely needs any introduction. Featuring the enormous 'Nomalizo', it's a record that aficionados around the world have been waiting many years to get hold of. Now, Be With Records proudly presents the hugely anticipated vinyl reissue of this bonafied classic.

            This release is officially licensed and has been lovingly mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis (Claremont 56 mastering engineer) It has been pressed on audiophile 180gram vinyl for the first time and features the original, rarely seen artwork.

            South African singer Letta Mbulu possesses one of the most beautiful voices the world has ever known. Her immaculate voice emits a sweetness that radiates from deep within, brimming with a joy of life and inspiring a spirit of hope and happiness. On this album, her voice soars over a strident musical force that veers between disco, soul and pop music of the most incredible kind. The gleaming guitars recall disco's finest hours while the thump of the beats anticipate 80s British soul.

            News of this limited reissue has already been causing a significant stir amongst those in the know so do not sleep on this - you have been warned!

            Korallreven

            Here In Iowa Remix EP - Inc. Peaking Lights Remix

            In autumn 2015, Swedish dream-pop duo Korallreven bid us all farewell by releasing the "round-the-world-in-a-day" sounding final single Here In Iowa, alongside memorable shows in New York City and Scandinavia. Now, they return for one last time with a disco dub dream remix of said song by the mighty Peaking Lights. This forms part of a 12" EP released by Be With Records. The record - limited to just 500 copies - will see its worldwide release for Record Store Day on 16th April 2016.

            The 12" will also, for the first time on vinyl, include Korallreven's breathtaking cover of Guns & Roses' 'November Rain' from 2014 as well as Shine On, the duo's rework of their own 2010 single Honey Mine, featuring Taken By Trees' Victoria Bergsman.

            From the guys:

            "Hard to say if Here In Iowa was an end or a start of something new. You'll see! Whether or not, we hold it as one of our highest heights and, after this beautiful season, we truly deeply madly felt that it was worth some extra limelight. And hey! Thanks for the remix, Peaking Lights! It's so wonderful! Life surely is."


            Leon Ware

            Leon Ware - Be With Records Edition

            Leon Ware’s self-titled 1982 album has long been a holy grail for rare groove record collectors. Indeed, mint copies are rarely found for less than £100.

            So Be With Records, a new vinyl-only reissue label, is pleased to mark its first release with Ware’s classic - a set that features the timeless 'Why I Came To California', a beautiful example of early 80s soul funk that should be of interest to yacht rock fans as well.

            A truly unsung legend, Leon Ware has written a stunning variety of classic soul music over the course of six decades. He joined Motown in the late 60s and became one of the label’s key writers.

            His most indelible contribution at Motown was Marvin Gaye’s masterpiece 'I Want You'. Ware's production and songwriting memorably took Gaye to another creative level.

            Despite recording a handful of critically acclaimed solo albums for Motown and Elektra, including this one here, he has remained a secret to many outside the music industry. Be With Records hope this timely reissue goes some way to rectifying that.


            STAFF COMMENTS

            David says: Official, 100% pedigree reissue and with only 500 copies for the WHOLE world this won't be around for long. Perfect sunshine soul with a hint of yacht rock, and worth it alone for the absolute bomb, 'Why I Came To California'.


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