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Maston

Tulips - 2020 Reissue

    Frank Maston’s Tulips is a sample-ready film score to the best 70s movie never made. Originally a super-limited self-release on his Phonoscope label in late 2017, Tulips has already become incredibly sought-after. Be With were introduced to Maston by mutual friends Aquarium Drunkard and it didn’t take long before we decided this modern classic deserved a reissue.

    Inspired by the deep-grooving soundtracks of Italian cinema - think Morricone, Umiliani and Alessandroni - Maston conceived the entire Tulips project as a continuation of these revered works. Frank designed the artwork and made two 16mm films to accompany the music: “It wasn’t just the LP… it was kind of a whole vibe I was trying to create. Not really trying to emulate the things that influenced me but more trying to make something that could sit alongside those records on a shelf. I’m still very proud of the project.”

    There’s a distinct library music feel too, with wiry organ, spacey keyboards and loping 60s guitar hinting at KPM and DeWolfe. Like the best library music, Tulips creates a cinematic universe through sound alone, evoking moving images in the listener’s technicolour imagination. It turns out that was accidentally on purpose: “I was discovering a lot of library music for the first time… listening to a composer’s entire catalog or finding all this obscure stuff. I wasn’t entirely conscious of the influence until I started making this music and realized I was channeling the vibe. That’s when I began focusing more on weaving melodic themes throughout the record to make it function more like a soundtrack”.

    Tulips was recorded between 2015 and 2017 in a small studio in a village called Zwaag in Holland, during downtime from Frank’s touring duties with Jacco Gardner’s band. “Tulips” comes from the title of the very first demo he made in Holland, it was the first thing that came to mind. Makes sense.

    Recording in Europe with some very European influences in mind, Frank wanted to eschew any American influences. But we can still feel the studio wizardry of the likes of Brian Wilson and Harry Nilsson in there somewhere. A psychedelic bedroom-pop song-cycle, full of hypnotic hooks and dusty drums, Tulips manages to sound charmingly homemade yet wholly widescreen.

    Dreamy opener “Swans” is an exquisite soul instrumental and recalls the soft-psych of Koushik, which Be With loves of course. Tropicalia influences abound in the cool and breezy “New Danger” and the KPM-references are loud and proud on the lush organ pop of “Old Habits”. Fast-paced “Chase Theme No. 1” manages to be both tense and laid back, decorated by acid-drenched spaghetti Western guitars. The glorious Gainsbourg-esque melancholia of “Infinite Bliss” is all gauzy flutes and happy-sad vocalizing and the title is almost perfect: it’s bliss, no question; *if only* it went on forever. Side A closes with “Evening”, a subtle bossa nova beat thing. Gorgeous.

    Side B opens with the heat-shimmer guitars of “Rain Dance”, evoking an unreleased Byrds or Buffalo Springfield backing track. Yes, it’s that good. “Sure Thing” is music to accompany an elevator ride you never want to end, but in a good way! The ornate “Garçon Manqué” is as beautiful as the instrumentals on Pet Sounds (think “Let’s Go Away For A While”) and the wistful “Turning In” starts like a stroll in the park before Maston introduces a scorched-Earth guitar solo that would startle if it wasn’t so pitch-perfect. “Chase Theme No. 2” is a briefer, more keening counterpart to what we hear on side A. The head-nod bass-drums-keys funk of “Hues” rounds out this staggeringly assured set; still opening each phrase with a plaintive strum, but using vibrato and heavy reverb to accent the electric organ melody. Sublime.

    All these top drawer musical references might sound like just more of the usual release notes hyperbole, but there’s a reason that this still-young LP already changes hands for big money. It really is that good. Of course that first pressing didn’t hang around for long and Frank’s regularly been asked about a re-press pretty much ever since.

    Re-issuing Tulips on Be With made sense to Frank “because the record would fit in so well with the catalogue”. Having already delved into the archives of KPM and Themes, and beginning to do the same with Coloursound and Selected Sounds, the collaboration “just makes sense and seems inevitable”. We agree.

    Frank wasn’t sure a record of instrumentals with obscure soundtrack references would be an easy sell when it was originally released, and was surprised when Tulips turned out to be exactly what some people wanted to hear. We reckon its timeless beauty ensures that it’ll *always* have an audience.

    The record was originally cut to be played at 45rpm, a technical quirk that grants the home listener the opportunity to go deeper, for longer. Played at 33rpm, the more languid unfurling of the tracks proves just as wonderful a trip. As a psilocybin-soaked case study from Aquarium Drunkard back in January of 2019 describes, some of the songs sound as if they were intended to be heard that way. The slower speed allowing the listener to step inside and perhaps even “crack the code” of the music’s meaning.

    This Be With reissue has been mastered for vinyl by Simon Francis and has alternative burnt orange artwork from Maston himself. Hypnagogic it may be, but please don’t sleep.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd LP Info: 2020 re-issue, 140g vinyl. Can be played at 33rpm or 45rpm.

    Coastlines

    Coastlines

      Coastlines is the self-titled long player from the new Japanese production unit of DJ and producer Masanori Ikeda and solo artist, session musician and Cro-Magnon keyboard player Takumi Kaneko. Masanori and Takumi have been part of the Japanese dance music scene for years and Coastlines was born out of their working together on soundtracks for video projects. The pair wanted to make laid-back listening music for now, laying Takumi’s playful keys over Masanori’s widescreen balearic jazz-fusion to conjure beautiful and breathtaking “coastlines”. A couple of two-track 7"s put out in late 2018 and early 2019 on Japanese house music label Flower Records soon sold out. Those four tracks were expanded to a full album of music, “a joyous, relaxing, summery soundtrack for everyone’s after hours wind down” that was released just in time for summer. It soundtracked many a Be With BBQ in 2019.

      The album opens in the horizontal with the sophisticated, cocktails-by-the-pool groove of “Sunset Reflection”. A lush, beatless wonder. Their re-imagining of Ralph MacDonald’s “East Dry River” removes all the original’s bells and whistles (quite literally) and re-gears it with a subtle balearic chug. The result is a percussive gem. “Coastline” is a beach-jazz noodle. “Drifting Ice” is as chilled and glacial as its title would suggest, yet Masanori’s head-nod slo-mo house beats throb not far below the surface. “My Fire” is another soft killer, all swelling, swirling organ over muted kicks and snares. An elegant boom-bap. A pair of insistent tunes of the deeply balearic variety raise the tempo, but not by too much of course. On “Woods And My Guitar” a half-heard vocal refrain breathes life into the synthetic xylophone and guitar. Deft piano-work turns “Half Moon Shadow” into lounge-house for the sophisticated beach bum. A classy duo.

      The self-assured re-work of Azymuth’s “Last Summer In Rio” is arguably the album’s centrepiece. Ten minutes of casually propulsive slapped bass, steel pans and slick 80s soul beats. Cue the steel drum interlude of “Maracas Bay” before album closer “Down Town” transitions us one with a shuffling, string-hinted hit of ethereal, euphoric piano bliss. Gentle disco for the new decade. As former Test Pressing scribe Dr. Rob observed on his ever-reliable Ban Ban Ton Ton blog, the Coastlines fusion is very much in conversation with their 80s counterparts, both at home and along the coastlines of different continents. So among the nods to revered Japanese artists like Hiroshi Sato, Sakamoto and Casiopea, there are also hints of Marcos Valle and Mtume, of the aforementioned Azymuth. “The production though is very much now, not then. Not retro, just proper”. We couldn’t put it better ourselves.

      Coastlines was originally a CD release only available in Japan, with HMV putting out a super-limited vinyl version a few months later for Japanese Record Store Day. But this music is just too good, so when Be With was asked via Ken Hidaka to take care of a vinyl version for the rest of the world it wasn’t a tough decision.


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      2xLtd LP Info: Limited to 500 copies.

      52nd Street

      Look Into My Eyes / Express

        Be With Records would like to refer you to FAC 59.

        "Working with founding member Tony Henry, we’re honoured to present the reissue of 52nd Street’s crucial debut single “Look Into My Eyes”, backed with “Express”. Originally released on Factory Records in Summer 1982, this ultra-rare 12" is a double-sider in the truest sense. Unrivalled Manchester jazz-funk-boogie-soul. Both “Look Into My Eyes” and “Express” came out of a five day recording session in the spring of 1982 at Revolution Studios in Cheadle Hulme, just outside Manchester. Rob Gretton had just signed the band to Factory, snatching them from under the noses of RCA and WEA Records who had been sniffing around and seemingly ignoring Tony Wilson’s concerns that Factory might not be the right home for a black soul act. Rob clearly thought different.

        The band of Tony Henry on guitar and vocals, bass player Derek Johnson, drummer Tony Thompson, lead vocalist Beverley McDonald and John Dennison on keyboards were put in the studio with A Certain Ratio’s drummer Donald Johnson producing the sessions. The band also found themselves with an interesting new member. The back cover of the finished record credits synth F/X to a mysterious “Be Music”. Turns out that’s Bernard Sumner. Yes, that one. Tony Henry explains that bringing Bernard in was another part of Rob Gretton’s plan, “Barney was a real soul boy at heart and had always wanted to produce and work with black artists… with 52nd Street, he was an honorary member”. The results suggest he fit right in.

        “Look Into My Eyes” squeezes so much aural pleasure into one side of a 12" single. A strutting, rich, soul-gliding funk with bass and guitar high in the mix above twisted, bubbling synths. Like Nile and Barney drenched outside the Haçienda that first summer. How can something be this liquid loose whilst sounding so, so tight? The hypnotic, naïve-cum-insouciant vocals from McDonald, backed by her fellas, only add to the track’s charm. Put simply, it sounds like nothing else. On the flip, “Express” is sheer drama on wax. Tony’s opening lesson in good manners (“Excuse me miss, is this seat taken?”) sees us strapped in for a wild, chaotic, rhythmic ride. All bold keys, synth brass blasts, insistent bells and a galloping groove giving *that rush* atop a bassline to die for. No surprise it was a Frankie Knuckles favourite. Blistering heat.

        The 12" was Paul Morley’s single of the week in the NME but his approval did little to get daytime radio play or to sell the record when it was released. It probably didn’t help that, in Tony Henry’s words, Factory were a label “notorious for not promoting their bands, not wanting any communications with the written press and not answering their office phones.” It came and went with none of the fuss that music this good deserved. But in the near-40 years since they were released, these two tracks have gone on to become cult underground hits for those in the know. Of course that means those original 12"s have gotten rare and pricey. So here’s your chance to own this particular piece of post punk Factory Records funk.

        But this record isn’t just a vital slice of Manchester soul history. Tony’s not shy about just how important he thinks the collaboration between 52nd Street and Bernard Sumner was: “this worked out quite well for us in the band but even better for New Order and Factory Records as Sumner studied grooves, rhythms and how to write and construct funk and dance music from 52nd Street and producer Donald Johnson”. You just have to listen to Blue Monday to hear what Bernard did when he started putting what he’d learnt into practice. “Look Into My Eyes” and “Express” come from a chapter of the history of Factory Records that no-one seems to have gotten around to writing. Working with Tony to reissue the original 12" is the start of putting that right. The story of 52nd Street is more than just a footnote."


        Sass

        Much Too Much

          Don’t let the title mislead you, “Much Too Much” by Sass has just the right amount of everything, whether you’re talking about the vocal or the instrumental. And that’s as true now as it was when it was originally released back in 1982. In 1981 The Jack Sass Band, as they were known, were still working the NYC club circuit. Along with the likes of Change, The BB & Q Band and High Fashion, they were part of the Little Macho Music phenomenon and that’s how they ended up in an 8 track studio on 7th Avenue near 20th Street, where Little Macho recorded demos.

          Produced by the band’s vocalist Mic Murphy, who also wrote the track along with fellow band member LaForrest Cope, the band needed just one session to capture “Much Too Much”. The recording studio just so happened to be run by Silvio Tancredi and when the tracks were finished he offered to put them out on his 25 West record label. The vocal version and an instrumental mix were released as a 12" the following year. Mic tells us this meant Sass “were one of the few bands to have a record release while still playing on the club circuit. So the reaction exceeded our expectations at the time”.

          According to Mic “Much Too Much” was something a little different from the band’s live sound at the time, “it was more R&B smoothed out than the more funk rock we usually leaned into”. Indeed, the track glides with grace, poise and patience. The elegant, easy tempo, combined with the magnificent melody and Mic’s signature sublime vocal conjures magic. The blend of deep boogie-funk power and heavenly sweetness is both infectious and goosebump-inducing. Over on the flip-side, the instrumental slaps harder. Without Mic’s vocal it’s just pure groove, with nothing to stop you vibing all night - the bassline, the drums and the melody still connect. Hard. Pick your side, you won’t lose.

          Working directly with Mic Murphy means that the audio for this re-issue of the classic 12" comes from the original tapes. Cut at 45 RPM and released in a plain sleeve, we’ve made sure this record is well up to the job of having a permanent place in every DJ’s bag. As far as we’re concerned, this is essential stuff. Mic told us just how much it means to him to have “Much To Much” re-issued: “It’s an amazing feeling to have something you created almost 40 years ago still have relevance and even more amazing to be considered among the Northern Soul boogie anthems. And it’s especially important to me that we’re available again on vinyl”.


          Ian Willson

          Straight From The Heart

            Privately pressed and originally released in 1985, this is the only album Ian ever put out. A magical blend of AOR/sophisticated funk/synth-boogie/spiritual jazz and modern soul, it’s a spellbinding record of many colours. You might already know “Straight From The Heart” for the dubby-disco paranoid-balearic anthem “Four In The Morning”, and it’s easy to assume this is probably just another one of those one-track LPs. But trust us when we say it’s definitely not. This is an impressively slick record from start to finish, just ask those modern soul DJs and AOR collectors who’ve managed to find a rare copy in the last 35 years. It could’ve (should’ve?) been number 1 all over the world back in 1985.

            Album opener “Think About It” is all sorts of right. It’s emotional. It’s tops-off. It’s funk in its purest form. And take the proto-modern-funk of the title track (half Dâm-Funk / half Dâd-Funk). The shimmering, spiritual Bossa-Jazz of “If I Were You” serves as the album’s soaring centrepiece. A gorgeous suite of Cosmic vibes to get Gilles frothing, it sounds like nothing else on the record which makes sense given that it was recorded a couple of years earlier, and is the only track on the LP that wasn’t recorded in Ian’s own studio.

            Side B opens with the propulsive ode to love that is “Two Is Better Than One”. Wonderfully sparse when it needs to be, it’s also richly percussive and that special kind of California-warm. Frenetic, speaker smashing synth and horn workout “Funk Invasion” dares you not to dance and “A Game Called Love” is heavily indebted to Prince with its lush, deep funk stylings. The sweeping sax-drenched instrumental “Song For Katelyn” is head-nod, beat-heavy AOR for that melancholic magic hour we spend our days longing for. It all adds up to the ultimate BBQ record. Almost all of “Straight From The Heart” was recorded over a few months between 1983 and 1984 on Ian’s brand new Otari 8 track in the Oakland, California studio he built just the year before. Only “If I Were You” was recorded elsewhere, at Bay Sound in 1982. A “full time poor musician” at the time (and he says he still is), Ian produced the album himself and played all of the instruments, except for guitar. That’s Peter Fujii you can hear, his good friend from growing up together. Tower Of Power, Average White Band, Earth Wind & Fire and Stevie Wonder was the list of influences Ian gave us when we asked. No wonder the record’s just so easy on the ears. And why did he put the record out himself? Simple, he had no idea how to go about getting a record deal.

            When we first got in touch with Ian he had no idea that “Straight From The Heart” had become something of a cult record, let alone that there were those of us out there that thought the album deserved to be pressed again. The original tapes have long since been lost so this re-issue was only made possible by remastering Ian’s one and only pristine copy of the finished LP. The end results have been worth the work, including reproducing the original’s unmistakeable sleeve. Ian Willson’s “Straight From The Heart” is yet another Be With release that will find an easy home on the shelves of those of you who up to now have only dreamt of finding a copy and also those of you who who never knew it even existed.

            Seahawks

            Island Visions

              Jon Tye and Pete Fowler have been making music as Seahawks for a decade now. Given the sounds they’ve been exploring over those ten years it was a cosmic inevitability that they would be asked to contribute to the catalogue of the legendary library label KPM. They replied with Island Visions, an exploration of sound for vision where they construct “audio micro-worlds to explore and inhabit”. A way to transport the listener away from the everyday without the bother of getting on an aeroplane. Mind travel is space travel after all, and much better for the environment.

              Mostly recorded at The Centre Of Sound in Cornwall, with additional recording at Studio 34 in London, Jon and Pete’s travelling companions on this particular trip were boogie wunderkind Sven Atterton on fretless bass and keys, Nick Mackrory on percussion and the Seahawks live team of Dan Hillman and Alik Peters-Deacon. From the grooves of Brian Bennett to the moog vibrations of Mike Vickers, the lush textures of Les Baxter to the experimental sounds of Delia Deryshire and David Vorhaus, this new music channels sounds and moods from across the KPM universe.

              The spacious “Hot Sand Shuffle” opens the record with some of Seahawks’ familiar “deck-shoegaze”. The slinky digi-dub of “Sky Blue Sky” follows, gently encouraging us to lay back and relax. “Mystic Beach” is a refreshing ocean spray of a synthetic groove that clears the head, priming a pathway to receive “Crystal Forest”, a new age house groove of birds and flutes. Dense, deep and dreamlike, “Distant Shore” is ambient rainforest house with a 90s vibe, its dense foliage clearing to let us bask in the shimmer and shine of “River Run”. Hang drum, electric gamelan, flute and loon close side A.

              Side B bounces into being with “Catch A Wave”, an upbeat beach groover of synthetic guitar, effervescent synth and snappy drums. Equatorial bubbler “Paradise Bird Bath” soon glides in with marimba, crisp beats and fat synth bass. Fender rhodes, space echo and fretless bass make “Smooth Runnings” a laid-back poolside groove. “Spirits Have Flown” conjures a hazy vibe with marimba, sax, synth funk bass and chilled beats before “Rolling Deep” serves up a light cocktail of sultry rhythms, refreshing textures, cooling sax and fretless bass. Almost-title track “Island Blues” brings the horizontal poolside feels with melodic chimes, oboe and more fretless bass for maximum vibrations. The marina drone of modular electronics, celestial trumpet and jungle ambience pay the album’s final respects to the cosmos on “Sun Salute”.

              Like many KPM suites, this is a record of two distinct sides. The sunrise of side A brings a deep meditation, a journey within to renew the jaded self. Side B refreshes with cocktails by the pool and a chance to groove away the evening at some sunset beach party before dancing under the stars in the house of dreams. Pete’s front cover for the LP is part map, part postcard: “the record has five different sections and I wanted to reference those in the worlds they created, musically and physically. From beach campfire, to poolside hanging and nighttime dancing. A kind of portal to those places and the pictures they inspired in my mind. All places we’d like to be in this turbulent year”. The track descriptions on the back help guide the way.

              2020 marks 10 years since Ocean Trippin’, the first Seahawks release, and Island Visions is the perfect distillation of the sounds, sights, textures and moods that Jon and Pete have been exploring over the last decade. Sunrise to sunset condensed to two sides of an LP. The normal rules of space and time don’t apply here. This is the first time Be With has worked with Seahawks, but individually Jon and Pete have been members of the extended Be With family since forever (Pete did those posters for our Ned Doheny tour and we worked with Jon on the vinyl version of Hatchback’s Colors Of The Sun). Of course we were going to put this out on vinyl. Mastered by balearic engineer of choice (and Be With’s regular audio co-pilot) Simon Francis, cut by the legendary Pete Norman and pressed in the Netherlands by Record Industry, the sonic frequencies of these Island Visions have been precision tuned and encoded for optimum travelling conditions. Take the trip.


              The first Be With foray into the archives of revered German library institution Selected Sound is one of our favourites on the label - the super in-demand "Japan" from Victor Cavini, originally released in 1983.

              Rare and sought-after for many years now, this is one of those cult library LPs that never turn up. With Daibutsu the giant Buddha of Kamakura’s presence gracing the hefty front cover, this is a record bursting with dope samples for adventurous producers: it’s koto-funk madness!

              Victor Cavini was the library music pseudonym of prolific German composer and musician Gerhard Trede. He was known for exploring instruments and styles from around the world (he played over 50 different instruments himself) and Japan is
              his collection of 14 musical sketches painted with traditional Japanese wind and string instruments. These are the sounds of traditional Japanese folk music re-interpreted through Western ears, with the occassional contemporary twist. Contemporary for 1983, of course.

              These “Pictures of Japan” are hypnotic, sometimes frantic, but always beautiful. The first twelve tracks offer airy explorations of koto and flute, with other strings and percussion being added and then given their own space. Indeed “Pictures of Japan XII” is just drums.

              And then “Pictures of Japan XIII” seems to come out of nowhere. But the subtle sleaze of its full band sound still doesn’t quite prepare you for the towering climax of “Pictures of Japan XIV”.

              This is Japan’s undoubted standout piece, completely and wonderfully at odds with the rest of the album. It’s the reason this has become such a must-have record. It keeps the traditional Japanese instruments but combines them with shuffling funk breaks, electric bass high in the mix and a Godzilla-sized psychedelic fuzz guitar sound that might actually be a traditional reed flute pushed to its limits. Whatever it is, it sounds awesome.
              Recalling both Rino de Filippi’s "Oriente Oggi" and Giancarlo Barigozzi’s "Oriente", the track’s a real head-nod groove for b-boys and b-girls alike that sounds straight out of a late 70s Yakuza film. Indeed, if you were told The RZA or Onra had cooked this up in the lab this century, you’d be convinced. It’s crazy that this dates from 1983.

              The audio for Japan has been sensitively remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis to keep all the character of the original recordings. Richard Robinson has handled the careful restoration of the original Selected Sound sleeve. Essential.


              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.


              Be With Records present the first ever vinyl release of R&B star Cassie's seductive debut. A late-night classic of chilly electro-soul, the self-titled album has influenced many in the dance music fraternity since its original appearance back in 2006. Indeed, it is particularly revered by Jamie xx, Four Tet, Hot Chip, CFCF, oOoOO and How To Dress Well.

              Perhaps most famously, it features the slick summer smash “Me&U” (which reached No.6 in the UK charts and topped the US equivalent) but the remaining 10 tracks serve to create a minimalist R&B masterpiece. The intricate and space-filled arrangements are laced with sinister synth bleeps that wouldn’t have been out of place on an early 90s Warp record. The dark, hypnotic high ends coupled with Cassie’s ice-queen delivery made this stand out from the tired crowd of mainstream R&B at the time. It still sounds wholly and eerily unique.

              Like all Be With releases, this record is officially licensed and has been pressed on audiophile 180g vinyl, befitting the heaviness of the music contained within. When news of this vinyl release first broke, the R&B cognoscenti went into overdrive. Don’t miss your opportunity to own this timeless classic on the format it should've always been on.


              Various Artists

              The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story (KPM)

              "The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story" is a real library-head’s library album. We’re treated to some of the best works of no less than five different heavyweights of the genre: drummer Brian Bennett, guitarist Clive Hicks (of The Gentle Rain), saxophonist Duncan Lamont, rock bassist Dave Richmond and keyboard session giant Steve Gary! Something of a dream line-up, they each contributed stellar efforts to create one of the most sought-after of the legendary KPM albums.

              They Say: 'Composite themes and incidental cues for dramatic application'.

              We say: Well, it’s definitely dramatic. No wonder this LP was mined by a multitude of 70s and 80s crime shows. Much like "Beat Incidental", this true gem includes a raft of enjoyable sub-ten second incidental cues alongside satisfyingly stretched out, hard-knocking sleuth-funk.

              Both sides of this LP are dripping with insidious grooves and dramatic spy-score themes, bursting with heavy guitars, swirling flutes, creeping piano-funk and drum breaks galore. Originally released in 1975, it’s clear that these library heroes were heavily influenced by the tough funk and street soul sonics emerging from the cutting edge Blaxploitation soundtracks.

              Dave Richmond’s taut swagger and wah-wah guitar licks of “Nightwatch”, Steve Gray’s sleazy horn and clav-funk on the A-side opener “Theme For A Hunter” and Brian Bennett’s rolling strut of “The Investigator” are just three of the highlights here. That last one being sampled by Jeff Jank under his Captain Funkaho guise on “My 2600” for Stones Throw back in 1999.

              The audio for "The Hunter (Drama Suite) / Adventure Story" comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. And don’t worry! Those KPM stickers aren’t stuck directly on the sleeves!


              Various Artists

              Breath Of Danger (Themes)

              "Breath Of Danger" was originally released in 1974, and rounded up a killer ensemble cast of library legends including Alan Hawkshaw, Brian Bennett, Alan Parker, David Lindup, Kenny Salmon, Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper.

              They Say: “A selection of suspense underscores and drama blackcloths which vary in intensity and cover a wide range of suspense and drama situations”.

              We say: A breaky, funky library great masquerading as a horror score. Oh, and the cover art is amazing.

              Lindup’s opener “Cold Sweat” sounds like hip-hop-friendly mode Axelrod and, indeed, was brilliantly sampled by Kool Keith for his Dr. Dooom project. Alan Hawkshaw and Brian Bennett’s “The Manipulator” sounds like it arrived straight out of the same sessions as their legendary Synthesizer & Percussion LP from the same year.

              Over on the B-side Alan Parker’s “Psychosis” is a moving and beautifully restrained funk-guitar/cello/harp workout. Stunning. Kenny Salmon’s “Flying Squad” is a sleazy, flute-enhanced gem and the album closes with “Voodoo”, a seventy second riot of sound and colour from the dynamic drumming-percussion duo of Barry Morgan and Ray Cooper.

              Sonically, there’s a widescreen vitality in all these tracks thanks to the driving rhythms, vibrant horn sections and blazing guitar work. It renders Breath Of Danger - 45 years old - truly ageless. The Themes series is known for having particularly striking sleeves, which was unusual for library records at the time, and Breath Of Danger’s scraps of comic-book crazy make for one of the most eye-catching.

              As with all of our other Themes re-issues, the audio for Breath Of Danger 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.


              They Say: 'Documentary and industrial underlays for current themes of modern life'. We say: Mind-blowing, percussion-heavy, Afro-tinged, cosmic-disco library bomb.

              This is the one. An absolutely outstanding record from 1983 and definitely one of the hardest to find on the collectable German library label, Coloursound. "The Now Generation (Percussive Underscores)" is comfortably one of the very best library records full stop.

              The record comes galloping out the gate with a pair of rapid synthy-eurodisco bombs - the title-track and "Panama" - before slowing down to a woozy pace on "Inorganic Matter". "African Nightclub" sounds like it reads, and is a particular favourite of Prins Thomas. Indeed, it was used to great effect on his seminal 'Cosmo Galactic Prism' mix for Eskimo back in 2007. It’s followed by the dark, druggy, slow motion industrial groove of "Grease Plant" before "Southerly" lifts the tempo to close out side A with its Latin funk strut of bells and melancholic keys.

              For us, though, it’s all about the opener to side B: "Mechanical Heart". Seven minutes of building, mid-tempo disco-funk joy, deceptively explosive, club-ready gear for body and soul. The back cover dryly describes the track as 'Guitar and percussion, light industrial underlay'. Hmmm. How about, 'after finally emerging from a particularly heavy week jamming in a sunless, lawless German warehouse, Chic warily press record on a wayward, illicit instrumental for basement gatherings'. Just wait for those drums at the 3 minute mark…

              The beatless ambience and menacing stabs of the proto-electro "Chemical Threat" follows, before the open drums and incredible fills of the metronomic "Steady Going" and fantastically monotonous funk breaks of "Nepal Trek" round out this sensational set.

              This is a library masterpiece in no uncertain terms, full of synth funk, afro beats, exotica, leftfield madness, dance floor dynamite and all-around greatness.

              The audio for The Now Generation comes from the original analogue tapes and has been remastered for vinyl by Be With regular Simon Francis. Richard Robinson has brought the original Coloursound sleeve back to life in all its metallic silver glory.


              Optimistics is a killer LP throughout, beloved of discerning hip-hop producers worldwide and routinely championed by the legendary Pete Rock. The genius George Kerr has handled the production on what is an album of beautiful, naïve soul for mind and body. It’s bursting with goodness and, like the best of its genre, it radiates a heart-breaking ambience that cuts right to the core.

              The band of Billy, Harold, James, Charles and Jerome are described on the back cover as 'five young, black knights who have embarked on a musical crusade and they're gonna slay a lot of dragons along the way.' We’re not entirely sure how many mythical serpents were dispatched during the making of this album but we can certainly attest to the sense of evangelical drive.

              Evergreen opener "You Put Something New In My Life" is a heart-stopping ode to a transformative love. A ballad with spine-tingling chord changes and melodic switch-ups to spare, its sweeping strings and precise drums complement the falsetto delivery perfectly.

              It’s followed by the equally beguiling "Let’s Love". Another string-drenched harmony ballad, it revolves around delicate piano and distinctive guitar lines, crying out to be recontextualised by the best sampling technicians. Closing out the A side, the wonderfully restrained, "Love Is God Almighty" is harp and horn-driven, barely-there soul from a higher plain. Heavenly.

              "Should I Let Myself Go", sampled recently by Knxwledge, is sensational guitar-soul with a yearning that could bring the most hardened soul to tears. It’s followed by the uptempo, Temptations-funk of "Man" and quietly-great "If I Could Influence Man", where the competing vocals ride a chugging, funky breakbeat and delicious guitar licks. The refreshing, groovy "Say It Baby" is an appropriately positive, upward looking closer. Its sentiment and feel speaks directly to both the band name and the title of this, their only album.

              This fresh reissue has been mastered with the usual care by Simon Francis and cut by the legendary Pete Norman. The artwork has been lovingly reproduced by the Be With team.


              The follow-up to "Hail Ceasar!", it’s a taut, grooving set that expands his sound and, put simply, it’s got better songs. The key elements of his debut album are all there - production from maestro Bob Porter, accompaniment from hip players (Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie, Cornell Dupree, John Tropea) and arrangement from Horace Ott - but the overall sound is elevated. The tightly jamming, expressive jazz-funk makes for a richer, fuller, more satisfying experience.

              "75" is a mixture of hard-driving originals, deeply beautiful slower numbers to vary the tempo and a couple of classy covers. The crazy bombastic “Mighty Mouse” - a riot of horns, organ and in the pocket drums - became an acid jazz classic at Dingwalls and it’s easy to see (hear?) how. A blissed out, lushly instrumental take on Seals and Crofts’s “Summer Breeze” follows, perfect for those sunshine sets.

              Side A closes with the heavenly “Sweet Children”. A loping, funky jazz masterpiece famously sampled by Kanye West for Common’s "Real People". It opens beautifully, with soaring sax and a funky horn section combining with weightless keyboard tones atop snapping drums. Unsurprisingly, the excellence endures right through to the end.

              The B side opens with perhaps the album’s most famous track. "Funk It Down” contains the familiar “I Can Feel The Funk” vocal refrain throughout. But it’s the gorgeous, insouciant bridge that you should all know and love, having been used as the hook for Gang Starr’s "Ex-Girl To Next Girl". A great cover of Stevie Wonder's "Living For The City" comes next, with an unforgettable bassline which anchors the entire heavy rhythm section workout. Dizzying organ, triumphant horns and sun-dappled guitar grooves combine to create "Walking On The Side", rounding out a pretty smoking set.

              This is one of those rare 70s funk-soul-jazz LPs on which a bad track cannot be found. It’s all essential. So of course finding original copies on vinyl at affordable prices has been tough for years.

              Mastered brilliantly by Simon Francis, cut by Pete Norman and with painstakingly reproduced artwork by the Be With team, this fresh Be With reissue ensures this legendary LP now sounds, looks and feels as sensational as it should.


              Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy, originally released in 1976, is widely considered the finest blue-eyed soul album of all time. It has long been a source of great frustration then, that this perfectly-formed Southern California masterpiece has been unavailable on vinyl for almost 40 years.

              * Format Notes: 2019 re-press, 180g vinyl

              * Ned Doheny’s Hard Candy, originally released in 1976, is widely considered the finest blue-eyed soul album of all time. It has long been a source of great frustration then, that this perfectly-formed Southern California masterpiece has been unavailable on vinyl for almost 40 years.

              Be With Records continues apace by marking its third release with the first officially licensed reissue of Doheny’s nautical classic. Perhaps most famously, this impeccably smooth set features the timeless “Get It Up For Love”, a wonderful example of mid-70s mid-tempo white-(hot)-funk.

              Produced by the legendary Steve Cropper, it featured a veritable who’s-who of the Laurel Canyon soft-yacht sound (JD Souther, The Eagles, Linda Ronstadt, the entire horn section for Tower of Power!) yet bombed mysteriously. It’s been a cult record since.

              Pressed on audiophile 180g vinyl and featuring the original artwork for both jacket and full colour inner sleeve, this limited reissue is one not to be missed.


              STAFF COMMENTS

              David says: Essential repress of what might be the greatest blue eyed soul album ever made.

              Tommy Guerrero

              A Little Bit Of Somethin' - 2019 Repress

              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 two of his most vital LPs that we're honoured to reintroduce.

              "A Little Bit Of Somethin" is a quietly majestic gem. Brimming with Guerrero’s horizontal 'loose grooves', these brief but innovative instrumentals demonstrate a rich variety and, as such, comprise an LP that is aptly titled. An enchanting start-to-finish listen, it was instantly regarded as essential upon release via Mo Wax in 2000. It has aged remarkably well.

              Throughout this inspired collection, simplicity is key. In deploying it, Guerrero presents a beautifully crafted melodic soundscape. The distinctive, mellifluous approach of his guitar style, blending Brazilian, Cuban, Mexican, soul and jazz motifs, is at once startlingly new and tantalisingly familiar. Set against unrushed percussion, the music releases a crystal clear stream of healing frequencies to create a fragile, hypnotic atmosphere.

              Each track clocks in at around three minutes and, with a lack of studio polish or commitment to traditional song structure, it’s a wonder how this enigmatic record demands your attention. However, through its gentle dynamism and impressive playing, it does just that. Whilst resolutely low-key, this lo-fi aesthetic feels genuinely organic and remarkably personal; its powerful intimacy truly connects. It’s what makes this album so beloved of those lucky enough to be already familiar with it. From Margaret Kilgallen's truly iconic cover artwork to the music contained within, it's all brilliantly effortless.

              Guerrero’s musical ideas are consistently compelling throughout, making it impossible to select highlights. The album’s laconic drift touches upon jazz-fusion workouts and slow-mo hip-hop drums, Tortoise-style experimental post-rock and cinematic sound textures. It’s at once hazy, light and bouncy yet sombre and bluesy. The Latin soul of El Chicano blends with the breezy jazz of Grant Green. By employing guitars and drum machines to create a stripped down rhythmic tapestry of spellbinding, addictive songs, there are even traces of The Durutti Column. A little bit of country, a little bit of rock & roll. "A Little Bit Of Somethin’", indeed.


              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.

              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!

                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.

                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.

                    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.

                    Plush

                    Fed - Vinyl Reissue

                      UNCUT: “The dazzling symphonic album he always threatened to produce. 5/5”

                      ROLLING STONE: “A soulful symphonic masterpiece”

                      Originally released in Japan only on CD in 2002, Plush's Fed lives up to the cult-like adulation it has garnered ever since. A stunning symphony of Bacharach-inspired pop, Toussaint-swing and Melody Nelson-era-Gainsbourg, it’s an album bound together by Liam Hayes' maverick genius; an uncompromising Brian Wilson-esque quest for sonic perfection. Positively indulgent in every way, this sumptuous record has long deserved to be treated to a deluxe vinyl edition. Lovingly overseen by Hayes and recent collaborator Pat Sansone (Wilco/The Autumn Defense), it will finally be available on the format it should’ve always been, this Record Store Day 2018. Remastered and presented as a double LP - cut specially at 45rpm – it comes housed in a beautiful gatefold jacket with expanded artwork throughout.

                      Its expansive, singular vision infamously took years to realise, involving Earth Wind & Fire’s horn arranger (the legendary Tom Tom MMLXXXIV) amongst other elite personnel. Recorded with five different engineers (including Steve Albini and John McEntire), Hayes meticulously extracted every ounce of pop from each note. A long list of renowned studio ringers (including soul drummer Morris Jennings) and Chicago regulars (McEntire, Rizzo, Parker) among many others provide playing of demonstrably professional precision. As such, Hayes' complex, meandering melodies are rendered far more coherent and satisfying than they otherwise might have appeared, bringing his epic, anguished pop to a rarely seen level of perfection and depth. This unstinting dedication to the overarching vision was rewarded handsomely - artistically, at least.

                      However, as might have been expected, his deluxe approach resulted in a bill too steep for any American or European label to ultimately support. It has since seemed unlikely that it would see the light of day on either side of the Atlantic. Yet we were determined not to allow Hayes' lifetime achievement to go unnoticed or let music fans across the world miss out on one of the finest albums of this century.

                      A wide-eyed opus of stunning intensity, Fed oozes Hayes’ impeccable influences without ever becoming overwhelmed by them. Incredibly, it touches upon Blaxploitation soul, Boz Scaggs-soft-rock, hints of jazz and blues, timeless baroque and skewed pop. In one long minute, the stabbing, soulful "So Blind" moves through five different melodic segments; horns shift easily from haunting backdrop to explosive forefront, smoothly giving way to strings as Hayes' voice casts its bewitching spell. The ambitious soul of “Having It All” has been described as the diffident cousin of Marvin Gaye’s “Save The Children” whilst the breezy "Greyhound Bus Station" is pure 70s AM Gold, evoking the easy warmth of Jimmy Webb’s beloved Land’s End period. The sublime resignation of "No Education", a beautifully slow number that begins, "Never read a book in my life/ But I feel just fine" is post-rock ballad heaven. Arriving towards the end, the title track arrives as a majestic suite; moving from a horn-and-guitar-led instrumental via shifting melodies to Hayes’ compelling vocal bursts.

                      An album of such brilliance, Fed can comfortably sit alongside such staggering statement pieces as David Bowie's Young Americans, Randy Newman's 12 Songs or Harry Nilsson's Nilsson Schmilsson. Indeed, for all the sprawling elements that went in - lengthy guitar builds, exploding horn sections, solemn strings, female backup chorus - it is a deeply personal and original record. Employing a distinct “more is more” aesthetic, he demonstrates remarkable restraint in producing an album of such intimacy. "My creation has drowned me," he memorably sings on languid opener "Whose Blues", yet he navigates the shifting styles and ideas with enviable ease.

                      Batteaux

                      Batteaux

                        A notoriously jaw-dropping folk-funk classic, long treasured by the Balearic fraternity, the self-titled LP from the brothers Batteau nevertheless remains a criminally underheard gem. Appealing to fans stuck on Ned Doheny's scorching blue-eyed soul as well as Gene Clark's rich country-rock, it's an honour to present the first officially licensed vinyl reissue of this undoubted masterpiece of proto-Yacht-Rock.

                        Like a forgotten piece of baroque folk caught in 1973, Batteaux's eponymous album somehow sounds magically timeless. A full 45 years after the fact, it remains a mystery as to why they weren't better known. The lush production and virtuoso playing conforms with the ruling aesthetic of the time - well-crafted, melodic songs performed with precision and balance - whilst the shimmering AOR atmosphere and sun-dappled vocal washes align neatly with the best Crosby, Stills & Nash records.

                        Throughout, the beautifully penned tracks hold traces of Jimmie Spheeris, America and Seals & Crofts. The immaculately orchestrated percussion and additional instrumentation (electric piano and fiddle to name a few) are performed by perennially celebrated West-Coast cats including Tom Scott, John Guerin and Andy Newmark.

                        It's no surprise that the heavenly "High Tide" is such a Balearic touchstone. A free soul aqua-space groover, its sophisticated rhythms predict the swing of CSN's canonical "Dark Star" by a full four years. An alternative measure of its enduring magnificence can be gauged by MF Doom sampling Paul Horn's wonderful version, subsequently used by Ghostface Killah.

                        The highlights are many and memorable. Gorgeous opener "Tell Her She's Lovely" is the perfect example of the addictive, melody-driven songwriting which really should have earned them stardom. Moody ballad "Living's Worth Loving" is nothing short of heartbreaking whilst the chugging elegance of "Wake Me In The Morning" showcases their bewitching harmonies. The hypnotic yearning of "Lady Of The Lake" is an exquisitely string-drenched, piano-laced favourite that achieves a peculiar strutting-funk. It's that good.

                        This lovingly curated reissue enables a long overdue reappraisal of the hitherto buried genius of Batteaux. The serene aqua artwork which adorned the original jacket - their father worked on a dolphin-human communication project in Hawaii, hence the infamous design - and sumptuous inner sleeve have been faithfully restored. Whilst, with access to the original tapes, Simon Francis' sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.



                        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

                        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."



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                          As you should have already heard the @RSDUK 20 releases have now been split for release across 3 #RSD20 drop days -… https://t.co/v8xmAjdMD7
                          Mon 1st - 1:25
                          Looking forward to this one guys. Pre-order here https://t.co/oFgaq7pOnI) @bluenoterecords https://t.co/B8TMWMvI9b
                          Mon 1st - 9:06
                          Looking ace Nick 👌 another great @dinkededition successfully delivered. Enjoy! https://t.co/TsG0dDLKEh https://t.co/hojjEz9OqF
                          Sat 30th - 11:35
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