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Various Artists

Visual Impact (KPM)

    Originally released in 1976 but wonderfully timeless, Visual Impact is a rare example of a library record that’s genuinely great listen from start to finish. Just too good…

    We say: Arguably the single greatest album in KPM history. An ensemble piece of staggeringly heavy works from none other than Brian Bennett, John Scott, Steve Gray, Jim Lawless and Johnny Pearson.

    For our immense pleasure, Visual Impact includes the insanely ace “Nuplex” by Brian Bennett, a nagging, sweeping, punchy funk piece that exists in a world of its own. If you don’t know, get to know - the record’s worth getting for this track alone. The same goes for the beautifully paced, string-drenched, horn-fed LP opener “Canaveral Scape”, courtesy of John Scott. Truly sublime. Other highlights on the A-side include Bennett’s easy, bass-heavy jazz groover “Sequence Of Events” and the spare, building, undercover funk of Steve Gray’s aptly-named “Low Profile”.

    The B-side is straight-up fantastic. The percussive, vibey exotica of Jim Lawless’s “Keeping Pace” is followed by five tracks of slick, weighty funk breaks from Johnny Pearson. Check the pure groove of “Jaguar” with its head-nod drum break intro, the creeping piano-strings combo and… er… giant neck-snapping breaks of “Giant’s Causeway”, the speaker-smashing progressive bass groove of “Fugitive”, the tense "Rock Climb" and the sheer heft of "Heavy Load". Library largeness. If that isn’t enough, John Scott’s incessant “Flight Of The Phoenix” ends the session, brilliantly pilfered by M.O.P. for their much-loved “We Run New York”.

    As with all of our KPM re-issues, the audio for Visual Impact 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.

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


    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.

      As with all of our KPM re-issues, 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. 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.

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


      Various Artists

      The All American Powerhouse (Themes)

        Originally released in 1976, The All American Powerhouse is one of the very best of the Themes library releases. It’s killer. A feast of dramatic jazz, horizontal, melodic funk and bouncing sunshine-y West-Coast feels throughout, there also lurks an intense injection of the Blaxploitation sound. Understandable, given the subject matter and year it was released.

        They Say: “Driving brass and sax ensemble over funky rhythm section, playing tracks of various feel and style”.

        We say: From the Lincoln Continental that memorably adorns the cover to the tranquil funk contained within, this glowing ode to the grooving force of 70s American soul music is ice cool all over. With brilliant contributions from the Three Key Alans™ (Hawkshaw, Parker, Tew) as well as Mike Moran, Les Hurdle and Keith Roberts, this is driving music for only the vibiest cats.

        Highlights include Alan Parker’s confident, horn-heavy wah-wah-fuelled album-opener “Sweeny Todd”, Hawkshaw’s graceful “Getaway” glide and dramatic, breathless “Speed Run”, Mike Moran’s loose, organ-driven propulsive B-Boy classic “The Pick-Up” and Keith Roberts’ percussive tour de force “Overide” that closes out the LP.

        Yet, perhaps the most significant track here is Les Hurdle’s long-adored “Soul Train”. A grooving, bass-heavy library classic, it’s all swirling strings, stabbing horns, heavy open drums and melodic funk-rock guitars. Add in the funky clavinet, and the combination works beautifully.

        As with all of our other Themes re-issues, the audio for The All American Powerhouse 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.


        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.


          Samuel Jonathan Johnson

          My Music

            My Music is a stellar spiritual soul / jazz-funk gem, recorded by keyboardist-singer Samuel Jonathan Johnson in 1978. The epitome of a cult classic, it didn't do much upon its release but steadily found an audience over the decades that followed. It eventually worked its way into the culture, and latterly the wantlists, of wave after wave of soul aficionados.

            This is music that shares the jazzy R&B DNA of contemporaries like Roy Ayers and is an intoxicating blend of mellow moments and more groove-heavy tracks. Spacey keys and lush production give it a luxurious, enveloping warmth.

            My Music opens with the gorgeous title track: an indulgent slow jam opus. Introducing us to Johnson’s compelling musical vision, it features a rich mélange of production techniques. Dripping in strings, horns, backing singers, popping funk bass lines and swooshing synth waves, it’s an unusually structured cosmic two stepper that has an irrepressible groove. Accordingly, it’s been a favourite with the diggers and it was sampled by The Alchemist for Jadakiss’s “We Gonna Make It” (and it was also used on Ras Kass’s “Home Sweet Home”… but that’s a story for another time).

            The up-tempo “Sweet Love” bubbles over with joy, its uplifting lyrics backed by infectious bass and jazzy Fender Rhodes lines. It follows a cover of “What the World Need’s Now Is Love”, taken at a funereal pace that transforms it into a heartfelt plea for love and understanding. Essential in these dark days.

            After a full-minute-long opening of lush cinematic strings and horns, “Because I Love You” makes space for Samuel’s voice, accompanied by some keys and just a sprinkle of guitar. It builds back up and then mellows its way out to a jazz lounge finish (in all the right ways). The feel-good ebullience of the Stevie Wonder-esque “It Ain’t Easy” closes out the LP’s first side.

            The second side bursts open with the heavy bounce and disco-funk basslines of “You”, a slightly off-beat string-laden dancer with insistent horns and a piano-assisted groove. Next up is “Just Us”, a legendary steppers track that could be heard oozing out of deep soul radios and funk sound systems back in the late 80s.

            “Yesterdays and Tomorrow” is a moving original ballad that is followed by an exquisite high-stepping paean to mom in the form of “Thank You Mother Dear”. The thumping easy-glide of “Reason For The Reason” brings the album to a close.

            Respectfully mastered by Simon Francis and cut by the master Pete Norman, this reissue of Samuel Jonathan Johnson’s sole LP sounds as sumptuous as that scarlet gown on the front cover. The sleeve artwork was lovingly restored by the Be With team. My Music is a luxurious and rare collection of songs that now has an opportunity to reach beyond its cult audience.


            Peter Ludemann & Pit Troja

            The Now Generation

              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.

              As with our KPM and Themes re-issues, 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 metalic 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.


              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.


              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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

              FORMAT INFORMATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


              Alex Chilton

              It Isn't Always That Easy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                STAFF COMMENTS

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

                FORMAT INFORMATION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                STAFF COMMENTS

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

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                2xLP Info: 2019 Repress.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

                STAFF COMMENTS

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

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                STAFF COMMENTS

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

                FORMAT INFORMATION

                Ltd LP Info: 180 gram vinyl.

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

                They say: A comprehensive collection of descriptive contemporary scores.

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

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

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


                FORMAT INFORMATION

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

                Alan Parker / John Cameron

                Afro Rock - 2019 Reissue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                FORMAT INFORMATION

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

                “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.

                    Plush

                    Fed (RSD18 EDITION)

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

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

                      Michael Wycoff

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

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

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

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

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

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



                      STAFF COMMENTS

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

                      FORMAT INFORMATION

                      12" Info: One copy available

                      Korallreven

                      Here In Iowa Remix EP - Inc. Peaking Lights Remix

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

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

                      From the guys:

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


                      Leon Ware

                      Leon Ware - Be With Records Edition

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

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

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

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

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


                      STAFF COMMENTS

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


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