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

The originals were quietly pressed on to a single piece of vinyl so we've worked closely with Tommy this year to bring you these fresh, limited editions. 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.





Tommy Guerrero

A Little Bit Of Somethin'

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

The originals were quietly pressed on to a single piece of vinyl so we've worked closely with Tommy this year to bring you these fresh, limited editions. They have been lovingly remastered, cut nice and loud on to heavyweight double vinyl and presented in deluxe gatefold jackets.

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.





STAFF COMMENTS

David says: More must have reissue pressure from Bewith. This time it's legendary SF skater Tommy Guerrero's turn of the century Mo wax release. Head nodding, foot tapping, finger clicking heaven from start to finish.

You may know Aretha Franklin's scintillating "One Step Ahead" from its vital role in the Oscar-winning movie Moonlight. You may also know it as providing the beautifully melancholic backdrop for Mos Def's 1999 hit "Ms Fat Booty".

The inaugural Be With 7" is a special one indeed, containing the first ever officially licensed reissue of Aretha's all-time deep soul classic. "One Step Ahead" was not included on any of her Columbia studio albums, and remains one of her rarest releases.

On the flip, "I Can't Wait Until I See My Baby's Face" is a thrilling, goosebump-inducing killer and an unfairly slept-on rendition of this eternal track.

The single comes housed in a custom printed full-colour company sleeve and is limited to just 1000 copies.

STAFF COMMENTS

David says: Boom! Always wondered what the mournful, yet bouncin' sample used in Mos Def's all time classic 'Ms Fat Booty' is but couldn't be bothered to Google it? Here you go, thank me later.

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.

Wilco's John Stirratt and Pat Sansone blend timeless orchestral pop and silk-soft country-folk as The Autumn Defense. Circles, their expertly realised sophomore album, has long been their most sought-after record. Out of print on vinyl for almost a decade, it has increasingly fetched eye-watering sums on the secondary market, regularly selling for over $100. For Black Friday Record Store Day 2017, Be With Records presents the first ever reissue, lovingly remastered with upgraded artwork throughout and strictly limited to 1000 copies worldwide.
Underpinned by delicately picked guitar, warm piano and flurries of brass, Circles positively glows. Harmonies loom and fade like headlights in fog; imagine The Blue Nile doing Bacharach and David in Topanga Canyon. Spare, golden and peaceable, softer and less psych-heavy than its predecessor, this album is a slow, richly melodic tribute to beloved early 70s songwriters. Swinging from Gene Clark country to Big Star pop, it sparkles with superb arrangements and flawless playing. Boasting a few familiar guests - Jeff Tweedy makes an appearance, adding subtle guitar figures to "Why I'm Like This", and Andrew Bird scrapes his violin on "The Answer" - Circles effortlessly reveals a blue-green beauty trembling beneath.


Far more intuitive than their debut, it's a mellow stretch of earthy folk-pop, where horns and strings are used because they sound nice, not out of a self-appointed duty to past musical idols. It exudes the ameliorative qualities of an escape record that was made during downtime, for downtime - while mentally liberated from the pressures of the daily world, where the two writers could reflect upon the geyser of circles that is life.

Sunny acoustics and vintage keys over lazy brushes set the character throughout. "The Answer" rolls out a strata of guitars that suddenly reminds the listener of an old Gordon Lightfoot album, only to have the notion reinforced by the wave of strings and gentle background shakers that follow. "Some Kind of Fool" steals into brief moments of Pet Sounds drama, with its bass-and-percussion breaks, but more often rides a '70s groove of vibes, Rhodes, and Bread-like guitar effects. Though comfortably stoic on their second album, the Autumn Defense maintain the charm of a perennial explorer, for whom Europe is still far away, and the California sun could still bring love back.




STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: Brilliantly endearing pop-folk, minimalist Americana warmly delivered through hazy reverbs, sun-drenched harmonies and a modicum of foot-tapping. A Languid and luscious take on an established genre. Lovely.

The world lost a true soul icon on 23rd February 2017. After working with Leon Ware for their first release, Be With celebrate his legacy further by presenting the vinyl reissue of one of his finest achievements: Rockin' You Eternally.


This customarily smooth set from 1981 is perhaps most famous for featuring three unforgettable tracks made with Marcos Valle. Rio's pop-soul wunderkind was exploring soul textures at the same time as Leon was absorbing the rich flavour of Brazilian harmonics. Together, they crafted rhythmically sophisticated and melodically adventurous soul.

The centrepiece of the album is the lush, creeping title track - a hypnotically arranged stepper's groove and an enduring classic. A perfect slice of orchestral soul, it features Leon's patented unusual chord progressions, Valle on Rhodes and restrained string arrangements from Gene Page.

The nimble funk groove of "Baby Don't Stop Me" is another collaborative delight and one of Leon's rare uptempo tunes. "Got To Be Loved" is a timeless ballad, a sublime quiet storm version of Valle's loping jazz-funk favourite "Bicho No Cio".

As with all Leon records, the lyrical themes are deeply eternal throughout, whilst the music is elegant, soulful and sensual. Beyond the Valle co-writes, the soaring instrumental "Don't Stay Away" is a real highlight, possessing an intricate melody and another heavenly string arrangement from the incredible Page. On the pleading sultry soul of "Sure Do Want You Now," Ware's uniquely expressive vocals are especially impassioned and polished.

This officially licensed reissue enables a wider audience to now discover its undoubted genius. The sumptuous artwork of the original jacket and inner sleeve have been faithfully restored; the latter featuring Leon's memorable lyrics. Simon Francis' sensitive mastering elevates the sound throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.

"When we started to write, we found how easy it was, and at the same time how new it was, combining the feeling I had and the feeling he had", Valle explained to Wax Poetics on the subject of his fruitful partnership with Leon. The magic conjured up by fusing R&B with Brazilian rhythms and touches of jazz, funk, and pop resulted in a modern-soul/boogie essential.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STAFF COMMENTS

David says: It's compulsory to be an Arthur Russell fan if you work in a record shop. Here we have Arthur in a less well known guise, coming across a bit like an NYC version of very early REM, it's nothing like anything else he did and all the more beautiful because of it.

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!

STAFF COMMENTS

David says: If you missed it first time round this is your chance to get your hands on a mint copy of one of THE African holy grails. Don't sleep...

A sublime slice of boogie-funk, Alec Mansion has steadily gained the status of a "crate-digging classic". Accordingly, it has been near-impossible to find a copy you can actually play for years.

Originally released in 1983, the LP arrived with impeccable credentials; programming duties were handled by Dan Lacksman (the brains behind Telex, the "Belgian Kraftwerk") whilst production came from Marc Moulin (of jazz-rock fusion heroes Placebo). At the time, like so many records before and since, it's wonders were lost on them public at large and it's appeal was confined to critics. Today, it's a masterpiece lauded by boogie aficionados from Liege to Los Angeles.

On the rare occasions it turns up secondhand, it commands eye-watering figures. A record that has eluded even the most seasoned of vinyl freaks, this is highly recommended if you're a lover of analogue boogie/synth-funk (and let's be honest here, who isn't?!)

The original artwork of both jacket and sumptuous, full-colour inner sleeve have been faithfully restored; the latter featuring Mansion's memorable lyrics emblazoned across the pleasing jazzy early 80s design. 

Remastered and pressed on 180g vinyl this is another bomb from Be With, everybodys favourite reissue label.



STAFF COMMENTS

David says: If Dam Funk met Phoenix in a Parisian late night boogie bar in the eighties and they decided to jam until the sun came up, this is what the music they made would have sounded like. Ace.

Air

Air - Be With Records Edition

Long Island's AIR only made one album. As solitary statements go, it's exceptional. Divinely elevated by Googie Coppola's beautiful voice, this transcendent masterpiece of soulful jazz-rock fusion has become increasingly tricky to track down. 45 years on from its initial release, Be With Records finally make it available again on vinyl.

The highlights are many and memorable. From the irresistible groove of "Mr. Man" to the heavenly piano vocal of "Jail Cell"; from the funk-fuelled brass breaks in "Man Is Free" to the haunting, unforgettable "Sister Bessie", it is easy to understand why this record has been long revered amongst aficionados.

Yet the entire record is without weakness and, therefore, selecting standout tracks seems redundant. If ever there was an album to surrender to in full, this is it. A perfect blend of rock and jazz, the record's greatest asset is surely Googie's uniquely expressive voice - the like of which we'll never hear again.

Much like the music contained within, the original jacket was a thing of total beauty, presented as a lavish gatefold with a distinctive die-cut logo on the front flap. Accordingly, in keeping with the quality of all Be With reissues, this has been painstakingly recreated, along with the original liner notes. Sonically, Simon Francis' dextrous mastering adds real clarity and muscle throughout and, as ever, it has been pressed at a reassuringly weighty 180g.

Treasured by 'selector' luminaries such as Jeremy Underground, MCDE, Floating Points and Hunee, this startling record is beloved by everyone who has heard it. Buying the original - if you can find it - would set you back a small fortune so Be With's latest archival release is one that is already being warmly welcomed from all corners of the global record-buying community.

STAFF COMMENTS

David says: It's not quite jazz but then it's not a straight up rock record either. It is, dear God help us, a jazz rock fusion record and it's the only one I own, honest.

Ned Doheny

Labor Of Love (Kenny Dickenson Remix)

London/LA producer Kenny Dickenson crafted his stunning remix of Ned Doheny's "Labor Of Love" to mark the Be With Ned tour in March 2015. The gentle disco re-rub was leaked by influential blogs and has been wreaking elegant havoc on both sides of the Atlantic ever since, setting a new gold standard for AOR remixes. Beloved of everyone who's heard it, we've been inundated with requests for a physical version.

As RedKen, Dickenson came to prominence with his cult edit of Steve Perry's "She's Mine" - an instant hit on the AOR Disco scene - whilst his double A Side Fleetwood Mac 12" with Psychemagik was number 1 across Juno, Piccadilly and countless others, gaining him further notoriety. Here, taking Ned's stellar version and creating new melodies by twisting original sax solos inside out, Kenny's remix is elevated further with the introduction of his sophisticated keyboard work and additional white-hot production.

Completed the day of Ned's penultimate show, Kenny bounded up to Pete Fowler - on DJ duties - and handed him the demo. Ever the showman, Pete played it seconds after Ned finished. Momentarily mortified at the chutzpah involved, we realised we were listening to something sensational. The key element would be Ned's opinion. He aired it the next day, breaking a drained silence as we boarded a flight to Berlin: "There was a remix of my song played last night." Heart in mouth, we were in for a deserved dressing down. "Pretty good; I liked it." And with that, we were determined to commit this wonderful reimagining to vinyl.

After two years of major label wrangling and artist nudging, Be With Records are delighted to finally present this as an officially authorised, one-sided 12". Enhancing the package, the record comes appropriately adorned with striking new artwork from Pete Fowler himself and liner notes from all parties involved. 




STAFF COMMENTS

David says: Tropical, heated rework by Kenny Dickenson of the Doheny classic. Silky drumwork, bringing the synthy bass stabs to the front and letting the vocals do the heavy lifting. More than worthy of the remix treatment, and done with style and panache. Hot stuff.

Ahmad Jamal is a jazz giant and The Awakening is his iconic masterpiece. The landmark deep trio session - recorded in NYC and released on Impulse! in 1970 - is an essential album, ripe for reissue for years it's finally here, courtesy of Be with.

It is impossible to discuss The Awakening without acknowledging its indelible mark on golden era Hip Hop. A defining album of hip-hop culture, producers of the highest calibre have famously sampled elements of this timeless record to lace all-timers with a foundation for their most legendary tracks. Indeed, both the experimental "DJ Premier In Deep Concentration" and Shadez Of Brooklyn's seminal "Change" utilised Jamal's sparse title-track to stunning effect.

A melancholy motif from "I Love Music" was employed by Pete Rock for Nas's crucial "The World Is Yours" whilst, over a more abstract refrain from the same track, Jeru memorably delivered his "Me Or The Papes" ultimatum. Over in Chicago, No I.D. elevated Common's peerless "Resurrection" by lifting a precise riff from Jamal's plaintive rendition of "Dolphin Dance" whilst the head-nod quality of All Natural's hypnotic "Renaissance" owes it all to the looped keys of Jamal's take on "You're My Everything".

With bold beauty and unhurried grace, Ahmad Jamal plays piano differently from everyone else. He was a huge inspiration to Miles Davis and influential to how Wynton Kelly performed across Kind of Blue. In his autobiography, Miles describes being blown away by Jamal's dynamic "concept of space, his lightness of touch [and] his understatement". It's why The Awakening will always be so revered.







Originally released in 1977 on RCA, this rare and sought-after album followed the 1973 disbanding of Edna's much-loved Honey Cone. Produced by her husband, legendary producer/songwriter Greg Perry, the album was somewhat of a risk; a deep soul album released during the period when disco was altering the landscape of popular music. And perhaps inevitably, despite the stellar production and spine-tingling vocals throughout, the album glided gracefully under the radar, spawning only one single and seeing no chart action.

That single - the magnificent title-track - soon became a notorious rare groove stepper in its own right. However, in the years since, it has become a crate diggers classic. Its fame was elevated among hip-hop heads when Prince Paul memorably looped the shimmering intro when crafting the melodic hook for De La Soul's late-summer-stunner "Pass The Plugs", a wistfully melancholic back-porch nostalgia trip. And, more recently, Leon Vynehall liberally lifted the same intro for his sepia-tinged "Midnight On Rainbow Road" to augment the excellent Rush Hour compilation Musik For Autobahns 2.

Officially licensed and beautifully remastered for vinyl by celebrated engineer Simon Francis, it has been pressed on audiophile 180g vinyl for the first time and features the original iconic artwork. Each copy includes a printed inner sleeve with a sumptuous black & white photo, full lyrics and heartfelt notes from Edna herself.

A monumental force firmly rooted in the soul canon, Willie Hutch is most notable for recording two of the best Blaxploitation soundtracks, The Mack and Foxy Brown. Yet his legacy is much greater. Outside of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Smokey Robinson, Hutch was arguably Motown's top male solo artist of the 70s. 

Often-overlooked, his second album Season For Love (1970) is a must for all deep soul fans and has been sought-after by collectors of different stripes for decades. Whereas his debut featured thundering, gritty numbers, Hutch treats us to a mellower soul here - sumptuous, warm and string-led. He compared his approach to that of Otis Redding and there are definite parallels; from the raspy, rough-hewn vocals that tend to roam between sweet and deeply impassioned to the horn-heavy, emphatic sonic backdrops.

Original vinyl copies of this album are extremely rare - and correspondingly expensive. Officially licensed and remastered it has been pressed on audiophile 180g vinyl for the first time and features the original, rarely seen artwork.


Funk Factory

Funk Factory - Be With Records Edition

An exquisite slice of psychedelic jazz-funk, Funk Factory was criminally overlooked upon release but became a crate-diggers classic over time. Yes, the LP is most famous for containing the peerless dusty groove of "Rien Ne Va Plus", heavily lifted by the Beastie Boys for their Paul's Boutique standout "Car Thief". Yes, you'd be correct to assume said gem is worthy of the price of admission alone. Yet, to those in the know, Funk Factory represents so much more than a Dust Brothers sample-source. Indeed, the entire album represents a space-aged opus, featuring tripped-out keys, tight drums and baked synths; all laced by Urszula Dudziak's ethereal vocals drifting around the exceptional instrumentation.

Funk Factory were boldly led by brilliant Polish violinist and saxophonist Michal Urbaniak and vocalist Dudziak. Two additional, accomplished Polish musicians were involved: virtuoso keyboardist Wlodek Gulgowski and singer Bernard Kafka, founder and leader of great Polish vocal group Novi Singers. To augment this solid foundation, a sensational American rhythm section was assembled, with bassists Anthony Jackson and Tony Levin, drummers Steve Gadd and Gerald Brown and guitarists Barry Finnerty and John Abercrombie.

Legend has it that Urbaniak created this seminal record in response to his American colleagues' claims that Eastern European musicians were not "funky". Funk Factory demonstrates that Urbaniak and his cohorts could play funk as well as any American musician. As sophisticated and multi-layered as the best of the genre, it deserves to be as canonical as the greatest works of Herbie Hancock and George Duke. Accomplished and utterly unique, this intoxicating blend of crack musicians created an irresistibly heady dose of transportive funk that sounds every bit as vital today as it would have in 1975.

Original copies are prohibitively expensive so this officially licensed 180g version enables a wider audience to now discover its genius. Dovetailing neatly with the recent interest in forgotten Eastern European grooves, this timely release of a true lost treasure is sure to be one of the year's essential vinyl reissues.



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."


Most recent converts to the world of Ned Doheny discovered his genius via 'Hard Candy' or 'Prone'. Be With's introduction was by way of "Postcards From Hollywood", a cult song from his stunning, self-titled debut album. Beautifully poignant, it can only be found on said LP. And whilst his later albums are rightly revered, "Postcards" - and the 9 additional tracks that comprise this exceptional opening statement - represent a criminally overlooked gem. Original vinyl copies of this album are extremely rare - and correspondingly expensive - so we're thrilled to present the first ever vinyl reissue of a true lost classic.

Of everything he recorded, we know this LP to be Ned's favourite. An intoxicating brew of acoustical jazz-rock, folk and country-rock - delivered in Ned's supremely laid back West Coast style - it features gorgeous melodic lines throughout, complimented by his distinctly funky overtones and tightly-coordinated instrumental textures. With albums as perfect as this, it is routinely tricky to identify standout tracks. However, rivalling the heartbreaking "Postcards" is the phenomenally propulsive "Lashambeaux", strident opener "Fineline" and "On And On", featuring the harmony vocals of Graham Nash.

When a beginners guide to Ned surfaced last year, he and many others were surprised by the startling number of omissions from his best album. You can now enjoy the fleshed out, non-demo versions of these wonderful originals.


Be With Records present the hugely anticipated 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 CD-only appearance back in 2006. Particularly revered by Jamie xx, Four Tet, Hot Chip and Tri Angle Records, the R&B cognoscenti went into overdrive when rumours of this release first leaked.

Perhaps most famously, it features the slick summer smash "Me&U" which reached No.6 in the UK charts and topped the US equivalent. Yet 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 cut by Frank Arkwright at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Pressed on audiophile 180gram vinyl - befitting the heaviness of the music contained within - it also features the original artwork set elegantly within its 12"x12" borders.

STAFF COMMENTS

David says: How this classic slice of future-r&b never received a vinyl release before now amazes me. A must-have for your Summer and beyond.

The Streets

A Grand Don't Come For Free - Be With Records Edition

Upon its release 10 years ago, The Streets second album, 'A Grand Don’t Come For Free' was instantly hailed as another masterpiece to equal his initial clarion call, 'Original Pirate Material'. Unavailable on vinyl for the best part of the intervening decade, Be With Records marks its second release by issuing Mike Skinner’s electronic soap opera on this format.

Whereas 'Original Pirate Material' was a record that garnered acclaim from the electronic / dance fraternity and the forward-thinking wings of the rock / mainstream press, 'A Grand Don’t Come For Free' swept the board in prompting critical praise.

This was the album that saw Skinner compared to the likes of Ray Davies and Paul Weller in evoking the glorious mess of everyday life. A striking concept album set to an inventive sonic backdrop, the seemingly prosaic tale of a young man unlucky in love (and, so it seems, money) is brought brilliantly to life in a barrage of astute lyrics, lurid tales and memorable hooks.

Deservedly awarded a 9.1 review from Pitchfork, the record sees Skinner reveal his most vulnerable self: 'Dry Your Eyes' and 'Blinded By The Lights', in particular, manage to articulate painfully familiar feelings that appeal to music fans of every hue. This record marked Skinner’s creative peak, received international acclaim and, thanks to its distinctiveness, propelled its maker to the top of the musical tree.


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'.


Latest Pre-Sales

207 NEW ITEMS

PREORDER: Mr. Fingers 'Cerebral Hemispheres' https://t.co/7vorF2MqxF Larry Heard follows up that spectacular 12" w… https://t.co/iX5u0MECij
Sat 17th - 2:56
A definite hit here @PiccadillyRecs Gonna be on the shop player for some time to come I think..... https://t.co/z203CuoY0F
Fri 16th - 1:54
We also got this today, what a lovely surprise with our 7's, thanks @courtneymelba, and @Milk_Records xox https://t.co/Ue6K7DLMVQ
Thu 15th - 2:42
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