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BIG CROWN RECORDS

First compilation from huge stable of new sounds, the US based, Big Crown. This is something of a highlight reel for what has been released in the three years since the label's inception. Some of our artists are world famous at this point while some of them are still under the radar. Even though not all BC artists can be found in the same aisle of our shop, after listening to "Crown Jewels Vol. 1", it should be clear how they all fit on the same record label. A label defined by taste and not genre, you'll find the languid but fiery soul of Lee Fields nestled right up to the exotic funk of Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band whilst The Shacks and 79.5 career through psyche and disco flavours respectably. However the cohesion and sequencing mean that you're never left disorientated or confused. Instead "Crown Jewels Vol. 1" places the listener on a journey into sunshine soul decadence. It's like you're on a 3-day road trip down highway 101 with the roof off, the sun blazing and loaded on nothing but good times. A great snapshot of this incredibly tasteful and exemplary label. Recommended.

Bobby Oroza

Strange Girl / Down On My Knees

In the wake of his instant classic album "This Love", Bobby Oroza drops a new tune they cut during some downtime between tours. This is something of a Big Crown family affair as they cover The Shacks tune "Strange Boy" giving it that signature Bobby sound and flipping the title to "Strange Girl." Once again the winning combo of Bobby and Cold Diamond & Mink come out swinging, and to add to the family affair we enlisted our very own Leon Michels to do horns on the track. Side B is one of the killer ballads pulled from the album, "Down On My Knees" is already a hit with the slowie crowd and pressing it to this 7" is sure to make a bunch of the sweet soul collectors very happy.

Holy Hive

Hypnosis / Broom

The first single from Holy Hive's forthcoming debut full length Float Back To You. The A side "Hypnosis" is an up number from The Hive that catches the listener from the first notes of Paul's guitar. A good vibe tune inspired by the price you pay to stay out late at night and enjoy your life knowing you have work in the morning. Homer and Paul once again play up the fruitful relationship of oxpecker and rhino with Steinweiss' infamous in the pocket drumming that Spring's vocals float over. Harp and synth flourishes pepper the arrangement and the uber-catchy chorus makes this one a staple in their live set. The B side, "Broom" is a musing on the nature of seeing one's true love for the first time. Holy Hive have taken this tried and true subject and infused it with their signature soul-folk sound to create this gem of a b-side. Paul Spring's honesty shines through as he sings with his beautiful falsetto about his real-life love at first-sight experience. Joe Harrison brings the tasteful bass and supporting guitar accents while Homer Steinweiss lays down one of his signature grooves. The drum break at the top features a rare and much sought after drum machine known by some as the "zim-gar". Also, Holy Hive is proud to welcome Leon Michels as the guest saxophonist on this tune. It was all recorded at the Diamond Mine Studios with Jens Jungkurth as the engineer. Also Available From Holy Hive: "Oh I Miss Her So" b/w "If I Could See Her Now" 7”, This Is My Story b/w Blue Lights 7”.

Paul & The Tall Trees

So Long

    Paul Schalda is a poet, perhaps a bit of a tortured soul, a hopeless romantic, and a guy from Staten Island. That last bit might not make sense to people who aren't from New York. Let's say that it puts the blue in his collar and sticks his feet to the ground. Paul's music seems to embody the unexpected overlap of The Band's Americana, Ian MacKaye's unhinged emotion, Otis Redding's raw soul, and the doo-wop melodies his father, Bill Schalda Sr. (a member of Brooklyn vocal group, The Montereys) raised him on. His sophomore album is produced by long time collaborator and old friend Tommy Brenneck and Big Crown's own Leon Michels.

    For the people who are already fans of Paul's debut Our Love In Light, the growth and maturity will be impossible to miss. So Long reads and feels like you snuck in his room and read his journal. Deeply personal and heartfelt, he takes on a variety of topics in the songs, the common thread being the vulnerability and passion he delivers them with. The opener "Although We Cry" is perhaps a perfect example what makes Paul's music so unique. He finds a way to cut right to the bone, entirely emotional and simultaneously emotionless. "Although we cry, we are not meant to be". The title track "Then We'll Wave (So Long)" puts Paul amongst the great storytellers of song; tension, misdirection, and irony all play a part in taking one of the most sung about topics in life; love, and putting a brand new twist on it. Paul spent some years out on the road playing guitar in The Extraordinaires backing the late great Charles Bradley where they became close friends.

    During that time he penned a few songs for Charles, one of which he wound up recording himself. That song, "Beware" showcases another side of P&TTT's range, a gritty, driving, warning tune where the band has a chance to get funky. One thing you hear in Schalda's music, no matter which song, is that the road hasn't been easy. His voice can be hauntingly harsh, yet hopeful and tender, raucous and gravelly one moment, smooth and intimate the next. Even though he is being compared to the famous groups and musicians mentioned above, he can only call it Rock and Roll and be humbled. "I'm very lucky to be able to do this," Schalda says. "And I'm extremely happy. Especially for my father. He worked hard for his sons and this record." 

    Lee Fields & The Expressions

    Wake Up / You're What's Needed In My Life

    Following up on the massive success of Lee Fields recently released full length "It Rains Love" we drop another 45 for the DJs and collectors. This time showing off two different sides of Lee & The Expressions range. The A side "Wake Up" is Lee's heavy duty, drum driven, anthemic tune for the times. Fields calls out the highly over-used and abused term of the current presidency "fake news." Over a hard as nails sound bed courtesy of The Expressions he goes on asking people to wake up and not let this propaganda sway them from knowing what is right and wrong.

    The B side "You're What's Needed In My Life" is a gushing testament to the beauty of love. Solidifying his title as the Professor of Love it's almost like he's writing your girl's valentine for you. Going beyond how happy the woman he is singing to makes him and telling of how she makes everyone she meets happier. This two-sider is about as classic as possible, a heavy duty funk banger on the A side, and nothing but love on the ballad B side. Another classic and timeless offering from the one and only Lee Fields. 


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