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CULTURES OF SOUL

Various Artists

Greg Belson's Divine Funk

    Following on from the success of ‘Greg Belson’s Divine Disco’ series Greg Belson and Cultures of Soul team up again to explore the world of Gospel Funk. Belson is one of the world's leading collectors and DJs of gospel music. You hold in your hands a collection of some of the rarest Gospel funk records from Belson’s amazing collection featuring everything from the laid back breakbeat laced “I Don’t Want to Be Alone" by Allen Gauff Jr to the high octane and socially-on-point take of the Gospel classic ‘This Little Light Of Mine’ by the Gospel Ambassadors to drum break funk of the Wearyland Singers ‘If You See Me Doing Wrong” to the sublime soulfulness of Zella Jackson’s “Days Are Just Like People." Without a doubt though, all of the artists included in this compilation, believed in themselves, the message, and the direction of the Gospel Funk intensity you hear within these grooves. Gettin’ on the Good Foot for God? Listen and decide for yourselves!

    TRACK LISTING

    A1. The Chariettes Gospel Singers - Nobody But Jesus
    A2. Allen Gauff Jr - I Don't Want To Be Alone
    A3. The Christian Harmonizers - Troubles Of The World
    A4. The Wearyland Singers - If You See Me Doing Wrong
    A5. Gospel Travelers - Jesus Is Watching You
    A6. Pearl Farano And The High Lites Of Joy - Who's Your Boss
    B1. Gospel Ambassadors - This Little Light Of Mine
    B2. Vocal Aires - Save A Seat For Me
    B3. Birmingham Travelers - Call Me Answer (feat. Henry Burton)
    B4. Zella Jackson - Days Are Just Like People
    B5. The Original Christian Harmonizers - Blackman Keep Doing Your Thing
    B6. Preacherman Isadore Womack - I’ve Got Power In My Mind 

    Christian Harmonizers / Gospel T

    Troubles Of The World / Jesus Is Watching You

    Following on from the success of ‘Greg Belson’s Divine Disco’ series Greg Belson and Cultures of Soul team up again to explore the world of Gospel Funk. Belson, one of the world's leading collectors and DJs of gospel music, has assembled a collection of some of the rarest Gospel funk records for “Greg Belson’s Devine Funk.” In addition to the fulllength, available on CD and LP, choice selections from the compilation will be released on 7 inch singles in limited quantities. First up in the Devine Funk 7 inch series, a split 7 inch from the Christian Harmonizers on the A-Side and The Gospel Travelers on the flip. Also available this time out, The Wearyland Singers “If You See Me Doing Wrong” with “Nobody But Jesus” by The Chariettes Gospel Singers on the B-Side.

    TRACK LISTING

    Christian Harmonizers - Troubles Of The World (3:02)
    Gospel Travelers - Jesus Is Watching You (3:15)

    Wearyland Singers / Chariettes Go

    If You See Me Doing Wrong / Nobody But Jesus

    Following on from the success of ‘Greg Belson’s Divine Disco’ series Greg Belson and Cultures of Soul team up again to explore the world of Gospel Funk. Belson, one of the world's leading collectors and DJs of gospel music, has assembled a collection of some of the rarest Gospel funk records for “Greg Belson’s Devine Funk.” In addition to the full- 4 length, available on CD and LP, choice selections from the compilation will be released on 7 inch singles in limited quantities. First up in the Devine Funk 7 inch series, a split 7 inch from the Christian Harmonizers on the A-Side and The Gospel Travelers on the flip. Also available this time out, The Wearyland Singers “If You See Me Doing Wrong” with “Nobody But Jesus” by The Chariettes Gospel Singers on the B-Side.

    TRACK LISTING

    Wearyland Singers - If You See Me Doing Wrong
    Chariettes Go - Nobody But Jesus

    Various Artists

    Saturday Night: South African Disco Pop Hits 81-87

      The 1980s were an epoch of upheaval and rapid change in South Africa. The decade began with the country’s apartheid government fighting to maintain its institutionalized racial segregation in the face of global protests and demands for the release of human rights activist Nelson Mandela, who had been jailed since the early 1960s. By 1990, Mandela was free, and apartheid was on the way to being dismantled. On the music front, things were changing too; At the beginning of the decade, the main music style of black South Africans was the jazzy indigenous jive of mbaqanga, a provincial style that had held its place as the sound of South Africa since Mandela was first imprisoned.

      By the end of the decade, South African music stars were making international waves with bubblegum, a flashy variety of Afro-techno-pop. In SATURDAY NIGHT: SOUTH AFRICAN DISCO POP HITS, Cultures of Soul explores this period of change, and the intermediary forms that filled the gap between mbaqanga and bubblegum. The years when South African musicians and producers wrestled with the incursion of foreign disco and formulated their own style of homegrown disco-pop. Starting from the early 80s, when bands like Varikweru, Black Five and Soundburger essayed local attempts at boogie and jazz-fusion, through experiments like the Madonna-cloned diva Margino, who domesticized the burgeoning Italo-disco and NYC electro sounds, up through the massive breakthrough of Brenda and the Big Dudes, who arrived at the right mix between native and international influences to point the way forward for South African pop. The sound on these records is ostensibly familiar, drawing heavily on models from the 1980s dance culture in Europe and America, but if you listen closely enough you can hear the distinct South African-ness of it all—from the deep, burbling basslines, the brightly hypnotic melodies, and chant-like lyrics—and with sounds as intoxicating as these, you will sure want to listen closely. And often!

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: Bubblegum, boogie and disco of the highest order on this Cultures of Soul survey of the South African discotheques 81-87.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Varikweru - Saturday Night
      A2. Margino - You And Me
      A3. Hot Soul Singers - Good Vibes
      A4. Brenda Fassie - No No Señor
      A5. Supa Frika - Let’s Get On It

      B1. Brenda Fassie - Love Action
      B2. Black Five - Wa Ikgona
      B3. Margino – Holiday
      B4. Soundburger - Ambiguously The Same
      B5. Supa Frika - Love Satisfaction

      A classically trained multi-instrumentalist, Don Laka began his career in the ‘70s and then joined the seminal jazz outfit Sakhile in the early ‘80s. Already an established musician by this time, Laka was at the forefront of exploring the latest synth sounds of the day. Being introduced to synthesizers by Harari's Alec Khaoli, Don soon began experimenting with different synths like the Oberheim, Juno, and Prophet 5 while using a Commodore 64 to sequence them. Constantly striving for the latest sounds, Laka’s early explorations culminated in his debut solo album, "I Wanna Be Myself". 'I went and did an album, recorded tracks at Downtown Studios [in downtown Johannesburg]. Most of the album, except for "Let’s Move the Night", was done straight with a Fairlight at a different studio, of the guy that owned the Fairlight, Adrian Strydom.'

      He was the only guy in the country who had a Fairlight, I think on the continent. 'This was the first commercial record made on a Fairlight in this country. I remember the other instrument I used was Jupiter 8, which was a very expensive Roland synth, and I used a Juno-60. I would layer them. The only thing I programmed was the drums. You can hear the snare sound, I think it was a mix of some cracked bottles and something that we just mixed. Holed up in the studio, Laka remembers getting special input on "I Wanna Be Myself" from master bassist Bakithi Khumalo, who would also feature prominently on Graceland. 'I remember I played all the instruments on it. I played bass, I played all. Bakithi walked into the studio and I said, ‘You know, I’m not a bass player. Baks, do you wanna do it?’ And he nailed it, in one take! Reissued for the first time is Don Laka's masterful album. 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: If you study the sleevenotes or credits of pretty much any good dance record from South Africa around a certain time period (let's say 1980 - 2005) there's a 90% chance that this guy will be involved! A true star, prodigy, muse and inspiration. Don Laka we salute you!

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Don’t You Like It
      A2. Need To Love
      A3. Falling In Love With Love

      B1. Let’s Celebrate
      B2. I Wanna Be Myself
      B3. Let’s Move The Night

      In the 1970s reggae music burst forth from its birthplace of Jamaica and took over the world. Who would have ever thought that one of the first outposts it captured on its way to global domination would be an unlikely city known mostly for its Brahmin heritage and blue-collar brawlers as well as for violent racial polarization? Boston, Massachusetts was the first region in the US to really 'get' reggae, adopting it as early as 1973 when the city’s huge student population turned the lowbudget Jamaican B-flick 'The Harder They Come' into a midnight cult classic.

      The city would gain a reputation as a key market for any international reggae act trying to gain a foothold in America. But besides being early enthusiasts and advocates for the music, Bostonians would also become bountiful producers of reggae as well, with a network of clubs, singers and musicians coalescing to form an organic Boston roots scene: A scene that would yield acts as varied as Zion Initation (a solid, spiritually-inclined Rasta band), to the I Tones (an ambitious, multiracial group that set a new standard for pop success), and even reaching across New England to embrace the Vermont-based Lambsbread (a latter-day reggae reincarnation of the legendary African-American proto-punk trio Death, later made famous by 2013’s revivalist documentary A Band Called Death').

      Boston-based music journalists / historians Noah Schaffer and Uchenna Ikonne have teamed up with Cultures of Soul to compile an overview of some of the most crucial cuts to emerge from Boston during the height of the reggae boom in the 1980s. Formatted on CD or 2LP set both configurations come with a 28¬page book documenting the rich history of this music scene with in-depth analyses and photos of the reggae artists involved. Almost all of this music is reissued for the very first time, including rare gems such as Danny Tucker’s “Our Father’s Land,” Zion Initation’s “Think About It,” I Tones’ “Love is a Pleasure” and Lambsbread’s “Two Minute Warning” are sure to delight both roots connoisseurs and newcomers to the genre, and open up a time tunnel to a little-known golden age of American reggae, and an even less-known scene that facilitated the expansion of the music into an international phenomenon. 


      STAFF COMMENTS

      Patrick says: If movies are to be believed (and I did do 13 secs of Demographic research) Boston is entirely made up of Irish Americans wearing flat caps and letterman jackets. Improbably, alongside the entire Dropkick Murphies discography, the people of Southie were also America's early adopters of reggae, birthing the wealth of local artists and labels covered here. Wicked smart...

      TRACK LISTING

      A1 I Tones - Love Is A Pleasure
      A2. Danny Tucker - Take Us Home
      A3. Danny Tucker - Changes
      A4. Danny Tucker - Our Father's Land

      B1. Zion Initation - Think About It
      B2. Zion Initation - Jah Light
      B3. Zion Initation - Conquering Lion
      B4. Zion Initation - Burning

      C1. Zion Initation - Got To Love Jah Jah
      C2. Healin' Of The Nations - Without Your Love
      C3. Healin' Of The Nations - Nations, Unite (Peace Across The Land)
      C4. Healin' Of The Nations - Love Is The Answer

      D1. Lambsbread - Country Girl
      D2. Lambsbread - Two Minute Warning
      D3. Lambsbread - International Love
      D4. Errol Strength - Errol's Love
      D5. Errol Strength - Oh What A Saturday Night 

      Greg Caz and Deano Sounds have teamed up once again to bring you another fine package of vintage Brazilian music. This one stretches across the scope of funk, soul, and psychedelic music from Brazil. Some highlights include: the extremely rare and funky “Labirinto” by 2001 & Beto, the blistering psychedelic funk of Antônio Carlos & Jocafi’s “Quem Vem Lá,” the essential rare groove track “Bananeira” by Emilio Santiago, Osmar Milito E Quarteto Forma’s rare “América Latina” sampled by Madlib, Tom Zé’s unstoppable riff on “Jimmy, Renda-Se,” and many others. Here are some words on the project from co-compiler and Brazilian music aficionado, Greg Caz: “Without necessarily having a central theme other than funky nuggets from the first half of the 70s, we believe this compilation displays its own particular sense of logic, and that these songs ultimately all sound fantastic together. Regardless of one’s familiarity, or lack thereof, with artists like Antonio Carlos & Jocafi, Os Incríveis, Toni Tornado or Celia, the material on these 45s speaks its own truth and justifies their inclusion here. Many of these were originally available as singles, while others were taken from albums, but all are guaranteed to find their way into many DJ boxes and playlists.”

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Antônio Carlos & Jocafi - Quem Vem Lá
      A2. Os Incríveis - Paz E Amor
      B1. Toni Tornado - Bochechuda
      B2. Toni Tornado - Aposta
      C1. Emilio Santiago - Bananeira
      C2. Osmar Milito E Quarteto Forma - América Latina
      D1. 2001 & Beto - Labirinto
      D2. Trio Mocotó - Swinga Sambaby
      E1. Tom Zé - Jimmy, Renda-se
      E2. Eduardo Araujo - Kizumbau
      F1. Celia - A Hora é Essa
      F2. Franco - Ei, Você, Psiu!
      G1. Novos Baianos - Juventude Sexta E Sábado
      G2. Dom Salvador E Abolição - Uma Vida


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