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EXPANSION

The endlessly excellent Expansion turn their attention to a big fave from the modern, rare and two step scene, 70s soul singer Dee Edwards. Having made a splash on the soul scene with her "(I Can) Deal With That" for Motor City imprint De-To, Edwards signed to Cotillion and dropped a pair of disco era LPs, "Heavy Love" and "Two Hearts Are Better Than One", from which the two cuts here are taken. 

On the A-side, "Put The World On Hold" is a go-to dancer for the modern rooms, previously only available as an album track, while the B-side brings "Put Your Love On The Line", a boogie bomb produced by Michael Zager, once available in shortened form on a 7" and now here in its full glory. 

Mario Biondi & The High Five Quintet

This Is What You Are - Inc. Opolopo Remix

Reissue of one of the biggest soulful jazz dance tracks of the last decade. "This Is What You Are" gallops in on wood block and poised piano chords before a ruff and syrupy vocal coats the whole thing in a glorious patina.

Comes with Opolopo remix as well as the original which transforms the track into a horn-led beatdown house jam. Wunderbaa!



The standout track on Porter's 2010 LP "Water", "1960 What?" was soon picked up by Expansion, introducing the wilder world to the expressive vocals and jazz-flecked style of the  now universally acclaimed soulman. Taking a civil rights flashpoint as his inspiration, Porter offers a lyrical narrative of injustice, police brutality and rioting, his rich voice expressing emotional complexity and moral maturity as he goes. When taken with the propulsive double bass line, crashing jazz percussion and thunderous brass, the message takes on a revelatory weight, especially considering the contemporary issues of racial discrimation and police brutality overshadowing the USA. Alongside the deep and political soul jazz of the A-side, the Expansion release offered a STELLAR remix from boogie revivalist Opolopo, who quantised the track for easy mixing and dance floor consistency before adding a weighty club kick and thick synth bassline, resulting in a fresh version which filled dancefloors for the house, soul, jazz funk and disco scenes. Killer stuff.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: Expansion give a fresh press to one of their finest contemporary releases (It's 7 years old, but Dave swears it was yesterday), Gregory Porter's protest soul smasher "1960 What?", with that killer Opopolo house remix taking the lead. Essential stuff.

Margie Joseph

One More Chance

This is a reissue of a rare soul record from 1976. Originals exchange hands for up to £300 but don't let that sway you - just listen to those brilliant horns, powerful drumming and, of course, that sugar sweet vocal on "One More Chance" - sonic sunshine!

B/W "Nobody" - a most glorious B-side which sees Joseph wax lyrically about how no-one's gonna tell her how to love her man! Indeed!

Limited copes, official release.


From Mississippi, Veatrice Thomas moved to Los Angeles and in 1967 began recording as Ty Karim. She worked closely with her writer/producer husband Keny Harris since her debut single “Lighten Up Baby” through to the rare groove/modern soul masteripiece “Keep On Doin’” first released in 1980. Both the 7” and 12” have been highly desirable on the collectors scene, exchanging hands for vast sums of money. This is pure quality, as you would expect from Expansion. Features co-lead vocals by George Griffin.

Rockie Robbins

Good Life / Let's Groove

Rockie Robbins is back! From a brand new album released in March 2019 comes the title track single “Good Life”. Robbins is from Minneapolis but moved to Los Angeles in 1979 when signed to A&M Records. From his work with Skip Scarborough, Leon Ware, Richard Evans, Bobby Martin & Jerry Peters came a legacy of timeless quality music including the global hit ‘You & Me’, rare groove ‘We Belong Together’ and the celebrated interpretation of Earth Wind & Fire’s ‘Be Ever Wonderful’.

“Get It Up For Love” is an all time balearic classic. Written by Ned Doheny (whose uncle, Daniel Day Lewis's character in 'There Will Be Blood' was based) it's appeared on more comps than we can count. This version from 1974, was the first cover version. It went on to be recorded by Tata Vega, the Average White Band and of course, Ned himself on his second album, 'Hard Candy'.
Original 7” copies exchange hands for between £50 and £100.
Stephen's version is, dare I say it? as good as, if not better, than Ned's. A bit faster, a bit funkier but could still soundtrack any number of Adriatic sunsets and, as if that weren't enough,  it's coupled with the full-length album version on the flip.
Diplomats Of Soul is a new subsidiary of Expansion aiming to reissue hidden gems that you never knew you needed.

Diplomats of Soul through the help of Incognito have re-recreated two masterpieces of soul and jazz funk. Previously on 12”, 10” respectively and CD only, single versions of both have been combined here for the first time on 7”. “Sweet Power Your Embrace” was first recorded by James Mason, “Brighter Tomorrow” by Tom Browne. Both have become popular in the Diplomats Of Soul style, no expense spared lavishing these tracks with the finest UK musicians under the direction of Bluey. “Brighter Tomorrow” features live playing in contrast to the electronic production style of the original.

Timi Yuro

As Long As There Is You / It'll Never Be Over For Me

Timi Yuro was an American singer and songwriter. She was born into an Italian-American family in Chicago. In the 50s the family moved to Los Angeles where after performing in clubs she landed a recording deal with Liberty Records. In 1962 she was invited by Frank Sinatra to support him on tour, and the following year her album “The Amazing Timi Yuro” was produced by Quincy Jones. Then came the release of the single “It’ll Never be Over For Me” (400,000 hits on Youtube) acknowledged by northern soul fans as among the greatest of the genre. Original copies on Liberty have sold for £1,300. While scaled down her music career to focus on being a mother, she also became Reggie Kray’s favourite singer and is referenced in the Kray Twins movie “Legend”.

Sylvia Striplin

Give Me Your Love / You Can't Turn Me Away

Ooooohhh Weeeeee! This tasty 12" contains two of the hottest disco and soul cuts ever produced, available as an official single for the first time in aaaages. After spending the late seventies lending her stunning vocals to Aquarium Dream and Ladies Of The Eighties, Sylvia was snapped up by Roy Ayers for his Uno Melodic label, cutting the killer 1981 LP from which these tracks are taken. A-side cut "Give Me Your Love" is a feel good disco groover for the more discerning dancefloors out there, Sylvia's glorious vocals floating freely over a sumptuous uptempo Roy Ayers track alive with bubbling bass, syncopated drums and funked up clav. Sampled by Armand Van Helden, Deepdown and Madd Rapper, this is as classic as they come. The flipside sees the tempo drop, the lights dim and the mood get sexier than Valentine's night in Martin's boudoir... "You Can't Turn Me Away" is deep downtempo business, boasting squelching bass, dreamy keys and a top notch soul breakbeat. Roy Ayers is at the height of his powers her and Syvia more than does the track justice, serving up a stunner that's been sampled plenty of times since ("Get Money"!). Though Striplin never attained mainstream success, her sweet voice is instantly recognized by devout fans of jazzy R&B and those who made up England’s ‘rare groove’ scene of the early 80’s and 90’s.

STAFF COMMENTS

Patrick says: As the youth say, I have no words. Roy Ayers musical prowess paired with Sylvia Striplin's stunning vocal is a wonderful thing, and this official 12" puts their two best collaborations together for all the Deejays and dancers. Disco heat on the A-side, rare groove on the B - buy on sight.

Eighties Ladies

Turned On To You / Ladies Of The Eighties

Eighties Ladies comprise Denie Corbett, Marva Hicks, Susan Beaubian, Sylvia Striplin and Vivian Prince. They recorded one album with Uno Melodic Records, a label created and run by the legendary Roy Ayers at the height of his career. The group are best known for “Turned On To You”, one of the most iconic ‘rare groove’ tracks from the early 80s. It was sampled numerous time in the 90s, most notably by A Tribe Called Quest (“Buttter-Hip Hop Mix”), and more recently bu Nujabes featuring C.L. smooth (“Sky Is Falling”). This 7” is an exclusive edit of the 12” version, while the instrumental version of “Ladies of The Eighties” appears here on 7” for the first time.

Coke Escovedo

I Won't Change A Thing / Rebirth

    Mexican/American percussionist Coke Escovedo was brother to Pete Escovdeo and uncle to Sheila Escovedo (Sheila E.). He performed live with artists including Santana and Cal Tjader, and recorded three solo albums in the mid-70s for Mercury Records. His version of the Johnny Bristol song “I Wouldn’t Change A Thing” (featuring lead singer Errol Knowles) is considered the best, and the most played song from his 1976 album “Comin’ At Ya”. It has become a modern soul room classic, and copies of the first 7” release twelve years ago now exchange hands for vast sums. An essential reissue. “Rebirth” is another classy track and features the vocals of Linda Tillery.

    In demand northern/crossover soul record. Original copies exchange hands for £150

    Pharoah Sanders

    You've Got To Have Freedom / Got Give It Up

    Pharoah Sanders has been described as ‘probably the best tenor player in the world’, emerging as a star from playing saxophone with John Coltrane in the 1960s. As a solo recording artist he is best loved by fusion fans for the jazz dance classic “You’ve Got To Have Freedom”. It’s taken from his 1980 album “Journey To The One” featured here for the first time on the complete side of a 12” single. “Got To Give It Up” is Pharoah’s outstanding rendition of the Marvin Gaye classic. It has previously been on 7” but never until now in its full length version on 12” single. It was originally a feature on the 1978 album “Love Will Find A Way” produced by Norman Connors. To have both of these masterful recordings on one 12” single is something special.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Not only do you get the spiritual majesty of Pharoah's uber-grooving "You've Got To Have Freedom", but flip it over and taste the freak-funk cool of his lesser known Marvin Gaye cover - wicked!

    Debra Laws

    On My Own / Very Special

    Debra Laws is sister to Ronnie Laws, Hubert Laws and Eloise Laws, all of whom have enjoyed solo success. The family came together in 1981 on Debra’s solo album “Very Special” with vocal, musical, songwriting and production contributions alongside other outstanding names of the day. “On My Own” was written and produced by Ronnie Laws who also features on sax. The song was one of the classiest dance floor records of its day and has become sought after again on 12” vinyl. “Very Special” again features Ronnie Laws and features Arthur Adams on guitar. It is co-produced by Hubert Laws, original 12” copies of this exchanging hands for up to £150. It has been sampled by Jennifer Lopez (featuring LL Cool J), Big Daddy Kane, Mary J. Blige and others. This is the first time both these tracks have been combined on the same 12” release.

    Leon Ware

    Why I Came To California / Can I Touch You There

    Alongside Expansion’s release of Leon’s two iconic Elektra albums, back to back on one CD, two super rare 12” tracks are hereby reunited. The first issue of this 12” came in 1982 and was only ever intended to be for promotional use. Original pressings have sold for over £300. Leon Ware wrote and produced for an impressive array of other artists, most notably Marvin Gaye on “I Want You”, and his own work continues to be as in demand as ever. “Why I Came To California” (also on Expansion 7”) is one of his signature tracks and features guest co-vocalist Janis Siegel, a nine time Grammy winner and seventeen time Grammy nominee from Brooklyn, New York.

    Uno Melodic was the brainchild of the legendary Roy Ayers. At the height of his career in the early 80s, Roy established Uno Melodic to explore working as a writer, musician, producer and record label owner with complete control over his creative ideas. Roy brought artists and musicians to the label invaluable to him at Polydor and in whom he saw potential to make more great records. Between 1980 and 1983 Uno Melodic released records that went onto become definitive of their time, classics that became much sought after. The label and its signature releases are part of the Roy Ayers legacy, the best of which Expansion have assembled here on remastered CD and double LP. Sylvia Striplin, Eighties Ladies and Ethel Beatty represent the soul, disco, two step and boogie sides of Uno Melodic, Bobbi Humphrey, Justo Almario and Roy himself the masters of jazz fusion at the label. The album concludes with the spoken words of Rick Holmes on one of the label’s biggest ever release on the label.

    Willie Hutch

    Easy Does It / Kelly Green

      Willie Hutch wrote huge soul hits in the 60s and 70s (co-writing “I’ll Be There” for The Jackson 5) and released sixteen Motown, Whitfield and independent label solo releases between 1969 and 2002. From his period with Norman Whifield’s label through Warner Brother in 1978/79 he is best known for “Easy Does it”. Arranged by Gene Page, it was previously issued only on 7” as a B-side to “Come On And Dance With Me”, original copies now exchanging hands for large sums.

      Two in demand soul tracks from an iconic soul artist

      Dionne Warwick

      Move Me No Mountain / (I'm) Just Being Myself

        Dionne Warwick is one of the most classic and iconic soul singers of all time. Over her career she has recorded a string of hits and a legacy of music of outstanding quality. “Move Me No Moiuntain” was first released in 1975 on Warner Brothers and has since become her most played song on the ‘modern soul’ scene. “(I’m) Just Being Myself” comes from an earlier album (1973) produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland’, a connoisseur soul track gaining support in recent years.

        Two in demand soul tracks from an iconic soul artist

        Bobby King

        If You Don't My Love / Lovers By Night

          Louisiana Soul singer Bobby King first recorded as a solo artist in 1973 for the Reprise label where he also sang for Ry Cooder. In 1981 he switched to the main Warner Brorthers imprint and recorded what has become for soul fans a most highly regarded self-titled album. “If You Don’t Want My Love” became a single, an original pressing for this ‘modern’ dancefloor record recently onsale for £300. It is coupled with an exceptuional track from the album “Lovers By Night” not previously available on 7” vinyl.

          Rare A side, in-demand B Side first time on 7”

          Ned Doheny

          To Prove My Love / Guess Who's Looking For Love Again

          Expansion give the soulful side of the dancefloor another total treat this week with a welcome 7" reissue of West Coast wonder Ned Doheny. The LA singer songwriter did no wrong during the 70s and 80s, penning a string of sublime sonnets in the blue-eyed soul / yacht-disco sphere, but never quite got the attention he deserved at the time. One cut that did become a hit at the time, in the clubs at least, was the 1978 single "To Prove My Love", a nimble groover which riffs on Bill Withers' "Who Is He..." bassline before heading off into a loose and limber Steely Dan-style jam-a-thon few could match. Original 7” and 12” versions now extremely rare, so this release combines the best of both, with the 12” version on 7” for the first time, backed with the Doobie styled yacht rocker "Guess Who's Looking For Love Again". Ace!

          Expansion’s most successful and longest running compilation series returns with a 2017 edition. The concept remains the same, fifteen must-have modern soul room gems taken from the year’s biggest dance floor spins on the soul scene. While tracks here have topped UK soul charts, many have not been available in all formats. Once again, attention is paid to the ‘flow’ of the 15 gems chosen here from shuffling beats to boogie to more soulful house as played at modern soul events. Participants this year include Omar with Los Charly’s Orchestra, Tawatha Agree (voice of Mtume’s “Juicy Fruit”) with Aeroplane, Kenny Thomas with Thames River Soul produced by and featuring Incognito, and both Wez and The Groove Association formerly members of Brit Funk group Second Image. Leela James is here after her stint in a US realty TV show “R&B Divas: Los Angeles”, other guests including Amp Fiddler, Faith Evans, Trina Broussard and Lifford.

          Biggest modern soul room tracks of 2017 Most tracks released on physical format for the first time.

          Lamont Dozier

          You Made Me A Believer / Starting Over

          Following his role establishing the Motown sound as part of Holland/Dozier/Holland, Lamont went solo and these two tracks come from his 1981 album “Working On You”. Originally released by Columbia in the smooth, lush sounding style of the day, complete with Lamont’s signature vocal, neither of the two tracks here were released as single despite finding huge favour with modern soul audiences. “You Made Me A Believer” is one of his most enduring soul night floorfillers. Expansion also released the full “Working On You” album on remastered CD.

          Gordon Grody

          Exclusively Yours / After Loving You

          Gordon Grody recorded an album “Exclusively Yours” for RCA in 1977 and the title track became a dance floor success without being released as a single. He came to RCA via working with Vicki Sue Robinson a year earlier Gordon would become a background singer appearing in the 1978 movie “The Wiz” and proving accompany vocals with Phyllis Hyman (“Somewhere In My Lifetime”), Change (“Miracles”), Spyro Gyra (“Morning Dance”), George Benson (“20/20”) and numerous others.


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