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EXPANSION

Maxine Brown

Let Me Give You My Lovin / One In A Million

Ahead of the 5th Blackpool International Soul Festival in June 2020, Expansion are pre-releasing a re-release from one the participating artists, the amazing Maxine Brown. “Let Me Give You My Lovin’” is one of her most classic songs, originally released on Wand Records in 1966. Original copies are worth over £100, and her equally significant work “One In A Million” is equally sought after. Maxine recorded prolifically in the 60s and has an exceptional voice that has endeared her to soul/northern soul audiences thereafter.

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.

Stephen Michael Schwartz

Get It Up For Love

    “Get It Up For Love” is a classic dance song written by Ned Doheny. This version from 1974 is the first, later recorded by Tata Vega, the Average White Band (featuring Ben E. King) and Ned himself. Original 7” copies on RCA Records (featuring the single version only) of this exchange hands for between £50 and £100. It is coupled with the full-length album version, generally unknown from this little known artist. The new Diplomats Of Soul label through Expansion aims to deliver lesser know gems of the highest quality and desirability alongside the group’s own releases moving forward.

    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’.

    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

      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”

            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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