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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.

Bill Brandon

The Streets Got My Lady / Whatever I Am, I'm Yours

    Bill Brandon from Huntsville, Alabama recorded between the late 60s to late 70s, primarily with the Moonsong and Prelude labels. Of the 7”s released, “The Streets Got My Lady” became prolific as an upbeat modern soul gem on his one outing for the Piedmont label, original pressings of this today fetching in excess of £350. It is (co)-written, arranged and produced by Moses C. Dillard who would take Bill to Prelude Records for his one self-titled album in 1977. Earlier Bill had worked with Sam Dees and Fredrick Knight at Moonsong, along the way recording “Whatever I Am, I’m Yours” which has also become in demand and exchanges hands for over £250. Hence this release represents both great music and amazing value.

    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.


    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.

      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.

      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.


        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!

        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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