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FREESTYLE RECORDS

Roy Hamilton, Cosmo Bowen and Dennis Palmer go back a long way to the early 80's when they were members of a 9 piece funk outfit called Breeze - playing regularly Upstairs at Ronnie Scott's along with bands like Hi Tension and Gonzalez. In 1984 they linked up for this one and only 12" on their own HBS imprint - a laid-back stomper that has become in-demand on the UK soul/funk collectors scene - now given a fresh new cut & press thanks to Freestyle Records' 12" reissue initiative!

TRACK LISTING

1. Turn Up The Music
2. Turn Up The Music (Instrumental)

Zach Phillips & Olia Eichenbaum met online in late 2018 and quickly began collaborating remotely, and in France and Brooklyn. First working together under the name the Pearly Gates, they toured western Europe together in 2019 with a common band shared between Olia's project Œ & Zach and Ma Clément's group Fievel Is Glauque. After taking a year off, it was during the early months of the pandemic that they started sending music and lyrics back and forth. Before they knew it, the entire Perfect Angels album was written and recorded in under a month, with Olia & guests' remote overdubs taking a bit more time. It was recorded entirely to Tascam 388 1/4" 8-track tape with computers intervening only during guest overdubs, mixing & mastering.

TRACK LISTING

1. The Moat (feat. Shoko Igarashi)
2. All Love (feat. Thom Gill)
3. Orchids Are Not Sold
4. The Meaning Of Love (feat. Gaspard Sicx)
5. The Informant (feat. Ryan Power & Logan Hone)
6. Una Palabra
7. Exit From The Ultra-World (feat. Shoko Igarashi)
8. You're So Alive
9. Sightseeing
10. Sweetheart (feat. Vincent Pieuvre)
11. Fue Ayer
12. I'm Outbid (feat. Logan Hone)
13. Lamb Of Shame (feat. Logan Hone)
14. Touch Of Touch (feat. Vincent Pieuvre)
15. What Am I Gonna Do With You? (Hey Baby)
16. Angels Suffering
17. Two Minutes Of The Year
18. No Better Pain (feat. Chris Cohen)

Freestyle drop a much needed and fully licensed 12" repro from 1984, in the form of Midnight Energy's Front Line b/w Saving All My Love originally released on Wal-Brooks Records. Two slamming sides of spenny electro-boogiefunk from out of New Jersey, written and produced by Tony McLachlan of the Fresh Band (of 'Come Back Lover' fame) - dig in!

TRACK LISTING

1. Front Line
2. Saving All My Love (Long Version)
3. Saving All My Love (Edited Version)

Following it's inclusion on Athens of the North's fabulous new compilation of underground UK soul Just A Touch, Freestyle Records drop a sorely needed 12" reissue of Sonja Ryshard's Step Back - mastered direct from the 1/2 tape, and served with the killer dub on the flip. Grab it quick!

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Big spin on NTS' Full Beam! FM - previously exclusive to upper ring pyramid dwellers. Now available to the proletariat for a limited time only!

TRACK LISTING

1. Step Back
2. Step Back (Dub Version)

The greatest hits and rare grooves from legendary UK lovers group, The Investigators is some essential listening. First issued in 1991, this compilation collects together the groups late 1970s to mid-1980s recordings of bangers after bangers. The groups sweet-talking lyrics and glowing melodies are an absolute dream.

TRACK LISTING

1. Love Is What You Make It
2. Turn Out The Light
3. Close To You
4. How Could I Let You Get Away
5. Marley's Gone (Tribute To Bob Marley)
6. Baby I Am Yours
7. Summer Time Blues
8. Living In A World Of Magic
9. Woman I Need Your Loving
10. Run Away Child

Australian 9-piece Spiritual Jazz group Menagerie announce their highly anticipated fourth album 'The Shores Of Infinity' - representing the 3rd LP to be released by Freestyle Records from the Melbourne-based Jazz ensemble, founded by producer, songwriter, guitarist, DJ and recording artist Lance Ferguson (The Bamboos, Lanu, Rare Groove Spectrum, Machines Always Win).

Menagerie released their debut album They Shall Inherit in 2012 via Tru Thoughts, before releasing The Arrow Of Time on Freestyle in 2018 followed by the critically acclaimed 'Many Worlds in 2021. Inspired by both the post-Coltrane generation of the 70's and the current "New Wave Of Jazz", Menagerie have made serious waves internationally, being championed on Worldwide FM, Jazz FM and Jazzwise. They were nominated in the Best Jazz Act category of the 2021 Music Victoria Awards, and in 2022 performed as part of the esteemed Melbourne International Jazz Festival. Now, two years on from their last full length album, Menagerie are back with The Shores Of Infinity, further expanding their sound out into the music universe - a forward-looking, rhythm-heavy expression of contemporary Jazz that is steeped in the tradition but somehow also defies genre pigeonholing.

TRACK LISTING

1. The Shores Of Infinity
2. Kingdom
3. Earthrise
4. Arrival
5. Of
6. Danieda's Dance

The record was written and produced by Jim Duncombe and Chris Palmer - owner of London's legendary Groove Records and also the man behind UK funk/disco label Groove Production (Surface Noise, Linda Taylor, Caché etc). Chris & Jim had met earlier in the year at the Midem music conference in Cannes, and started writing together shortly after. The initial recording sessions were completed at Duncombe's Powerplay Recording Studios in Switzerland, with American vocalist Gloria Weems (then on a club tour of Switzerland) brought in on vocal duties. Palmer then added additional recordings and mixed the record down at Groove Production's London base. Criminally it was only ever picked up for release in super limited numbers through the South African label CCP Records - though Chris, through an ongoing licensing relationship via his Groove Production label, managed to license "Wanna Dance With You" and it's dubbed-out b-side "Wanna Version" to the legendary NYC label Prelude. Nevertheless the Lovelight LP represents a lost classic and a rare example of a transatlantic disco-boogie project in the era's golden period, in it's linking up of UK, European and American elements.

TRACK LISTING

1. Wanna Dance With You
2. Never Give It Up
3. Push It Up
4. Wanna Version
5. Don't Let Me Drop
6. Lovelight

Albert "Alchemist" Thompson's Promise Land, an EP featuring vocals from reggae & dancehall greats Frankie Paul, Joseph Cotton, Prince Malachi & Anthony John, representing a musical collection that has gradually evolved, matured & marinated over the course of the past 32 years - now finally seeing it's first ever release.

Albert Thompson (brother to the great Peter Chemist) was chief engineer at the storied I&I Sound Recording Studio after it moved it's base from Los Angeles to Jamaica in 1989, working with a wide range of heavyweight artists such as Dennis Brown, Bunny Wailer, Mighty Diamonds, Gregory Isaacs & many many more. During some studio downtime in early 1991, Albert laid down the rhythm track (itself a take on Aswad's Love Fire riddim, made most famous by Dennis Brown's iconic Promised land vocal track) with musical assistance from Tony Thomas.

16 years and a move to London later, Albert had founded his Alchemist Recording Studio on Brixton's Acre Lane in a space above the legendary Supertone Records - recording dubplates with talented local artists and touring Jamaican artists alike. Digging out the Promise Land tape, he proceeded to cut these 4 vocals on the version during the course of 2007. Another 16 years gone, and after hearing the tracks following a chance encounter with Albert in South East London, we felt they were finally ready to see release!

TRACK LISTING

1. Frankie Paul - Serious Time
2. Joseph Cotton - Trod In Africa
3. Prince Malachi - Worldwide Poverty
4. Anthony John - Rise Above
5. Albert "Alchemist" Thompson - Promise Land Version

Freestyle Records are proud to reissue Ambiance II Fusion's mid-80s fusion rarity "Come Touch Tomorrow" - originally recorded in Hollywood CA October/November 1984 and released in 1985.

Following a yearly run of 4 albums self-released between 1979 and 1982, Nigerian-born saxophonist, flutist, and clarinettist Daoud Abubakar Balewa then took a few years off before returning with 1985's "Come Touch Tomorrow", the first of two albums issued under the updated name of Ambiance II Fusion. Combining the afro-spiritual jazz & be-bop inflected fusion of his earlier work as Ambiance, this record took the project into more modern & distinctly cosmic planes with the introduction of spacey pads and drum machines working alongside somewhat tighter arrangements and solid rhythm sectons. Of particular note here is the B1 track "Boy What a Joy" on which a sublimely funky synth & drum machine throwdown is presented in prophetically lo-fi fashion - recalling recent stylistic approaches from the likes of Dâm-Funk among others.

TRACK LISTING

1. I Dream Too Much
2. Come Touch Tomorrow
3. Don't You Ever Take Your Love
4. Samba Para Mi
5. Boy What A Joy
6. The Camouflage
7. Naima

Fronted by former South London lovers rock vocal harmony group, Alpha (sisters Jackie & Jean Heron and Marlene Richardson), Take Three was the brain-child of writer/producer trio "S.H.E." - Steve Sinclair, Peter Hinds & Kevin Ellis.

Meeting each other at The Factory community centre in Paddington (now known as the Yaa Asantewa centre and in the last few years, The Yaa Centre) Steve & Kevin began a partnership writing and directing their own theatre productions as part of The Black Theatre Co-Op, which called the centre home at the time. When a song they had written together for one of their productions received praise and plaudits, the path toward writing and producing records began, bringing in more seasoned hand Peter Hinds - formerly a member of key brit funk groups Light of the World and Beggar & Co, and player with Incognito, Imagination & Loose Ends - to complete the circle.

Following on from Freestyle's reissue of the group's first single around this time last year, in the form of 1983's Tonight's the Night, we decided to drop another killer 12" from the Take Three vaults - this time it's their last single released as Take Three in 1985. Can't Get Enough (of Your Love) was originally licensed out to, and released by Andy Sojka's seminal Elite label. It features two super extended mixes - the A side's "Soul mix" showcases the girls's harmonies pinned down by a big & heavy synth bass groove before moving into boogie-dub territory, while the B side "Reggae mix" introduces an ofbeat skank heightening the vocal stylings' lovers-esque tendancies.

TRACK LISTING

1. Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love) [Soul Mix]
2. Can't Get Enough (Of Your Love) [Reggae Mix]

Lance Ferguson

Voo Sobre O Horizonte / Why

We're back with another Lance Ferguson 7" single pressed in collaboration with seminal Japanese record store Jet Set, following up on last summer's killer Brazilian Rhyme/Sweet Power Your Embrace 45!

This time getting the it's two selections from the second volume of Lance's Rare Groove Spectrum series, the stellar take on Azymyth's Voo Sobre O Horizonte (Fly Over the Horizon) and Ferguson's instrumental take on an all-time Balearic classic, Carly Simon's Why.

Cut loud to 7" wax and served in a polybag with Japanese insert. We won't have many of these so get in quick!

TRACK LISTING

1. Voo Sobre O Horizonte
2. Why

Two big 12" drops this week on Freestyle Records, in the form of both impossibly rare singles recorded by early UK street soul act Pause. Dating from the late 80s these 12"s represent some of the finest music to come out of this period of British soul music, and represent the entirety of the trio's known output!

Pause was a boogie/soul side-project born out of popular lovers rock group The Administrators - who recorded a multitude of sides for the foundational Harlesden producer/imprint Cha Cha before going on to found the Groove & A Quarter label recording a series of hits on the lovers scene during the latter part of the decade. Pause's Hugh Pomells recalls a desire to take the music in a new direction as being the driving force behind the project, with the group also counting vocalist Sinclair in it's ranks (who would go on to record a series of hit singles for the Dome label in the early-to-mid 1990s).

Preceding the smooth space-age soul of 1988's "Got to Know" was this, 1987's seminal electro-boogie jam "It's Just Amazing". As the only two singles ever recorded by the group, originally self-released in very small quantities, they have gone on to command massively inflated prices on the secondhand market. The first ever officially licensed reissues of these lost British soul classics will not hang about for long, so grab them quick!!!

TRACK LISTING

1. It's Just Amazing
2. It's Just Amazing (Instrumental Mix 1)
3. It's Just Amazing (Instrumental Mix 2)

Chartz were a short-lived Wolverhampton-based covers band who also performed original material written by founder members Bernadette (Berny) Cosgrove and Kevin Clark. During its short lifetime Chartz was a springboard for lead singer/guitarist Berny and keyboard player Kevin to showcase and develop their songs, following their originally working together to write and produce jingles. They wrote, arranged and produced this 12" Girls World in 1983 with lyrics "celebrating female strength and independence whilst loving and respecting their partner", says Kevin & Berny. Shortly after this they went on to win a Sony Songwriters of the Year award and moved to London to co-form Hard Times Productions, with the 1986 self-titled Hard Times LP leading to the single "Never Give Into Love" the year after for Supreme Records - and then came the exciting offer of a songwriting contract with Motown's publishing company in New York!

A 10-year spell in the Big Apple saw Berny's solo artist debuts on movie soundtracks "True Love" and Lonely In America", and, after increasingly lucrative publishing deals with the likes of Sony, EMI & Warner Chappell, she and Kevin were commissioned for songwriting projects with an exhaustive list of pop stars spanning from Matt Goss, Rick Astley and Des O'Connor to Gary Barlow, Sheena Easton, Gloria Gaynor, Jimmy Sommerville and countless others. Berny & Kevin also wrote and produced two platinum selling US number 1 albums with boy-band Dream Street, and their biggest song to date is the internatinal hit "Crush" by Jennifer Paige which has sold in excess of 12 million copies worldwide.

Berny & Kevin's illustrious career definitively went from "Chartz" to CHARTS, and here you are able to go back to where it started as we serve up the first ever vinyl reissue of "Girls World" (original copies of which change hands for over £100) with the extended instrumental and radio mix on the flip.

TRACK LISTING

1. Girls World (Extended Dance Mix)
2. Girls World (Extended Instrumental Dance Mix)
3. Girls World (Radio Mix)

Started as a reggae band, Chequers were formed by the Matthias Brothers, John & Richard, in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire in 1973. Inititally releasing in the early part of the 1970s (with their first single Rudi's In Love charting in the UK) their sound then developed to also incorporate Philly soul influences in the mid-70s, then releasing a rare but solid LP 'Check Us Out', in 1976. The group eventually evolved into a seven piece funk outfit in the late 70s, playing shows to larger and larger audiences and touring throughout the UK & Europe.

1980 saw the birth of the Matthias brothers' own small independent outlet for the group, Matthias Records. The press release of the new label's first single declared that their "roots in the reggae and soul music of the last mod era" were being brought up to date, now embracing "the music of today and tomorrow...". That 45 (the cheeky pop-punk meets ska cover version of Midnight Hour, backed with the uptempo instrumental funk of Move Up) didn't necessarily come good on that promise. 3 years would then pass until this 45 showcased the throughly-updated & stellar electro-boogie sound of Hard Times and it's equally strong b-side If You Want My Love.

Following this neither Matthias Records nor Chequers as a group ever released anything further - the record's scarcity (and hideously inflated prices on today's secondhand market) hint at low sales and potential distribution problems upon it's original release, perhaps leading to the label and the group calling it a day. Conjecture aside, there's really no denying this record slaps, and with discogs prices reaching beyond ridiculous levels there is only one option - get it before it's gone!

TRACK LISTING

1. Hard Times
2. If You Want My Love

Elvis Veira was born on the Carribean island of Nevis and moved to England alongside his pianist and music teacher mother at the age of 2, quickly becoming profficient on piano, guitar & bass by the time he was in his early teens. His love for playing music and singing in choirs propelled him on this musical journey, and his late teens to 20s saw him supporting top acts such Heatwave, Wham, Second Image, Katrina and the Waves, Mezzo Forte, Chris Rea, Shakatak and many others.

In 1983 he started working under the alias VeiraKrew, and a couple of years later in 1985 laid down this 12" at Bedford's Thatch Cottage Studio on a shoe-string budget. Backed up with the title-track's killer instrumental version and the b-side "Welcome to a Dream" it was self-released by Elvis on a x1000 run (since becoming quite the collectors item, with clean copies changing hands for up to £150 a piece).

Following the release of Sexy Lady, Elvis continued playing and working as a session musician and vocalist, going on to release a further 12" in 1988 signing to Stevie V's Beatbox International label for the house-inflected track "Good Stuff". Fast forwarding to present day, Elvis has had some time away from music but is now back actively playing and producing, alongside working with the OMG (Outreach Music Group) - helping to provide support and music therapy within the NHS.

TRACK LISTING

1. Sexy Lady
2. Sexy Lady (Instrumental)
3. Welcome To A Dream

Clarity were a group put together by Simon Wallace, one of the key figures of 80s & 90s British gospel music who would go on to found Chosen in the late 1990s. This record was produced and arranged by seasoned reggae & jazz guitarist (and later band-member with the award-winning Jazz Jamaica) Alan Weekes for his Bpop label, originally seeing release in 1985.

Just an all-round stellar record & one of the best examples of funk music from this mid-80s era, no messin'.

TRACK LISTING

1. The Way U Make Me Feel
2. Turning Over

Highway Motion

Clap Hands / Double O One Disco

Freestyle dig out another rarity in the form of a DIY brit-funk 7" from Highway Motion aka David Humphrey (a session drummer who played with Sparks, and with PiL on the iconic Metal Box LP & Death Disco 12"). Tinged with raw post-punk edge and 70s library music-style synth leads, this 45 is quite simply massive amounts of fun.

David Humphrey's professional career as a drummer began aged 19 with Public Image Ltd, providing some of the drum tracks on their iconic Metal Box album and Death Disco single. Humphrey would then go on to work with Mike Oldfield and then Sparks, playing with the latter on their Number One Song in Heaven tour, Top of The Pops and recording sessions for Beat the Clock and Tryouts for the Human Race (those sessions were included and featured in Edgar Wright's recent film The Sparks Brothers).

In 1980, Clap Hands and Double O One Disco were recorded under the name 'Highway Motion' - intended by Humphrey as "raw experimental tracks" they were both laid down on a 4-track and subsequently released on the DIY Star Records imprint. Rough, grooving, candid and playful; these two tracks seem to somehow simultaneously meld the burgeoning brit-funk sound of the early 80s with a riotous post-punk edge, along with a good dollop of synth-led library music.

Following it's release David formed the group Reflex, recording and releasing the Funny Situation 7" in 1981 - forming the only other title in the Star Records catalogue. A more straight-up brit-funk dancer yet still pressed and sold in small quantities, Funny Situation became a sought-after record on the second hand collector's market, and finally saw reissue last September 2020 on the start-up Paint A Picture label - garnering plays from from Gilles Peterson on BBC 6 Music and Worldwide FM, StreetSounds radio and reaching No 1 in Juno records Chart. David has now started to working on new music using the name Davey H, and released his first new material in decades recently on Six Nine Records.

TRACK LISTING

1. Clap Hands
2. Double O One Disco

Freestyle puts out another reissue 12" in their drive to unearth rare and classic UK funk, soul & boogie records - this time a much needed pressing of the late Candy McKenzie's heavy boogie-funk cover of Patrice Rushen's classic Remind Me. Produced by Candy's late cousin, and seasoned session bass player, John McKenzie (and licensed from the family estate) this was originally released in 1983 - and comes with an excellent dubbed-out 'Different Style' instrumental version on the flip.

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Candy McKenzie (1953-2003) was a North West London-based vocalist from a Guyanese family heavily steeped in musicianship . She began learning the piano at a young age, picking up vocal harmony from her father, a jazz bass player. Her brothers Bunny & Binky, were also celebrated bassists.

Candy would marry young in 1970 at the age of 17, though just one year later her brother Binky (who played with the likes of Cream, Alexis Korner & John Mclaughlin in the late 60s) tragically took the lives of her mother and father, along with Candy's husband in an attack at the family home to which Candy was present. Candy was also injured but escaped with her life.

In the years that followed the tragedy Candy, regularly accompanied by her brother Bunny, would find reggae vocal session work - often at the Chalk Farm Studios frequented by many key producers & acts. She found her way onto Aswad's first album and Keith Hudson's legendary Flesh Of My Skin Blood Of My Blood LP - and a little while later on a couple of sessions with Bob Marley for Island, under the supervision of Lee Perry.

The latter two parties took a keen interest in Candy, with Island wisking her away to Jamaica in 1977 to record an album at the legendary Black Ark. Her vocals found their way onto The Congos seminal Heart of the Congos LP, but the album she recorded with Perry was shelved - with just the Black Art holy grail 12" Disco Fits / Breakfast in Bed finding it's way to release at the time.

Back in London, Candy spent the early to mid 80s recording various lovers and funk/soul 12"s, including this fantastic cover of Patrice Rushen's Remind Me, produced by her cousin John. She went on to record singles for labels like Elite & Cooltempo throughout the '80s and early '90s, and appeared as backing vocalist with the likes of Leonard Cohen, Whitney Houston, Elton John and Diana Ross. She passed away in 2003, with her one and only album recorded at the Black Ark finally seeing release on Trojan in 2011.

Candy's cousin John McKenzie got his starts in the music industry in the mid 70s as part of prog group Man and communal festival rockers Global Village Trucking Co., as well as playing with the likes of Annette Peacock and Steve Hillage. His father Mike McKenzie was also a key Carribbean jazz figure in the UK throughout the early 1950s, through to the '60s and '70s. John would become a heavily in-demand session musician - playing with everyone from the Eurhythmics to Bob Dylan - while also finding time to produce this record, alongside a couple of excellent 12"s with Mel Gaynor as Finesse, between 1982 and '83. He would regularly tour the world as a live musician for a huge array of headline acts, appearing on multiple chart hits, and in his later years was a member of the excellent group Ibibio Sound Machine. He lost his battle with cancer in 2020.

This reissue is dedicated to the memory of both John & Candy McKenzie.

TRACK LISTING

1. Remind Me
2. Remind Me (Different Style)


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