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MELODIES INTERNATIONAL

Womack & Womack

MPB - Missin' Persons Bureau

    With MEL011, it is Melodies International’s immense pleasure to direct their focus towards both Soul and House royalty, selecting and reissuing two of Frankie Knuckles’ scarcer remixes of an all time classic: Womack & Womack – MPB (Missin’ Persons Bureau).

    Now known as Zekkariyas and Zeriiya, partners Cecil and Linda Womack, two eminent members in an extensive lineage of music artistry (i.e. Bobby Womack was Zekkariyas’ brother, Zeriiya is Sam Cooke’s daughter) engaged in one of music history’s most successful and exciting singing and song writing partnerships in the early 1980s.

    Zeriiya says her process with Zekkariyas flowed like water, their shared complicity and talent led them to write and produce strings of chart topping hits and classic albums as Womack & Womack but also for other renowned artists of the time such as Patti Labelle, Teddy Pendergrass and the O’Jays to only name a few.

    The original version of Missin’ Persons Bureau was first released in 1988 on “Conscience” (Island Records), a classic album with impeccable instrumentation and thoughtful and relatable narratives that reflect on the nature of life, true friendship, love or in the case of MPB, it’s subsequent loss.

    Following the release of the LP, Island records founder Chris Blackwell introduced the idea of getting Missin’ Persons Bureau reworked by House legend Frankie Knuckles and whilst the Womacks weren’t originally set on the idea of having their songs remixed by other artists, Blackwell who Zeriiya describes as a “record label manager seriously involved in making sure the project is what the creators really want it to be” had earned their trust.

    With these remixes, Frankie managed to turn a radio hit into underground club classics. The Paradise Ballroom mix conserves the essence of the original, reinterpreting the rhythm section whilst drawing it out over 8 minutes, with expert tension building and release clearly aimed at the dance floor. The Folk Version presents a beatless interpretation of the Ballroom mix, focusing on the uplifting vocal arrangements and mesmerising guitar performance, truly beautiful!

    MEL011 comes forth as a 12” with the original artwork, restored and lovingly re-mastered from the original tapes.

    With its latest reissue, Majik’s "Back Into Your Heart", Melodies International dig deep into the back catalogue of Hi Records, legendary soul label from Memphis founded in the 1950s.
    Originally signed as a recording artist, Willie Mitchell took the reigns of the label and guided it through its most successful period in the 1970s, notably producing a string of studio recordings for Al Green, Syl Johnson and O.V. right among other eminent soul musicians of the time. Whilst the Hi Records catalogue shifted hands multiple times since the late 1970s, it was mainly exploited as a means to reissue recordings from Al Green and other high profile Hi Records artists (notably by Motown) while the label’s more obscure back catalogue remained largely untouched. Years later, a few of the lesser known one offs from the label’s vaults have found a second life amonst collectors, DJs and dancefloors the world over. Instilled with the distinctively raw Hi records production and a floor ready 4/4, cuts such as Africano's "Open Your Hearts" have become classics at You're A Melody, and their latest reissue looks set to join it. "Back Into Your Heart" does its thang with the uptempo bump of a disco winner, the emotive vocals and outrageous playing of a soul classic and the aggression and attitude of a funk bomb. Think Theo, Jeremy Underground, MCDE or Floating Points and you're in the right record bags. Skip to the flip and "Dance. Dance, Dance" keeps the party powering on with a squelching bassline, wild clavinet riffs and an incessant groove. Licensed and re-mastered, MEL010 comes forth in its original 7” format with a folded 14”x14” poster designed by Mafalda.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Outrageous disco funk here on Melodies International's latest reissue heater. Rescued from the vaults of Hi Records, Majik do their thing with two unstoppable uptempo jams that are guaranteed to make you "ugh" with their total funk power.

    It is Melodies International’s greatest pleasure to bring forth its latest reissue comprising two stripped-back, reflective pieces of US folk soul. Largely forgotten for the past forty-odd years, Bobby Wright (now Abu Talib)’s "Blood Of An American" and "Everyone Should Have His Day" resurface as politically-infused works that shine bright and still hold meaning to this day.

    The 60s and 70s constituted an exceptional era for its unique blend of popular culture and political radicalism. Household names such as Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron used art to express their discontent with the current state of affairs, namely the US government’s involvement in warfare and their inability to deal with critical social issues of the time. Though not a musician, Muhammad Ali (born Cassius Clay Jr) was advocating a similar anti-government stance in the boxing ring, and his objection to serving in the Vietnam War sealed his status as an icon for the wider counterculture generation. Meanwhile in Queens, New York City, Abu used to work several jobs as a construction worker and cab driver – but still found time to play with his band in clubs for $100 a night to support his family. Against the backdrop of international conflict and violence, most of his surroundings failed to listen to how he felt. However, he considered music to be the greatest form of communication with the world and it was his belief that a positive message should be spread to future generations. After one band member was killed in Vietnam and another went into the service, Abu resolved to pick up his guitar and record these songs as a duet in 1974 with his bassist – the only other remaining band member. Combining guitar, bass and a voice that quavers with emotion he self-released the record in 1974, one which holds its own alongside the all-time greats.

    These songs of introspection remind us of the beauty there is in simplicity and how moving art can be when the feelings expressed come from the heart. MEL009 will be released in its original 7” format alongside a 16-page Melozine, featuring words from Abu Talib, social studies professor Paul Rekret and much more.


    Melodies International proudly moves forward with an elusive piece of mid-tempo Chicago soul originally performed by Gloria J. Jennings in 1977.

    Gloria was signed to Stage Productions as a gospel singer with pure and raw talent she had developed in the choir of her father's Southern Baptist Church. She was 16 years old at the time. To tutor her for R&B vocals, Willie C. Nance of Stage Productions spent 3 months taking the artist back and forth for vocal training 25 miles each way, 3 days per week.

    At the time, Mr. Nance had made plans to work with singer and songwriter Theresa Eagins to record “Know What You Want”. However, two days before the recording was set to begin, Ms. Eagins refused to move forward with the recording as she chose to take her religious faith more seriously and forgo the singing of secular music. Hence, Stage Productions turned to Gloria Jay to perform a song that would go on to move people thousands of miles away, many years later.

    One of them was Patrick Forge: “Back around 1990 I had a residency upstairs at the Wag Club on a Friday night alongside Paul Martin (he was Gilles P’s A&R right hand man at Talkin Loud), the night was called Respect and we played mainly Soul, Boogie and Jazz-Funk. Many years later I bumped into Paul at a record shop and he quizzed me about a tune I used to play at the end of the night at Respect. Hhe described it as being an independent Soul seven inch on a red label, slow to mid tempo... and more to the point a bullet of a record. It piqued my curiosity so much I burrowed through my seven inches and even made Paul a compilation of likely contenders; his response was “lovely selection, but it’s not on there!”. Damn, a mystery! Many moons later whilst I was living in Japan, my tenant in my London flat said she’d found an old mixtape I’d done for her way back when and was desperate to know the identity of something she was calling the “choo choo song”. Eventually when I was back in London she played the mixtape and I quickly identified her tune as “Fabrica” by Cesar Mariano, however letting the tape play some time later a familiar descending chord sequence catapulted me back to those Friday nights at The Wag, and Gloria Jay’s plaintive vocals reminded me of a record that had been absent from my life for far too long. I’ve no idea what happened to my original copy, I hunted another one down straight away, and I’ve kept it close ever since. “Know What You Want” is a song that goes deep in such a simple, unaffected, almost naive way, Gloria's voice is both sweet and raw, it’s built on simple chords and obvious instrumentation, but it’s so much greater than the sum of its parts.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Millie says: Gloria Jay swings us into a soulful haze of funky beats and heavenly vocals which just make you wanna groove! Charmingly simple yet filled with beautifully composed aspects which bring this to life with soul.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    7" Info: 7” comes with a 14” by 14” fold out poster.

    A few years ago, Melodies family members Floating Points and DJ Red Greg got their hands on a couple of original 70s obscurities. While these standout records shone brightly in their own right, the two DJs saw the potential to create their own edits behind the scenes, finely attuning the original versions to modern-day dancefloor standards. Of these new recordings, they cut only five copies for themselves and a few DJ friends of theirs. Fast forward to today and Melodies International have fully licensed & lovingly mastered to the highest possible standards before carefully editting the tracks to dial up that dancefloor enjoyment. Maurice Moore’s ethereal Hammond bass soul anthem “Everything That Shines Ain’t Gold”, is pressed as a 12-inch, with parts 1 and 2 from the original 7-inch merged on one side, and the FP edit on the flip. A multi-instrumentalist, the talented Moore grew up in Chicago listening to music from the local scene, including the likes of Etta James, Boe Diddly and Chuck Berry. Unable to pay for guitar lessons, Moore learned what a major, a minor and a 7th chord were from his uncle and went from there.  After opening for legendary acts such as James Brown, Parliament, Funkadelic and Kool & the Gang, Moore and his band went on to record their debut album in 1976 before he took a back seat in the 80s to focus on the business side of things – a period when he fell in love with the process of bringing amazing music to the world. To this day, this record holds true to his passion. Written in 20 minutes, “Everything That Shines Ain’t Gold” gains a new lease of life on MEL7 - exactly 40 years after its original 1977 release.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Ltd 12" Info: Limited edition 12" and 16 page 'Melozine'.

    A few years ago, Melodies family members Floating Points and DJ Red Greg got their hands on a couple of original 70s obscurities. While these standout records shone brightly in their own right, the two DJs saw the potential to create their own edits behind the scenes, finely attuning the original versions to modern-day dancefloor standards. Of these new recordings, they cut only five copies for themselves and a few DJ friends of theirs. Today, Melodies International unleashes the first of these two floor flaying reworks on the general public - fully licensed, lovingly mastered to the highest possible standards and carefully edited to dial up that dancefloor enjoyment. MEL6 arrives as a 7-inch, with the original version and the edit on the flip. First released in 1979 as a three-minute up-tempo library recording, “Disco Baby”, one of 10 tracks off a record available to license for film, radio, television and other media, held some hidden magic that would only get uncovered almost four decades later. Informed by years of combined dancefloor experience, Floating Points and Red Greg have slightly tweaked the original material, realising that played in the right context, it can become a true disco anthem. Cramping 4/4 drums, driving bass, smooth strings and dramatic horn licks combine to dominate the chorus, while slick rhythm guitar, warm Rhodes solos and spaced out synth action decorate the irresistible verses. This 'You’re A Melody’ classic wasn’t originally meant to get an official release, but due to popular request, it's now available to play and share in very special moments at parties around the world.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Patrick says: Melodies mainstays Floating Points and Red Greg get their groove on like Donkey Kong here, tearing the floor up with a divine disco edit. Working their magic on a warm and soulful Library rarity, the duo give you a fully loaded, funked out treat for your next party.


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