Music Reviews

Show: New reviews | Artists beginning with: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0-9 | Compilations
Overflow / Edwin Sanz

Edwin Sanz - Overflow

Alex Wilson Records

Percussionist Edwin Sanz might be known more for his work with the European based band Mercadonega however he's done far more than that. After many successful years with them he went on to perform with the Cuban Orchestra known as Rodrigo & Gabriel. With "Overflow" his second release as a solo artist he's poised to become a household name. Sanz adds zest to his original compositions and a few covers as well. "Ella" kicks off with a soothing piano melody followed up with Elvin Castillo on vocals "Something About You" originally penned by soul singer Anthony David is transformed it into an infectious merengue. "Eres Tu" is a tender Latin ballad that features Wladimir Patz on vocals. "Overflow" represents the global influences that have helped shaped Sanz blossoming career. This is an engaging disc that's firing on all cylinders you'll no doubt enjoy.

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Reg Dancy, 02/17

Boogie Breakdown South African Synth Disco 1980-1984 / Various Artists

Various Artists - Boogie Breakdown South African Synth Disco 1980-1984

Cultures Of Soul

"Boogie Breakdown" is a collection of the eighties Disco period in South Africa. Compiled by Deano Sounds of the Boston US based label Cultures Of Soul and Dj Okapi, the disc highlights the largely forgotten period and the US influence on the artists highlighted here. The disc features two tracks each from six of South Africa's most prominent acts during this period. "Good Vibes" from Harari features sublime keys and funky guitar riffs. "I Wanna Be Myself" by Don Laka is filled with wicked synths and thumping bass grooves. These tracks could've easily fit right in the eighties boogie era and certainly deserved a larger audience. Cultures Of Soul compilations have successfully explored various rhythms from around the globe and this is no exception.

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Reg Dancy, 02/17

La Sombra / Chip Wickham

Chip Wickham - La Sombra

Love Monk

You may be familiar with Flutist and Saxophonist Chip Wickham from from his funk and soul projects.  Among his various affiliations are The Fire Eaters, a group he formed with guitarist Eddie Roberts from The New Mastersounds. From there he went on to play in the Craig Charles Fantasy Funk band. Ultimately his journey would lead him towards the world of Jazz and a collaboration with trumpeter Matthew Halsall. He would proceed to perform on Halsall's debut "Sending My Love". Wickham and Halsall formed a friendship which led to collaborations with Nat Birchall Go Go Penguin and others. "La Sombra", his debut  is comprised of seven lush compositions inspired by his years of residency in Madrid. The title track opens the disc on a lovely note, a gentle ballad with a haunting piano intro. Wickham caresses the notes tenderly while drummer Antonio Pax subtle jabs on vibes is equally satisfying. "Red Planet" and "The Detour" are rousing pieces. Each are ignited by Pianist Gabri Casanova and fueled by bassist David Salvador providing the perfect canvas for Wickham's rich phrasings. Wickham's bandmates are assembled from Madrid's vibrant Jazz scene share his vision and passion. It's quite possible you'll get swept away by this superb recording.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Astral Progressions / Josef Leimberg

Josef Leimberg - Astral Progressions

World Galaxy

If we've learned anything musically within the last two years, it's that the LA music scene has exploded like no other area. Trumpeter Josef Leimberg has been right in the middle of the scene, having worked with everyone from Kamasi Washington, Miguel Atwood Ferguson and Kendrick Lamar just to name a few. With his debut "Astral Progressions" he's poised to make himself a household name. Leimberg has brought along some of his friends who help share his vision. "Interstellar Universe" features the aforementioned Washington on Tenor Sax and embodies the big sound in the form of strings and a chorus found on his recent recording "The Epic". Georgia Anne Muldrow sounds right at home on the cosmic sounds of "As I Think Of You". Other notable tracks are "Between Us 2" featuring Bilal and the title track  featuring Kurupt. You'll no doubt want to hop on board this pleasant journey of celestial vibes and interstellar sounds. Leimberg's compositions seamlessly weaves elements of soul, jazz and hip-hop while incorporating his own sound. Thanks to this wonderful record, his audience is poised to grow at a rapid rate.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

French Disco Boogie Sounds Vol 2 / Various Artists

Various Artists - French Disco Boogie Sounds Vol 2

Favorite Recordings

This is the second installment by DJ Charles Maurice and Favorite Recordings "French Disco Boogie Sounds". This rare and obscure collection features an array of French and West Indian artists recorded between 1978 to 1986. "Funky Biguine" recorded by French Caribbean act Crystal is a nice boogie tune filled with percolating percussion and well placed synths. French vocalist Greg Smaha's falsetto glides over the mid-tempo "Sunshine". "Talk Me Mam's" filled with seductive strings and soothing keys would've been right at home in any NYC club during the peak of Disco. This is a nice glimpse into a forgotten period in the rich musical history of Nice in particular and France in general. Props to Charles Maurice and Favorite Recordings for their diligence in resurrecting these quality recordings.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Anthology Vol. 2 / Brian Auger

Brian Auger - Anthology Vol. 2

Freestyle

"Anthology Vol. 2" is the second installment of remastered recordings from pianist/organist Brian Auger. Once again Auger seamlessly weaves between bebop and greasy soul jazz with enormous results. Auger puts his stamp on jazz classics such as "Love For Sale" and "All Blues", the latter featuring vocals by Julie Driscoll.  "Funky Mama" and the Art Blakey classic "Moanin" find him stretching out on the hammond B3. There's also a number of tunes recorded by Auger's seventies band the Oblivion Express. "Happiness Is Just Around The Bend" is one and "Straight Ahead" is another. The latter is a touch of fusion highlighted by funky wah wah guitar rhythms and Auger on keyboards. "Black Octopus", never before released features  the Herbie Hancock 70s fusion band The Headhunters is another delight as well. There's much to enjoy here so pour yourself a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy fifty years of brilliance from Mr Auger.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Mr Bongo Record Club Volume One / Various Artists

Various Artists - Mr Bongo Record Club Volume One

Mr Bongo

Just when you think there are no more hidden gems to be found, Mr Bongo continues to impress us. Once again they have blessed us with loads of obscure quality recordings from their massive vault. The new compilation "Mr Bongo Record Club Volume One" features a myriad of musical styles from artists from around the world. With twenty tracks in tow, there's much to savor here. "Seara De Oxala is Brailian funk by Barbosa. "Fish & Funjee" is African Psychedelic funk from Lantei Lampley.  "El Mercado" is a very hard to find fusion recording from Venezuelan guitarist Alex Rodriguez. In order to get into this club you must bring plenty of funk and lay down some good grooves. All the artists here have gone well beyond that. This is a superb collection that will provide instant satisfaction.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Break The Habit / Sophie Barker

Sophie Barker - Break The Habit

Disco Gecko

"Break The Habit" the third album from vocalist Sophie Barker. Formerly a collaborator with Zero 7 and Groove Armada, Barker's latest release is filled with lush compositions and haunting guitar rhythms. Producer Alex Pilkington has orchestrated a intimate sound, limiting the number of musicians to allow the warmth to pour through the recordings. Each of these tunes are a delight within itself. "3 Things" features a searing electric guitar as the perfect compliment to Barker's melodic vocals."Breathe Me In", performed with a full band is a stirring number that will strum the heartstrings. "Let's Start Again" demonstrates the contrast in sounds with synths and trippy drums. Superb emotive songwriting and musicianship throughout, it will be quite difficult to break the habit of repeated spins from this wonderful record.

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Reg Dancy, 01/17

Afrokraut / David Nesselhauf

David Nesselhauf - Afrokraut

Legere Recordings

Producer and multi-instrumentalist David Nesselhauf latest release pays homage to the 70s period in German music known as "Afrokraut" This era fuses 70s Afro beat rhythms and German rock elements. Nesselhauf's infectious compositions pay immediate dividends here. The opening track "Boat Mama" has a funky albeit relaxed groove enhanced by cosmic guitar rhythms. "Come Along Bintang Bolong" features a spirited groove plus vocals from Amadou Bah and fellow Diazpora drummer Lucas Kochbeck "A Route Obscure" is layered with sublime keys and ethereal synths. This is a atmospheric journey that will arouse your curiosity to seek more music from this forgotten period.

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Reg Dancy, 12/16

Edda's Garden / My Trippin Mojo

My Trippin Mojo - Edda's Garden

Resistant Mindz

"Edda's Garden" is mellow soul from My Trippin Mojo. The Leipzig Germany based band's debut recording is rooted in funky horns, wah wah rhythms and soothing vocals courtesy of Sabrina Bornmann. Among the highlights are the laid back "Unconditional Love", filled with Bornmann's warm vocals and Christopher Mengel's psychedelic guitar rhythms. "My World" is a slow burning dim the lights soul with soothing horns. "Nice Grits and Cool Cars" and "One For sue" are funky instrumentals. Bassist Johannes Riedel recorded the band in his analog studio and the result is vintage 70s soul with just enough grit that will transport you back in time. A splendid debut from a band whose mojo will certainly get your groove on.

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Reg Dancy, 12/16

Havana 58 / Bahama Soul Club

Bahama Soul Club - Havana 58

Buyu

The fourth release from the Bahama Soul Club builds on the legacy of their previous release "The Cuban Tapes" "Havana 58" fuses the Latin and Bossa rhythms of the past with the vibrant sounds of today. Some of Cuba finest vocalists and musicians are on board to add a bit of spice to an array of engaging compositions. Olvido Ruiz, the lead singer of the Bahama Soul Club showcases her range on three tracks. "Let God" is bluesy soul and "Muevelo Papi" boasts an infectious samba groove. Sexto Sentido, Cuba's premier vocal quartet shines on several tracks as well. "Meyer Lansky" features the quartet's warm harmonies over a seductive piano groove and hypnotic drum snare. "Tropicana Flight" shows they're equally adept at turning up the tempo on this guitar thumping boogie tune. "Havana 58" is poised to transport you to a musical culture that filled with generations of great music. You'll no doubt enjoy the ride.

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Reg Dancy, 12/16

Down n Wired / Various Artists

Various Artists - Down n Wired

Perfect Toy

"Down & Wired Vol. 1" is a collection of dusty grooves compiled by the Germany based Perfect Toy label. There's a number of hidden gems here for the raw soul enthusiast "Tragedy" is up-tempo funk and the only song released by The Revised Brotherhood. "Going West" is a gritty guitar and organ grinding soul jazz gem. "Chain" is slow burning funk filled with blistering horns. While there were a number of funk and soul heavyweight groups during the seventies there were many groups that fell through the cracks. Thankfully we have labels like Perfect Toy to make sure they remain relevant.

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Reg Dancy, 11/16

Motor City Booty / Amp Fiddler

Amp Fiddler - Motor City Booty

Midnight Riot

Detroit native and veteran funkmaster Amp Fiddler has been a pioneer in the Motor City for over twenty years. The keyboardist/producer's resume includes a ten year stint in George Clinton's band as well as working with everyone from Moodyman to Maxwell. Released on Yam Who?'s Midnight Riot label, "Motor City Booty" is a 11 track dance floor burner that showcases his distinctive sound of formulaic funk and soul.  Among the highlights are "Superficial" filled with soulful dance grooves peppered with funky keys and percussion. "Soul Fly Pt. 1" is vintage 60s soul while Pt. 2 is a pulsating party house groove. Both versions as well as other tracks here feature the sultry vocal trio Dames Brown as well as contributions from Nico Redd and Alena. Fiddler's myriad of infectious grooves are synonymous with the Detroit sound and ensures you'll have a funky good time throughout this enjoyable disc.

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Reg Dancy, 11/16

Living In The Past / Jazz Chronicles

Jazz Chronicles - Living In The Past

Futuristica

"Living In The Past" is the third release from Jazz Chronicles aka DJ/Producer Simon S. Simon has created an array of emotive soul jazz compositions fused with hip-hop beats and infectious grooves. There is much to savor here starting with the opener. "Drift" is an ethereal tune filled with warm harmonic rhythms courtesy of Jon Lloyd on Bass Clarinet and Flutist Rachel Grennell. "Lately" is a sweet down-tempo tune layered warm chords and features the sublime vocals of Nicola Kramer. Potent rhymes from rapper Jack Jones grace the bumpin track "Serious". A blissful collection that emanates good vibrations and warms the spirit from start to finish. Simply stated another superb release from his Futuristica label

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Reg Dancy, 11/16

An Animal Orchestra / After Altamont

After Altamont - An Animal Orchestra

After Altamont

"An Animal Orchestra", is the debut from the London based group After Altamont. The seven track disc is an amalgamation of dreamy folk, electronica and live instrumentation. Founder Stavros Potamitis experimentation with electronics began during his early DJ tenure across Europe. From there he moved to London and cut his teeth with production and sound engineering.  His myriad of skills play dividends on this ambitious record. Among the highlights are "K-Band" featuring Shawni "Roots" featuring Kevin Davy White on vocals. "Yellow Circus" filled with haunting rhythms is spacious and dense. Potamitis's ethereal compositions augmented by enchanting vocals result in deeply satisfying listen.

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Reg Dancy, 10/16

Samba Esquema Novo / Clara Moreno

Clara Moreno - Samba Esquema Novo

Far Out

You can say that Clara Moreno's career as a vocalist was destiny. She is after all the daughter of Joyce Moreno and Nelson Angelo are two of Brazil's most treasured stars.  Clara's seventh lp "Samba Eequema Novo" is a reboot of Jorge Ben's 1963 lp. Among the highlights are a down-tempo version of the  classic "Mas Que Nada". "Vem Moreno Vem", is a sweet duet with Wilson Simoninha. Bassist Thiago Alves haunting bass sets the mood for Moreno's sultry vocals on "Quero Esquecer Voce". The musicians here are part of Moreno's touring band and the familiarity pays dividends. Pianist Joao Cristal imposes a gentle and enchanting sound while Trombonist Paulo Malheiros horn arrangements are sublime.  Moreno not only capture the spirit of Benoir's work but breathes new life into these timeless recordings. Once again Far Out recordings has released a beautiful slice of Brazil that you need in your collection

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Reg Dancy, 10/16

Child Of Somebody / Ross Mc Henry

Ross Mc Henry - Child Of Somebody

First Word

Ross Mc Henry is demonstrating that he is not only a monster bass player but a superb composer as well. "Child Of Somebody", his latest solo release is a reflection of his thoughts on the events in the world today. This wonderful record filled with sublime yet ambitious compositions, brilliant soloing and a premiere lineup of musicians. "Sketch" displays elegant synergy between Mc Henry and guitarist Dylan Marshall playfully exchanging licks before creating a passage for flutist Tivon Pennicott. "Month Vortex" features warm chords from Pianist Mark De Clive Lowe and Duane Eubanks beautiful phrasings on Trumpet. "Clean Break", an ode to Ornette Coleman once again finds Marshall out front accompanied by atmospheric horn arrangements. Pennicott featured throughout leads an impressive horn section that also includes NYC residents Corey King on Trombone and Marcus Strickland on tenor sax. As enjoyable as his last album was, Mc Henry has truly out done himself here.

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Reg Dancy, 10/16

Takin Over / The Tibbs

The Tibbs - Takin Over

Record Kicks

Record Kicks has proven time and again to be a haven for quality funk and soul music. The latest addition to their roster is the Amsterdam based group The Tibbs. After self releasing an EP in 2014 they're poised to garner a larger audience with their debut "Takin' Over". The eight piece band demonstrate that they can lay down some tasty grooves while lead vocalist Elsa Bekman lights a fire under every tune. "Dog Days" is a fiery tune filled spirited guitars licks from Henk Kemkes. "Until We Meet Again" is a slow burning dim the lights ballad. Guitarist Henk Kemkes spirited guitar licks add a little spice on the classic "96 Tears". Tight horn arrangements and heartfelt lyrics make The Tibbs an emerging band with plenty of soul to help you get your groove on.

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Reg Dancy, 10/16

Afterglow / Resolution 88

Resolution 88 - Afterglow

Splash Blue

Resolution 88 is a four piece band from London led by composer and keyboardist Tom O'Grady. "Afterglow" their second full length LP builds on their brand of jazz tinged funk styling with impressive results. Among the highlights are "three Four Or More". filled with O'Grady's spacey keys and funky bass grooves from Tiago Coimbra. "Raios Do Sol" embodies the Brazilian heritage of bassist Coimbra with warm and melodic rhythms. "Phantom Of The Oberheim" is another winner. Drummer Ric Elsworth lays down a funky rhythm and provides plenty of space for O'Grady's spacey keys and Alex Hitchcock's riffs on bass clarinet. Inspired by projects like Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters" and Asymuth, this is an engaging slice of fusion filled with catchy hooks and funky riffs in abundance.

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Reg Dancy, 10/16

Chris Sullivan presents: The Wag Iconic tunes 1983-1987  / Various Artists

Various Artists - Chris Sullivan presents: The Wag Iconic tunes 1983-1987

Harmless Records

"Iconic tunes from the Wag Club 1983-1987" pays homage to legendary London nightclub. A collection of funk, Disco and rare grooves has been spread across four discs by Wag founder Chris Sullivan. For those who may not have had the pleasure of gracing the club's dance floor will certainly recognize a number of these prime cuts. Gil Scott Heron's "17th Street" and James Brown's "The Boss" are some of the funky selections from disc one. "Life On Mars" and "Hijack",are two sizzling Disco tracks from the seventies from Dexter Wansel and Herbie Mann respectively. There's a few notable soul jazz gems such as Listen Here" by Eddie Harris and Rahsaan Roland Kirk's "Making Love After Hours". "Go Bang" by Dinosaur L (Arthur Russell) is a timeless classic that still fills a dance floor. A compilation packed with well over fifty tunes will transport you to a time and place where a diverse group of people gathered for good vibes and good music. You may not ever attended the club but after listening you will wish you did.

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Reg Dancy, 09/16

Blast Off / Paper Tiger

Paper Tiger - Blast Off

Wah Wah 45s

Paper Tiger is a six piece band out of Leeds that made quite a splash with their 2013 debut "Laptop Suntan". Their second LP entitled "Blast Off" picks up where they left off with funky futuristic hip-hop beats and layered electronic production augmented by edgy lyrics from the band's leader and lyricist Raphael Attar. In addition the group has enlisted an eclectic array of guests whose talents mesh seamlessly with their sound. Among the highlights are the intergalactic funk gem "Weight In Space" featuring Shafiq Husayn. "Same Mistakes" is filled with off kilter beats and synths. "Ooh" features heralded Stones Throw member Pyramid Vritra spitting over an obscure beat.The disc closes with "Ongami Sessions", featuring red hot rapper Chester Watson displaying his monotone flow over laid back moody rhythms. The expansive layers of beats and synths will make you move and doesn't let up. You won't complain, instead you'll just keep coming back for more. Another impressive release from the superb Wah Wah 45s label.

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Reg Dancy, 09/16

Go Deep / Nick Pride And The Pimptones

Nick Pride And The Pimptones - Go Deep

Legere Recordings

"Go Deep" is the third overall album and second on Legere recordings from Nick Pride & The Pimptones. Their impressive debut displayed a band heavy on instrumentation and capable of bridging the gap between jazz and soul. On this release they've totally focused on funk and soul grooves with impressive results. Beth Macari, who appeared on one track from their previous release "Reduced Phat Shake" has become the full time vocalist on all tracks here and that proves to be a great move. Her sultry vocals make an impact right from the start with "What The Heart Wants". a slow grinding soul tune made to order for a dim light basement party. "Give It To Me" kicks off with a seductive bass groove complemented by funky horns. "Good Day" is a sun drenched feel good tune certain to lift your spirits.Pride, who arranged all ten tracks sought for a deep soul recording and hits the mark.A deeply satisfying record for funk and soul lovers to play again and again.

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Reg Dancy, 09/16

The Boogie Vol. 5 / Various Artists

Various Artists - The Boogie Vol. 5

Tokyo Dawn

Tokyo Dawn, the Munich based record label has become a boogie wonderland for today's forward thinking artists around the globe for delivering futuristic funk and infectious boogie grooves. Volume five from the long running compilation doesn't disappoint as it features an eclectic lineup. One of the exciting newcomers on the scene today is Teeko.  The creative turntablist displays his wizardry on the thumping bass and funk tune "The Hot". If you like your funk with a heavy serving of grit and grime then you'll definitely enjoy "Databan" from Reggie B. Kaidi Tatham brings his twisted brand of funk and electronica to the remix of Ruth Koleva's "What Am I supposed To Do".Other notable mentions include Matt Matix, Soulpersona and Steve Arrington. Is there any wonder that year after year, "The Boogie" ranks in the upper echelon as one of the best long running compilations to date? There shouldn't be.

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Reg Dancy, 09/16

Family Dinner / Kylie Audist

Kylie Audist - Family Dinner

Freestyle

Vocalist Kylie Audist has been a member of the burgeoning soul scene in Melbourne for several years. Whether being a featured vocalist for the raw soul outfit The Bamboos or other musical collectives, her powerful emotive vocals are the driving force behind a number of their funk and soul tunes. On her fourth LP, "Family Dinner" Audist deviates from the customary hard driving rhythms of 60s soul in favor of 80s flavored boogie disco grooves. With the LP produced by Bamboos founder Lance Ferguson you can be certain that the grooves and overall instrumentation is in good hands. Evidence can found on "Sensational" for starters. Kylie's voice roars over a thunderous bass and synth groove. "Waste Of Time" is a mid-tempo tune with a dreamy melody, Kylie shifts to a softer tone and is supported by tasty horns and infectious guitar rhythms. "Rewards" is another winner, a playful swaying Disco tune laced with funky guitar riffs. Loyal fans are used to her brilliance, it's time for everyone to take notice.

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Reg Dancy, 08/16

Kon and the Gang / Various Artists

Various Artists - Kon and the Gang

BBE

In a short period of time, renowned DJ/Producer Kon has established himself as one of the masters of the edits as well as a premiere remixer. The Boston Massachusetts native made an impressive début with "On My Way" and now with his latest entitled "Kon & The Gang" he dispels any notion of a sophomore slump. Kon adds his editing skills to "Closer" from Truccy (Rainer Truby/Corrado Bucci), transforming it into an infectious boogie disco tune. "Can't Get Enough" shows Kon at his best. He does a brilliant job of chopping up the Eleven King classic and transforming it into a new tune altogether. With the Doc Daneeka track "I Promise" that features Seven Davis Jr, Kon takes an already scintillating tune and flips it into a thumping house tune. Essential house grooves, wonderful boogie tunes, this disc provides that and more. You need this in your collection.

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Reg Dancy, 08/16