Various Artists - Underground Hits & Exclusive Bits 2Wah Wah 45s
The second installment of 'Underground Hits & Exclusive Bits' includes recent highlights from the Wah Wah 45s label like the bright and breezy soul/jazz swinger 'Love Untold' by Sesong, Speeka's 'Bend' featuring Ben Parker, PTH Projects' 'What The Sun Brings' and 'It's Only Perfect by Man/Boy (Talc) featuring Girl. Of the exclusive bits there's another offering from Talc who serve up the Steely Dan inspired 'Wonder Bar'. 'Melancholic (Your Love Blinds Me)' by Luna & Bazis, is a solid bass heavy jazzy groove, as is Jamie Finlay's 'Any Given Sunday' featuring a powerful spoken word message from Dwayne Morgan. The highlights for me though are the tech-soul of Landslide's 'Solitary' featuring the delightful vocals of Ernesto, 'Blow The Man Down', an acoustic folk outing from London based singer/songwriter Rosie Brown and Scrimshire's 'Warm Sound' featuring Inga Lill Aker, a stunning orchestrated soul/jazz piece reminiscent of 4hero.
Andy Allen, 06/07
Various Artists - Underground Hits & Exclusive Bits ThreeWah Wah 45s
I can’t count how many dope singles have emerged from the Wah Wah 45s label. So when I heard about the latest installment of Underground Hits & Exclusive bits 3, I couldn’t wait to hear it. Right off the bat, I was rewarded with the seductive vocals of Stac on "Balls Bounce." The tune starts out soft and warm and after several minutes goes into another gear bursting with energy. "Step Forward" by Jamie Finley is a pensive ballad driven song that's equally enjoyable. Jamie’s voice is similar to Prince's falsetto. Jamie's forthcoming debut, also on Wah Wah 45s is going to be huge. Another anticipated project will be the "Middle Sessions." They contribute two tracks here“ "Used To Be" is a nice up tempo vocal track with strings. "Red Waters" closes the disc with a flurry of high energy jazz that could easily be embraced on any dance floor. It’s always a treat when an anticipated release exceeds your expectations. Treat yourself to one of the most satisfying compilations to arrive this year.
Reg Dancy, 05/08
Various Artists - Underground Hits And Exclusive BitsWah Wah 45s
This first compilation from Wah Wah is well overdue, and of course, features some of their classics and some unreleased bits, and every single track is essential. Excellent unreleased tracks come from Talc, Max Cole, Aaron Jerome and Jamie Finlay. These four tracks should be enough to have you running to the shops. It's also great to hear again 12th Floor's'Take It Back', Alison Crockett's 'Like Rain' and Unforecene's 'Don't You Worry' with Alice Russell. Bonus ball are the fantastic Belleruche, who should have more material appearing soon. Top marks to Simon Goss and Dom Servini for mantaining such quality over the years.
Simon Harrison, 03/06
Various Artists - Welcome To The People TreePeople Tree Records
This debut release from People Tree Records, appropriately entitled 'Welcome To The People Tree' focuses on folk flavours from the past to the present. Over fifteen tracks we're treated to tripped out delights such as Linda Perhacs' 'Paper Mountain Man', John Martyn's 'Glory Box', 'Swallow' from Circulus and a version of the evergreen 'Corn Riggs' by Marked & Joff. Joy Jones contributes 'Troubles (Cure Me)' but the real standouts are 'Pure English Honey' by former Mother Earth front man Matt Deighton, the poetic 'Where The River Bends' from Cry Earth and the outstanding jazz-folk sound of Grand Union's 'Morning Brings The Light'.
Andy Allen, 09/06
Various Artists - Witness Future Vintage Vol.2Kindred Spirits
Kindred Spirits is an exceptional record label, who always release quality but on ocasions can be quite difficult to hunt down, but with their easy to use website, we've got no excuse now. Volume Two of this series gives you more insight into their diversity and great artists based around the world. Included are Rednose Distrikt with a track from their forthcoming album with ace vocals from U-Gene. There's the understated Jazzanova remix of Heavy's "Wonderlove", Kid Sublime with Heavy's vocalists Nicky Guiland and broken business from Meikbar. Beat fanatics get a preview of Kindred's sub-label Nod Navigator with tracks from I.N.T, Tom Trago and Mwesles. Plus there's tracks from Build an Ark, Chico Mann, Rich Media, Jneiro Jarel and Nomo.
Simon Harrison, 05/07
Various Artists - World Circuit PresentsWorld Circuit
Double CD and what a wonderful collection of tracks there are here celebrating the first twenty years of this excellent label. They describe the selection process as ‘musical moments that we happen to believe in' when those ‘moments' include Ibrahim', Buena Vista Social Club, Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabaté, Omara Portuondo, Oumou Sangare andikh Lo then we all should believe. Look out too for unreleased tracks from gnawa master Mustapha Baqbou and Mauritanian griot Dimi Mint Abban plus a taster from the, as yet, unreleased follow up to Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté's 'In the Heart of the Moon'. As good as it gets.
Graham Radley, 11/06
Various Artists - Worldwide Family Vol.1Brownswood Recordings
Chances are, if you’re reading this then you’re like many of the World Wide Family members. You rely on taste masters like Gilles Peterson to showcase the hidden gems you would otherwise miss out on. Well Vol.1 of the World Wide family mixtape series provides just that, twenty seven tracks ranging from house to soul to dub step to quench your thirst for progressive new music. Instead of Gilles doing the heavy lifting, the job has been placed in the capable hands of world renowned DJ’s Lefto and Simbad. Lefto compiled the mixup for disc 1and serenades us with a slice of electronica with “Meeting Point” by Damage Is Done. The Brass Roots funky horn cover of Inner City’s “Good Life” was easily one of my favorite singles of 2010. Not to be outdone, Simbad serves up some equally hot joints on disc 2 with the rhythmic jazz of Afrikan Sciences and Kebbi’s “5 Spot”. Seiji’s “The King” is a tasty house track with wicked drumbeats that ignite instant toe tapping. There are many more tunes that you’ll want to add to your rotation so treat yourself and purchase now. Who knows? By the time you’re done Vol.2 could be on the way. That would be good news indeed.
Reg Dancy, 03/11
Various Artists - You Better Believe It! Vol.2Rhino Records
Compiled by Richard Searling, the 2nd instalment of 'You Better Believe It' features 23 (22 on vinyl) rare and modern soul gems from the vaults of Atlantic, ATCO, Cotillion, Reprise and Warner Bros. 1967-1979. It opens in fine style with Al Hudson & The Soul Partners' up-tempo 'I'm About Loving You', before moving through to Darrow Fletcher's version of 'Rising Cost Of Love', Johnny Bristol's 'Strangers In Dark Corners' and 'You're All I Need In This World' from Prince Phillip Mitchell. The Chicago soul sound is represented by Frankie Newsome's 'We're On Our Way' and Windy City's 'Hey It's Over' which are both pure class. Other standouts include the haunting 'Signed, Miss Heroin' by the legendary Sam Dees, presented here with an alternative mix, the heart wrencher 'I Want Sunday Back Again' from Bettye Swann, and Betty Lavette's 'Waiting For Tomorrow', both of which are previously unreleased recordings. Further evidence, should you need it, of why after all these years Searling is still held in such high regard on the soul scene.
Andy Allen, 05/06