The Dragons - BFINinja Tune
Although recorded in the late 60s this is the first ever release of this album. It came about following DJ Food's discovery of The Dragons' 'Food For My Soul' on an old surfing movie soundtrack. He eventually tracked down the band to find they had recorded a full album of material which until now had never been issued. 'BFI' is very much based in psychedelic rock but with heavy doses of funk and jazz thrown in for good measure. 'Food For My Soul' is definitely the strongest cut on show but not to be overlooked are 'Are You There?', 'Sunset Scenery' and 'Your Way Too'.
Andy Allen, 10/07
The Expansions - MurmurationAlbert's Favourites
The Expansions are a quartet hailing from South London. They made quite an impression with their debut EP "Lavender". Their latest release "Murmuration" builds on their debut with more funk infused jazz and soul rhythms. "Pocket 5" is fueled by spirited drumming from Jonny Drop and a thumping groove courtesy of bassist Matt Summerfield. On "Cannonball" Dave Koor's mellow earthy synths along with James O'Keefe's guitar provide plenty of warm vibes. "Ivory Mountain" is an uptempo fusion highlight driven by spacey synths and a pulsating groove. The Expansions breathe new life into the 70s fusion period with this engaging record. They've learned well from their influences while creating a sound all their own.
Reg Dancy, 04/18
The Fantastics - Mighty RighteousFreestyle Records
On this eleven track set, the Fantastics demonstrate that they know a thing or two about making funky music. And why not? The band formerly known as Rev. Cleatus and the soul saviours has it all, the simmering horn section, the funky bass and sweet hypnotic sounds of the Hammond b-3 organ. They tear through tracks like “Don’t follow leaders”, a gritty up-tempo jam that has the band swinging and just simply having a good time. On “The Doctor is in”, they bring the energy down just a bit but still keep it funky and greasy. “Blue Sunday” shows a mellow side of the group. The track features Pete Collison stringing together some hypnotic guitar licks over a laid-back groove that features some sweet flute playing by Mark Norton. From start to finish the Fantastics provide plenty of funky grooves to make you move your body or just simply listen and enjoy. If you like the sounds of bands like The Meters or the JB’s then you’ll certainly enjoy “Mighty Righteous”.
Reg Dancy, 03/09
The Five Corners Quintet - Chasin' The Jazz Gone ByRicky-Tick
Although the CD was released a few months ago the beautifully packaged vinyl version has only just surfaced. If you’ve already got the 3 10” releases then you’ll have most of the tracks here. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the rest of the album is made up of fillers though. Far from it, in fact we’re treated to another 2 tracks featuring the vocal talents of Mark Murphy, ‘This Could Be The Start Of Something’ and ‘Jamming (With Mr Hoagland)’ a great spoken word outing. Also take a listen to ‘Case Study’ with Okou and ‘Unsquare Bossa’, a Hammond organ led dancer. This is an outstanding album by a truly outstanding band. Be quick though as the vinyl edition is in seriously limited supply.
Andy Allen, 01/06
The Green Arrows - Analog Africa No 1Alula Records
Highly significant group to come out of Zimbabwe in the 1970's who used the political upheaval of the time as a positive force within their adventurous music which brought together the different rhythms of the region. 20 re-mastered tracks taken from 1974's Chipo Chiroorwa LP and from singles recorded between '76 and '79 showcasing their mellifluous, dancing, guitar led funky African music. Excellent.
Graham Radley, 06/07
The Grits - The GritsFreestyle Records
With a name like The Grits, one would expect nothing but raw uncut funk. The group from Brighton delivers with a ten track disc full of funky instrumental soul numbers sure to make your head nod and leave you feeling nostalgic of the days when you heard tunes like this everyday. The disc starts out with the laidback “Ug Ug Aah”, this track boasts catchy guitar rhythms, the delightful sounds of the Hammond b-3 and funky drums that will make you want to move. The group lays some grease on tunes like “Jam Jam” and “Crazy Legs”. On “Funky Soul Brother” this track is supported by a serious bass line that allows the rhythm section plenty of room to create soulful harmonies. Most of the tracks here barely exceed three minutes but they make good use of every note. There’s no showboating here just a good old fashioned jam session that will satisfy any loyal funk enthusiast. This is a very enjoyable record by a talented band worth keeping an eye on.
Reg Dancy, 12/08
The Groanbox Boys - Smokestack TrilogyGroanbox Music
UK based Americans Cory Seznec & Michael Ward Bergeman with an excellent release that brings us the world of the train, the hobo and the American past. This is old time foot stomping American blues played on accordion, acoustic guitar, banjo, piano and harmonica. My pick is 'Hobo Heaven' a track full of feeling. Very good
Graham Radley, 03/07
The Haggis Horns - One Of These DaysHaggis Records
The Haggis Horns 4th album "One Of These Days" features a grittier bluesy sound while maintaining their trademark raw soulful sound. The slow grinding groove of "Curse Of The Haggis" is evidence of that and a pleasant sign of things to come. Long time member Lucinda Slim adds her sultry vocals to the mid-tempo "World Gone Crazy". On "All Fuzzed Up" the band demonstrates that they can turn up the heat when necessary. There's much more to savor here with appearances from John McCallum and Doc Brown respectively. Twenty years on the scene The Haggis Horns are still one of the premiere UK soul bands around today.
Reg Dancy, 12/17
The Haggis Horns - What Comes To MindHaggis Records
The Haggis Horns have been serving up their brand of funky horn arrangements to a long list of artists like Mark Ronson, Corrine Bailey Rae and The New Mastersounds, with whom they first premiered. With their third lp, entitled "What Comes To Mind" , they have solidified themselves as a funk and soul band capable of laying down the grooves to make you move. Evidence lies with tunes like "Give Me Something Better" featuring vocalist John McCallum. Lucinda Slim, the other featured vocalist adds some spice to "I Can't Stop This Feeling". "Keep On Bumpin" is reminiscent of early seventies boogie funk. Prominent backing vocals and exciting horns make this a worthy listen for funk and soul enthusiasts.
Reg Dancy, 01/16
The Heritage Orchestra - The Heritage OrchestraBrownswood Recordings
Already off to a flying start with the likes of Ben Westbeach and a UK issue of Soil & Pimp Sessions, Gilles Peterson and Simon Goffe's new Brownswood label now unleashes the outstanding debut from The Heritage Orchestra. The forty plus collective in collaboration with Chris Bowden present a selection of beautifully crafted cinematic jazz-funk arrangements. From the set's opener 'Mothers And Daughters Now Mothers', a nine minute epic, you know you're in for a treat. The drama continues with breathtaking moments such as 'Sky Breaks' featuring vocalist Liz Swain and 'Tell Me Stories' with Natalie Williams on lead but this is an album that really needs to be savoured in its entirety.
Andy Allen, 09/06