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Special Ed

 

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CD, LP, Vinyl record album cover art
New Teddy CharlesSalute To Hamp ... CD
Bethlehem/Solid (Japan), 1958. New Copy ... Out Of Stock
A salute to Lionel Hampton, but one that goes way past the usual – thanks to a very hip group led by vibist Teddy Charles! Teddy made lots of great records in the 50s, and this is definitely one of them – a batch of tunes associated with Hamp, but played here by a modernist hardbop lineup that includes Art Farmer on trumpet, Zoot Sims on tenor, and Bob Brookmeyer on trombone – all players who really help add their voices to the music in wonderful ways, with some especially rich tonal colors that sound great next to Teddy's vibes. The rhythm section is mighty sweet too – with Addison Farmer on bass and Ed Thigpen on drums – keeping the grooves past another Hamp rehash – and titles include "Midnight Sun", "He's Gone Again", "Stardust", "Blue Hamp", "Moonglow", and "Air Mail Special". CD
 
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Barry AltschulFor Stu ... CD
Soul Note (Italy), 1979. New Copy ... $12.99 16.99
An album dedicated to the late drummer Stu Martin – and a set that features some very dynamic drum work from longtime friend Barry Altschul! The album has Altschul really hitting some new notes in his music – stepping off with a bit more dynamic energy than some of his other 70s recordings, working with a group that has a nicely elastic feel – able to change sounds and shapes at the drop of a hat! Other quartet members include Anthony Davis on piano, Ray Anderson on trombone, and Rick Rozie on bass – and the trombone of Anderson is especially great here, adding in a sense of warmth, and almost playfulness at points. Titles include "Drum Role", "Sleepwalker", "For Stu", and a version of the Mingus classic "Orange Was The Color Of Her Dress Then Silk Blues". CD
(Official pressing of the CD, with full artwork – not the CDr pressing found at other online retailers.)

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Leny AndradeA Arte Maior De Leny Andrade (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Polydor/Think (Japan), 1963. New Copy ... $32.99
Leny Andrade's a singer with a huge legacy of work in Brazilian music – but she sounds especially great on this rare early album with jazzy backing from Milton Banana on drums and Tenorio Jr on piano! The record's got all the depth of Andrade's mature work – and really shows her as a key link between the emotive modes of the previous generation and the jazzier styles of the bossa years – a balance that comes across here with a nicely personal feel, given the live setting and spontaneous energy of the record. The whole thing's great – maybe one of the best albums from Leny you'll ever find – and titles include "Embalo", "Vai De Vez", "Moca Flor", "O Mar E O Amor", "Vivo Sonhando", "Consolacao", and "Amor De Nada". CD

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AssagaiZimbabwe ... CD
Philips/Keyhole (UK), 1971. New Copy ... $16.99
One of the hippest blends of African roots and psychedelic sounds ever – a tremendous record from the UK scene at the start of the 70s! The group is a unique blend of the jazz elements of the Blue Notes group from South Africa – Mongezi Feza on trumpet, Dudu Pukwana on alto and vocals, and Louis Moholo on drums – with some rock touches from guitarist Fred Coker, and Ghanian elements on percussion and vocals from Terri Quays! Most of the other players have strong jazz backgrounds, and because of that the set's got a style that's different than the usual Afro rock outing of its type – more far-reaching and cosmic overall, with some especially great passages from Feza, Pukwana, and Coker. Jade Warrior make a guest appearance too – and titles include "Barazinbar", "Wanga", "La La", "Dalani", "Bayeza", "Sanga", "Come Along", and "Kinzambi". CD

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Roy AyersLove Fantasy ... CD
Polydor/PTG (Netherlands), 1980. New Copy ... $18.99
One of our favorite Roy Ayers albums of all time – and an overlooked gem from Roy's late 70s years at Polydor! This set's a bit more laidback and less clubby than some other Ayers work of the period – which means it's got this wonderful jazzy groove throughout – a sweet mix of midtempo modern soul and the vibes-based style that Roy kept on perfecting at the time. Tracks are longer than usual, and they really open up in a way that fits the title – slinky and seductive, but never soppy or commercial at all – that really special blend of warmth and wisdom that's always made Roy Ayers so great. Titles include the sublime title track "Love Fantasy", which begins with Roy chatting up some girl in the intro, then sliding into a nice smooth jazz funk tip on the chorus – plus the great cut "Sigh", a sweet little bubbling number with a wonderfully breathy quality! Other titles include "Believe In Yourself", "Betcha Gonna", "Baby Bubba", and "Rock Your Roll". CD

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AztecaAzteca (plus bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/Big Break (UK), 1972. New Copy ... $14.99
A crowning moment for the west coast Latin scene in the 70s – a wonderful Bay Area set that brings together some of the best talents working on that scene at the time! The set's got a great blend of modes – Latin soul, touches of funk, and plenty of the jazzy inflections you'd expect from a lineup that includes Coke Escovedo on timbales, Paul Jackson on bass, Lenny White on drums, George Muribus on Fender Rhodes, Tom Harrell on trumpet, and Victor Pantoja on congas! Vocals are by Pete Escovedo – who brings in a heady soulful sound to the set – and the vibe is a bit like work by Malo or El Chicano, but even more jazz-based overall! Titles include "Peace Everybody", "Empty Prophet", "Can't Take The Funk Out Of Me", "Azteca", "Ah! Ah!", and "Mamita Linda". CD features two bonus tracks – single versions of "Mamita Linda" and "Ain't Got No Special Woman". CD

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AztecaPyramid Of The Moon (with bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/Big Break (UK), 1973. New Copy ... $14.99
A really special record from a really special group – one of two sublime 70s gems from Azteca – a wicked blend of jazz, funk, Latin, and soul – all put together by a young Coke Escovedo! Coke's ostensibly the leader of the group, but there's also a richly collaborative feel going on – a style that brings together jazz players like Tom Harrell on trumpet, Mel Martin on saxes, George Muribus on Fender Rhodes, and Flip Nunez on organ – and Latin players like Victor Pantoja on congas, Coke Escovedo on timbales, and Pete Escovedo on added percussion. In fact, the set's a key early example of the strength of the Escovedo family – and like their best later efforts, the set really stretches out and pushes the boundaries of conventional genres. There's also some great guest work from Lenny White on drums, Mike Nock on keyboards, and Neal Schon on guitars – and vocals are by a range of singers who really keep things fresh. Titles include "Red Onions", "Mazatlan", "Whatcha Gonna Do", "Mexicana, Mexicana", and "Love Is A Stranger". CD also features a bonus single mix of "Whatcha Gonna Do". CD

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New Paulo BaguncaPaulo Bagunca E A Tropa Maldita ... CD
Continental/Discos Mariposa (Argentina), 1973. New Copy ... $9.99
A Brazilian underground classic from the early 70s – mindblowing work that mixes heavy percussion with lots of guitar – in a style that's samba soul one minute, but heavier rock the next! There's a bit of a Jorge Ben influence going on at times – particularly in the way the record uses quickly-strummed acoustic guitar next to the earthy rhythms – but the overall sound is also a bit more fragile at times, and rougher around the edges, especially at its most expressive moments. But that quality only serves to make the album more striking – an instantly captivating set that needs no previous cultural knowledge at all! Really tremendous stuff – the kind of lost treasure that will have you scratching your head, but loving it at the same time! Titles include "Apelo", "Grinfa Louca", "A Mente", "Tramba", "Madalena", "Mensageiro", "Cristina", "Olhar Animal", and "Microfones Metalicos". CD

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Amadou BalakeSenor Eclectico – Burkinabe Dance Music Of The 70s ... CD
Oriki (France), Mid 70s. New Copy ... $8.99
A definite eclectic groove here – music that has its roots in Mandingo and Dioula rhythms, but also features a fair bit of American funk and soul touches too – sometimes in the heavy grooves on the bottom, sometimes in the rumbling basslines and guitar parts too! The collection is a wonderful look at the early work of singer Amadou Balake – and it features material from the years before his international fame, when he was rooting around in a variety of wonderful styles. There's a gritty quality to most of the work here – and the collection is one that sits nicely next to some of the rougher-edged Nigeria Special sets on Soundway – offering up a similarly refreshing look at a slice of the African scene of the 70s that too often gets obscured by familiar world music cliches. Balake's vocals are pretty great too – but we'll be honest in saying that it's the rhythms, instrumentation, and production of these tunes that we're really digging the most! CD features 13 tracks that include "Aminata Du The", "Fanta", "Dounia Mokolou", "Djeli Fama", "Kambele-ba", "Warba", "Wayisjelequeyele", "Ligda Remba", "Doro Magni", and "Super Bar Konon Mousso". CD

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Andrea BalducciBloom (with bonus track) ... CD
Schema (Italy), 2013. New Copy ... $16.99
One of the most soulful albums we've heard from Schema in many years – a brilliant batch of jazzy tracks from singer Andrea Balducci – served up with backing by a great lineup of players from both the Ricky Tick and Schema worlds! The core approach is jazz, but many of the songs are done with a very soulful approach – a style that's a bit like Mario Biondi, especially given Balducci's use of English throughout, and his raspy vocals – yet more 60s soul in the end, with a unified aesthetic that really holds strong over the course of the album. Players include Jukka Eskola on trumpet, Timo Lassy on tenor, Gaetano Partipilo on alto, and Luca Mannuzta on Fender Rhodes and piano – and titles include "Hurt So Bad", "Spooky", "Within Myself", "Big City", "I Just Dropped In", "Time Will Come", and "The Meaning Of Love". CD features a bonus track – "Hurt So Bad (swing version)". CD

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BalojiKinshasa Succursale ... CD
Crammed (Belgium), 2011. New Copy ... $12.99 13.98
One of the most compelling combinations of global styles we've heard in awhile – a great second set from Belgian-Congolese artist Baloji! The set's got an unusual approach that's rooted in African instrumentation, run through European filters, and imbued with a bit of hip hop energy – particularly in Baloji's sharply-spoken lyrics – which are more bold messages than straight hip hop rhymes – especially set amidst some of the warmer, more flowing musical passages. The set features guest work from a wide range of talents – including Konono No.1, soukous stars Zaïko Langa Langa, American soul maverick Amp Fiddler, brass band Fanfare La Confiance, and the choir Choeur La Grace – all of whom leave their unique imprint on the set – creating a great sense of change as the music flows along. Titles include "Tshena Ndekela", "De L'Autre Cote De La Mere", "Genese 89", "Kesho", "Tout Ceci Ne Vous Rendra Pas Le Congo", "Nazongi Ndako", and "Karibu Ya Bintou". CD

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Ron BanksTruly Bad ... CD
Columbia/FTG, 1983. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the original Dramatics, singer Ron Banks strikes out here on his own – a slept on gem from the early 80s! The set's in a similar modern soul mode to LJ Reynolds, who also worked with him in the group, and was having a bit of a solo career of his own at the time. It's got sort of a D-Train feel to it – with classic male soul vocals over instrumentation that includes some slight electro touches, especially on keyboards and drum programs. Banks keeps the whole thing nice and soulful, thanks to some great vocal work, which you'll hear on the smooth mellow track "Let Love Flow", which has a beautiful down-tempo groove, and a nice two-step beat – plus the other mellow tracks like "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "You and Me". Uptempo club cuts include "Truly Bad", "Zap", and "She's So Good to Me". CD
Also available Truly Bad ... LP 19.99

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New Ray BarrettoEye Of The Beholder/Can You Feel It ... CD
Atlantic/Expansion (UK), 1977/1978. New Copy ... $16.99
Two massive records from Ray Barretto – both from a time when he was really opening up his groove! Eye Of The Beholder is a really wonderful album from Barretto – more jazz fusion than his usual 70s salsa – but in a way that we really really love! The album's a crossover gem that has Ray working with Stix Hooper, Joe Sample, and Wilton Felder of The Crusaders – a trio who produced the record, and add in some of their instrumental help as well – which helps Ray find this bouncy, sometimes funky sort of groove – a sublime blend of LA fusion and New York Latin! There's still loads of great percussion from Barretto – but the set also has some wicked keyboards, guitar, and lots of jazzy inflections too. Titles include the killer cut "Here We Go Again" – a great midtempo number with a perfect steppers groove – plus the cuts "Tumbao Africano", "Leti", and "Expresso". Can You Feel It offers sweet sounds from the days when Fania Records was one of the greatest things going on the New York scene – and some of its key artists got a chance to work for other labels! This set's one of the best examples of that moment – as Ray Barretto steps out here in some sweet soulful territory for Atlantic Records – on an album that mixes his Latin roots with warmer soul backings that have the same sort of full, rich sound of the best Atlantic R&B of the time. Ray's conga is still part of the sound – especially on the funkier cuts – but the album's also got some strong soul vocals, too – sung by Prince Phillip Mitchell on one of the album's best cuts, and by Cissy Houston and Googie Coppola on a few others. Tracks include "Sting Ray", "Can You Feel It", "What Part Of Heaven Do You Come From", "Stargazer", and "Confrontation". CD

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Keith BarrowPhysical Attraction (with bonus tracks) ... CD
CBS/FTG, 1978. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A great secular set from Keith Barrow – a singer who started in gospel, but who's always been best-remembered for this modern soul gem from the 70s! Keith's got a great range to his vocals – one you can hear right from the start, as he dips and soars effortlessly with a quality that's clearly inspired by the spirit – but set here to some wicked smooth soul arrangements from Johnny Allen. The album's got a mix of clubby moments and some even better laidback cuts – and the set also features a few tunes penned by Ronn Matlock, an under-credited master of modern soul. Titles include "Turn Me Up", "Physical Attraction", "You Know You Want To Be Loved", "If It's Love That You're Looking For", "Garden Of Love", and "Free To Be Me". CD features bonus tracks – "Turn Me Up (special disco version)", "Turn Me Up (inst)", "Physical Attraction (12" mix)", and "You Know You Want To Be Loved (7" mix)". CD

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Bruce BarthDaybreak ... CD
Savant, 2014. New Copy ... $14.99 16.98
Sparkling piano from Bruce Barth – set up nicely in a group that also features Steve Nelson on vibes and Terell Stafford on trumpet and flugelhorn! Both players bring in some darker edges that round out the sound nicely – mixing with Barth's lyrical lines on keys, which dance magically to rhythmic accompaniment from Vincente Archer on bass and Montez Coleman on drums. Nelson's especially expressive here – and although he drops out for three of the album's ten tracks, he still really helps shape the overall vibe of the record. Titles include "Vamonos", "Moon Shadows", "Brasilia", "Daybreak", "Triste", "Tuesday's Blues", and "In The Still Of The Night". CD

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Robbie BashoZarthus ... CD
Vanguard (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $14.99
One of the trippiest records ever from Robbie Basho – in case you couldn't guess from the striking cover image! The set's a blend of Basho's sublime work on guitar – very much in the John Fahey side of the spectrum – and more Eastern-styled elements from Ramnad V Raghavan, who plays mrdangam on all tracks – creating these captivating rhythmic pulses alongside Basho's guitar! Basho also sings and plays a bit of piano – both very eerie, and very unusual – especially on the last track on the record, which takes up almost all of side two, and has an almost Gurdjieff sort of vibe. Titles include "Zarthus", "Khalil Gibran", "Bride Divine", "Rhapsody In Druz", and "Mehera". CD

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Beau BrummelsIntroducing The Beau Brummels ... CD
Autumn/Warner (Japan), 1965. New Copy ... $9.99
The first full album from The Beau Brummels – an early Autumn Records effort before their headier days at Warner – cut with a style that could well make the group a key force to stop the British Invasion of the 60s! There's a great sense of jangle-pop throughout – a slight twang that would later unfold in different ways in Bradley's Barn, but which here works to give the tunes this little sense of sadness amidst the warmer melodies – which themselves are particularly great, and much better-crafted than some of the other US groups of this nature at the time. The boys definitely borrow a bit from The Beatles (including a name that gave them placement right next to the fab four in the record racks) – but maybe they're also drawing on some of the folk harmony groups from the SF scene they called home, too. Titles include "Laugh Laugh", "Just A Little", "Oh Lonesome Me", "They'll Make You Cry", "Stick Like Glue", "Not Too Long Ago", and "I Want More Loving". Special bonus – the back cover features some wonderful early Warner prose by Stan Cornwyn! CD

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Beginning Of The EndBeginning Of The End (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Alston/Creole Stream (Japan), 1976. New Copy ... $24.99
One of the rarest funky records of all time – the hard-to-find second album by Beginning Of The End! This West Indian combo hit it big with their first album on Alston, but this second set, for some strange reason, never really got distributed – which is a damn shame, because it's every bit as funky as their first! The uniquely choppy rhythms of the group's first album are every bit as great here as on the first set – and if anything, the band's instrumentation is even better, especially on the guitar, which is wickedly tight, and played with a super-dope flanged-out approach on the solos. Vocals are great too, maybe even more soulful than before, especially on the album's few midtempo cuts – and the album's a must-have for any fan of the group's funky sound! Titles include "That's What I Get", "Super Woman", "Bluestrain", "Jump In The Water", "Falling Apart At The Seams", and "Trip To Nowhere". CD

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William BellComing Back For More ... CD
Mercury/Solaris, 1977. New Copy ... $11.99 15.99
A really wonderful post-Stax album from the great William Bell – a set that has the singer still stepping out with all those great deep soul modes from the 60s, but also finding a hipper, more laidback approach as well! There's a beautiful mellow vibe to the record – one that recalls some of Millie Jackson's best ballad work of the time, especially in the way it warms things up with a bit of class, while taking away none of the power of the vocals. Bell produced and arranged the whole set with help from Paul Mitchell – and there's still lots of nice down home themes and feelings to the record, but William's also working with a bubbling groove that comes off great – and which updates his sound without selling his soul – making for a great set in the modern/southern mode. Titles include "Tryin To Love Two", "If Sex Was All We Had", "Relax", "You Don't Miss Your Water", "Coming Back For More", "Just Another Way To Feel", and "I Absotively Posolutely Love You". CD
Also available Coming Back For More ... LP 4.99

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William BellDuets ... CD
Stax, Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... $5.99 11.98
William Bell was one of Stax's first great male singers, prefacing Otis Redding by a few years with his initial recordings for the label. However, what's not as well known is the fact that Bell also recorded some excellent duets for Stax – all of which were only ever issued as singles, until this tasty CD set, which compiles 10 of those duets, plus 3 more solo sides. Bell's sophisticated vocals were perfect for the format – as he was sort of the Marvin Gaye to Stax's Motown-esque lineup of girls that included Judy Clay, Mavis Staples, and Carla Thomas. Titles include the sublime "Private Number", plus "Love-Eye-Tis", "All I Have To Do Is Dream", "My Baby Specializes", "Left Over Love", "I Can't Stop", and "Lonely Soldier". CD

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Chuck BerryOne Dozen Berrys (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Chess/Universal (Japan), 1958. New Copy ... $9.99
One dozen "berrys", all of them great – the fresh fruits of the labors of a young Chuck Berry – heard here at his raw, early best! The sound here is stunning – a version of Chuck that gets way past any oldies cliches – and which reminds us that at the start, his music was coming from the same Chess Records fount as Bo Diddley's riffing guitar and Muddy Waters' Chicago blues! The tunes all work together perfectly – and the familiar numbers fit in perfectly with overlooked gems that really make the album great – especially when Chuck's guitar is really given a chance to step out and solo. Titles include "La Juanda", "Sweet Little Sixteen", "It Don't Take But A Few Minutes", "Rock & Roll Music", and "Low Feeling". CD features an insane 14 bonus tracks – including "21", "Vacation Time", "Beautiful Delilah", "21 Blues", and lots of alternate and different takes of other tunes too! CD

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Bebo Best & Super Lounge OrchestraSaronno On The Rocks ... CD
Chin Chin (Italy), 2011. New Copy ... $14.99 15.98
One of the tightest records to date from Bebo Best – a set that's still awash in cool 60s influences from lounge, bossa, and soundtracks – but which also comes across with an even more spontaneous spirit! There's still a fair bit of programs in the rhythms, and lots of cool sound samples too – but at points, you almost get the feel that the group's jamming live, especially on some of the more Latin-styled numbers. Titles give a good idea of the flavor of the set – and include "Havana Jazz Dance", "Chill Radio Bossa", "Dakiri Bossa Dance", "Jazz Carnival", "Saronno On The Rocks", and "Mambo & Cola". CD

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Jane BirkinLolita Go Home ... CD
Fontana (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $13.99
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin take Jane's ever-growing trash rock aesthetic into the Euro club world of the 70s – and the result is an insane batch of tracks that are among Birkin's craziest work of the decade! She sings with an incredibly deadpan style – as you'll hear especially on the English-language versions of "What Is This Thing Called Love" and "Where Or When" – and the arrangements by J-P Sabar have a spare electric quality that work perfectly with Jane's flat voice. A real oddity, but the kind of oddity that kept Birkin a compelling artist throughout her career – and proof that style goes a lot farther than substance in the world of Euro pop! Tunes are almost all originals written by Serge Gainsbourg – and titles include "French Graffiti", "Just Me & You", "La Fille Aux Claquettes", and "Rien Pour Rien". CD

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Jo BissoLove Somebody ... CD
Marlin/Henry Stone, 1977. New Copy ... $9.99 12.99
Disco grooves, but with a definite difference – given that Jo Bisso had previously worked on the Parisian club scene, and brings a special flourish to this American album from the late 70s! Jo sings lead vocals on the side-long "Love Somebody" – a tune that builds strongly as Bisso gets answered by a trio of lovely ladies who really brighten up the sound – and who then seem to take over even more on the flipside working with singer Claudia Ferrari. This second side is even better than the first – as things get a bit more spare and stripped-down – snaking out on the smooth stepper "Your Love", getting some funky moogy touches on the P&P-like "Let's Keep It Together", and warming up on the mellow disco number "Thank You Baby". Special bonus – CD features a fifth track – not titled or credited at all! CD

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Black HeatNo Time To Burn ... CD
Atlantic (UK), 1974. New Copy ... $16.99
A stone classic from Black Heat – the group's second album, and even tighter than their first! The group's size has dropped a bit between albums – but that only helps them cook even more – dropping a bit of the horn section from before, which allows even more emphasis on their razor-sharp rhythms! There's a slight hint of Afro Funk in some of the rhythms – and the keyboards cook with lots of sweet clavinet lines – mixed with a production style that features some bubbling electronic elements that remind us a lot of that crazy "magic bag" that was used by the Lafayette Afro-Rock Band. That group might be a good point of comparison, but the band also shares a lot of Kool & The Gang's ensemble funk style – especially on their cover of "Love The Life You Live" – which they burn here beautifully! Other tracks include "Super Cool", "M&M's", "Rapid Fire", "You Should Have Listened", "Times Have Changed", and "Check It All Out". CD

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Black SheepWolf In Sheep's Clothing ... CD
Mercury, 1991. New Copy ... $4.99 5.98
A Native Tongues classic from 1991 – one that sounded great way back when, and has held up beautifully over the years – and rightly considered amongst the greatest hip hop albums ever! Wolf In Sheep's Clothing is playful rap at it's best, with funky and and funny cuts galore – but the title is apt, as the wit is pretty sharply barbed – especially when they're skewering hardcore and gangsta cliches. It's as brilliant as ever. Includes the massive "Flavor Of The Month", "Similak Child", "Pass The 40", "To Whom It May Concern", "Butt In The Meantime", "Strobelite Honey", "Are You Mad?", "Blunted", "For Doz That Slept" and more. CD

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Art BlakeyWitch Doctor (plus bonus track) ... CD
Blue Note (Japan), 1961. New Copy ... $18.99
One of our favorite albums ever from Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers – but a set that was unreleased by Blue Note for quite a few years! The set's one of two gems the group recorded in 1961, but which were held back until the end of the 60s – and it features a stellar version of the group with Wayne Shorter on tenor, Lee Morgan on trumpet, and Bobby Timmons on piano – all wonderful players who were really coming into their own at the time, and starting to bring a richness to the Messengers sound that would leave its mark in jazz for many years to come! The group is razor-sharp on the rhythms, but also really able to take new chances with their phrasing and timing – on a host of wonderful tracks that include "Those Who Sit & Wait", "The Witch Doctor", and "A Little Busy" – all real classics from this special group. Features a bonus alternate take of "The Witch Doctor" too. CD
(SHM CD pressing!)

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New Bobby Blue BlandTwo Steps From The Blues (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Duke, 1961. New Copy ... $4.99 9.98
An incredible record from Bobby Blue Bland – and quite possibly the greatest one he ever made! The set's got an amazing something special that's unlike most other material of the time – a bit blues, but a lot of soul too – still with some echoes of R&B in the jazzier charts used for the backdrop, but presented with a rock-solid style that definitely points the way towards many sounds and styles to come in the 60s. And although Bland recorded many of these tracks as separate singles, there's a way they're put together here that makes the whole thing sound completely marvelous together – a really well-conceived track list that shows that Bobby's an even greater artist in the space of a full record. The arrangements are perfect, and Bobby's rough soulful voice is blended in this amazing way with killer horn arrangements that are far more sophisticated than most stuff that ever came after this, and which never get in the way, but only back up his deep emotion. The album's a motherlode of classics by the man, with gems that include "Two Steps From The Blues", "Cry Cry Cry", "I Don't Want No Woman", "I'm Not Ashamed", "Don't Cry No More", "Lead Me On", and "I Pity The Fool". And hell, even his version of "St James Infirmary" is pretty wonderful – something we never thought we'd say about that song. CD

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New Blaze25 Years Later ... CD
Motown (Japan), 1990. New Copy ... $13.99
A fantastic bit of soul and house that was woefully overlooked at the time of its release – and one of our favorite albums of the past 25 years! The Blaze production team had been hitting the underground club scene hard for a few years with their raw New Jersey house singles – then Motown grabbed them in the studio, and had them cut this classic album of soul tracks that pays homage to a set of greats that runs from Leroy Hutson, to Donnie Hathaway, to Norman Harris, and a host of others – all with a sense of soulfulness and depth that goes way past their standard work for the clubs! The dancefloor tracks are great, but the album's also got some wonderfully mellow moments too – with tracks that include "So Special", "We All Must Live Together", "Missing You", and "Get Up". The CD version has the added bonus of being a bit of a "mini-opera" – with spoken bits that have a narrative quality, linking the tracks together in a way that didn't occur with the LP. CD
Also available 25 Years Later ... CD 11.99

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BloChapters & Phases – The Complete Albums 1973 to 1975 (Chapter One/Phase II) ... CD
Rev-Ola (UK), 1973/1975. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the hippest groups of the Nigerian scene of the 70s – presented here in two classic albums, back to back on a single CD! Chapter One is a landmark set of African grooves – very unusual in both conception and execution – with a feel that's unlike anything we can think of! There's definitely a rock influence in the set, but the music isn't rock at all – it's a very dark, almost dubby groove at points – and a bit more straightforwardly funk at others – almost a post-colonial style that clearly comes from a London influence, given to the group by a previous association with Ginger Baker. Rhythms are quite tight, and the bass is as strong as the drums – mixed up nicely with riffing guitar, and moody vocals that color the whole thing nicely. Titles include "Preacherman", "Time To Face The Sun", "We Are Out Together", "Chant To Mother Earth", "Miss Sagitt", "Beware", and "We Gonna Have A Party". Phase II is a critical next step for the group – music that's even deeper than before, but a bit funkier too! There's clearly some touches here of other African funk of the time – especially in the way the guitar parts groove with the rhythms – although those heavy Blo basslines from before are still nicely in place, as are some of the fuzzier production elements too. Titles include "Whole Lot Of Sh*t", "Atide", "Blo", "It's Gonna Be A Good Day", "Native Doctor", and "Don't Take Her Away From Me". CD

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New Blue BeatsBeatle Beat ... CD
Rock Beat, Mid 60s. New Copy ... $11.99 12.98
Not The Beatles, but a group who are trying to cash in on their fame – by showing a monstrous Beatle wig on the cover of the album, covering a horde of dancers – and by playing a whole host of instrumentals with a nod to the Brit Invasion! We're guessing the Blue Beats were some American studio combo – as the overall project doesn't have a real UK sound – and they've definitely got their chops, especially on the guitar lines – which are recorded with a nice dose of echo and a good deal of twang, and mixed in with stomping rhythms and the occasional keyboard line. Titles include "The Chocolate Pudding Slop", "The Swingin Spiders' Bo Diddley", "The Fat Kings' Twist", "The Broken Egg Frug", "The Cold Mashed Potato", and "The Big Shoe Twist". CD

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BohannonKeep On Dancin' (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Dakar/Solid (Japan), 1972. New Copy ... $22.99
Massive grooves from the mighty Hamilton Bohannon – the kind of skittish, nervous rhythms that made his funk unlike any other artist of the 70s! There's a sense of rhythmic progression here that's super-tight, but often quite subtle in its inflections – a mode that went onto have a huge influence on many generations after the disco era – especially house from Chicago and Detroit! Yet heard here in its original form, the approach is almost even more mindblowing – played live, with a hypnotic feel that's completely compelling – as the grooves shift slowly with subtle phases that often move independently of the vocals – which themselves are often just added to the mix as an afterthought. Bohannon wrote, arranged, and produced – and the record's a sublime blend of guitar, bass, and drums used in mighty fresh ways! Tracks include "Have A Good Day", "Dance With Your Parno", "South African Man", "The Fat Man", "Red Bone", "Truck Stop", and "Rap On Mr. DJ". CD
Also available Keep On Dancin' ... LP 7.99

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Francy BolandFrancy Boland Playing With The Trio ... CD
Rearward (Italy), 1967. New Copy ... $18.99
One of the few small group recordings ever cut by pianist Francy Boland – and a set that cooks every bit as much as his work with the larger Clarke Boland Big Band on MPS! The reason for the cooking is clear – Francy's got key rhythmic help from group members Jimmy Woode on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums – players who are way more than just partners with Boland on the session – more musical soulmates, especially from a rhythmic perspective – and able to work at that unique Clarke Boland level that's both lyrical and swinging, soulful and modern! The tunes are played in this way that really shows off Boland's skills on the keys – but never in a style that's flashy, just fresh and filled with surprising tones and twists – backed superbly by Woode and Clarke. Titles include "The Girl & The Turk", "Gamal Sady'N'Em", "Night Lady", "Myriam Doll", "I'm All Smiles", "Lonely Girl", and "Nights In Warsaw". CD

Partial matches34
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BombersBombers (with bonus tracks) ... CD
West End/Octave (Japan), 1978. New Copy ... $22.99
One of the more guitar-driven groups on the West End label at the end of the 70s – an outfit with a really great approach to cutting longer dancefloor grooves! Tracks on the album have a nice tight feel that's echoed strongly by the guitar and keyboard work on the tracks – not as spacey as you might think from the sci-fi cover of the record, but still with a strong cosmic groove nonetheless! The album includes the legendary break cut "The Mexican", served up here in a full version that's nearly 12 minutes long, and which has lots of nice congas and guitars! Other titles include "Main Man", "Don't Stop The Music", and "Super Max". CD features some nice bonus tracks – including "The Mexican (Paul Poulos 12" special disco rmx)", "Dance Dance Dance (Paul Poulos 12" special disco rmx)", and "Don't Stop The Music (original single)". CD

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BossacucanovaOur Kind Of Bossa ... CD
Six Degrees, 2014. New Copy ... $13.99 14.98
Bossacucanova serve up the kind of bossa they do best – a sweet mix of classic instrumentation and contemporary touches – but they also work here with some great help from a rich array of guest artists, all of whom really help the trio to deepen their sound! The vocalists are especially important – a mix of older and modern singers that includes Wilson Simoninha, Marial Rita, Elza Soares, Emilio Santiago, Cris Delanno, Moska, and Teresa Cristina – working alongside guest instrumentation from Oscar Castro Neves on guitar, David Feldman on piano, and Roberto Menescal on guitar – all players who are really respected by the group, and given plenty of room to shape the tunes. It's been awhile since we've heard from the trio, and the time has really helped them sharpen their sound – and continue to find a way to persist, where so many of their contemporaries have fallen away. Titles include "Adeus America", "Segure Tudo", "Ficar", "Deixa Pra La", "Rio De Inspiracao", "To Voltando", and "Waldomiro Pena". CD

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Helmut Brandt ComboBerlin Calling ... CD
Sonorama (Germany), Mid 50s. New Copy ... $14.99
Bold bass saxophone sounds from the overlooked Helmut Brand – a German player of the postwar years, and one with a sense of tone and texture to rival that of Gerry Mulligan at his west coast best! The work here is all previously unreleased, but shows Brand as one of the key reed innovators of the German scene at the time – right up there with the experiments of Hans Koller, especially in the way that Helmut can work fresh tones in with a strong sense of soul and swing! Many of these cuts feature trumpeter Conny Jackel joining in the frontline – folding his horn in with Brand's to create a cool wash of color – and a few other numbers feature Helmut alone as the lead soloist in a quartet, one with Roland Kovac on piano and Kenny Clarke on drums. Titles include "Bami", "Nordlicht", "Yesterdays", "Salute To Lars Gullin", "Love For Sale", "Berlin Calling", and "Sum". CD

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Brazilian Love AffairVoce E Eu – Joao Gilberto Revisited By Brazilian Love Affair Project ... CD
Fonte (Italy), 2013. New Copy ... $13.99
A sweet set of contemporary bossa gems – all older numbers made famous by Joao Gilberto in his early days – spun out with a very fresh finish here by the Brazilian Love Affair combo! The group work in a mostly live jazz mode, with just a bit of programming on the rhythms – and the album's especially heavy on Fender Rhodes, which updates an older bossa sound nicely – amidst older-styled instrumentation on acoustic guitar, Hammond, trombone, and flute. The vocals are great – with the same raspy charm of Joao's early recordings – that very human, very honest quality that made his singing so different from other vocalists of his generation – and titles include "Rosa Morena", "Desafinado", "Voce E Eu", "O Barquinho", "Saudade Fez Um Samba", "Ho Ba La La", and "Chega De Saudade". CD

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BreakawayBreakaway/Right On To The Top ... CD
Breakaway/BBE (UK), Late 70s. New Copy Gatefold ... $19.99
A pair of completely rare albums from Breakaway – a St Louis combo from the late 70s – with a groove that's equal part jazzy club and blue-eyed soul! Breakaway is the group's debut – recorded in 1977 with a surprisingly tight sound – especially given that the group were essentially a local club act who got the chance to record a bit in a local studio! The feel is very much in the best LA mode of the time, but maybe a bit looser too – with emphasis on some funky riffing from the male members of the group, plus sweet lead vocals from singer Kathy Newbry-Taylor – an artist who might have been pop, had she worked on the coasts – but who stretches her style nicely here. The album's been made famous by both On Track and Americana comps on BBE – and titles include "There's A New Group In Town", "Who Was It This Time", "Love My Eyes", "Understudy DJ", "Everything's Been Said About You", and "My Symphony". Right On To The Top is the second set from Breakaway – and the album already shows a great deal of growth – especially in the territory of rhythm! Breakaway have definitely dug some of the best club modes from the New York scene – and work here in a jazzy disco style that's filled with sweet keyboard lines alongside the female lead vocals – all with a vibe that's nicely stripped-down, and still lives up to the indie spirit of the group. The set features some guest work on horns, which nicely expands the sound – and titles include "Straight On To The Top", "You Are Love", "Back & Forth", "There's A New Tree In The Forest", "Work With The Music", and "Breakaway". CD
Also available Breakaway (with bonus CD) ... LP 22.99

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Magnus BrooSwedish Wood ... CD
Moserobie (Sweden), 2010. New Copy ... $18.99
Swedish wood, with plenty of brass – thanks to bold, imaginative work as a leader from trumpeter Magnus Broo – easily one of the most important voices on his instrument working today! The group is a beautifully tight quartet – and Broo's trumpet gains plenty from the equally bold basslines of Torbjorn Zetterberg – a player whose name may not be familiar to American audiences, but one who always seems to set a special sort of fire whenever he joins a session! There's a pulsating grace from Zetterberg that really gets things going – maybe the "wood" promised in the title, given the richness of its tone – which Magnus matches with this beautifully blown mix of soul and soaring, almost in a legacy of Woody Shaw or some of his generation. And the group also features added bass from Joe Williamson – making for a twin bottom-up groove that reminds us of similar sessions from the 60s – punctuated nicely by the drums of Hakon Mjaset Johansen. Titles include "I Hear You", "Swedish Wood", "Oh What A Beautiful Day", "Acoustic Kitten", "Thoughts Are Things", and "New Weather". CD

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Miquel BrownManpower/Close To Perfection – Disco Recharge ... CD
TSR/Harmless (UK), 1983/1985. New Copy 2CD ... $16.99
A pair of albums from Miquel Brown – plus lots of bonus tracks too! First up is plenty of Manpower from Miquel Brown– the Canadian club singer who scored big with the classic "So Many Man So Little Time" club cut in the early 80s – then followed it up with this full album of late disco grooves! Brown's vocal approach is in the higher side of the spectrum – and the cuts take off on the style of some of the Canadian disco modes for divas from a few years before – but feature some instrumentation that's a bit more 80s, especially in the keyboards and beats. There's a few older soul touches at times – and the album's produced by Ian Levine and arranged by co-producer Fiachra Trench – usually in a mode that's somewhat poppy and hook-heavy. Titles include "So Many Men So Little Time", "Manpower", "Beeline", "Sunny Day", "He's A Saint He's A Sinner", and "Maybe He Forgot". CD also features "So Many Men So Little Time (hot tracks Rob Kimble rmx)", "Beeline (Mike Mayberry 12" rmx)", and "So Many Men So Little Time (2009 metropolitan soul rmx)". Close To Perfection has Miquel Brown hitting more of an 80s groove than before – but still holding onto a few of her best disco elements – in the hands of the same production team as previous singles, but maybe also trying to reach for more contemporary club modes as well. Titles include "One Hundred Percent", "Learn The Lines Of Love", "White Lace", "The Easy Way Out", "Blind Date", and "Black Leather". CD also features "Black Leather (12" mix)", "Close To Perfection (M&M rmx)", and "Love Reputation (12" ext dance)". CD

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Randy BrownWelcome To My Room/Midnight Desire ... CD
Casablanca/Shout (UK), 1978/1980. New Copy ... $14.99
Two killers from Randy Brown – sublime 70s soul, back to back on a single CD! Welcome To My Room is a mellow soul masterpiece from Randy Brown – a crucially-overlooked talent from the late 70s, working here with a totally put-together vibe! The album's got the mature, mellow feel of some of the best work by better-known 70s contemporaries – like Leroy Hutson or Lamont Dozier – polished, but never slick – and flowing out with a sensual groove that's especially nice on the more laidback or midtempo cuts. Randy's vocals have some great deep soul echoes – much more so than other singers of this type – and mixed with the warm production from Homer Banks and Carl Hampton, they give the album a rich quality that totally grabs us – a bit like some of Teddy Pendergrass' best mellow work with The Blue Notes. Titles include "I Love You Baby", "Love Is All We Need", "Do It Baby", "Too Little In Common", and "I'd Rather Hurt Myself". Midnight Desire is a sweet, smooth stepper from the great Randy Brown – and a record that's got the same sublime mix of mellow grooves and earthy vocals that you might find on some of Tyrone Davis' best late 70s work for Columbia! Tunes are all plenty darn fresh – written by the team of Homer Banks and Chuck Brooks, who also produced the album – and Randy's got this way of hitting a groove that's confident, but never arrogant – a perfect late 70s masculine mode, of the sort only a handful of singers could handle this well! Titles include "Without You (I Can't Make It Through The Night)", "We Ought To Be Doin It", and "Do You Love Me?" – all of which have great hooks – plus "Do You Love Me", "Love Be With You", and "Love Formula". CD

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New Sheree BrownMessages From The Heart – An Extention Of Love ... CD
Expansion (UK), 2013. New Copy ... $16.99
A positive, powerful set from the always-great Sheree Brown – a new recording, but one that sparkles just as much as her rare classics for Capitol Records at the start of the 80s! Like those gems, there's a blend of jazz and soul here that's really wonderful – a special sound that puts Sheree in the rare company of artists like Minnie Riperton or Patrice Rushen – able to embrace so many ideas at once, and turn them into a rich new groove of her own! Rushen actually helps out a bit on the record, as does Leon Ware – although the main production credits go to Brown herself, who only seems to have stepped up her game in these recent years. Great proof that the great ones still keep on keepin on, if given the chance – with titles that include "Messages From The Heart", "Time For The Party", "Just A Simple Love", "I Think I'm Gonna Pray", "Getting Started", "We Can Chance The World", and a bonus version of Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love". CD

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Ray BryantAlone With The Blues ... CD
New Jazz/Prestige (Japan), 1958. New Copy ... $22.99
A very striking album – one of Ray Bryant's most noteworthy of the time! The album features Ray playing solo piano – quite unusual for the period, as most piano jazz records, especially his, were at least cut in a trio format – with additional bass and drums. Yet the approach works wonderfully for Bryant, and unlocks a surprisingly sensitive side of his music – quite different than some of his more soul jazz-styled work of the period. Ray's wonderfully unfettered here – hitting grooves with a level of expression and sophistication that far surpasses most of his other records. The intimate time on the keys never gets hokey or overindulgent – but it does let Ray open up and show a side that we've rarely heard on wax. Titles include "Stocking Feet", "Blues #3", "Joy", "Me & The Blues", and "My Blues". CD
(SHMCD pressing.)

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Ralph BurnsBijou ... CD
Bethlehem/Solid (Japan), 1954. New Copy ... $13.99
Amazing small group work from Ralph Burns – a real standout, given the amount of his larger ensemble sessions in the 50s! The album features Burns on piano – overdubbed on some tracks – working with a combo that includes Jimmy Raney on guitar, Clyde Lombardi on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums – all gently modern players who fit perfectly with Ralph's vision for the record. Things aren't as dark or as arch as on some of Burns' bigger dates of the decade – almost a bit warm at times, especially thanks to Ralph's piano lines. Titles include "Autobahn Blues", "Echo Of Spring", "Spring Sequence", "Spring", "Spring Is Here", and "Gina". CD

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Gary BurtonSeven Songs For Quartet & Chamber Orchestra ... CD
ECM (Germany), 1974. New Copy ... $16.99 18.99
A really wonderful setting for the vibes of Gary Burton – a special ECM session that pairs his quartet with larger orchestral backdrops – all conducted by Michael Gibbs, who also wrote the music for the date! Gibbs had already risen to fame by the time of this record – thanks to some groundbreaking albums for large ensembles on the British jazz scene of the late 60s – where he demonstrated a tremendous ear for intimate tones and subtle sounds amidst a larger group. Here, that talent turns out to work perfectly for the rich tones of Burton's vibes – allowing them to develop slowly and spaciously, despite the larger orchestra. The core quartet also features Michael Goodrick on guitar, Steve Swallow on bass, and Ted Seibs on drums – and titles include "The Rain Before It Falls", "Three", "Phases", "Throb", and "Nocturne Vulgaire/Arise Her Eyes". CD
Also available Seven Songs For Quartet & Chamber Orchestra (180 gram pressing) ... LP 23.99

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Burton IncLA Will Make You Pay $$$ ... CD
Jazzman (UK), Late 70s. New Copy ... $9.99
An obscure little set, but a great one too – a joint effort from Charles and Barbara Burton – served up with a really wonderful blend of upbeat club and modern soul modes! The album's got all the indie soul charm you'd expect from its title and cover – a simple, straightforward approach to the music that's often got lots of personal touches and genre-crossing moments – a great antidote to more mainstream soul of the time, but done with a fair bit of skill throughout! Instrumentation includes some great keyboards next to Barbara's vocals – and a few numbers feature chorus vocals that come across with an especially shimmering kind of sound. Titles include "LA Will Make You Pay", "Sincerely Yours", "Who You Gonna Get", "You Know I Love You", "Groovin At The Night Club", and "Nation Song". CD

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BwanaBwana ... CD
Acid Symposium, 1972. New Copy ... $8.99
An insanely wonderful bit of Latin funk! The groove is super heavy, and falls somewhere in between NuYorican soul and Chicano Power rock – with a sound that's pretty close to Black Sugar, but a little bit more psychedelic, due to the heavy guitars and keyboards in the grooves. Hard congas take the lead on most of the tracks – especially the cut "Chapumbambe", which starts with a nice break! Other tracks include "Tema De Bwana", "Motemba", "La Patada", and the massive Latin soul cut "Lolita". CD
Also available Bwana ... LP 9.99

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Jaki ByardSunshine of My Soul ... CD
Prestige (Japan), 1967. New Copy ... $13.99
A trio session – but a killer, too – very different than just about any other piano trio material from the time – with that special sort of edge that always made Jaki Byard really stand out from the pack! There's some very unusual things happening in the rhythms – some slight Eastern elements, a few trippy touches, and other heady elements that live up to the title – but in a subtle way, too. Byard plays piano throughout, but also handles a bit of guitar, too – and the group features Ornette Coleman's bassist David Izenzon on bass, plus Elvin Jones on drums and tympani – the latter of which is used in some very cool ways. Titles include "Trendsition Zildijian", "Sunshine", "Cast Away", and "Chandra". CD

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Donald ByrdDonald Byrd & 125th Street, NYC ... CD
Elektra (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
Smoking work from Donald Byrd – post-Blue Note, post-Larry Mizell, and with a modern funk groove that's still pretty darn tasty! Not one to rest on his laurels – which he could have easily done with endless Mizell-based recordings – Donald shifts his groove here towards more of a boogie-styled 80s approach – one that's got the same sort of loping funk that was showing up in the work of Tom Browne and some of the younger players on the scene at the time. There's a fuller, richer, more soul-based approach to the set – but still some strands of the Mizell years – especially in the album's great keyboard work by Clare Fischer, and its use of chorus vocals on a number of tracks. Wade Marcus and George Bohannon helped with arrangements – and titles include a great funky remake of Fischer's "Morning" – plus "Veronica", "Gold The Moon, White The Sun", "Marilyn", "Pretty Baby", and "People Suppose To Be Free". CD
Also available Donald Byrd & 125th Street, NYC ... CD 12.99

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Guy CabayLi Tins Les-Otes Et On Po D'Mi (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Disques Dessinee (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $14.99
Really cool work from Guy Cabay – a singer who's a bit hard to describe accurately in words, but who definitely ranks right up there with some of the hippest French talents of the 70s! Cabay's got a breathy style of singing that's kind of post-Serge Gainsbourg, and a bit in the Saravah Records mode – especially as the small combo backings often feature some tenor or alto sax elements behind the vocals – a slight jazzy touches that helps underscore the hip singer/songwriter approach of Guy's music. There's a lyricality to his approach that comes through strongly – even if you don't understand French – and titlles include "Tot Reguede", "Julia L'Ote", "Julia Onk", "Li Harlake Et L'Djone Feye", "Li Nuleye E M'Payis", and "Camamele Et Cataplame". CD

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Bobby CaldwellCat In The Hat (Japanese paper sleeve edition) ... CD
Clouds/JVC (Japan), 1980. New Copy ... $22.99
One of the greatest moments ever from Bobby Caldwell – a special little album that occupies it's own place between genres – a touch of soul, the warmth of jazz, and a delivery that really helped Caldwell reach out to some big new audiences at the time! There's a cool, compressed feel to the record – but a quality that's still quite personal and never too slick – that rare balance that only a few of Bobby's contemporaries could ever match – and which is really hammered home here by the production and great songwriting. Instrumentation uses a warm blend of acoustic and electric elements that offset the vocals nicely – and titles include "Coming Down From Love", "Wrong Or Right", "You Promised Me", "I Don't Want To Lose Your Love", and "Open Your Eyes". CD
(HQ – Hi Quality CD pressing!)

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John CaleHelen Of Troy (LP sleeve edition) ... CD
Island/Culture Factory (France), 1975. New Copy ... $14.99 18.99
One of John Cale's greatest moments as a solo artist – a wonderfully dark record that also features lots of great guitar from Chris Spedding, plus electronics from Brian Eno too! There's a stark, flat tone to Cale's lyrics here – a quality that almost echoes some of Eno's albums from around the time, especially the first two – but which takes on some shapes and phrasing that are definitely in the spirit of John's larger body of work too. But man, there's some very spooky bits here – even where you wouldn't expect them – that sense of surprise that Cale could always bring to sweeter moments with the Velvet Underground, re-focused here wonderfully for his own needs. Titles include "Cable Hogue", "Engine", "Save Us", "My Maria", "I Keep A Close Watch", "Helen Of Troy", and "Sudden Death" – plus a cover of Jonathan Richman's "Pablo Picasso". CD
(Limited edition.)

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Conte CandoliConte Candoli (Bethlehem) (aka Powerhouse Trumpet) ... CD
Bethlehem/Solid (Japan), 1956. New Copy ... $13.99
One of the best 50s albums from trumpeter Conte Candoli – and that's saying a heck of a lot, given how often Conte recorded during the decade! The set's got an edge you don't always find on other Candoli sessions – especially some of the large group material – and the group's nice and small, and very tight – with Bill Holman on tenor, Lou Levy on piano, Larry Marable on drums, and Leroy Vinnegar on bass. The quintet cooks wonderfully – with very sharp, soulful solos from both Holman and Candoli – at a level that's got more of the Mode Records bite than some other Bethlehem sides from the west coast at the time. Obviously, the rhythm section's a great one – and really helps the record cook – on titles that include "Full Count", "Four", "Groovin Higher", and "Jazz City Blues". CD

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Carl CarltonCarl Carlton (with bonus tracks) ... CD
MCA/Big Break (UK), 1981. New Copy ... $14.99
An excellent album of smooth soul from Carl Carlton – a richly talented singer who began his career as a kid in the 60s, but who's working here in a sophisticated adult mode with production by Leon Haywood. The album kind of takes Haywood's best styles of the mid 70s and updates them to match Carlton's great voice. Haywood wrote all the best material on the album, and it's actually surprising that he didn't save some of the cuts for himself – especially when you consider that the record features the classic groover "She's A Bad Mama Jama", which was a pivotal dancefloor track in the post-disco years, plus the excellent stepper "This Feeling's Rated X-Tra". Other tracks include "I Think It's Gonna Be Alright", "Sexy Lady", "Don't You Wanna Make Love", and "Fighting In The Name Of Love". Great vocals, great production, and a perfect blend of all the right elements make the album a modern soul treat! CD features the bonus tracks "She's A Bad Mama Jama (single)" and "This Feeling's Rated X-Tra (12" mix)". CD

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Vikki CarrFirst Time Ever I Saw Your Face (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/Real Gone, 1972. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A bit 70s album for Vikki Carr – and one that really shows a newer, sexier style for the singer! The backings are lush, but never sleepy – wrapped up with the kind of ornate sensuality of the cover image – which Vikki matches perfectly with notes that are well-formed, and understatedly mature – amidst a set of songs that really sum up the new "adult" modes of the time. Backings are mostly by All Capps – who's even more impressive here than usual – especially in his blend of acoustic and electric elements – and titles include "Without You", "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", "The Summer Knows", "Speak Softly Love", "Song Sung Blue", "Help Me Make It Through The Night", "Brian's Song", and "The Way Of Love". CD features 9 bonus tracks – including "I Don't Want A Sometimes Man", "Reflections", "Let The Band Play On", "The Big Hurt", and "Call My Heart Your Home". CD

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Michael CarvinRevelation ... CD
Muse, 1989. New Copy ... $4.99
The music of Michael Carvin is always a revelation – a joyous, soulful outpouring of feeling that never fails to move us – and which always makes us wonder why more folks don't treasure gems like this that he made as a leader! Carvin's drum work is filled with energy from the get-go – but never in a too-showy, too-unbridled sort of way – just perfectly-balanced, perfectly-timed sense of rhythm that really seems to inspire the key players he's gathered around him. For this date, the lineup is especially nice – Claudio Roditi and Cecil Bridgewater on trumpets, Sonny Fortune on alto sax and flute, Cyrus Chestnut on piano, and David Williams on bass. John Hicks sits on on piano on one track – and the album's got some of the free-soaring spirituality that you'll find in Sonny Fortune's best work as a leader. Titles include "Morning", "Revelation", "Effi", "Thabo", "Avotcja", and "We Three Kings". CD

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Johnny CashOrange Blossom Special (remastered edition with bonus tracks) ... CD
Columbia/Legacy, 1965. New Copy ... $5.99
Another one of the greatest mid 60s Columbia albums by Cash, with a proper CD release! Orange Blossom Special is probably the most successful of Johnny's LPs in which he balances the profound influence of Bob Dylan with his own rough hewn style for something wholly unique. Cash covers 3 of Dylan's tunes on Orange Blossom, "It Ain't Me Babe", "Mama, You've Been On My Mind", and "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright". Other tracks include "You Wild Colorado", "When It's Springtime In Alaska", "Amen", and "Danny Boy". This remastered set includes 3 bonus tracks that were never issued in the US, but can (and should!) also be found on Bear Family's amazing Man In Black: 1963-1969 box set. Those include "Engine 143", "(I'm Proud) The Baby Is Mine", and another version of "Mama, You've Been On My Mind", this one featuring Mariachi horns in the tradition of "Ring Of Fire". CD

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Ray CharlesRay Charles Forever (CD/DVD set) ... CD
Concord, Late 50s/1960s/1970s/1980s/1990s/Early 2000s. New Copy CD & DVD ... $9.99 18.98
A special assortment of Ray Charles material – pulled from his classic recordings for the Tangerine label, and including one previously unreleased track – and a bonus DVD as well! The occasion for the album is the issue of the USPS Ray Charles stamp – but the set more than stands strongly enough on its own – with a blend of cuts that includes the never-heard "They Can't Take That Away From Me" – plus "None Of Us Are Free", "Imagine", "So Help Me God", "America The Beautiful", "A Song For You", "Ring Of Fire", "Come Rain Or Come Shine", "Isn't It Wonderful", and "A Song For You". DVD features the 21 minute featurette – "Ray Charles Forever". CD

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Don CherryWhere Is Brooklyn? ... CD
Blue Note (Japan), 1966. New Copy ... $18.99
Easily one of the most powerful albums ever cut by Don Cherry – a searing set of tracks done for Blue Note in the late 60s – and featuring some tremendous tenor work by Pharoah Sanders! There's a tightness and level of energy here that surpasses even Cherry's other excellent Blue Note sessions – a rawness that recalls the style forged often on key ESP albums of the 60s, but honed here into a slightly tighter mode. Sanders' horn is especially well-placed in the set – and pushes Cherry past the spacier notes of other recordings, in a way that unlocks fire from the years with Ornette – but which opens up into a much freer groove. The rest of the group includes Henry Grimes on bass and Ed Blackwell on drums – both a perfect match for the quartet – and titles include the 17 minute "Unite", plus "There Is A Bomb", "Awake Nu", "Taste Maker", and "The Thing". CD
(SHM CD pressing!)

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Curtis ClarkLive At The Bimhuis ... CD
Nimbus, 1988. New Copy ... $9.99
Pianist Curtis Clark works here with a host of European players – Andy Sheppard on reeds, Ernst Reijseger on cello, and Erns Glerum on bass, as well as legendary South African drummer Louis Moholo – in a batch of darkly-tinged free jazz tracks that include "Boo Related", "Deep Sea Diver", "Cosmic Minstrels", "Special Delivery", and "Reincarnation Of Bigger Thomas". CD

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Rhonda ClarkRhonda Clark (2CD edition – with bonus tracks) ... CD
Tabu (UK), 1992. New Copy 2CD ... $11.99
A smoking second set from Rhonda Clark – a singer with deep soul roots that come through right away, but working here in a warmly mellow style that's got some of the more sophisticated touches of early 90s R&B! Rhonda's approach here sparkles with a very contemporary vibe – but when the lyrics get going, you can really hear an old school style coming through in her inflections – a mode that works well with the album's arrangements and production by Gerald Levert, Chuckie Howard, and the team of Zac Harmony and Christopher Troy. Some of the best cuts here really show that an older southern soul style needn't be relegated to the indie soul ghetto – especially Clark's versions of "I Never Loved A Man", "If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want to Be Right", and "When The Next Tear Drop Falls". Other titles include "Take The Hurt Away", "Must Be Real Love", "Savin All My Lovin", and "Let Your Mind Do The Lovin". 2CD set features a book-style cover, new notes, and bonus tracks that include "If Loving You Is Wrong I Don't Want To Be Right (edit)", "Must Be Real Love (ext dance mix)", "Must Be Real Love (retro bass mix radio edit)", and "Must Be Real Love (dub mix)". CD

Partial matches62
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Clarke Boland SextetMusic For The Small Hours ... CD
EMI/Rearward (Italy), 1967. New Copy ... $19.99
One of the hippest albums ever from the team of Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland – a unique small combo session that's even groovier than their famous big band work! The setting is wonderful – Clarke on drums, Boland on piano, and a sextet lineup that includes Sahib Shihab on flute, Fats Sadi on vibes, Jimmy Woode on bass, and Joe Harris on percussion – all players who know each other well, and groove together as one amazing unit on the set! The tunes here are lyrical and lively, modal and moving, and still some of the freshest jazz cut on the European scene of the 60s – music that's having a huge impact these days in the club jazz underground. Shihab's flute work is sublime, especially next to Sadi's vibes – and Harris' added percussion gives a number of the cuts a bit of a Latin kick that's totally great! There's a bit of vocals on the set, and titles include "Ebony Samba", "Tin Tin Deo", "Potter's Crossing", "Wives & Lovers", "Ensadinado", "Lorraine", "Day By Day", "Love Hungry", and "Please Don't Leave". CD

Partial matches63
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Clarke Boland SextetMarcel Marceau Praesentiert Swing Im Bahnhof ... CD
Rearward (Italy), 1965. New Copy ... $19.99
A brilliant recording by a small combo from the larger big band of drummer Kenny Clarke and pianist Francy Boland – and a great illustration of the driving, soulful sound the group always had at its core! The combo here features some of the most important members of the bigger unit – all artists who have a distinct personality, but an incredible way of coming together in a groove – in ways that are completely unlike any American jazz of the time, and light years ahead of most European work too! The music's really a blueprint for sounds to come for many decades – but served up here by the originals, who do the whole groove better than anyone else could ever touch. The performance is live – recorded in honor of Marcel Marceau – who could hardly keep quiet with such greatness like this in the room! The sextet features Sahib Shihab on flute, Fats Sadi on vibes and bongos, Francy Boland on piano, Joe Harris on percussion, Kenny Clarke on drums, and Jimmy Woode on bass and vocal – the latter of which is especially nice. Tracks include "Just Give Me Time", "Invitation", "Con Alma", "Serenata", "Born To Be Blue", "Yah Yah", "Balafon For Marcel Marceau", and "Insensatez". CD

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ClashSoundsystem Box Set (11CDs & DVD) ... CD
Sony, Late 70s/Early 80s. New Copy 11 CDs & DVD ... $169.99 249.98
The ultimate set for any true lover of The Clash – a set that features their first five albums, plus three more CDs' worth of bonus material – plus a DVD, and lots of amazing bonus bits too! The box is amazing in and of itself – styled like an early 80s boombox, and about as big as one too – and stuffed with bonus materials that include a set of metal dog tags, a vintage sticker set, a 15" poster, two bumper stickers, three reprints of the Armagideon Times zines, a Clash folder, a paperback book (The Future Is Unwritten), three DIY stickers, five badges, a service manual, and a special DVD too, with unreleased video and film footage. Also includes three CDs' worth of bonus material – lots of singles, rare tracks, and more – and then moves onto the first five (and five best) records by The Clash – their landmark self-titled debut, with the great UK track list; the brilliant follow-up Give Em Enough Rope; the blistering London Calling double set; the game-changing, genre-stepping Sandinista (originally a 3LP set); and the still-great Combat Rock – maybe the last album to still have all the best Clash elements still in place! See the photo for the full scope of material in the set – mindblowing! CD
(DVD is NTSC coded, Region 0.)

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CloversDance Party ... CD
Atlantic (Japan), 1959. New Copy ... $10.99
Killer cuts from The Clovers – and a great illustration of the way that Atlantic Records could really bring something special to a vocal group! The Clovers recorded for other labels – both before and after this stretch – but the style here is still their best, an upbeat approach to R&B that really gets the most out of their vocals – and allows individual leads to soar out between the tight harmonies! Lots of tunes are plenty playful – almost in a Coasters mode, but a bit less goofy – and titles include "Love Bug", "All About You", "So Young", "Down In The Alley", "Nip Sip", "I I I Love You", "In The Morning Time", "Your Tender Lips", "Fool, Fool, Fool", and "Wishing For Your Love". CD

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Cola & Jimmu (Nicole Willis & Jimi Tenor)I Give To You My Love & Devotion ... CD
Herakles (Finland), 2014. New Copy ... $16.99
Jimi Tenor is a man of many talents – able to work in modes from spacey to jazzy to funky, and everything in between – as is singer Nicole Willis, who most folks know from her deep funk recordings, but who reemerges here as a house vocalist in the team of Cola & Jimmu! The look of the cover really sums up the sound of the record – a great old school vibe that reflects the best underground club releases of the late 80s – especially that deeper-than-deep house scene that never even came close to the mainstream! There's lots of spiritual elements in the lyrics – similar to the vibe of Jimi's recent Kabu Kabu records – but Nicole's delivery is very different, often parsed in short lyrical bursts amidst the keyboards and grooves. Titles include "Immortal Champion", "Earthly Delights", "Open Up Your Chakra", "Fantabulous", "Meet You At The Crossroads", and "No More Wars". CD
Also available I Give To You My Love & Devotion ... LP 22.99

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Buddy ColletteJazz Loves Paris (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Specialty/OJC, 1958. New Copy ... $3.99 11.98
A hip little album from Buddy Collette – one that's ostensibly based around the then-popular idea of a set of Paris-inspired tunes – but which comes off with a sound that's a lot deeper than you might expect! David Axelrod produced the set – it was one of his early projects for Specialty Records – and Buddy Collette plays alto, tenor, and flute – in a group with Frank Rosolino on trombone, Howard Roberts on guitar, Red Mitchell on bass, and Bill Richmond or Bill Douglass on drums. Red Callender joins in on some tracks, and his deep tones mixed with Rosolino's trombone, really help offset the lighter sounds of Collette's reeds in a nice way. Titles include "Domino", "Mam'Selle", "Pigalle", "I Love Paris", "La Vie En Rose", and "Under Paris Skies". CD features 4 bonus alternate takes, too! CD

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New CommodoresMidnight Magic ... CD
Motown (Japan), 1979. New Copy ... $13.99
Lots of Midnight Magic from The Commdores – still nice and funky at the start of the evening, but also chilling out in the wee hours too – really finding a great way to follow the trajectory of the night with the tracks in this set! The album sparkles with strong arrangements and production from James Carmichael – who furthers the vibe perfected on Natural High, yet continues to avoid most of the cliches that would slow down the group in later years. Lionel Richie's given room to step forth on the ballads "Still" and "Sail On" – but the group feel is still nicely maintained on the rest of the record – which also features the tracks "Getting It", "You're Special", "Wonderland", "Sexy Lady", and "Might Magic". CD

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New Norman ConnorsSaturday Night Special (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Buddah/FTG, 1975. New Copy ... $15.99 16.98
A brilliant mix of soul and jazz from the legendary Norman Connors – a key album in breaking Norman out back in the 70s – and a record that's still pretty darn perfect all these many years later! You can hear Connors' deep roots throughout the set – but they're often used towards a more sophisticated soul agenda, too – blending in elements of jazz vocals and modern R&B, at a level that so many other artists would copy in years to come – but which Norman virtually helped invent with this landmark album! There's some mellow moments on the record that are every bit as wonderful as the funky ones – some laidback tracks that feature sublime vocals from Jean Carn, pre-Philly – and which also really introduce the soul side of Michael Henderson – an artist who most folks had previously known as a bass player. Connors mixes the funky and the smooth at a level that rivals the best Roy Ayers material of the same time – and titles include the massive hit "Valentine Love" – plus "Saturday Night Special", "Kwasi", "Dindi", "Akia", "Skin Diver", and a sweet version of "Maiden Voyage"! CD features bonus 7" mixes of "Saturday Night Special" and "Valentine Love". CD

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New LC CookeComplete SAR Recordings ... CD
SAR/Abkco, 1964. New Copy ... $8.99 9.98
The first-ever release of this full album of material by LC Cooke – the younger brother of the late Sam Cooke, but a hell of a singer in his own right! LC issued a few labels for Sam's SAR label in the early 60s, but this full set never saw the light of day – as it was scrapped after Sam's untimely early death – which makes this package the long-overdue release of the album at last! LC's style is a bit deeper than Sam's – still as well put-together, but with a bit less polish on the edges, and a lot more grit in the grooves – and the album mostly features production by Sam Cooke, over sessions from the early 60s – plus some final recordings done by LC with the Magnificent Montague. These 18 tracks are a great revelation – especially when taken together – and Peter Guaralnick wrote a great essay for the notes, which really ties the whole thing together. Titles include "Tell Me", "Take Me For What I Am", "The Lover", "Magic Words", "Sufferin", "Miss Sally", "Gonna Have A Good Time", "Do You Wanna Dance", "You're Working Out Your Bag", "Chalk Like", and "Put Me Down Easy". CD

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Mike CooperPlaces I Know/The Machine Gun Co ... CD
Dawn/Paradise Of Bachelors, 1971/1972. New Copy Gatefold ... $14.99 15.99
A pair of wonderful albums from British folkie Mike Cooper – both recorded for the Dawn Records label, in a really genre-breaking style! Places I Know blends Cooper's acoustic guitar and rootsy vocals with some very compelling arrangements from Mike Gibbs – the British jazz talent who was already known for his larger ensemble creations at the time, but who works here in these really subtle ways – to inflect Cooper's core inspirations with just some slight instrumental colors, tones, and phrases on most numbers – while Cooper brings in the core Machine Gun Co group on a few more. The result is a record that's way more than familiar folk – and arguably a lot hipper than most of the British acid folk of the time, too – on titles that include "Night Journey", "Paper & Smoke", "Country Water", "Time To Time", "Goodbye Blues Goodbye", and "Places I Know". The Machine Gun Co album is a partner record to Places I Know – recorded in the same sessions, but with tracks that are longer, and even more openly expressive – all with backings from the sweet Machine Gun Co quartet, a group with some especially nice electric piano from Alan Cook! Heavy use of that instrument really works against some of the folksier elements in Cooper's music – with these blocks of warm sound and color that really illuminate the tunes, and almost unlock a new level in the vocals. Cooper plays a bit of electric guitar at times – and titles include "So Glad That I Found You", "Lady Anne", "Midnight Words", and "Song For Abigail". CD
Also available Places I Know/The Machine Gun Co (with download) ... LP 26.99

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New Mike CooperTrout Steel ... CD
Dawn/Paradise Of Bachelors, 1970. New Copy ... $12.99 13.99
A beautiful set from the British scene at the start of the 70s – a record that's got a fairly folksy tone, but lots of jazzy currents as well! The set was issued on the seminal Dawn Records label – and really shows that imprint's commitment to the left side of the spectrum – as Mike Cooper's vocals and acoustic guitar come into play with more guitar from Stefan Grossman – plus alto sax from Mike Osborne, tenor and soprano from Alan Skidmore, piano from John Taylor, and bass from the late Harry Miller – all key players on the UK avant jazz scene of the time! The mix of these players with Cooper's core inspiration is not unlike some of the most progressive material coming from Island Records – or, even better, the special jazzy moments on records by Tim Buckley or Tim Hardin – company that Cooper could very easily keep, given the strength of his songwriting. Titles include "Don't Talk Too Fast", "On My Way", "Hope You See", "Weeping Rose", "Trout Steel", "I've Got Mine", "That's How", and "Pharoah's March". CD
Also available Trout Steel (with download) ... LP 20.99

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Elvis Costello & The RootsWise Up Ghost ... CD
Blue Note, 2013. New Copy ... $9.99 15.98
A damn surprise to our ears – a record that shouldn't work well, but which succeeds tremendously – bringing all the best part of Elvis Costello and The Roots into play perfectly – with a sound that's unlike anything either of them have ever done before! Costello has way more bite than on most records of the past few decades – set up perfectly here in these tightly snapping rhythms that echo all the best live bits of The Roots' records, but which work surprisingly well for Elvis' lyrics in the lead. And The Roots get some very cool keyboard work from Costello – including some especially nice Wurlitzer, played with a rootsy, respectful mode that brings in even more soul than their backings have on their own. And although we've loved The Roots since their earliest days in the hip hop underground, the album's also a strong statement of just how far they've come in the pop mainstream – a true testament to the growth of ?uestlove and crew, and their sense of versatility and vision. Titles include "Wise Up Ghost", "Walk Us Uptown", "Sugar Won't Work", "Refuse To Be Saved", "Tripwire", "Wake Me Up", and "Come The Meantimes". CD

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Curtis CounceExploring The Future (remastered edition – with bonus tracks) ... CD
Dooto/Boplicity (UK), 1958. New Copy ... $11.99
A great little album that's every bit as wonderful as you might expect from its cover – one of the key late 50s sides as a leader from bassist Curtis Counce – cut with a killer lineup that includes Harold Land on tenor sax, Rolf Ericson on trumpet, and Elmo Hope on piano! The set's got the mix of modernism and soul bop leanings you might expect from the players – a really fresh approach that comes off especially well in the non-iconic production style of the Dootone label – a mode that really let the players do their own thing, and break out from some of the tighter restrictions of other LA labels on the scene. Frank Butler completes the quintet on drums – and titles include "The Countdown", "Into The Orbit", "Race For Space", "Move", "Angel Eyes", and "So Nice". CD also features 4 bonus tracks – "Foreplay", "Chasin The Bird", "Move (unedited version)", and "Head Gear (Countdown) (unedited version)". CD

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Country Joe & The FishI Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die (mono & stereo versions) ... CD
Vanguard (UK), 1967. New Copy 2CD ... $18.99
Maybe the greatest moment ever from Country Joe & The Fish – an insane blend of politics, psychedelia, rock roots, and more – all wrapped up in a nice of carnival-esque style that really lives up to the group's name! Many folks later copied the group – and others, like The Fugs, worked in somewhat similar territory – yet there's a really special sound to the group on this early set, a balance that brings more focus to otherwise trippy moments, more sense to their political agenda, and these sharp instrumental inflections that really send the whole thing home. Blues historian Samuel Charters produced, giving the record another influential quality – and titles include "The Fish Cheer & I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag", "Who Am I", "Pat's Song", "Magoo", "Jam", "Eastern Song", and "Colors For Susan". 2CD set features the full album in both mono and stereo, plus bonus tracks "Janis" and an alternate take of "I Feel Like I'm Fixin To Die Rag". Great notes too! CD

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Kenny CoxClap Clap – The Joyful Noise ... CD
Strata/180 Proof, 1974. New Copy ... $12.99
Amazing lost sounds from Detroit – a previously unissued album from pianist Kenny Cox – best known for his late 60s albums on Blue Note, but working here in a really righteous style, and using a fair bit of Fender Rhodes as well! The album's a lost gem from the Strata label – home to Lyman Woodard's Saturday Night Special album – and there's definitely a side to this record that's shared with that one – a bit more laidback, definitely, but equally soulful, and mixed with spiritual jazz elements that echo the style of Kenny's Tribe Records contemporaries on the Detroit scene. Other players include Charles Moore on flugelhorn, Buzz Jones on soprano sax and flute, Ron English on bass, and Skeets Curry on electric guitar – and in addition to Fender Rhodes, Cox also plays clavinet, mellotron, and Arp as well! The set's got a bit of vocals – from Fito Foster and Nengue Hernandez – but the main focus is instrumental, and the long tracks really have the group spinning out beautifully. Titles include "Clap Clap The Joyful Noise", "Samba De Romance", "Island Song", "Lost My Love", and "Beyond The Dream". CD

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Miles Davis with John ColtraneSwiss Radio Days Vol 31 – Recorded Live In Zurich 1960 ... CD
TCB (Switzerland), 1960. New Copy ... $14.99 16.98
A classic Miles Davis group – captured here in 1960 with incredible sound! The format is wonderful – as the tracks are quite long, and allow for lots of space for long trumpet solos from Miles, and tenor from John Coltrane – both supported beautifully by the trio of Wynton Kelly on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Jimmy Cobb on drums! Coltrane's definitely in fine form – and has this commanding way of playing that almost blows away Davis – especially since Miles usually starts out most numbers here on his own, then lets Coltrane come in second – a move that almost makes the trumpet dim by comparison. Titles include "Fran Dance", "So What", "All Blues/Bye Bye", and "If I Were A Bell". CD

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Stanton Davis' Ghetto MysticismBrighter Days ... CD
Outrageous/Cultures Of Soul, 1977. New Copy ... $11.99
Sublime sounds from the legendary Stanton Davis – a rare 70s gem that's been a favorite of groovehounds for years! The set's got a really unique feel – part spiritual jazz, part soaring club – a blend that's similar to the sound you'd get on James Mason's legendary album too – a unique hybrid of American undergrounds that comes off beautifully throughout! Production is perfect – a Mizell-like blend of acoustic and electric jazz elements, layered with a bit of vocals – and Davis plays soulful trumpet lines, in a group that has some especially nice keyboards! Titles include "Space A Nova (parts 1 & 2)", "Play Sleep", "Brighter Days/Brighter Daze", "Nida", "High Jazz", and "Things Cannot Stop Forever". CD
Also available Brighter Days ... LP 18.99

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Wilbur De ParisOn The Riviera ... CD
Atlantic (Japan), 1961. New Copy ... $13.99
The album's got a cheescake cover, but it's done in a very traditional mode – a style that's right up there with the best New Orelans jazz sessions on Atlantic! Wilbur DeParis works in a small combo with Sidney De Paris and Doc Cheatham on trumpets, and Garvin Bushnell on some mighty sharp clarinet – an instrument that trades lines strongly with Wilbur's trombone, and the two especially strong trumpets! The set was recorded live, and has an even more biting feel than some of the late 50s Atlantic Records trad jazz sets – and titles include "Tres Moutarde", "South Rampart Street Parade", "Muskrat Rumble", "Sensation", and "Clarinet Marmalade". CD

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Der PlanDie Letzte Rache (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Ata Tak/Bureau B (Germany), 1982. New Copy ... $9.99
Some of the darkest music ever recorded by the quirky German pop group Der Plan – their soundtrack for the 1982 film Die Letzte Rache, recorded in a series of short and quirky little tunes! The sound here is similar to Dar Plan's other albums of the time, but perhaps a bit bleaker at times – with traces of post-industrial instrumentation littered alongside more playful and upbeat numbers. The group's sense of humor is still very firmly in place, but it's also got a lot more bite than usual – as does their overall work with electronics, which seems to have advanced incredibly by this point – able to stretch between the abstractions of Jon Appleton and the directed messages of Bruce Haack. And despite the fact that many of the tunes are extremely short, they're also extremely memorable as well – playful little experiments in soundshapes and tone that have stood the test of time extremely well! Titles include "Oh Oh Oh", "Ich Bin Es", "Zur Alten Dschunke", "Die Unterirdische Fabrik", "Junger Mann", "Fruchte Radio Special", "Oder Nicht", and "Das Ende". 8 bonus tracks on this CD version: "Geloschte Szene", "Miletti 1", "Miletti 2", "Am Strand" and more. CD

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Al Di MeolaLand Of The Midnight Sun ... CD
Columbia/BGO (UK), 1976. New Copy ... $10.99
A real 70s standout from guitarist Al Di Meola – and that's saying a lot, given the strength of most of his albums from the decade! The record's one that broke Al's talents out to so many different groups – yet never in a way that waters down his sound, nor dims his genius for a solo. Al plays a host of guitars – electric, and both six and 12 string acoustic – the latter of which are especially beautiful, and handled in a balance between European virtuoso modes, and some of the more rhythmic elements of the American fusion scene. Speaking of fusion, the other players on the date really help set the tone – Chick Corea on keyboards and piano, Barry Miles on Fender Rhodes and mini-moog, Stanley Clarke on bass, and both Steve Gadd and Lenny White on drums – each setting a different pace when they appear. Titles include "The Wizard", "Suite Golden Dawn", "Short Tales Of The Black Forest", and "Land Of The Midnight Sun". CD

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Olegario DiazBasquiat By Night/Day ... CD
Steeplechase (Denmark), 2014. New Copy ... $15.99 18.99
A really proud, bold session from pianist Olegario Diaz – almost all original tunes, written with a very vibrant feel! The group here has some massively strong work in the lead from Alex Sipiagin on trumpet and Seamus Blake, both of whom really sound great in the company of Diaz'z fluid, soulful piano – especially Blake, who's at his best forward-moving, without any of those more arch tones that sometimes hold him back. The rhythms bristle with excitement, too – thanks to work from Scott Colley on bass and Jeff Tain Watts on drums, both pulled along with strong inspiration from Diaz. Titles include "JM Baquiat", "Dance Steps", "Wayne & Joe", "Astoria Years", "By Night/Day", and "Trane Station". CD

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DirectionsDirections ... CD
Brunswick/Solid (Japan), 1975. New Copy ... $19.99
One of the rarest soul records on Brunswick! This one was cut during the mid 70s – when the label was really having some rough times financially, but also was cutting some of its most groundbreaking soul work. The Directions are a tight harmony quintet – equipped, it appears, with their own band (The Directions Band) who give the group a nice rough soul sound. The vocal cuts on the record have sort of a Philly harmony style – with many uptempo numbers that are sort of a rougher version of work by Blue Magic or The Spinners. The instrumental tracks are smooth funk – with lots of tight keyboard work over heavy riffing and vamping, mostly in an uptempo vein. Titles include "Too Many Secrets", "Soup Line", "I Want To Be Your Special Man", "If You Ever", "We Need Love", and "I Love You So". CD

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Pierre Dorge & New Jungle OrchestraTjak Tjaka Tchicai ... CD
Steeplechase (Denmark), 2014. New Copy ... $15.99 18.99
Pierre Dorge pays tribute to the late reedman John Tchicai – a frequent musical partner over the years, and a player who's shaped the sound of countless others on both sides of the Atlantic! Tchicai got his start with Archie Shepp on the New York scene of the 60s, but moved over to Denmark by the end of that decade – and ended up having a good deal of interaction with guitarist Pierre Dorge in years to come, including performances on some of the best sessions by the New Jungle Orchestra! This album really recalls those great ones – as Dorge chooses tunes that seem to have an especially spiritual flavor, and evoke Tchicai in ways that most of the group's recent work might not have – using especially strong passages from reed players who include Jakob Mygind on tenor and soprano, Anders Banke on tenor and bass clarinet, and Morten Carlson on tenor and taragot. Titles include "Mozombo", "A Rufous Mot Mot", "Jungle Sketches", "Autobahn Tchicai Zwei", "Lucianus In Congo", and "Tjak Tjaka Tchicai". CD

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Dave DouglasDD/50 – 50th Birthday Recordings (Be Still/Time Travel/Pathways/DVD/bonus download) ... CD
Greenleaf, 2013. New Copy 3 CD & DVD ... $32.99 49.98
Dave Douglas is fifty – and he's celebrating with this very cool limited package of music and image! The set features three different albums, plus a bonus DVD – all in a sweet box, too! First up is Be Still – quite a compelling project from trumpeter Dave Douglas – a record that has him working strongly with singer/guitarist Aoife O'Donovan, whose presence really helps transform the sound of the set! Aoife's got a folksy touch on her vocals, and colors things in with some great earthy tones that are a surprisingly good fit for Douglas' lines on trumpet – sometimes jazzy, sometimes sparkling with a rich sense of American history – yet delivered in a subtle, linear way. Next is Time Travel – a really in the pocket session that's filled with rhythmic intensity, and some of the boldest music we've heard from Dave in years! There's plenty of edges to the set – especially the trumpet of Douglas and tenor of Jon Irabgon – but there's also a groove to many numbers too – a kind of forward-rolling energy that really takes the whole thing to great points throughout the set, and which makes a great progression from the somber tone of Dave's last album – almost a musical rebirth of sorts! The third album in the set is Pathways – beautiful tones and colors from a sextet that also features Greg Tardy on tenor and clarinet, Joshua Roseman on trombone, Uri Caine on piano, Linda Oh on bass, and Clarence Penn on drums – all players who are nicely sensitive to Douglas' ideas here, and bring together a fresh wave of ideas from previous records. DVD features both Quintet performances (with Jon Irabgon and Matt Mitchell) and Sextet material (with Greg Tardy, Joshua Roseman, and Uri Caine) – recorded in studio performances and music videos too! CD
(Also features a bonus download too!)

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Dezron DouglasLive At Smalls ... CD
Smalls Live, 2013. New Copy Gatefold ... $11.99 14.99
Bassist Dezron Douglas can be one hell of a leader – especially when he's working with a group and setting as great as this! The album's got that solid punch we love in the Smalls Live series – a way of allowing players to really open up and be themselves, yet also find a cohesiveness as a group that you don't often get in studio sessions – that brilliant magic that can make live jazz performance so wonderful, when it's captured this well – a great document of a musical moment and local expression that might have been missed otherwise. Dezron's bass is very upfront in the performance – and the quintet also features tight trumpet from Josh Evans, bold tenor from Stacy Dillard, sharp piano from David Bryant, and smoking drums from Willie Jones III. Titles include "Nita", "Let's Ride", "The Puppet", "Bish Bash Bop", and "Power Of One". CD

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DramaticsGreatest Slow Jams ... CD
Stax/Concord, 1970s. New Copy ... $10.99 11.98
We love The Dramatics in all their modes, but we're especially fond of the group when they're working with mellow tracks and ballads – because a slower pace really seems to open up their harmonies, and have them hitting even greater heights than on their groovers! This package is a dream come true for us – as if someone went through and carefully picked out all the best slower-speed Dramatics tracks from their classic albums for ABC and Stax – then laid them out back to back as a really dreamy late nite set! Titles include "In The Rain", "Hey You Get Off My Mountain", "I Can't Get Over You", "Toast To The Fool", "Just Shopping", "I Dedicate My Life To You", "And I Panicked", "Fall In Love Lady Love", and "I Was The Life Of The Party". CD

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New Durutti ColumnChronicle LX – XL (2CD box) ... CD
Kooky, 2014. New Copy 2 CDs ... $39.99
One of the most beautiful albums we've heard in years from Vini Reilly – and a set that really takes back to the magic we felt when buying the first few Durutti Column albums on factory! Not only is the sound here very much the Durutti approach we first fell in love with – a strange combination of post-punk production and performance filtered through the aesthetic of Erik Satie – but the package also has a very special look – like one of those cool cassette boxes for Factory that were originally designed by Peter Saville! This set's got way more to offer than those, though – two CDs' of music (plus inserts and even sandpaper) – originally written by Reilly to accompany an exhibition of his portraits, and expanded here to include an even greater range of personal sounds. Vini is in the lead on most numbers on his wonderfully atmospheric guitar – and plays piano, an instrument that's also handled by Poppy Morgan on some tracks – with longtime partner Bruce Mitchell on drums. Vocals are done by Reilly, as well as Jilly Taylor, Billy Rance, and Caoilfhionn – but are definitely secondary to the instrumental sounds on the set. Titles include "Poppy & Pancho", "Nine Years", "The Party", "Embattled Heart & Rattling", "Fanfare", "Electrostatic", "Free From All The Chaos", "Hotel Calderon", and "Sharrock's Tune". CD

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Thomas DybdahlWhat's Left Is Forever ... CD
Manhattan, 2014. New Copy ... $10.99 11.98
Quite a set from Norwegian singer Thomas Dybdahl – at one level a blue-eyed soulster with a flair for weaving his vocals with electronics, at another level a more personal singer-songwriter with a captivating approach to a tune! The music maybe feels a bit like some of the more tuneful records on Norway's Jazzland in the past decade or so – vocals in English, and a quality that could cross Thomas over to many different camps – especially with this album's wider distribution in the US. Some of our favorite moments bubble with keys next to Dybdahl's mix of lightness and rasp – and titles include "City Lights", "The Sculptor", "So Long", "Man On A Wire", "But We Did", and "Soulster". CD

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Dennis EdwardsDon't Look Any Further (with bonus tracks) ... CD
Gordy/Big Break (UK), 1984. New Copy ... $14.99
The Temptations' former lead singer's first solo record with a huge 80s groove album, especially considering the mighty title track – the duet with Siedah Garrett and it's sly reggae influenced bassline and crisp popping beat. This is one of those records we appreciate a lot more with the passing of time and with a late appreciation for that bubbling 80s vibe. Era production notes aside, the songs here are quite solid and Dennis's voice brings the true soul! Also includes "(You're My) Aphrodesiac", "Another Place In Tie", "I Thought I Could Handle It", and "Just Like You". This Big Break UK remastered edtion has 4 bonus tracks: "Don't Look Any Further (12" Extended Mix)", "(You're My) Aphrodesiac (Single Version)", "Don't Look Any Further (12" Remix)" and a 12" instrumental version. CD

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EmotionsFlowers (with bonus track) ... CD
Columbia/Gold Legion, 1976. New Copy ... $11.99 14.99
A soaring classic from The Emotions – thanks to some supreme help from the Earth Wind & Fire side of the soul spectrum! This set has the trio really sounding great – with Kalimba Productions by Maurice White and Charles Stepney – and a good deal of EWF help on the instrumentation as well! The girls break out of the rootsier style used on their earlier Stax recordings, and manage to fit perfectly with the jazzy tinges of the new grooves – and, along with Ramsey Lewis and EWF, the Emotions were part of a hugely successful trinity during the late 70s – one that took the indie soul roots of the Chicago scene and turned it into landmark big business for Columbia Records. The album's got a new approach to female group soul that would go onto shape R&B for years to come – and titles include "Flowers", "I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love", "We Go Through Changes", "Special Part", and "You've Got The Right To Know". CD features a bonus single version of "Flowers". CD

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EnchantmentEnchantment (with bonus tracks) ... CD
United Artists/Big Break (UK), 1976. New Copy ... $14.99
Soaring grooves and mellow moments – a perfect blend of 70s soul styles, summed up here beautifully by Enchantment! The album's one of the group's greatest – and certainly one that's been very well-remembered around these parts – thanks to some rock-solid arrangements from Johnny Allen, who almost brings an indie soul vibe to the whole set – while still putting the whole thing together at a totally top-shelf level too! The harmonies are wonderful – especially on the ballads, like "Gloria" and "Sunshine" – and other tracks include "Sexy Lady", "Come On & Ride", "Thank You Girl For Loving Me", and "Dance To The Music". CD features 6 bonus tracks – "Come On & Ride (single)", "Hold On (single)", "Gloria (single)", "Dance To The Music (single)", "Sunshine (single)", and "Hold On (12" disco)". CD

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Ensemble NovoBlue Night ... CD
Frosty Cordial, 2013. New Copy ... $6.99
A new ensemble, but one with a strong influence from older Brazilian modes – especially the best bossa jazz styles of the 60s! The group's got a sweet approach that mixes vibes in with bossa grooves – a really nice change from the usual, and backed up by more classic elements on acoustic guitar and tenor sax! The sound's wonderfully stripped-down, and recorded in a very basic style – so that there's none of the too-smooth feelings you'd get from other contemporary bossa outings – which leaves a really nice sense of personality and expression from the instruments. Behn Gillece plays vibes and Tom Moon plays tenor – and titles include "Andorinha", "Tristeza", "Wind", "Berimbau", "Grace Engine No 1", "O Sol Nascera", and "Boranda". CD

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Ethnic Heritage EnsembleMama's House Live ... CD
Katalyst, 2008. New Copy ... $9.99
It's hard to believe the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble is 35 years old – especially when Kahil El'Zabar looks so young on the cover, and when the group's sound is fresher than ever! The album's got a really beautiful, timeless sort of feel – spiritual jazz that few groups can play this well – balanced between El'Zabar's percussion and kalimba, the trumpet of Corey Wilkes, and the saxes of Ernest Dawkins – all key players in the Chicago scene, carrying on a rich tradition of AACM expression and other spiritual sounds. The album's wonderfully free from gimmicks – some of the most back to basics work we've heard from Kahil in years, and a great reminder of why we first fell in love with his music a few decades back – and the balance of the two horn players over percussion really creates a strong sense of power in the record – a bold vision that comes through beautifully! Titles include "Barundi", "Kari", "Oof", "All Blues", and "Ornette". CD

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Kellylee EvansI Remember When ... CD
Motema, 2014. New Copy ... $11.99 15.99
Singer Kellylee Evans works here with the great Eric Legnini – the European keyboardist whose own records are always a delight, and who brings a sharp sense of funky soul to this vocal outing! Kellylee has a style that's rooted in jazz, but expressed in more contemporary soulful modes – which works perfectly for Legnini's strong sense of rhythm – especially on the original tunes that the pair co-created together! Most numbers feature a small combo, often with a romping vibe that's a nice change from the usual neo soul set – and in addition to the originals "Only You", "I Remember When", "One More Lover", "Built To Fly", and "Jungle" – the set also features remakes of "Amazing", "If I Was Your Woman", and "Lose Yourself". CD

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Express RisingExpress Rising (2nd album) ... CD
Numero, 2013. New Copy ... $12.99 13.00
A warm batch of instrumental beats and atmospherics from Express Rising – and a much-anticipated second project from funk archivist Dante Carfagna! Dante's a name you probably know best from his work writing liner notes or Wax Poetics – and helping out in countless important compilations over the years – but a decade ago, Dante dropped his first mysterious project under the Express Rising name – and finally returns here with a second album! The sound is even more enticing this time around – still drawing a bit from the world of DJ Shadow – a frequent Carfagna collaborator on archive projects – but the sound is also surprisingly warm and lyrical too – bits of beats, layers of older sounds, and these spare keyboard bits all served up together in a style that's really unique – and which avoids any of the cliches of both the downtempo world, and the instrumental hip hop scene The approach is often quite poetic, yet still soulful as well – and the whole thing's got a laidback vibe that's neither sleepy nor muddled – a really sort of special space between the grooves. Titles include "Horse Opera", "Dark Early", "Answering Echo So Near", "Winter The Heart", "A Treasure Smile", "Rooms Between Us", and "Memorabilia". CD
Also available
Express Rising (2nd album) ... LP 16.99
Express Rising (2nd album) ... CD 8.99

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Georgie Fame & The Blue FlamesRhythm & Blues At The Flamingo ... CD
Polydor (Japan), 1964. New Copy ... $13.99
Blistering early work from a young Georgie Fame – a set that definitely lives up to the Rhythm & Blues in the title! The set was recorded live at London's hip Flamingo club – and Georgie and The Blue Flames are very much in command of the crowd – burning with the intensity of a American small organ combo, especially the early 60s variety that often played equal parts soul jazz and R&B! Georgie's on the Hammond, and also sings with a rough-edged style that's plenty soulful, and incredibly appealing – a mode that oozes charisma, but never sounds fake or forced. Other instrumentation includes tenor, baritone sax, bass, drums, and conga – plus some great guitar from Big Jim Sullivan – and titles include "Do The Dog", "Eso Beso", "Work Song", "Baby Please Don't Go", "Shop Around", "Humpty Dumpty", and "You Can't Sit Down". CD features 10 more bonus tracks – some of them live, some of them studio – with titles that include "Madness", "One Whole Year Baby", "Do Re Mi", "I'm In Love With You", "Bend A Little", "Parker's Mood", and "Money". CD

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Nino FerrerNino Kids ... CD
Universal (France), Late 60s/Early 70s. New Copy ... $9.99
Not the kiddie songs you might expect from the title and cover, and instead a really cool collection of hip French grooves from singer Nino Ferrer! There's definitely a youthful touch on some numbers, but most of the tunes have a funky or groovy feel – of the sort that really showcases the beat groove, jazz-heavy style that made Nino the French equivalent of Brit singers like Georgie Fame! The backings here are often nicely playful, and the 60s numbers are especially great – of the sort that make Ferrer's music the sort that could easily be re-discovered by a contemporary generation – the kind of cool and groovy 60s tunes that still sound wonderful after all these years. Titles include "Miraza", "Oh He Hein Bon", "Le Telefon", "Madame Robert", "Alexandre", "Mamadou Meme", "Il Pleut Bergere", "Chanson Pour Petit Bout", "Les Hommes A Tout Faire", and "Les Cornichons". CD

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Nino FerrerNino Swingue ... CD
Universal (France), 1960s. New Copy ... $13.99
Really great work from French singer Nino Ferrer – an artist who never broke big on these shores, but who was definitely one of the coolest cats working on the Paris scene in the 60s! The collection is heavy on jazz and soul recordings made by Nino during his glory days – some of which are originals, some of which are American tunes that take on a whole new life in Ferrer's French language performance! The work here is wonderful – as Nino was one of the few artists of his scene who really got the depths of jazz and soul, yet also worked to deliver the lyrics with some special French phrasing that made them really unique. Backing on most cuts is nice and jazzy – and titles include "Les Blues Anti-Bourgeois", "Oerythia", "Le Blues Des Rues Desertes", "This Is A Man's World", "Viens Je T'Attends", and "Il Me Faudra Natacha". CD

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Nico FidencoBlack Emanuelle Collection – The Full Series (6CD & DVD box set) ... CD
Beat (Italy), Early 70s. New Copy 6 CDs & DVD ... $99.99
Some of the slinkiest, sexiest 70s soundtracks ever recorded – all packaged together here in one box set, along with a bonus DVD as well! The wonderful set brings together six steamy scores by Nico Fidenco – all penned for the softcore Emanuel films, both black and white, and a wonderful collection of Euro erotic grooves, mellower bedroom moments, and some mighty nice themes! Some of these works are now out of print on CD, which makes the box the last place you'll ever find them – and the set recreates all the individual artwork and books of the CD releases – titles that include Black Emanuelle, Emanuelle In America, Black Emanuelle Goes East, Emanuelle Around The World, Emanuelle E Gli Ultimi Cannibali, and La Via Della Prostituzione. Also features the special Music For The Black Queen DVD – which has a documentary, and three interview passages – and comes in a special slipcover case. CD
(Limited edition of 1000 copies. DVD is PAL format, region-free, so it may not play in all players.)
 
 
 



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