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Holiday Gift Ideas — LPs

XOur gift-giving experts select their favorites -- all the things we give to our own friends and family at the Holidays!

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Mainstream/We Want Sounds (UK), Mid 70s.
A lost side of work from 70s funk powerhouse Mainstream Records – a company best known for its jazz albums of the early 70s, but one that also cut some great soul and club material too! Most of the work here came out only as singles, and wasn't nearly as well-circulated as the albums on ... LP, Vinyl record album
Tele Music/BMG (France), 1970s/Early 80s. 2LP
Great grooves galore – a sweet selection of tracks from the late 60s onwards, none of which were made available to the public at the time! The French Tele Music company was one of those secret sound library labels – recording top shelf tracks during the 70s, but then only passing them ... LP, Vinyl record album
Janus/Partisan, 1972. Gatefold (reissue)
The fantastic first album by one of the most unique funk groups of all time! A key part of the crumbling British colonial network that produced some excellent music in the postwar years, Cymande was comprised mostly of West Indians who'd emigrated to England in the 60s, eventually meeting up ... LP, Vinyl record album
Sussex/Real Gone, 1974. (reissue)
The amazing second album from The Soul Searchers – even harder, funkier, and rarer than the first! This one blows away everything else the group have ever done – as the record has an angular approach that has the band taking a lot of weird twists with the grooves, creating these dark ... LP, Vinyl record album

Salinas

Atlantis
Top Tape/Mr Bongo (UK), 1974. Gatefold (reissue)
A heavy-hitting album of keyboard funk that's right up there with the best Deodato work for CTI! Brazilian arranger Daniel Salinas was clearly influenced by the success that his fellow countryman Deodato was having in the US during the early 70s – and he's working here in a style that would ... LP, Vinyl record album

Pygmy Unit

Signals From Earth
Holidays (Italy), 1974. (reissue)
A really wild little record – and one that's as much a free jazz set as it is some kind of freewheeling freakout from the San Francisco scene of the 70s! There's a very primal feel to the music here – lots of percussion and reeds – including work on flute, alto, and soprano from ... LP, Vinyl record album
Dynamic Sounds/Soul Jazz (UK), 1975.
One of the hippest sets ever issued during the roots reggae wave of the 70s – and one of the most spiritual, too! The album's got a very special acoustic vibe at the core – earthy drumming that goes back to a pan-African tradition, these beautiful acoustic basslines that link the music ... CD

Francois Jeanneau

Une Bien Curieuse Planete
Palm/Souffle Continu (France), 1975.
The very first album as a leader from saxophonist Francois Jeanneau – and exactly the kind of set that shows why work on the French jazz scene of the 70s was so different than most of what else was happening in Europe a the time! The music is a mixture of free jazz and more swinging modes ... CD
Blue Note, 1973.
A never-heard live set from the mighty Donald Byrd – recording here with live accompaniment from the Mizell Brothers – at a level that's every bit as wonderful as their work with the trumpeter in the studio! The material was originally recorded during a same series of albums that Blue ... LP, Vinyl record album
PTG (Netherlands), Late 70s/1980s.
The Masterpiece series has been running for quite a long time – and just seems to get better and better in the process! The range of tracks here is nicely expanded past those on early volumes – not straight disco or funk, but instead this great slice of overlooked club cuts that ... CD

Leones

Voyage
Star Creature, 2023.
Mighty nice work from Leones – an Italian duo, but one whose sound is a perfect fit for the Star Creature label – as they come across here with a really cosmic blend of drums and keyboards, often cut with plenty of jazz! The drums are live at most moments, which really opens up the ... LP, Vinyl record album

Count Buffalo & His Rock Band (Akira Ishikawa)

Exciting Drums – African Rock Party
Columbia/Lawson (Japan), 1969. Gatefold (reissue)
The drums are definitely exciting here – really tight rhythms that drive most of these cuts into a funky frenzy – even if the groove is more based on American soul of the late 60s than the African rock promised in the title! Most of the tunes are covers, but remade here as really hip ... LP, Vinyl record album

Siegfried Kessler

Solaire
Futura/Souffle Continu (France), 1971. (reissue)
A piano trio set, but one that's unlike anything that Oscar Peterson or Ramsey Lewis might have recorded – as Siegfried Kessler really breaks the whole format down here, working in a very free setting with accompaniment from Gus Nemeth on bass and Stu Martin on drums! The energy here is very ... LP, Vinyl record album
Loma/Kent (UK), Mid 60s.
Mid 60s magic from a record label that only lasted a few short years – yet one that's gone on to have as much prominence for real soul collectors as the music of Atlantic and Motown! Loma Records was a small offshoot of Warner Brothers on the west coast – yet one that worked far from ... CD
Uni/P-Vine (Japan), Early 70s.
The only full length album ever cut by this amazing Chicago girl group! The Lovelites first broke onto the charts with their stunning track "How Can I Tell My Mom & Dad" – a sad slow tune about teen pregnancy, sung in a strange otherworldly style that's also quite soulful ... CD

Nautilus

Revival
Urban Discos (Japan), 2023.
The group's just a trio, but they've got a wonderfully full sound – a rich funky groove that comes from just drums, bass, and keyboards – yet which has this soaring reach that almost takes us back to the 70s genius of work on labels like Fantasy or Prestige! Drummer Toshiyuki Sasaki is ... CD

Ayizan

Dilijans
Ayz/Comet (France), 1984. (reissue)
A record with a really unusual pedigree, in that it was recorded by a number of Haitian singers and musicians on the New York scene – done in the mid 80s with a bit of a groove, and a compelling blend of Caribbean roots and more spiritual elements! At some level, the record is years ahead of ... LP, Vinyl record album
Blue Note, 1970. (reissue)
A funky nugget from the second Blue Note chapter of guitarist Grant Green – that wonderful point when he shifted into more funk-based styles from his hardbop work at the start – and found a way to unlock a whole new side of his talents! The approach here is similar to some of the funky ... LP, Vinyl record album

Hardy's Jet Band/Klaus Wuestoff/Jan Troysen/Gary Pacific

Blue Butterfly
Selected Sound/Be With (UK), 1971. (reissue)
An early gem on the German Selected Sound library series – one that features work by a number of different artists, and is all the groovier because of that! Hardy's Jet Band dominate the first part of the album – and turn in these killer cuts that mix together fuzzy guitar and funky ... LP, Vinyl record album

Tubeway Army (Gary Numan)

Tubeway Army (marbled blue vinyl pressing)
Beggars Banquet, 1978. (reissue)
The genius first album from Gary Numan and Tubeway Army – a set that stripped down all sorts of influences from the early part of the 70s, filtered them through a punkish sort of energy, and came up with a great antidote to some of the more overblown projects from years before! There's ... LP, Vinyl record album
 



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