Liebman/Murley Quartet ‘Live at U of T’ (Private Press) 4/5

Saxophonist Dave Liebman, at the age of seventy-one, can certainly be considered a jazz veteran. His initial interest in jazz was sparked by seeing saxophonist John Coltrane live in New York jazz clubs. Along the way, Liebman studied with fellow saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Lennie Tristano. Later, he worked in the group of drummer Elvin Jones who, himself, had worked extensively with Coltrane. The period from 1970-1974 saw Liebman touring and recording with trumpeter Miles Davis. At around the same time, the saxophonist was beginning to forge an independent career path working on his own projects forming an enduring partnership with the pianist Richie Beirach and recording for the famed ECM record label. Over the years Liebman has also garnered plaudits as an accomplished jazz educator at universities and in clinic settings. His biography ‘What it is: The Life of a Jazz Artist’ was published in 2012 and was well received by the jazz critics and fans alike.

This latest release teams the saxophonist with fellow reed-man Mike Murley (tenor and soprano saxophones) Jim Vivian (bass) and Terry Clarke (drums). The nine tracks on the album were recorded during January 2017 and seven of the pieces are compositions by band members, the exceptions being Joe Lovano’s ‘Blackwell’s Message’ and ‘And the Angels Sing’ a song written by Ziggy Elman and Johnny Mercer and which was a number one hit for Benny Goodman in 1939.

It is clear from the opening piece ‘Split or Whole’ by bassist Vivian, that the saxophonists revel in a rapport built up over a decade of working together. This is their second release. My guess is that we hear Liebman on soprano and Murley on tenor in this powerful outing. Next we have ‘YBSN’ written by Murley and sounding like a near relation of the old standard ‘You’d be So Nice to Come Home too’. The Tristano influence is clear here with the saxophonists bringing to mind the saxophone team of Warn Marsh and Pete Christlieb. ‘Off A Bird’ has the drummer opening this Liebman composition. Again, a soprano and tenor frontline and a rather more serpentine theme statement, the whole performance swinging along very satisfyingly. ‘Small One’ evidences a change of pace and is certainly a mellow melody with both saxophonists playing soprano. ‘Open Spaces’ is different again with Liebman on flute, initially accompanied by bass and drums, before the two tenor saxophones take centre stage. Later, we are treated to another exemplary bass solo. ‘Nebula’ opens with an extended feature for the bassist and develops slowly into a more impressionistic piece, with the leaders on tenor saxes once again. ‘And the Angels Sing’ is a delight to hear, swinging along at a great rate. Everyone seems to be having fun on this one. ‘Missing Persons’ has the leaders alone together back on soprano saxophones. This is a very considered piece and is a great contrast to the previous piece.

The aforementioned Joe Lovano piece brings the album to a close and commences with a drum feature as one would expect as the dedicatee was an eminent percussionist. The soprano and tenor front line combination returns for this powerful performance. I always miss the addition of a guitar or keyboard in line-ups such as this, but here this absence allows the musicians far more flexibility in their approach. Here we have a mixture for freedom and restraint. Restraint isn’t a word I would normally associate with Leibman. The thing to say here is that the music is always approachable and yet challenging. This is a winning combination. Murley is a former pupil of Leibman and clearly displays what he has learnt from the older master of the instrument. The recorded sound from this live performance is excellent. A fantastic album of freewheeling contemporary jazz and well worth a listen.

Alan Musson

Pablo Raster ‘Dub Addicted’ (Original Dub Gathering) 3/5

As Pablo Raster’s bright and bouncy album cover makes its appearance in high-definition on my screen, Italy is calling for fresh ears to indulge its collection of creations inside the folder; a nicely done pdf press release and cover photo (you would be surprised with the amount of albums we get sent in nice yellow folders that have absolutely no album info or additional promo reading matter, and on ocassion not even an album cover.. My gosh). Although this album is not a strictly Italian affair, indeed there are a dozen or so guest collaborators from all over Europe, this is the power of artistic collaboration that the internet does positively enable.

The wonderfully named Ital dub producer Pablo Raster has landed with a new long player inna digi steppers frontdrop and of course the creations come complete with their -almost obligatory- second or ‘dub’ versions or indeed sometimes a dubbier dub version, so what treats do we have lined up for the ears..? Well it’s always nice to hear a Don Fe collaboration and he appears on the dub version of a piece entitled ‘Must Flip’ which has been given a voice by Dan I Locks riding the urgency of the riddim track with a touch of impact, it’s an uptempo affair and Don Fe gives us his trademark vibe on its dub cut ‘Must Version’ which has a laid back and chilled flute which works really well against the urgent backdrop of the music and its mixdown and makes for one of a couple or three standout tracks, another being ‘What A Hit’ with voicing given by the crucially named Juniah Kinky and with its dub version ‘What A Dub’ I can just about forgive the obligatory melodica wailing throughout the version for once, for these pieces do offer at least a little ‘lazer lights in a field moments’ steering away from the ever so creeping up on you vibe that digi steppers dub music can achieve; the dreaded “dub by numbers syndrome”. Anyway, the vocal of ‘What A Hit’ ends rather abruptly as one hears just a small second of the dub cut about to come in before the snip edit, perhaps it would have been cooler to let the vocal and dub version run as a whole like a 12″ mix style.

‘Stronger Than Strong’ is the big vocal track on the album which features the voice of ‘Weedax’ and its dub contains those crucial vocal (long looped echo) effects which is always a delight to hear. The albums first track is an infectious musical introduction, a jingle heavenly made for underground radio ears by Pablo Raster and a guest voice by the name of ‘Maken’, I would have loved to have heard more of that piece, I guess that’s why they call them ‘teasers’ or ‘trailors’ in the entertainment industry. Quote from the accompanying PDF press release “A possible milestone in the dub music scene”.. I don’t know about that I hear nothing overtly alternative within this set, although it does nod to encompassing other close relatives of this particular dub genre and the production does touch on this by blending those nod’s so I am not so sure its a “Milestone” but perhaps a forward thinking stone? It remains digi steppers overall.

The album’s creations are in keeping to a pretty well trodden and clean path, it’s core sound is well within the genre’s decade long comfort zone but does however manage at times to reach out further, the genre has a largish following both with the dub Gathering -marquee in a field, complete with loud sound system- circuit and the genre is also well represented in the underground dub radio arena on the internet, something came to me once or thrice during my listening sessions for this album’s review and that is at times on a couple of tracks I feel like I’m listening to something akin to the old Conscious Sounds productions yet on a level a tad more adventurous.

The album is easy to listen to, nothing harsh on the ears, yet no massive surprises and for meat this point in time I am neither at a Gathering nor doing a radio show and so from a Sunday afternoon at home perspective with the hi fi on..

Gibsy Rhodes

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness ‘EMAKHOSINI’ (Buda Musique) 4/5

Bantu Continua Uhuru Consciousness want you to listen and listen good; South Africa needs to change. On ‘Emakhosini’, BCUC continue the protest started by first self-produced album ‘Our Truth’, which saw a track banned from being played on the radio. If the recently released single ‘Nobody Knows’ is anything to go by, the seven-piece aren’t going to stop getting under those in power’s skin.

Frontman Jovi says “Nobody Knows is talking about the resilience that we need to have in these hard times. We have already been through the hardest times, and we can’t give up now.” The world says “tell us more.” BCUC oblige with venom.

For South Africa, despite all its perceived richness, is still a torn country, and the band fight this modern Apartheid with fire-bellied breakdowns and nguni beats. Spinning Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat with Death Grips-esque chanting, the four track riles and wreathes with intermingled beautified tension.

“We see ourselves as modern freedom fighters who have to tell the story of Soweto’s past, present, and future,” says Jovi. The plight of the modern, unemployed worker, forever at the bottom of the food chain, is told in eleven languages to grab every faction of South African society by the ear.

BCUC rehearse in a converted shipping container doubling as a community run restaurant, a stones-throw away from the church where Desmond Tutu organised the escape of Soweto’s most wanted anti-Apartheid activists. Their music is music for the people, by the people, with the people, regardless of the colour of their skin.

Soweto has long been the epicentre of South African fight the system mentality. Once Mbqanga was the messenger, and jazz the thumb-snapping friend; now it’s time for BCUC’s Afro-psychedelic Zulu madness to shout at the world and make it dance for social change.

The band are performing at Rich Mix in London on the 10th April.

Sam Turnell

Darrian Ford ‘New Standards’ (Private Press) 5/5

During the course of last year I had at least 45 new albums land via various sources, most of which contained at least one great track, the odd few were complete albums in that you could put them on and leave them, no track jumping needed, but they are a rarity. Well here’s one for this year, promoted as a Jazz album but this is much more than that, it’s very soulful with jazz touches, his voice has such clarity and dominance, the album has been mixed perfectly so this lovely soul voice in its rightful place. I stumbled over him on CD Baby when he put out the scintillating soul grower “On the ocean”, I would suggest this will be one of the tracks of the year and would be perfect at 4am at the forthcoming Soul Essence weekender, kicks of a bit like “Dock of the Bay” and then it morphs into an emotional beat ballad, he sounds like Little Anthony and played loud this is simply stunning, easily the best version of this tune I have ever heard, he owns it now.

It seems like an age waiting for the album but it’s here in all its 15 track glory, it really is a thing of beauty. He hails from Chicago and has been on tour with his Sam Cooke revival show since 2006 when he kicked it of to rave reviews in New York City, you see, he doesn’t want Sam’s music to die, he wants to bring it to the masses, good on him. One of my earliest memories is dancing to Sam’s “Another Saturday Night” at Barbarella’s Night Club in Birmingham totally lost in the music and then realising a couple of hundred people were watching me, I was a couple of weeks away from my 14th birthday I had blagged my way in and pestered the jock for soul tunes all night – anyway back to this album – now Bill’s “Lovely Day” shouldn’t be tampered with as it is a stone classic, but hang on, Darrian has smashed it with an unknown female providing a foil to his silky smooth vocals, she posses a beauty of a voice and it all works so well, so far removed from the original this will get spins for years to come – if only there were some info of her identity! You could buy this album just for those two cuts and you would be very happy indeed. Now then, if rare groove is your bag then jump on “The One” because if this had appeared on some obscure album from the late 70’s early 80’s it would be seriously sought after. OMG he’s at it again with his Little Anthony sounding “Not my brother’s keeper” with a thumping big bass to keep him company, horns to die for, I really can’t get enough of this, the album kicks of with the Jazz fuelled “Loose Cotton Shirt” which wouldn’t have sounded out-of-place on the recent James Hunter Six long player, the meandering “Acorns” is another grower which is getting repeat spins here. I could go on, just buy it, you will not find a duff track on here, I’m converted.

Brian Goucher


The third Ill Considered album continues to showcase this London based trio/quartet their progressive approach to contemporary jazz. The line up remains as previous recordings with Leon Brichard on bass, Idris Rahman on saxophone, Emre Ramazanoglu on drums and additionally here, Satin Singh, who also appeared on the group’s second release ‘Live at The Crypt’ (2017) providing percussion duties. Ill Considered apply loose musical ideas to support further improvisational embellishments with ‘Ill Considered 3’ possessing a live quality, although, it was recorded in the same recording studio as their first release.

‘Djinn’ is the perfect introduction to the project; spiritual in its sensibility, the piece proposes a sense of tranquillity juxtaposed with an eeriness of sorts emanating from its mainly drum-less rhythm, sparse saxophone lines and winding electric bass accoutrements. ‘Incantation’ sees the group embrace a Weather Report era Jaco Pastorius thru bassist Leon Brichard, in addition to fluid sax runs which at times make use of digital delay effects. The drum track progresses from light to dense and rhythmic, and back to light again within its five and a half-minute track length.

Interestingly, the group decided to offer three short separate tracks for all band members to display their own individual musical personalities. Leon Brichard’s ‘Retreat’, is again obviously derived from the influence of Jaco Pastorious, the fretless bass innovator who made full use of artificial harmonics, chordal playing and a mid range focused sound that is now so revered by bass soloists. ‘Scatter’ with a track length of 1’16” is basically a brief workout for drummer Emre Ramazanoglu alongside percussionist Satin Singh. And ‘Perplexity’ sees Idris in practice mode with some supplementary reverb and delay added to his saxophone, although, the track length for this review copy had a timing of 2”33”, but the final minute and a half contained dead silence.

‘Delusion’, my personal favourite, is the most percussive and funkiest track of the set with its strong rhythm running beside the expressive but solid bass elements that then allow room for the dynamic saxophone flourishes. The bass sound on ‘Mediation’ is more akin to a sine wave synth bass and probably processed as much, and so, moving away from the fretless Jaco sound. ‘Nada Brahma’, the longest piece here at nearly 7 minutes is an exploration of musical space and atmosphere. I’m unsure of the title as an influence, because ‘Nada Brahma’ is the name of a contentious book by Joachim-Ernst Berendt which explores how music and sound impact upon spiritual development.

The combination of their rawness, complexity and intrigue gives Ill Considered a presence and attitude that serves them well as one of the ‘hottest’ UK jazz groups. The recording quality and audio engineering skills have improved upon previous projects, and obtaining an Ill Considered album on vinyl especially a first pressing is somewhat comparable to finding a Blue Note original – they are out there but it takes patience and resourcefulness. A few hundred copies are not fulfilling the demands of their growing consumer base, with their DIY cottage industry approach via their Bandcamp profile aiding their popularity.

So what is the future for Ill Considered? They could continue to record and release pretty much every live show and studio recording session and there would be paying customers for those experiences. This 3rd album does briefly touch upon the use of additional effects and processing – which could open up another world of options particularly within an improvisational context, something which UK bass soloist Steve Lawson has used effectively over the years. Or they could keep this project especially for this specific approach and then use other group configurations for different musical expressions. Nonetheless, having three strong albums released in less than a year is a rare feat and very much welcomed.

Damian Wilkes

Ethiopians ‘Reggae Power’ / ‘Woman Capture Man’ CD (Doctor Bird) 5/5

One of the great harmony groups of all-time, the Ethiopians belong to a select number of musicians of any genre whose melodic qualities are guaranteed to cut through the toughest of hearts. The Everly and Louvin Brothers practically defined the art of harmony singing, though in country music the Carter family were undoubtedly the early pioneers. Jamaican popular music took a leaf out of these practitioners of vocalese and the likes of the Heptones and later the Gladiators would emerge. Leonard Dillon was the leader of the Ethiopians and their chief composer. While previous compilations have sought to provide a wider vision of the band, and the 2 CD anthology on Sanctuary is praiseworthy in this regard (especially if you require the essential starting blocks of ‘Train to Skaville’ and ‘Engine 54’), the present CD offers something different; it focuses attention on a more narrowly defined period both in time and in genre. The two albums contained within were released in 1960 and 1970 respectively and are highly prized, not just for their rarity, but equally because they personify what is known as the ‘boss reggae’ period, associated primarily with the rise of the ‘skinhead’ sub-culture among youths in the UK. This is not to be confused with the later far right political connections that had nothing to do with Jamaican music. Rather, the youths in question aped the sartorial elegance and lifestyle of the Kingston ‘rude boy’ and reproduced what they perceived as a similar dress code. This came to coincide with an interest in their favourite football teams, several of whom adopted boss reggae tunes, with Harry J’s All Stars and the anthemic, ‘Liquidator’, becoming the adopted theme of a club such as Chelsea.

The first album has some of the most enduring of the Ethiopians song and these include, ‘Everything crash’, and, ‘Hong Kong flu’. A key element in the production was Karl ‘J.J.’ Johnson who worked on the two albums. Variations comes in the form of two instrumentals on the first album, with the J.J. All Stars offering up a then topical tribute to the politician and civil rights campaigner, ‘Robert F. Kennedy’. The second album continues in the same vein with social commentary prevalent on the opener, ‘Things a get bad to worse’, while a more optimistic tone is adopted on, ‘Joy joy’, and, ‘High high’. As a major bonus, there are another seven 45’s included and thus even those in possession of the original album vinyl may wish to purchase these and have the complete package in one handy place. These alone have some enticing titles with, ‘Everybody talking (aka ‘Big splish splash’) and especially, ‘Buss your mouth’ (aka ‘Contention’) from 1969, while later examples of the Ethiopians from the early reggae era are to be found in, ‘Mek you go on so’ and, ‘Wreck it up’, the latter from 1970. Detailed notes from authoritative boss reggae writer, Marc Griffiths and Andy Lambourn, coupled with terrific graphics of the various labels the band recorded on plus the UK and Jamaican covers of the very same albums round off an exemplary re-issue. The re-formed group would later record some memorable roots reggae music, with the 1977 Niney produced, ‘Slave call’, Leonard Dillon recorded further in his own right with Coxsone Dodd and lived until the age of sixty-eight in 2011. As for J.J., he re-invested his profits and founded a bus company that serviced rural Jamaica.

Tim Stenhouse

Justin Hinds and The Dominoes ‘From Jamaica with Reggae’ CD (Doctor Bird) 4/5

Straddling eras and genres, Justin Hinds (sometime spelled ‘Hines’) is quite simply one of the most important and endearing singers in Jamaican popular music, and belongs to be placed alongside Alton Ellis in the pantheon of vocalists. While this original album collecting songs from the mid-1960’s has been re-issued on countless occasions in vinyl format, this new CD re-issue goes one step further and provides a wider parameter, taking the story of Hinds’ music up into the late 1970’s when he was still plying his trade as a fine practitioner of roots reggae. Hinds was adept at adapting to the times and re-focusing his musical accompaniment for a new audience with the same quality of music and reflective lyrics.

Indeed, even into the mid-1980’s, Justin Hinds was recording superior quality albums for the US indie label Nighthawk and these should be investigated as a matter of urgency. However, the music contained within here serves as a mini and condensed introduction to the singer’s music and as such for the reggae neophyte, this may actually be a better investment than a multi-CD set. Classic ‘riddims’ abound and from the very start with, ‘Carry go bring home’, an essential slice of upbeat ska. Equally strong is, ‘Rub up, push up’, which has graced many a various artists compilation, and is included here as one of the fourteen bonus cuts. What makes this music so distinctive is the quality of the songwriting which invites the listener in. There is attention focused on the less well off and needy, with, educative yearnings on, ‘Teach the youth’, and a strong Baptist underpinning (though never preaching excessively) and thus secular ears need not feel excluded. Far from it. Generous additional tracks include the late 1970’s roots era, with Sky Note label productions such as, ‘Rig-ma-roe game’, and, ‘Wipe your weeping eyes’. Historical overview sleeve notes comes courtesy of respected reggae aficionado and writer, Mike Atherton.

Tim Stenhouse

Micah Shemaiah ‘Roots I Vision’ LP (Evidence Music) 4/5

The album was voiced in Geneva at the label’s Evidence Music Studio and mixed by one of the champions of the dub underground; Munich resident producer and soundmix engineer Umberto Echo with the music being provided by The 18th Parallel band.

‘Roots I Vision’ is presented as an eight track vinyl LP with the digital version benefiting from the inclusion of three bonus dub version cuts.
An easy to digest album when played in its entirety with a potent blend of vintage mixdown style and vocals and its progressive delivery courtesy of the underground arena, notably as example the use of speed control effects and percussive elements in the mix with the overall sound coverage tipping the nod to 1980s reggae roots and culture sounds, musically similar say to the later music of Gregory Issacs and the later Mikey Dread albums in fact I detect a few vocal refrains uttered by Micah throughout tracks that have that Michael Campbell touch and many other references appear throughout the set not least with its sub genres, we get healthy doses of rootsy one drop, mid tempo steppers style, rockers style and ambient leaning modern digi dub not forgetting that wonderful era of minimalist mid 1980s dancehall sound all blended together rather well making a short yet superbly crafted set.

From the album’s opener and title track ‘Roots I Vision’ through to its powerful closer ‘Death Trap’ we embark on a traditional reggae journey of roots and Rasta, of love and unity. Lets take the track ‘Boom Shakalak’ which has all the ingredients for a lovers sway, with Micah crooning away in positive vibe spreading unity not hate over a sumptuous down tempo slice of musical ‘gateau à la crème’ along side smatterings of fairground ride style sirens and a brass section -featuring on trumpet Alex Schneiter and on tenor sax Michael Borcord not forgetting Anthony Buclin on trombone- who give nice back washes and hooks throughout the album with some crucial drumming provided by the one Antonin Chatelain, indeed peppering the set are those hexagon shaped ‘syn’ drums of old giving a warm sound to the riddim tracks. I can’t detect any filler tracks to be honest in this creation. The album has a nice ‘mid’ range bass sound, it pumps but not overly ‘belly’ bass playing, not ultra deep like digi dub.

The high piece of the album comes to us by the name of ‘Death Trap’ which features Daniele Raia on the keyboards who also produced this track, all the other tracks on the album having been arranged and produced by The 18th Parellel band keyboardist Mathias Liengme. ‘Death Trap’ is a pure organ led roots special with some nice guitar picks from Léo Marin and lead guitar from Adrien Stern with handpicked subject matter from the voice of Micah Shemaiah, the dub version of ‘Death Trap’ is minimalist cool.

It’s a nice album to play in the background, calming and charming, a very Jamaican sounding band and the album absolutely benefits from the mix of Umberto Echo at the controls. The three bonus dubs (digital release) are underground heaven. Treat yourself to the vinyl LP and download the three dubs from a store, it’s rockers galore. Nice work by the backing singers Julien Plaza and Patricia Carvalho. A good team and a good project. A healthy 4/5 I would say.”

Gibsy Rhodes

Various ‘The Wants List Vol 4: The Return Of The Soulful Rare Grooves’ 2LP/CD (Soul Brother) 5/5

The highly regarded Wants Lists series continues with the fourth instalment of the Soul Brother Records compilation. Here, 17 carefully chosen soul flavours are selected, and as the title suggests, these are primarily 1970s tracks of the two-step, mid tempo and modern soul variety. The compilation begins with The Harold Wheeler Consort and ‘Black Cream’ (1975), a one-off album track by the prolific producer and keyboard player, which possesses touches of soul, jazz and disco with strings parts a la Love Unlimited Orchestra. Almeta Lattimore and ‘These Memories’, a (pricey) Mainstream Records 7” co-written by Almeta, is a stunning slab of deep soul and as like many others here, was reissued on a Soul Brother 7” in 2017. Ty Karim and the shuffling ‘Lightin’ Up’ is a genuine rare soul piece from the obscure Romark label, although, Kent Soul have previously re-released the track on two occasions.

Mary Clark ‘You Got Your Hold On Me’ which was originally a B-side to the massively in-demand boogie monster ‘Take Me I’m Yours’, is another swinging soul bouncer. This was removed from the official 2017 reissue 12” of ‘Take Me I’m Yours’ and replaced with the previously unreleased instrumental, and thus, this would set you back £100+ for the original 12”. Zulema ‘Wanna Be Where You Are’ is a remake of the Jackson 5, Leon Ware and ‘T’ Boy Ross produced record (their first collaboration), from the self-titled 1975 ‘Zulema‘ album. The first minute prior to the noticeable vocal parts is the strongest part of the track. Buddah Records have two inclusions, Bobby Wilson and ‘Don’t Shut Me Out’ which comes from his only 1975 LP ‘I’ll Be Your Rainbow’ and The Ebonys ‘A Love Of Your Own’, cut from the second of their three 1970s long players are both worthy additions. Tommy McGee ‘Now That I Have You’ is a bit of a cult classic and is featured here in its 1981 form and not the later boogie remake.

The sought after Dee Edwards ‘(I Can) Deal With That’ has been a known favourite on the soul scene since the ‘90s, but this is the uncredited ‘Strings’ version which has a slightly different mix to the standard release – but also possesses marginally inferior audio quality than the original. This version again appeared on a limited Soul Brother 7” in 2016. McArthur and ‘It’s So Real’ from their only release on Mainstream Records subsidiary Brown Dog is a sweet male ballad which recently appeared in 2016 on a Soul Junction UK repress. And unknown to this writer, Jocelyn Brown ‘If I Can’t Have Your Love’ is a pretty obscure 1981 7” only cut from Posse Records from New York, who are also known for their early 80s rap releases. This puts Jocelyn in a genuine soul context for this Keith Barrow written number for a more subtle performance by the legendary vocalist.

One time Spinners vocalist G.C. Cameron and his double negative insinuating ‘Love Just Ain’t No Fun’, was recorded in 1980 but first issued in 2014 on a Soul Brother 7” – but this is its first appearance since that release. Natural High ‘Trust In Me’, was also featured on a 2016 Soul Brother 7” as a B-Side to ‘I Think I’m Falling In Love With You’, both taken from their impressive debut and solitary 1979 album. The Impressions ‘We Go Back A Ways’ is taken from ‘Finally Got Myself Together’ (1973), and although it’s both a post-Curtis and Leroy Hutson Impressions track, it still manages to capture the essence of the Chicago group with this strong two-step groover. The Manhattans and their ultimatum offering ‘Give Him Up’ from their ‘With These Hands’ (1970) album on Deluxe from their pre-Columbia days, is one of my personal favourites here from the popular New Jersey group.

Aretha’s sister Carolyn Franklin’s ‘Sunshine Holiday‘ has been a known two-step preference for years and is taken from Carolyn’s fifth and final album ‘If You Want Me’ (1976). Pat Lundy and the bouncy ‘Let’s Get Down To Business’ from her 1976 album ‘The Lady Has Arrived’ is a nice inclusion, as is Margie Joseph ‘Ridin’ High’, taken from ‘Sweet Surrender’ (1974) with its deep strings, electric piano, sweet horns, background organ and warm flute touches. Aretha Franklin’s ‘Daydreaming’ is the most obvious track here plucked from one of Aretha’s strongest LPs, ‘Young, Gifted And Black’ (1972). Surprisingly, this was never issued on 7” – except in Peru! ‘I Want Sunday Back Again’ has Maxine Weldon recollecting about happier times and was featured on a US promo only 7” (1975) but more commonly from Maxine’s fourth solo album ‘Alone On My Own’ on Monument.

There isn’t a poor inclusion here on Wants Lists 4. And I appreciated that it is not just a compilation of very rare or ‘trending’ records because as we all know, a rare record is not always a great record, and around 50% of the tracks featured can be bought in their original vinyl form for under £25. I commonly find that many of the records that are slightly under the vinyl digging radar are more interesting than the rarities.

Damian Wilkes

Astral Travelling Since 1993