Various ‘Rainer Trueby presents Soulgliding’ 2LP/CD (BBE Music) 5/5

German DJ and producer Rainer Trüby/Trueby has had an illustrious career over the last 25 or so years including compiling numerous albums for various labels including Compost Records in Munich, and here he returns to assemble another set of soulful heavyweights for this new 13 track BBE compilation series.

With such a strong set it was difficult to select which songs to highlight, but Patrice Rushen ‘To Each His Own’ was originally included on Patrice’s final album for Elektra in 1984 ‘Now’ which contained the more famous ‘Feel So Real’, with this track incorporating sparse instrumentation including 808 drum machine rhythms and Freddie Washington’s fluid bass guitar underneath Patrice’s rich keyboards and mesmerising vocals. The Brooklyn born and raised vocalist Donna McGhee and ‘It Ain’t No Big Thing’ has been a DJ favourite for decades with its string-heavy arrangement and lush keys. Remarkably, this was never released as a single but was featured on Donna’s only album, the classic ‘Make It Last Forever’ in 1978 which was written and produced by east coast legends Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael.

Fifth of Heaven ‘Just A Little More’ is a UK street soul gem from Manchester and was quite a popular 12” with underground soul and pirate DJs upon its release in 1989 and was recently sampled by Lynda Dawn on ‘Move’ in 2019. Another Patrick Adams production, Cloud One ‘Dust To Dust’, was initially released on Peter Brown’s highly collectable P&P Records in 1976 during the New York City disco frenzy, but this is more known as a sultry two-step jam with its downtempo piano led grooves and infectious synth lines. Crystal Winds were a Chicago outfit who were previously members of Rasputin’s Stash in the 1970s, but this 1982 LP-only cut ‘Lover’s Holiday’ is from their solitary LP ‘First Flight’ – and is another rare groove monster.

Bridge and the sultry female vocal led ‘Next To Me’ is taken from an unreleased album that was originally recorded in 1981 and titled ‘Crying For Love’ but first issued in 1999 on First Experience Records. It’s interesting that this has now become quite elusive and itself fetches £100+ on vinyl. The drum less ‘Without Love’ by Peter Brown (not the NYC based producer as mentioned above) is an after hours, late night come down piece with lavish electric piano and warm synths, and can be found on ‘A Fantasy Love Affair’ LP (1977) and as a cheap UK 12” b-side to the well known ‘Do Ya Wanna Get Funky With Me’.

‘Soulgliding’ will probably be one of my favourite compilations of the year. There isn’t a weak link and I could have written about all 13 tracks in detail as they are all worthy. Rainer Trüby has simply opted for a heavily curated selection of fantastic soulful based music from across various spectrums of soul, jazz and disco, rather than creating a fashion statement of only super rare records. Rather, Rainer has plucked out tracks due to their quality alone. Some are rare such as Ray & James ‘Nature Boy’ 7” (1982), but many are just records that are a little ‘off-piste’ or forgotten about in record collector and DJ circles. Essential.

Damian Wilkes