Every so often I come across a soul record that blows my head off. The first time I heard Trying To Survive was one of those days. Stop you in your tracks poignant and soulful lyrics over some of the funky grooves you will ever hear.
Originally released by James Thorpe on his Magic Touch label in Chicago Illinois, the original pressing of this super rare funky soul 45 has fetched up to $2000 in recent years.
Rarity aside, it's the lyrics that do it for me. It sounds like it was released back in the 70's so it's sad to think some 40+ years they still make sense today.
Trackdown, a more Northern sounding cut, maintains the quality on the b side.
The reissue that came out earlier this year is virtually sold out in the shops, but Juno Records have just had a restock. A must-have for all soul lovers that don't want to shell out for the original (that's if they can find one).
He is resident at Lost Control where previous guests have included DMX Crew, Perseus Traxx, Youngstar and Asok. The next event at the Q Cavern is on November 7th and features special guests Alexander Robotnick, James Holroyd and Tim Morrison (check the podcast below).
BLACK has put together this set especially with Cowbell Radio in mind so it's no surprise artists include Mugwump, Depeche Mode, Sabres Of Paradise, Lord Of The Isles and Richard Sen.
As usual PT will have a wedge of his own tips and selections - breaking new music whilst not forgetting the classics.
Nick Weston's consistently strong Mukatsuku label is back on it, with Lost & Funk Soul Gems Volume Two, featuring Loleatta Holloway's 'Bring It On', but my pick is 'I'll Be Around' by Ron Henderson & Choice Of Colour on the B side.
New discovery for me, check K15's ace Hall Of Memories on Wotnot Music for one of the freshest tracks of the year. The EP also features the original of Bordeaux plus remixes by Glenn Astro & Imyrmind and Kaidi Tatham.
Secret Squirrel Volume 5 maintains the high quality with two more nu disco gems. The A side turns Willie Colon's 'Set Fire To Me' into a lovely deep grower whilst the B side takes on Electric Chair classic 'The Final Time' by Steve Bender.
Detroit Techno fans may want to snap up the purple vinyl reissue of Mayday's Sinister, the Undisputed mix has been a personal favorite for a long time.
House and techno never went away for me, but over the last few years it seems there has been an abundance of decent, deep, soul laced, funk dowsed, jazz tinged, bass ridden electronic music from new and upcoming producers.
At the same time classic labels such as Trax, KMS, DJ International, Pheerce City and Harmless are reissuing many of the original Chicago and Detroit based releases that made such an impact in the UK the first time around.
Meanwhile 2nd gen producers like Omar S, Ob Ignitt, Theo Parrish, Jay Daniel, Kyle Hall, Kai Alce, Mike Huckaby, Rahaan, Jamie 3:26 etc continue to lay down some of the finest and filthy grooves ever to grace a dance floor. And let's not forget the talent from across Europe.
Add that to the amount of disco and boogie records that have been unearthed, given the re-edit treatment, then tagged Nu and we have what has to be one of the strongest and most fertile underground scenes in the world right now.
So with all that in mind, this Saturday sees the launch of a new club night for Preston. It's called Mesmeric and it has been born to give the DJs that are booked the chance to play all the new music they are feeling right now, on a loud PA, to the decent sized core of music heads that live in and around the city. Here is the lowdown:
Upstairs, sound in, lights off, decks on.
COTTAM (Ruff Draft)
JOHN TREE (The Perfumed Garden)
PAUL THORNTON (Dig Deep)
This month Dig Deep gears up for a very special guest DJ mix from the huggable hulk that is Yogi Haughton.
Writer, broadcaster, producer and former Red Bull Musical Academy rep, Yogi is arguably the best known DJ in Scotland. Widely regarded by many as the man that took house music and techno north of the border, his thirst for rare, quality black music has never waned. The Edinburgh Evening News branded Yogi as “probably Scotland’s most important DJ”.
Yogi has worked with the biggest and best DJ’s around the world as well as some incredible live acts including, Chaka Khan, Leroy Hutson, Todd Terry, Tony Humphries, Terry Callier, Roger Sanchez, Danny Tenaglia, Roy Ayers, Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez and Giles Peterson to name just a few.
Trips to Brasil, Australia, North America, France, Sweden and numerous other countries have all been highlights in Yogi’s DJ career, as well as the hundreds of gigs he has played around Britain including 14 Southport Weekenders and numerous Prestatyn Weekenders and venues throughout Britain. Yogi was also at the arrow head of the U.K. Warp bleep sound where he played regularly with Nightmares On Wax, Unique 3 and Sheffield’s Winston during the early 90’s.
Yogi has recorded for some of the world's top labels, including the prestigious Guidance stable in Chicago, Vibe Records (Murk’s sister label in Miami) and the legendary R&S stable where his ‘Tribal Tone’ track sold by the shed load. Not to mention the numerous U.K. labels he has recorded for over many years.
There is no doubt that Yogi’s record collection, now around 70,000 strong, has stood him in good stead. He is still playing every weekend at either a northern/modern soul gig, jazz gig, rare soul or a bread and butter house night.
Always striving to break moulds, boundaries and keep pushing the scene on, Yogi now concentrates all his energy on the international event that is the SSW Weekender. A whole weekend of clubbing in the huge and plush Park Hall Hotel, near Preston, that is literally turned into a giant night club for the weekend.
With sessions each night until 7.00am, SSW boasts a line up to shame even the best Miami Winter Music Conference party! With 4 indoor arenas, plus a 5th area outside, the huge 30-50K Void Incubus sound systems ensure the tunes get the respect they deserve. With a line up of 70+ acts, SSW is an essential event for anyone with a love for rare Northern Soul, rare Modern Soul, Boogie, Disco, Jazz, Afrobeat, cutting edge House and US House.
SSW DJs and artists include: Danny Krivit, Horse Meat Disco (Luke Howard), Mad Mats (Local Talk), Anne Sexton live, Crazy P (Ron Basejam DJ set), Medlar, Cottam, Jimpster, Groove Assassin, Michael Watford live, CeCe Rogers, Graeme Park (Hacienda Set + Disco Set), Colin Tomlinson, Let's Go Way Back, plus many more including Skiddle's own TW Wizard and Simba.
In around 5 week's time The Craig Charles Funk & Soul Club returns to Preston's 53 Degrees. This will be the 4th time Craig has brought his legendary Trunk Of Funk to the city, and if the previous events are anything to go by, this will be another sell out night.
The atmosphere that Craig generates is 2nd to none; the crowd are always on the dance floor from the moment the doors open till the end of the night. His ever charismatic sets are a culmination of years of work as a presenter and stand up comedian fused with a life long obsession with funk and soul music.
With an explosive party feel, the place literally 'erupts' as soon as Craig gets behind the decks. A natural entertainer, anyone that can smoothly take a crowd from a peak time jump up and down anthem into a chilled out version of Bob Marley, with just a mic, and then have the whole room singing along will always get my respect. Craig loves the music that he plays and that comes across in bucket loads.
Number 1 in this month's chart goes to Madlib. It's rare to hear decent new hip hop these days and Stones Throw's finest doesn't let us down. Check Cues 2, 3, 4 and the massive soul sampling 6. The 10" vinyl comes in a lovely package, including that all important download code.
All 3 tracks on NDATL's Special Edition 2014 EP are great - Michael Huckaby's Analog, Tapes & Things moves my head the most, Simbaz Groove by Kai Alce is a sultry deep houser, whilst Jay Daniel drops a ruff Detroit floor wrecker. Originally these 12"s were only available to those that attended the Deep Detroit event back in May 2014. The 3 track white label release is already going for double money on Discogs.
The Detroit vibes continue with scattered snares and squelchy bass from Kyle Hall aka Funkineven's Discipline which features Jay Daniel. The aptly titled Abyss on the flipside takes things darker and more soundtracky.
All Under One Roof Raving by Jamie xx is finally out and gets the award for the freshest tune of the year. Check the full review here.
Amir Alexander beefs up the drums on Hanna's Moonshine for some peak time action on the strong Allied Forces EP, whilst his remix of Martin de Brig's Stop Stop keeps it bubbling and deep.
Daze's Lips EP on an amber coloured Lobster Theremin 12" is pure Detroit. The Larkin-esque Drag Ball is my pick but Drexciya fans should also check the acid electro of the Untitled track.
Max Graef, one of my favourite producers of 2013, takes on Mr Scruff's We Are Coming and delivers some jazz laced house grooves. On the flip is a Scruff re-tweak of Feel Free.
Deep Disco and Boogie guru Zaf from Zafsmusic.com shares the knowledge. If you have not seen this video before it is well worth a watch.
Collector, dealer, soul boy and all round vinyl enthusiast chats about the London scene, his (then) forthcoming compilation Deep Disco and Boogie Vol 1 LP on Kindred Spirits, and gives out plenty more tips along the way.
A reissue of Deep Disco & Boogie Vol 1 (Part 1) featuring the long version of China Burton's You Don't Care (About Our Love) and Razzmatazz's Set It Out is available now from all good record shops.
For a treasure trove of rare soul, disco, funk, boogie, jazz, latin and afro check out zafsmusic.com
Once or twice a year I hear a track that stands out from the rest. In 2013 it was North Lakes' Griswold. This year it is Jamie xx's All Under One Roof Raving that has turned my head the most.
First heard by many on Annie Mac's BBC Radio 1 show, if you were quick off the mark you could have picked up the 1 of the 200 one sided white labels back in June. As always the vinyl extortionists jumped on it and were (re)selling promo copies for up to £30. Alternatively you could by the download for less than a quid and wait for the official release in August.
Lifting poignant samples from Mark Leckey's 'Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore', it's the arrangement that really does it for me. Mixing up infectious steel drums with serious low end and 2 step beats to create a deep edgy soundtrack that comes from the same camp as Burial and Shackleton.
Tracks such as this lend themselves to 12", as the warm sound of the vinyl compliments the bass and mid range perfectly. At a time when the world is a saturated with bland deep house, this is distinctive and fresh.
Pick up the full sleeve edition one sided 12" with etching on flip now from all good records shops.
No special guest mix this month, just fresh hand picked music from the likes of John Morales, Omar S, OB Ignitt, Moodymann, Mannmademusic, Mr Mendel and Jamie xx. Funk heads can expect some new music from the Jazzman and First Word stables. Plus we will have exclusive plays of forthcoming tracks from Cottam's Ruff Draft label, a tight new production from Simba and a couple of gems from BoogieNite.
Back in September 2012 I was giving an early heads up regarding Watson's new 12" on the El Diablo Social Club's To Rack & Ruin label. The deal was a limited run of 300 hand stamped, hand sprayed copies would be doing the rounds by the end of the month.
The vinyl release sold out quickly, gaining support from the likes of Eric Duncan, Sleazy Beats, 78 Edits, Cottam, Red Greg and Osmose, and landed at the Number 1 spot in my 2012 End Of Year Chart.
Now in 2014 those good people at Juno Download have made the 2 track release available digitally for the first time; with plays from Chris Massey, Disco B, Superbreak, Goldboy and Spain's The Groovers all bringing the sought after tracks to a new audience.
'Get It On' is superb edit of the massive Millie Jackson track which was sampled on Carl Craig's remix of Tom Trago’s - 'Use Me Again' track. After initially breaking Watson's edit at a Paper Recordings party, Cottam closed his recent set at Lovebox Festival with what is now a nu disco anthem. The more subtle but equally good 'Thoughts Of Yesterday' is a slo-mo groover dowsed in the soulful boogie vibes that Watson has been dropping in his DJ sets for time.
Watson - To Rack & Ruin Volume 3 (To Rack & Ruin) Available now at Juno Download
Some crackers in this month's chart. Lovers of decent house, afrobeat, [nu]disco, techno, funk, boogie, jazz and beats dig in!
Top of the chart goes to the beautiful string laiden new gem from Midland. Check the Spiritual South 12" on Basic Fingers for a solid version of Halloween's Come See What It's All About. Stamp Records number 3 delivers a heavyweight version of Fela from Lodger that went down a storm at this year's Beat-Herder Festival.