Sunday, 30 December 2018

2018 45rpm Chart



This end of the year i thought i would compile a list of some of the records that plopped onto the mat over the past 12 months. It serves two purposes - firstly, not everything i buy ends up on this blog, in fact most stuff doesn't so the list is a chance for me to shine a spotlight however briefly on a piece of music that i never got to laud at its release and secondly it allows me to scour through my shelves for discs i played intensively for a period and then forgot about as new stuff came along. This is totally subjective so feel free to comment on the post with your suggestions, always interested to hear what others are playing. There were lots of other discs in 2018 that were as good as these so this is not the be all and end all.... Deep Breath, here we go counting down......

If you would prefer to listen to the selection then here you go

20 Brotherman – Mancefield & Brother Man Band – preservation project
Slick Funk instrumental saved for posterity by the PP boys. Two sides of smoking cinematic funk with a Sax break dripping with attitude. You gotta love those PP boys and their curation of lost music when they come up with the goods like this.
19 What’s so good about saying goodbye – The Sentiments – Transistor Sound
Sweet Soul Ballad that dropped in August and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when played. Luxuriant arrangement with plaintive vocalizing slowly unfurling to reveal true genius.
18 Tonight – The Reaction – Time for Action
Welcome back to Sasha Bolotov, late of The Riots, and his new incarnation as part of The Reaction. I could have selected anything that the guys have released this year such is the quality of their sound. This one is taken off their World Cup of Lies EP that closes out the year and is a master class in Power Pop. There’s a light touch here that is borne of experience and confidence. There’s nothing that these guys are trying to prove, just getting on with giving us quality music. Keep an eye on these guys in 2019
17 Aragon/El Nino – The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble – Colemine
TSFSE interpret Roy Ayers and deliver a cracking competent version that oozes class and mastery. Flip side EL Nino towers over the point where Jazz, funk and soundtrack styles converge and get mixed up with each other. Its not an aural mess though, experienced restraint from the guys keep the track firmly anchored and never allowed to stray.
 
16 Happiness/You don’t Want me (Crazy) – Wesley Bright and the Honeytones – Colemine
Top Side of this one is a heavy dancefloor funked up southern soul pace setter. Hard edged it has its sweet moments courtesy of WB. B side slows it all down into a two-step  anthemic four minutes.
15 Mi casa es tu casa – Gillespie and Co – FNR
Gillespie and Co. dropped this one into the latter half of the year and kept the tropical vibe going. A cross between funk, latin and soul it was another notch in the belt for FNR and for Andrew Gillespie. Am eager to hear his new projects in 2019
14 When Love comes – The Sha La Las – Detour
September was a great month for releases and this English Beat combo gifted us a delicious little slice of pop soul that just gets better each time I listen to it. A spry, bouncy, hand clapping Motownesque dancer I really do hope that it makes folk sit up and take note of these guys. Another crowd that are on the watch list for 2019.
13 Dance with me baby – Hi-Lux – Sunflower Soul
I got excited about this one back in 2017 when i heard a pre-release snippet from the band and I started counting down the days till it dropped back in January 2018. If Modern soul is not your bag than you may pass on this one, it’s not for everyone I grant but for those who appreciate good soul music there’s a lot going on here, that beat is just solid and perfect, Vocals light and airy, flutter above your head. Close your eyes and let yourself drift…..
12 Soul Altitude – Aeon Seven – 45 Live
Just creeping into this years list courtesy of its December release date this exuberant instrumental is a finely crafted homage to seventies soul and Disco that has a typically French vibe to it. Stitched together by wunderkind Stephane DePlanque the bass on this one will rattle your fillings. Brass is sublime and the breaks are glorious
11 Bout to Blow – Lucky Brown – Tramp Tapes
Razor Sharp that could cut the face off you if you let it, this I believe has its genesis in Browns favoured method of jamming with like-minded artists and recording what emerges. Slamming funk that writhes and pulsates with its own life force. Top side is Saints and Beggars from the Mesquite Suite LP. That is a whole other beast, Layered and complex Jazz that swings confidently and broadly but still has little strains of funk running through it.
10 Dodged a bullet - AndrĂ© M – Spinout
AndrĂ© M is one of those guys who just keeps producing music and pops up every now and again with a jaw dropping instrumental and then he slinks into the background. Case in point is this one – described as a soundtrack for a car chase it does exactly what it says on the tin. This gets its groove on early and is relentless, laying down a solid whirling Mod sound. Cool as F*ck!
9 Please don’t Ask – Supertonic Sound Club – AMTY
Brass laden soul out of Dublin from this ska/soul/funk mob. Created a bit of a stir when it dropped on digital,   thankfully the physical release made it to the shops for the vinyl lovers. Fresh and bouncy it clips along at a pace that only the kids can bounce around to.
8 Let me do my thing – 107th Street Stickball team - Rocafort
Rocafort knocked out a neat little package during the year comprising 3 singles of across the board Latin Sounds. Included in the boxset was this nugget only available on LP previously that ticks all the boxes for Mid century Latin fans. This is a big bad boogaloo that exudes Nu Yorican attitude from every fibre of its being. Conceptualized by Bobby Marin and featuring Ozzie Torrens, Louise Ramirez and some of the finest young musicians from NYC it was tucked away on the Pot of Soul LP hence isn’t widely known. This seven inch release will rectify that. 
7 Call to Worship - Lee McDonald – Cannonball
The late Lee McDonald and the Cannonball crew gave us this awesome inspirational that slowly builds in intensity and opens out into a sweeping vista with a chorus that is uplifting. Gospel Soul and then some.
6 Take a Left – Joe Malik – Ramrock
Nu-Northern a go-go. Maliks vocal, the parping brass, that heavy hypnotic stomp and the louche harmonica all combine to add up to one fine Club cut perfect for progressive types. The Jo Wallace North Street Remix got even filthier and darker than the original and gave us a bluesy New Orleans voodoo wig out that had the dancers smiling and stomping their feet
5 The Beatnik/Rebel 23 – Chip Wickham – Lovemonk
Okay it was a December 17 release but I wasn’t aware of it till January, so I am including it here. Beatnik is Wickham doing what he does best, taking an idea and running with it. Here it’s a simple riff doused in jazz and funk. Rebel 23 is more orthodox Jazz but there’s nothing po faced here. Accessible and bloody marvellous
4 Art School Girl/It’s understanding – Ben Pirani – Colemine 
Pirani has made this year his own with some sublime releases on the Colemine label. ‘Its Understanding’ taken from his 2018 LP is a classic in the making and described by one Ian Levine as the best new Northern soul release EVER!
 
3 Moving on – Ann Franklin – Cannonball
A downbeat maudlin ballad is not exactly one you would think would be in a top three of the year and especially given the Cannonball output but to be honest once I heard the first few bars of this I knew it was something that needed to be in my collection. As a background singer Franklin worked all over Chicago collaborating for the great and the good and on the face of this one at least she should have been head and shoulders above many. But alas such is the way of the world she never progressed past backing singer. A Politically charged message for the times we live in, this is one of those records you will come back to again and again.
2 The Marryin kind/Baby I Love you – Leroy Taylor – Federal Green
An official release for these Northern bangers that quickly sold out being, as they are, dancefloor heaven from the legendary Shrine label.  Marryin Kind I heard back in the late nineties from a tape that was in circulation amongst the Soul fraternity in Dublin on a “don’t ask where I got it” basis and it was always one of those that was destined to never end up in my collection. Thankfully Federal Green got the license and can fulfill the fans wants lists. Marryin Kind is a traditional Northern Stomper and was the one that generated all the headlines when it was discovered. But for me it’s the flip that shines as the better of the two (better being a relative measurement, Both of these are 24K solid classics) which for those of us who hit our Northern soul stride in the post Stafford Era should be a more savoury dish. With that killer back beat and the deceptive pace it typifies what ‘Floor Filler’ means. 
1 Can’t do this to me – The Estimations – Kimberlite
Haunting arrangement, bullet-proof vocals and a beat tailored to the dancefloor made this one an awesome debut for this nascent Canadian label. In my estimation nothing came close to being as good as this one in 2018. This could have come across as a pastiche or a parody in less capable hands but there’s an authenticity to this one that is not forced or calculated but borne out of love for the genre. One of those tunes that touched me deep in my psyche and had me playing this over and over again - as i wrote back in March "Kicking off with some New York Latin piano and percussion it quickly moves into forgotten Northern Soul classic territory with a vocal evocative of Levi Stubbs but fecks sakes its those moody haunting backing vocals on the chorus and throughout that get the hairs on the back of the neck standing up. its got that feel of being off your nut at a niter, its that time 3am/4am in the morning where the sand is gritting your eyeballs then this comes worming its way out of the speakers, you get that body tingle and for the next three minutes the world shrinks down to you the sound and your dance moves. perfection!

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