All posts by Mick

Eddie Holman

Catalog: SD002
Release Date: Mid January 2021

Until recently this unknown Virtue acetate was unearthed from the belongings of legendary Philly producer/musician/songwriter John Stiles. Recorded around the same time as “Stay Mine For Heaven Sake” at Virtue Studios in Philadelphia. Eddie’s rendition of “Ready, Willing and Able” was something that was thought to have been written potentially for another singer which was to be determined but he sang on the track as a reference point to whoever this might be, which was not an unusual practice. His piercing vocals added to a pounding “Northern soul” style beat lends itself to a packed and sweaty dancefloor.

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Little Ann

Detroit’s Secret Soul (Kent Records)

Catalog: CDKENT495
Release Date: December 2020

In the last two decades, Little Ann’s music has gone from being almost unheard to celebrated widely across the world. Initially known only as a footnote for having one side of a Ric-Tic single in 1968, the discovery of her acetate of ‘What Should I Do’ at Wigan Casino in the late 70s led to her name becoming important to rare soul fans.

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Don Bryant

“Cloudy days” / “Just a touch of your hand” (Hit & Run Records) 7′

One of what will be occasional deep soul 45s on the label. In 1967 Detroit’s Wheelsville group of labels took some artists down to Willie Mitchell’s Royal Studio in Memphis. Willie had the Hi house band in, he produced and Don Bryant guided the Detroit artists with his vocals. 

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Don Brown –26/11/20

Back in the day there were many artists whose music never made it to the mainstream but deserve to be noted. These groups produced some of the best music of the day, however, they were never able to sign with a major record label. Everyone knows about the major groups who climbed the charts from Motown, Stax, Buddha, and other major labels. There were quite a few whose music was played on “local” R&B radio stations but never reached the national scene. Many of these artists received more recognition in Europe than was afforded them here in the USA. Although a couple were signed with the major labels, they were never “marketed”. In fact, there were even a few from right here in Boston, Massachusetts…… Those I will get to later.

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Rex Hush

“Pull over”/ “Summer breeze” (Izipho Soul Records) 7’

Catalog: ZP-55
Release Date: 9th December 2020

Rex Hush’s privately pressed project out of New Jersey, recorded in 1983 ‘Pull Over’ is an outstanding funk soul with great vocals, cosmic synths and a strong message.  

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Soul Discovery
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Matthew Halsall

‘Salute to the Sun’ (Gondwana Records) LP

Catalog: GONDCD039 / GONDLP039 – CD//2LP//DL
Release Date: 20/11/20

Composer, trumpeter, producer, DJ and founder of Gondwana Records, Matthew Halsall has always worn many hats. But at the heart of everything that he does Halsall is first and foremost an artist and a musician. A trumpeter whose unflashy, soulful playing radiates a thoughtful beauty and a composer and band-leader who has created his own rich sound world. A sound that draws on the heritage of British jazz, the spiritual jazz of Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders, as well as world music and electronica influences, and even modern art and architecture, to create something uniquely his own. A music that is rooted in Northern England but draws on global inspirations.

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Phillip Ballou

“We’ll be together” / “I need you” (Nefer) 7’

Catalog: SDE54
Release Date: Late December 2020 or early January 2021

Pittsburgh-born Phillip Ballou’s earliest years were spent in the gospel field; after he moved to New York City in the ‘70s, he teamed up with Bennie Diggs and Arthur Freeman, founding members of The New York Community Choir and singer Arnold McCuller to form the group Revelation. The quartet recorded for RSO Records, scoring some R&B success in the US with tracks like “Get Ready For This” and “You To Me Are Everything,” touring the Bee Gees among others.

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Abi Farrell

“I will see you through” (Big AC Records)

Release Date: 23rd November 2020 Digital Download
Limited edition 7” vinyl in early 2021

An iconic pizzicato string intro creeps up on you before exploding into warm gospel tones, punctuated by lush, girl-group sensibilities. Whilst the nod to Motown and 60’s soul is undeniable, Abi’s modern delivery, allied by reflective,inspirational lyrics and the nuanced production of Mitch Ayling (The Milk) make ‘I Will See You Through’ a contemporary triumph.

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