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Billion Dollar Band - same
(Good Sounds GS102 US-77 EX 400:-)

One of the coolest records to come from the TK Records Miami soul empire of the 70s – and one of the few that was ever issued on their tiny Good Sounds subsidiary!

The approach here is great – kind of all the strengths of the usual TK/Criteria Studios groove, but taken to a sharper, tighter edge – with maybe less of the obvious try for commercial crossover that some of the label's other material might have. The tunes are a mix of uptempo grooves and mellower soul, and mostly avoid the more standard disco approaches of the time.
Brother to Brother - In the Bottle
(Turbo TU-7013 US-74 VG+ 275:-)

First LP from the band - essential soulful cut!

Great groovy stuff including Brother to Brother’s fabulous cover of the Gil Scott-Heron track “The Bottle” done here with a cool flanged vocal chorus on the lyrics, and a tight jazzy groove that reproduces the feel of the original, but adds some soulful female vocals!
Brown, James - Hell
(Polydor PD-2-9001 US-74 VG+ 600:-)

James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," was a prolific singer, songwriter and bandleader, as well as one of the most iconic figures in funk and soul music.

"Hell" is JB's wildest album, with a crazy cover that shows him running away from the devil, and great gatefold inner photo with him standing amidst a bunch of declarations of "Hell". The double album is filled with lots of different styles from James' funky bag – but the real highlight is the epic 13 minute version of "Papa Don't Take No Mess", as tight and jamming as any cut from "Doin' It to Death" or "The Payback"!
Brown, James - Slaughter's Big Rip-Off
(Polydor PD-6015 US-73 VG+ 375:-)

James Brown, the "Godfather of Soul," was a prolific singer, songwriter and bandleader, as well as one of the most iconic figures in funk and soul music.

Easily one of the funkiest albums that James Brown ever recorded – and one of his few entries into the blacksploitation genre of the 70s! James really outdid himself for this one – working at a hard burning pace that had the JBs cooking up some killer funk for just about every number in the set – and which also has James himself stepping out vocally for a few key tracks. The album features the massive groover "People Get Up and Drive Your Funky Soul" – a slamming track that beats nearly every number in the JB 70s catalog!
Harrison, Wilbert - Let's Work Together
(Sue SSLP-8801 US-69 VG+ 300:-)

Kind of a "revival" record for Wilbert – cut during the big R&B comeback years of the late 60s, recorded with a sound that's almost rawer than his original 50s work! The style is pretty laidback and more bluesy than you'd expect – Wilbert working with a small combo that features rough guitar and harmonica, singing sad little versions of tunes that include "Let's Work Together", "Blue Monday", "Soul Rattler", "Stagger Lee", "Stand By Me", and "Tropical Shakedown".
Hearts of Stone - Stop the World
(VIP VS-404 US-70 EX 300:-)

Soaring soul from Hearts Of Stone – a group who only ever cut this one album for Motown, but who really use the best of the label's talents to hit the same sort of groove as The Originals! Like that better-known group, these guys have a sound that really bridges the 60s and 70s – not as heady as other Motown groups of the period, but still with some modern funky soul touches in the mix – and a real old school sense of harmonies that makes the vocals breathtaking throughout.

The Sleeve has a small cut-out hole in the upper left; the vinyl is in Excellent condition!
Higgins & Alex Brown, Monk - Sheba, Baby
(Buddah BDS-5634-ST US-75 VG+ 500:-)

A nice one! This obscure blaxploitation soundtrack features a hip Monk Higgins score for a Pam Grier film that's supposedly "Hotter than Coffey and meaner n' Foxy Brown".

The music's strong enough, right up there with the best of its kind. Barbara Mason sung the title track and a few more vocal numbers, all in the mode of her hipper work during the time, but the best cuts are the instrumentals, of course!
Jackson, Michael - Dangerous
(Epic 465802-1 Hol-91 VG+ 500:-)

One of those records that were dismissed at the time of its release – but which really lives up to repeated listenings in later years!

Sure, Michael is no longer working with Quincy Jones – and instead goes for Teddy Riley and some other (then) contemporary producers – but that all makes for a very solid 90s crossover vibe – perfect for radio play a the time, not to mention heavy video rotation too – and definitely still another jewel in the crown of the King of Pop!
Johnson, J J - Across 110th Street
(United Artists UAS-5225 US-72 VG+ 375:-)

One of the best blacksploitation soundtracks of the early 70's -- not only for the great title cut by Bobby Womack, "Across 110th Street", but for the excellent hard-hitting instrumentals by J.J. Johnson, which are perfectly in the groove of the blacksploitation generation! Lots of wah-wah guitar, funky keys, and tight riffing by the band!
Johnson, J J - Willie Dynamite
(MCA MCA-393 US-74 EX 600:-)

One of the greatest soundtracks of the blacksploitation era – served up with some incredible grooves from maestro JJ Johnson!

The album's got a non-stop, hard-hitting groove that ranks it with the best of its time – and which is arguably even better, because most of the record isn't nearly as well known as "Shaft", "Superfly", or other classics. Martha Reeves sings some of the deepest vocals of her career on the great title track "Willie D" – an old sample cut that you're sure to recognize – and the instrumental tunes are even better, filled with great percussion and jazzy flourishes from JJ – in a style that really keeps things interesting!

Original US pressing.
Jr Walker - Soul Session
(Tamla Motown STML-11029 UK-66 VG+ 300:-)

Motown's skilled but mostly anonymous instrumentalists very rarely stepped out on their own. The lone exception to the rule was tenor saxman Autry DeWalt, whose rough-and-ready, old-school R&B was a marked contrast with the label's typically smooth, polished product.

Released to ride "Shotgun's" back "Soul Session" is uncut, polyunsaturated Junior Walker & the All-Stars, loaded with tight grooves!

Original UK pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded VG+.
LaSalle, Denise - Trapped by a Thing called Love
(Westbound WB-2012 US-72 VG+ 300:-)

The Westbound debut of Denise LaSalle – and a killer bit of southern soul recorded down in Memphis with Willie Mitchell, despite the Detroit address of the label! The set is a real burner throughout – one that features mostly original material by Denise, recorded with a spare and compressed southern soul groove that's a lot more Stax Records than anything going down on Westbound at the time.

Denise is in perfect form vocally, too – never overdoing things, and really presenting her lyrics with a great sense of confidence – one that matches the best power of Ann Peebles, Carla Thomas, or any other contemporaries on the Memphis scene.
Last Poets - Right On!
(Juggernaut LP-8802 US-71 EX 300:-)

One of the wildest albums ever by the mighty Last Poets! Billed as "a woodstock in poetry", this is the soundtrack to the obscure film RIGHT ON!, which was shot using the first version of the Last Poets that included Felipe Lucianao, David Nelson, and the wild card Gylan Kain.

Most of the record is spare percussion, with the band shouting over the top – and the sound is even rawer than the group's first LP on Douglas. The titles should say it all – as the record features "My Pretty N*gger", "Tell Me Brother", "Die Nigga!", "James Brown", "Soul", "Poetry Is Black", "Into The Streets", and "Library".

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Love Committee - Law & Order
(Gold Mind GA-9500 US-78 VG+ 500:-)

A classic club album, and one of the most sought-after albums on Gold Mind/Salsoul – a soulful set of club classics that almost beats most of the other work by its contemporaries!

The session's grounded in some very solid help from the Sigma Sound team – production and arrangements by the likes of Norman Harris, Ron Tyson, or BHY Productions – in that wonderfully soulful style that was the best mode of the Harris Machine when it was working overtime! The style is disco, but far from the cliches of more commercial work like this – and much more in the legacy of Philly soul from the earlier part of the decade.
Love, Peace & Happiness - Love is Stronger
(RCA Victor LSP-4535 US-71 VG+ 275:-)

Love, Peace, & Happiness were one of the groups circulating around Harvy Fuqua's New Birth/Nite-Liters assemblage in the early 70's.

On this early LP, they sing with a beautiful hard soul sound, with great arrangements by Riley Hampton. Some of the tracks have a politically conscious feel, like "Message to the Establishment", "Dont' Blame the Young Folks", and "Overlooked Generation", but the title cut's also a great pop/soul cover of Francis Lai's classic soundtrack cut.
Mayfield, Curtis - Give Get Take and Have
(Curtom CU-5007 US-76 VG+ 275:-)

An overlooked mid 70s gem from Curtis Mayfield – a record that's recorded with a slightly less righteous mode than his earliest work for Curtom – but still plenty darn great!

The emphasis here is on warmer, sweeter styles – tunes that mix a subtle approach to funk with some great warm vocals from Curtis – in a way that re-exposes his talents as a singer of the kind of love-themed and tender tracks that first got him started in The Impressions! Rich Tufo handled the arrangements, and the sound is great – as perfect a version of mellow soul as the earlier records were a version of funky soul.
Mayfield, Curtis - There's no Place like America
(Curtom CU-5001 US-75 EX 600:-)

A great album by Curtis Mayfield – filled with some excellent lesser-known gems!

"There's mo Place like America today" was Curtis' scathing testament to the State Of The Union – and it's got a hip political tone that's right up there with the best of his early 70s songwriting – perhaps even more so, as the message is a bit subtler than on other albums, and laid out in this stoner mellow funk vein that's very tasty throughout, and which makes for an extremely unified album!
McDaniels, Gene - Wonderful World
(Liberty LBY-1179 UK-63 EX 375:-)

Gene McDaniels had some early-'60s success with a pop-flavored R&B style. Born in Kansas City, he sang in Omaha choirs during the '40s and attended the Omaha Conservatory of Music. McDaniels led his own band in the '50s, then signed with Liberty. He had a Top Ten pop and Top 20 R&B hit in 1961 with "A Hundred Pounds of Clay," but the follow-up single, "A Tower of Strength," was his biggest.

Original UK MONO pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Meters - New Directions
(Warner Bros BS-3042 US-77 VG+ 300:-)

Considered by many to be one of the founding fathers of funk, The Meters created a unique sound that lasted through the sixties and seventies and was reborn in the late eighties. Their trademark sound blends funk, blues, and dance grooves with a New Orleans vibe.

"New Directions" is the eighth and final studio album by the funk group The Meters. It is the band's first and only album produced outside New Orleans and features the Oakland-based Tower of Power horn section.
Modulations - It's Rough out Here
(Buddah BDS-5638 US-75 VG+ 500:-)

A soul classic from the 70s - the one and only album from The Modulations, and a lasting classic that almost beats the multiple album runs of some of their contemporaries!

The group's a southern harmony quartet at their core, but they also get some really great backings on the set - a Philly vibe that really matches the best work from the Gamble & Huff stable, but with more of an indie vibe too. The record features studio help from Norman Harris, Vince Montana, and Bobby Eli - whose work helps link the style to the grooves of groups like Soul Generation or True Reflection - both a good comparison to The Modulations!
Natural Four - Heaven Right Here
(Curtom CU-5004 US-75 VG+ 300:-)

Heavenly soul – and the second album by this fantastic Chicago soul harmony group!

The record has stellar production by Leroy Hutson and Rich Tufo, and Hutson wrote a lot of the tracks. One of the best records ever to come out of the Curtom studios, and (possibly) even better than the first one.
Natural Four - Natural Four
(Curtom CRS-8600 US-74 EX 400:-)

Sweeeeet soul from the 70s! The Natural Four were one of the greatest soul harmony groups of the 70's – and their work on the Curtom label has an amazing "rough with the smooth" quality that really sets them apart from east coast groups of the time! Part of the strength of the set has to do with Leroy Hutson – who arranged and produced the whole album, and gives it a superdope quality that makes it stand proudly with the best work on Curtom Records of the time. The sound is full and polished, yet also honest, earnest, and personal – in that great mix of moods that Hutson and Curtis Mayfield could bring to their own work of the time. The whole set's a classic!

Original US pressing; both sleeve and vinyl are graded EX.
Ohio Players - Climax
(Westbound WB-1003 US-74 VG+ 300:-)

With their slinky, horn-powered grooves, impeccable musicianship, and eye-popping album covers, the Ohio Players were among the top funk bands of the mid-'70s.

"Climax" is the last album the Ohio Players released on the Detroit-based Westbound label. They were signed to Mercury by the time it hit stores, perhaps this is the reason why it features only five new songs (with the other three pulled from previous albums).
O'Jays - Family Reunion
(P.I.R. PZQ 33807 US-75 VG+ 275:-)

A great sense of righteousness and groove – the key mix that made the O'Jays so great back in the day – and which really helped put the Philly International enterprise on the map! The album's miles from the group's simple harmony soul roots – even though those were pretty darn great – and it blends together soaring backings with a sweet Gamble/Huff finish, and really makes some magic in the way the whole thing comes off.

US Quadrophonic pressing.
Parks, Gordon - Shaft's Big Score!
(MGM 1SE-36ST US-72 VG+ 275:-)

One of the more unusual albums in the Shaft Legacy – put together by director Gordon Parks!

After directing the first Shaft film, and letting Isaac Hayes have such a big hit with the music, Parks decided to handle the music for this sequel himself – and scored the whole thing with just as much skill as Hayes! The music is conducted by Dick Hazard, and produced by jazzman Tom McIntosh – but all the scoring is done by Parks, and he stays very true to the funky vibe set up by Hayes. OC Smith sings the vocal theme.
Parliament - Clones of Dr Funkenstein
(Casablanca NBLP-7034 US-76 VG+ 500:-)

An oft-overlooked gem from Parliament – sometimes hidden between monster LPs like "Funkentelechy" and "Mothership Connection" – but every bit as great as those two classics!

The album's got that tightened-up P-Funk sound that was working so perfectly at the time – still with all the fuzzy haired elements of earlier years, but presented with a bit more focus – and a powerhouse swing that really drives the tracks home with a funky groove on the bottom! There's a flowing sort of energy here that almost makes you think that the whole thing just emerged naturally from the brain of George Clinton – but all ensemble players have a strong hand in the action, and really get some great moments in on the set.
Parliament - Live
(Casablanca NBLP-7053 US-77 VG+ 600:-)

Headed by George Clinton, Parliament's distinctive funk style drew on psychedelic culture, outlandish fashion, science-fiction, and surreal humor; it would have an influential effect on subsequent funk, post-punk, hip-hop, and techno artists.

This is what a live album should sound like -a quality recording with the full sound of an authentic performance. The exuberance. This is NOT a sterilized studio recording.

Includes the 22" x 33" poster and an iron-on T-Shirt transfer.
Parliament - Motor Booty Affair
(Casablanca NBPIX-7125 US-78 VG+ 300:-)

As Parliament progressed through the 70s, its capacity for building immersive worlds within its own funk-centric musical universe grew increasingly sophisticated. There may be no better example of this ability to go deep, as it were, than the aquatic-themed "Motor Booty Affair".

Where Parliament’s previous concept-driven efforts respectively explored self-governance, space, science, and self-actualization as paths to utopian echelons, "Motor Booty Affair" looks to the ocean, specifically the legend of the submerged lost ancient civilization of Atlantis.

US Picdisc in Diecut Sleeve.
Pate, Johnny - Shaft in Africa
(ABC ABCX-793 US-73 VG+ 275:-)

One of the greatest blaxploitation soundtracks ever – a massively beautiful record that goes beyond any cliches of the genre, and serves up a fantastically unique batch of tracks!

Chisoul arranger Johnny Pate did the music for the film – and (dare we say it?) it's even greater that Issac Hayes' work for the first "Shaft" film – with a depth, sensitivity, and soul that's really amazing. The 4 Tops turn out a great later vocal on the album's theme tune!
Rasputin's Stash - Rasputin's Stash
(Cotillion SD-9046 US-71 VG+ 300:-)

A killer debut from Rasputin Stash – a funky group who work with all the long-haired inspiration you'd expect from their name!
The groove is a mix of guitars and tight horns – undercut by the kind of heavy basslines that later made the group a good fit for Curtom Records, and lots of cool percussion touches that pepper the bottom of the rhythms nicely – with a pretty spontaneous feel! At times, there's almost a Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band vibe to the record, but mixed with some of the trippier influences of the Westbound crew – especially on the guitar – and like those artists, these guys have no trouble at all dipping into a touch of rock here and there to trip out their groove.
Robinson, Wanda - Black Ivory
Perception PLP-18 US-71 VG+ 275:-)

Jazz poet Wanda Robinson from Baltimore released "Black Ivory" (named for her backing band) in 1971 on the Perception label. It offers a portrait of the artist as a (righteously) angry young woman about social mores, political injustices, and sexual politics and was produced by jazz composer and pianist Anthony Davis. The eleven tracks are rooted by a chamber jazz group of piano, flute and saxes, bass, and a drum.

Original US pressing in a booklet-style jacket.
Soul Searchers - We the People
(Sussex SXBS-7020 US-72 EX 300:-)

One the all time great funky albums of the 70s – a mad little record with a sense of rhythm and timing that was years ahead of its time! The Soul Searchers (along with Chuck Brown) later became known for their heavy-hitting Go Go work at the end of the decade – but here, they're a really free-thinking outfit with a lot of jazz in their funk – and a willingness to change up the beats and timings in ways that push the record miles ahead from an average funk outing. Tracks swirl around with an amazing intensity – supported by guitar work from Brown, organ from Hilton Felton, and some really great horns from Don Tillery and Lloyd Pinchback.
Spirit of Atlanta - The Burning of Atlanta
(Buddah BDS-5135 US-73 VG+ 350:-)

Totally great – one of the greatest albums ever to come out of the Hotlanta scene of the 70s – a tight batch of funk tracks with a heck of a lot of guitar. The set was produced by Tommy Stewart, of "Bump and Hustle" fame – and it's got an unusual style that's equally appealing to fans of funk, and fans of clubbier music – lots of tight playing, hard riffing, and longer grooves that soar along with impeccable grace!
Starr, Edwin - Hell Up in Harlem
(Motown M-802V1 US-74 VG+ 400:-)

An excellent blacksploitation soundtrack - and every bit as funky as any of Willie Hutch's work for other Motown soundtracks at the time!

Larry Mizell and Dennis Coffey help out on the instrumentation - giving the album an extra funky instrumental edge, one that takes it way past Edwin Starr's other work -- and the tracks are a nice mix of vocals and instrumentals.
Tolbert, Israel - Popper Stopper
(Warren/Stax STS-2038 US-71 300:-)

Blind Israel Tolbert had a genuine surprise smash with “Big Leg Woman” in 1971. It’s a great party record, a throwback with rural image lyrics that recalls blues songs of long ago, a feeling reinforced by the subdued slide guitar fills, superb keyboard work and some funky drumming and horns.

Original US pressing: Still Sealed!
Tribe Called Quest, A - People's Instinctive...
(Jive 1331-1-J US-90 VG+ 800:-)

One of THE landmark Hip Hop albums – and the full length debut of great Tribe Called Quest!

De La Soul might have kicked the door open on leftfield, anything-goes artistry about a year or so earlier, but their friends and fellow Native Tongues Tribe's debut was a crucial reminder that the east coast was spinning out of one of the greatest creative growth spurts in Hip Hop history at the time. Pure excellence!
various - 150 Motown Hits of Gold
(Motown WL-72410 Ita-85 VG+ 600:-)

1985 box-set containing 9 LPs with favourite Motown Chartbusters.
Wonder, Stevie - Songs in the Key of Life
(Tamla T13-340C2 US-76 VG+ 500:-)

A sweet little set – a real treasure with lots of hidden gems. Besides the hits "Isn't She Lovely" and "Sir Duke", which were more than enough to carry the set in the record shops, the album's got lots of other nice cuts, including many that have that complicated jazzy feel of Stevie's work on the "Inner Visions" album.

Comes with a "7 EP featuring four bonus tracks; "Saturn", "Ebony Eyes", "All Day Sucker" and "Easy Goin' Evening (My Mama's Call)".
Wonder, Stevie - Up-Tight
(Tamla Motown STML-11036 UK-66 VG+ 275:-)

Hard-swinging soul from mid 60s Stevie Wonder – and an album that really helped establish Stevie as a vocal star on his own!

Gone are the "little blind boy" and Ray Charles cliches, gone are the "isn't it amazing that he can play the drums?" gimmicks – and in their place is a proud young Stevie, already showing a tremendous talent for putting over a vocal number that few other singers could match!