Tuesday, January 15, 2013



Wonderful sounds from Teena Marie – the last album she ever recorded before she left us way too soon – and a beautiful set that has us missing her more than ever! The vibe is even tighter than the Congo Square album, but there's also a classic sensibility and depth that takes us back to the earliest Lady T years at Motown – that special quality that always made Teena very different than almost all her contemporaries – a really unique artist with a great ear for balancing the best aspects of her sound! Teena produced and arranged, and the sound is wonderful – warmly seductive, but also funky too – a punch that comes up from the bottom on most numbers, and carries through with really positive energy. There's nothing half baked about the record at all – and the set also features a few contributions from Teena's daughter, Alia Rose. Titles include "Rare Breed", "Definition Of Down", "Maria Bonita", "Beautiful", "The Long Play", "Give Me Your Love", "Wild Horses", "Luv Letter", and "Sweet Tooth". ~ Dusty Groove


Soulful luxury at a mighty nice price – 3CDs and 35 tracks of music from both the contemporary underground, and back in the day! The package is one of the best so far in this annual series – and like the others, it has a great way of turning up unusual numbers we might have missed otherwise – some subtle gems and overlooked sleepers, which makes the package as much of a place for new discovery as it is a musical bargain. Titles include "So Inspired" by Big Brooklyn Red, "Suddenly" by Adriana Evans, "On The Rebound" by Dave Appell & Friends, "When I Think Of You" by Holloway & John Whitehead, "Rise" by Beggar & Co, "Someday We'll All Be Free (Yam Who rmx)" by Diplomats Of Soul, "Just Like Me" by Junk Funk, "Major Bossa" by Khari Simmons, "Loving You" by Soul Talk, "Believe" by Lady Alma, "Blown Away" by Kevin Leo, "Time For The Party" by Sheree Brown, "Taste of Your Love" by Valentine Brothers, and "Dime" by Kloud 9. ~ Dusty Groove


A legendary set as a leader from bassman Larry Ridley – an artist who contributed great work to other hip records, but who really shines here with a rich vision of his own! The set's one of the real standouts in the 70s Strata East lineup – and in addition to work on both acoustic and electric bass from Ridley, the session also features soaring work on reeds from Sonny Fortune, who plays soprano sax, alto, and flute – plus wicked keyboards from Onaje Allan Gumbs, whose Fender Rhodes lines are some of the real highlights of the record – and guitar from Cornell Dupree, drums from Grady Tate, and a bit of percussion from Erroll Crusher Bennett. The record's got exactly the kind of spiritual vibe you'd expect – and does a great job of stepping between acoustic and electric focus. Titles include a great funky version of "Well You Needn't" – plus "It Was A Very Good Year", "Feelin Blue", "Changa Chikuyo", "Indiana Avenue", and "Never Can Say Goodbye".  ~ Dusty Groove

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