Thunder Picks #039
This Saturday is Record Store Day. Obviously Record Stores (or shops, as you might call them if you’re not bloody American) aren’t just for Christmas, or even a Saturday in the middle of April, they’re for life. But anything that continues to promote the virtues of spending all your disposable income on dust attracting plastic discs, is good by me. There are numerous lists online, detailing what records are available, so I’ve just included a couple here and both are pretty special in there own way. I would suggest that rather than taking a big list out with you, you head to your local store, sorry, I mean shop, and see what’s happening. If you can get to Soho, that should be really good fun too. It was almost carnival-esque last week.
Donna McGhee – Make It Last Forever (Grooveline)
This is the Record Store Day release that has got me most excited – and I only found out about it yesterday! The original album 'Make It Last Forever' was released in 1978 on Red Greg Records (you know that!) and was produced by Greg Carmichael and Patrick Adams (YOU KNOW THAT!). I’d pretty much given up any hope of owning it, until new label, Grooveline Records stepped in. Set up by Andrew Pirie, who runs the fabulous Melting Pot nights in Glasgow, Wayne Dickson from Big Break Records and Allan Boyd, the brains audiophile company, Loud and Clear (who also provide a lot of the high end audio equipment Melting Pot use), as you can imagine these aren’t interested in a knocking a loud hastily pressed up bootleg standard re-presses and their attention to detail is second to none.
As they say,” Every release is properly licensed (in a world where copyright appears to be optional!) and taken from the master tapes. Re-mastered where necessary by Nick Robbins (Sound Mastering) and cut at Alchemy by Matt Colton or Barry Grint. Pressed at Optimal, Germany; one of the world's finest pressing plants.”
I know what trials and tribulations they have been through to deliver this record, not to mention personal sacrifice, although it’s probably not for me to recount, but the finish product arrived this week, beautifully re-mastered from the original tapes (not a vinyl rip), now split over two 180gram vinyl discs and delivering the aural benefits those deep, wide grooves can deliver. And if that wasn’t enough, it all comes packaged in as gatefold edition, using the original artwork and liner notes and interview with Patrick Adams.
I’ve not even mentioned the music yet and I’m not sure I can the back to back killers on this album any sort of justice. For starters, the title track is possibly the greatest end of night track ever made. EVER. Then there’s the best version of ‘Lady Bug’ without the annoying helium vocals of the Bumblebee Unlimited Orchestra Version. And don’t even get me onto ‘Mr Blindman’ or 'It Ain't No Big Thing'. Donna kills the vocals on every single track and Greg Carmichael and Patrick Adams demonstrate why they were (and are) so highly regarded as disco producers.
Quite simply, this record represents the pinnacle of disco as genre. I can’t wait to get my hands one of the 500 copies of these that have been produced.
Various – Revival Traxx (Dance Mania/Strut)
I’ve mentioned this before, as I gave a Strut a helping hand pulling it together, but now I’ve finally had a chance to hear the unreleased Rhythm II Rhythm – From the recording session as ‘A Touch Of Jazz’, this track was never saw the light because of Dance Mania’s hugely busy release schedule. Very similar in that track rather than the more raw, ghetto sound the label is associated with, there are also some interesting appropriations of well-known tracks weaved in there. On the flip you’ll find the tracks I helped with and two of my favourite releases on the label. Firstly there’s Club Style’s little known gem, ‘Spirit’, a record that is damned hard to find, and then Drewsky’s ‘Wigged Out’ which was produced by the legendary Deeon. Both racks have been re-mastered and pressed properly, so you’ll actually be able to play them, which isn’t something you guarantee with the original pressings. Every copy of this record has gone out to Record Store Day shops, so that’ll be your one chance to own it!
Osunalde – Peacock (Yoruba)
This isn’t a Record Store Day record, in fact the limited run of 50 splattered coloured vinyl pressing are only available via Yourba’s Bandcamp page. There are only a couple of clips knocking about too but they sound pretty good, unique in fact. I’m not sure that anyone does what Osunalde does quite like him, occupying some sort of shadow land between soulful house and deep, techy house. He doesn’t talk some guff though, apparently this album is, “Recorded in homage to the Orisha Ochun (a deity of the Yorùbá religion)” and , “While love is the reason, funk is the cause”, so it “Takes us back to the beauty of music listening”. That sounds like a load of off old cobblers to me, but there is no doubting Osunlade’s talent. He also lives in Santorini, another holiday spot I sometimes enjoy, so if things don’t work out with DJ Koze (see last week’s Thunder Picks), Osunlade is Plan B!
Vibes Ltd Vol 6 (White Label)
Vibes was one of my favourite labels I discovered last year. No artist details and a little but like the R-Zone series, apparently there are big names behind this. Who knows? From Denmark, white labels, and coloured vinyl, it’s all very mysterious. And not that run of the mill either because the tracks are all fairly down tempo, and have featured heavily in the early sets at Thunder. They’re up to the sixth in the series now, the quality is certainly there but the individual style of these EPs does make me wonder if the formula is wearing bit thin. I’ll probably buy one all the same.
Alex Barck/Raul Mid ón – Oh Africa / State Of Mind (Philomena)
I believe Philomena is an Innervisions side project but I might be wrong. The label made it’s mark with Dixon’s wonderful edit of Romathony’s ‘Wanderer’, its debut release, with other highlights including Ripperton’s reworking of Global Communication’s ‘Maiden Voyage’ from last year. Now the label has reached the landmark of ten releases, with Frank Wiedemann (he of Ame fame) and Henrik Schwarz’s remixes of these two little known (to me) afro numbers. It would seem, from a quick swizz, round the internet, that both these tracks have been played in Ame and Schwarz sets over the last year, which would suggest they’re going to be in demand. As with all Philomena releases, super limited pressings, hard to find and beautiful, hand printed packaging. Pre-order now!
Frak – Saturate You (Midlight Records)
This was last weekend’s stop and listen record. Proper, low slung acid from Kontra Music stalwarts, Frak (big up Sweden, again!). There’s not a great deal to say other than the production is really punchy production and a rolling, rhythmic acid bassline, that just makes you want to wiggle youyr hips. Yet more music for early morning.
Thunder is back at the Dance Tunnel on Friday 16 May, with a set from an infrequent visitor to these shores, Detroit’s Keith Worthy. Tickets are available now !