Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Ben Lovett's House n' Dance Column 'The Grooveyard' (November)

Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard
Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard DJ Roland Clark: Tambor Love Orange Music feat. Ania: Psychedelic Behaviour DJ Roland Clarke feat. Dawn McClain: You Lie H.O.S.H:  Connecting The Dots Speedometer: The Shakedown Masomenos: Balloons Chocolate Puma: Tonco Tone EP David Penn & Rober Gaez: Sunshine People Thomas Schumacher Presents 8th Anniversary Compilation - Get Physical: Various Osunlade: House Masters Defected In The House - Tokyo 11: Various Artists Strange Games & Funky Things Volume 5 - Various Artists (BBE) FabricLive 54 - David Rodigan: Various Artists



A warming start to November’s column with the news that Big Apple house legend Timmy Regisford will be releasing a new artist album next January….

In The Club spans 14 tracks and promises a meaningful, deep-rooted blend of soul-house (a sound he helped pioneer back in the day,) aisle-stompin’ gospel house and funky afro-beat. That’s only to be expected considering the rich line-up of special guests; guests including vocal royalty Kenny Bobien and Arnold Jarvis, and the tonsil-touting likes of Jaidene Veda and Lynn Lockamy; not to mention afro-legend Femi Kuti. Wow.

Regisford has, of course, been in the music game for over three decades now. He made a name as A&R for a succession of kingpin labels – Atlantic, MCA and Motown (where he signed New Jersey’s Blaze.) He also made a name providing club friendly remixes of 1980s pop and R&B output from stellar recording artists such as Bobby Womack, Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder; and hosted iconic NYC night Club Shelter, now sadly demised.

Regisford has some recording pedigree. He has, over the years, released a succession of quality remixes and productions on Shelter-associated labels 157 Shelter, Restricted Access and Un-Restricted Access, not to mention King Street and West End. Earlier this year, he co-produced Peven Everett’s album Beyond The Universe for Tribe; he has recently launched a new afterhours New York club night Areacode, at which he is resident DJ.


Elsewhere, news reaches me that clubland is growing increasingly receptive to the idea of a nightclub union. This follows the news earlier this month that a small group of exclusive, VIP clubs in London’s West End (you know, the ones bathed in the light of paparazzi flashbulbs on a nightly basis) has banded together to form the Association Of Club Owners.

The Association’s major instigator is Embassy London and Sugar Reef supremo Mark Fuller, who sees the trade group as a way to tackle very specific licensing and legislative issues linked to the City Of Westminster Council. But the group is also there to look at the perpetual problems of crime and security, and establish ways in which members might work together (rather than fiercely compete) to thwart the crippling effects of recession.

It is the latter, common ground that has pricked the ears of the wider nightclub community. Chatting to me earlier this month, Laurence Malice, Creative Director at EGG London (a club that regularly attracts superstar DJs like Kerri Chandler and Kid Crème) said: “We’d be very interested in joining a nightclubs’ trade association. We think it’s the way forward to best protect our interests and represent us at every level from licensing to planning.

“We are lucky in that we have a very good relationship with the police and local council but feel an association could strengthen our industry, and also help us to go forward in these recession-hit times. It would also act as a channel of discussion and information, as many people do not really understand the nightclub business and what we do.”

Malice refers, I think, to the often poorly educated local authorities whose licensing legislation for clubs and live music venues often causes problems. But he is also perhaps aiming at those young-blood, internet-savvy promoters who try and run venues without realising the bigger picture – hence aggressive, scene-damaging competition on everything from alcohol supply to DJ costs is sadly prevalent.

Clubland isn’t always as harmonious as those euphoric, unifying hands-in-the-air dancefloor moments would have you believe. Talk of supportive trade associations is particularly apt in the same month as the government’s brutal spending cuts but, economic downturns aside, there are the ever-present issues of crime and maverick promoters – so a brand new, super-motivated and well-experienced industry panel really might be the ticket. Let’s wait and see….


A couple of gigs to report, starting off with Messages in East London – a new night from Oli Lazarus, he who rather gloriously runs Papa Records and new sister imprint Reel People Music. The night launches November 6 at Drop East on Commercial Street, E1, and the opening line-up includes Reel People, The Layabouts, Matthew Bandy (remember Deep House Souldiers?) and Renn; not forgetting Berlin’s talented deep house specialist Andre Lodemann. I’m not sure yet on frequency – but the night will be returning on a regular basis, and promises plenty of soulful club sentiment.

Word also reaches me that Master At Work Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez will be dropping an exclusive hip-hop set at Brixton’s Plan B on November 12, whilst legendary New York club DJ Nicky Siano hosts a special bash the following night at London’s Medusa club (Barrington Road in SW9.) The party is actually an aftershow for a one-off film screening at the Roxy Bar & Screen in Borough – Siano’s film, Love Is The Message: A Night At The Gallery Party 1977, gives unique insight into the notorious Gallery joint he ran during the 1970s. His peers included Larry Levan, Frankie Knuckles, Grace Jones and Loleatta Holloway, so expect high-quality entertainment….


Just gotta round off on young Wbeeza – who I caught up with earlier in the month. For those of you who don’t know, Peckham twenty-something Wbeeza is being hailed as the saviour of traditional, soulful US house music at a time when everyone seems to be playing harder, faster, tougher….

But then there’s a lot more to Wbeeza than deep, stirring four-to-the-floor – a listen to his excellent new album, Void, due out later in November on Third Ear, reveals a remarkably mature vision which stretches from slick American grooves to gritty Latino jams, via funk, acid, techno, hip-hop and freeform jazz.

Of course, Wbeeza has been cultivating a kaleidoscopic sound for some time now – his live shows (he’s not a DJ note) fizz with creativity and improvisation and previous studio releases Heavystuff, City Shuffle, New Skank have progressively enhanced his reputation as one to watch.

Wbeeza is, like most major talents, reluctant to label his influences and vibes but it’s more than clear that there is a well-placed affiliation to the old-skool sounds of Detroit and Chicago. “There’s a lot of people out there making everything from house to hip-hop which I like, but you won’t get names from me” he explains. “I want to be known for me and for the things I do next.”

He teasingly adds: “Let’s just say that a lot of that early club stuff had a feeling. My own music is taking it back to the raw… kicks, snares, raw elements, just feelings….”

And that’s the key to understanding Wbeeza – feelings. If he finds himself skipping through his own music, then he’s simply not “feeling it” and it’ll quickly end up on the cutting room floor. “I deal in feelings, you get me?” he stresses. “My music has to have a feeling. I soak up a wide variety of music y’know; I’m a versatile producer. I’m basically revealing myself on Void.”

Wbeeza, real name Warren Brown will only get better – he’s hell-bent on it. He thrives on the fact he’s making music that his grimy Peckham peers simply don’t get and is already knee-deep in several new tracks and projects.

I was talking to legendary Junior Boys Own founder Terry Farley not so long ago, who kept telling me to keep an ear out for young Mr Brown. You don’t ignore a master like that; he knows what he’s saying. As do other major fans Ame, Dixon and Stacey Pullen. Hunt down Void and judge – very quickly – for yourself.

Reviews then, starting as always with singles:


DJ Roland Clark – Tambor Love (US Delete Global)

Clark, soulfully versatile singer, producer and DJ, arms his own label, Delete Global, with this stirring vocal number. It’s a top quality DIY job – Clarke’s tonsils in fine fettle, and his beats in perfect order. A variety of well appointed mixes cover everything from mellow afro-beat to acoustic guitar licks, and even allow a nod to Paradise Garage legends Cultural Vibe via that Mafoombay edit. Special.

Orange Music feat. Ania – Psychedelic Behaviour (Swe Colourful Recordings)

Warm, funky hustle from the chilly, snow-swept climes of Sweden and local producer Tobias Linden. Psychedelic Behaviour is deep, captivating analogue house, further enlivened by Ania’s sultry spoken word vocals. Rocco drops quirky atmosphere on one remix, whilst Quentin Harris (alongside Honey Dijon) offers storming percussion and soaring strings on another – great package.

DJ Roland Clarke feat. Dawn McClain – You Lie (US Delete Global)

This second house salvo from Clarke’s label is a peppy affair, given nice colour by McClain’s vocals – she was actually discovered by Clarke in famous Atlanta soul-food eaterie Justin’s. The production is suitably contemporary and accessible; the warm original is backed by a series of dubs and edits.

Djeff & Silyvi feat. Mili – Nawe (US Soulgasm Music)

The Angolan double-act presents a wicked, expectedly afro-driven groove in Nawe, propelled by chunky, funky tribal drums, some neat instrumentation and those smoky vocals from Mili. Reliable remixes from Brian Coxx (peak-time) and Ian Friday (ambient.) Emotional workout….

Benji Candelario Pres. Charo Velecio – Drums Of Auluya (US Transitori Music)

Veteran Big Apple producer ‘n’ spinner Candelario conjures afro-magic, tucking some infectious, rolling percussion under a stack of jazzed-out keys, chants, ethnic vocals and sexy sax. DJ ALX provides an electro-tipped alternative, and both Duce Martinez and Joeski offer their deeper, trademark takes on proceedings, but it’s that original mix doing the do – thoughtful, yet engaging dancefloor action.

David Penn & Rober Gaez – Sunshine People (Remixes) (UK Defected)

Penn & Gaez’s Pacha Ibiza staple returns for the winter with new tootsies-toasting momentum – fellow Spaniard UNER twists ‘n’ turns the house groove with dubby, disco finesse, whilst Brown Sugar & Kid Shakers fire out punchy synth-driven licks. Muscular, in all the right places….

Chocolate Puma – Tonco Tone EP (UK Defected)

The Dutch boys’ title track reeks of Marmite – a bounding, tongue-in-cheek party spin peppered with insane trumpet play; you really will love it or hate it. The cool flipside number, MFS, takes a deeper, trackier, altogether less divisive turn.

DJ Le Roi feat. Andrea Love – Let It Feel Good (UK MN2S)

Wonderfully-worked soul-house from Swiss kingpin Le Roi, a fast-rising name in global clubland, swinging on pumped b-line hooks, hypnotic drums and those sweet vocals from the aptly-surnamed Love; the remixes are equally boss, including a deep and rather delightful dalliance by Atjazz. Flawless.

Now it’s the long-players….


Masomenos – Balloons (Fr Welcome To Masomenos)

The eccentric French partnership of Joan Costes and Adrien de Maublanc delivers a new artist album bristling with originality across the genres of house, techno and lounge. Notable supporters include Ricardo Villalobos, Loco Dice and Cassy, which says it all. Experimental dance music, but charming all the same.

Speedometer – The Shakedown (UK Freestyle)

Top, top stuff from the supremely popular Brit funk-soul band Speedometer, focusing on vocals (through a variety of esteemed and on-form special guests including Natasha Watts and former James Brown collaborator Martha High,) but demonstrating utter attention to detail where groove and instrumentation are concerned. The Shakedown struts all over soul, funk, jazz-jam and Latin, its tight but flowing arrangements getting maximum return from the assortment of singers involved, and given added rhythmic impetus on several tracks by fellow Blues & Soul columnist Snowboy. A standout is hard to call but Latin-soul bomb La Neuva Manera comes explosively close.

H.O.S.H – Connecting The Dots (Ger Diynamic)

Fresh and sophisticated underground house from German Holger Behn, the idiosyncratic music-maker forever associated with Hamburg imprint Diynamic, and its other regular contributors Stimming and (label boss) Solomun. Minimal, dub and granite-hewn four-to-the-floor are order of the day, interlaced with classical instrumentation and ethnic influences to create a rich, truly forward-thinking soundscape. The trance-like build of Souled Out grips like an iron vice, whilst the key-stabbed Antonelli Screaming electrifies from start to finish; Cash The Chord is plain, bottomed-out funkiness and Hamburg Night, deep, contemplative bliss. Connecting The Dots makes some assured leaps across the dancefloor and we’re all, surely, the better for it.

Various Artists – Get Physical 8th Anniversary Compilation (Ger Get Physical)

The infamous Berlin label celebrates eight magical years with another strong compilation, this time mixed by long-time label cohort Thomas Schumacher. The imprint’s various, varied tastes are all accounted for – electro, house, nu-disco, stoner pop, even tribal wig-out – through the contributions of Kris Wadsworth, Booka Shade, Damian Lazarus, DJ T, Groove Armada’s Andy Cato and a whole host of others. The mixing is slick; the listening experience special.

Osunlade - House Masters (UK Defected/In The House)

Defected’s wonderful House Masters compilation series rolls on with a discographic masterclass from clubland shaman Osunlade. One CD tackling original productions, another handling remixes, this new edition to the canon gives a full and engaging account of Osunlade’s housier talents – epic, ethnic, deeply spiritual rides such as Cantos A Ochun Et Oya rub shoulders with classy soul-dance bombs like Pride (alongside Nadirah Shakoor) and, perhaps definitive Osunlade cut, Erro’s Don’t Change. Remix wise, those classic, emotive reworkings of Ben Westbeech (So Good Today,) Tortured Soul (Might Do Something Wrong) and Jazztronik’s Dentro Mi Alma are present and totally correct. Essential.

Various Artists – Defected In The House: Tokyo 11 (UK Defected)

Another credible and largely successful Defected franchise skips on to its next port of call – this time the Japanese capital Toyko. Much has been written in recent years about the shackles antiquated government laws have left Tokyo’s blunted club scene struggling in but times are supposedly changing and this new album – mixed by former Kings Of Tomorrow collaborator Rae and Japanese soul-house vets Studio Apartment - seems to reflect that, with a loose and lowdown mix of quality house tunes. Tracked roped in include those by ATFC, Sandy Rivera, DJ Gregory & Gregor Salto and Hideo Kobayashi. Sharp sounds from a revolutionary city….

Various Artists – Strange Games & Funky Things Volume 5 (UK BBE)

How time flies? We’re now on to the fifth volume of DJ Spinna and the Barely Breaking Even stable’s critically acclaimed '70s soul compilation series and the standard, thankfully, remains high. There are plenty more nuggets here to keep the crate-diggers happy but Strange Games isn’t just soul; the series has continually aimed to link to '80s rare-groove and '90s hip-hop as well. Volume 5 is no exception, throwing out obscure but sassy cuts from world music icons CK Mann and Francisco Aguabella alongside more accessible material from War and Sugarhill Records founder Sylvia, and stylish glides courtesy of Philly soul outfits The Ambassadors and the Philly Armada Orchestra. Strange, funky and beautiful….

Various Artists – FabricLive 54: David Rodigan (UK Fabric)

Roots and reggae legend David Rodigan isn’t strictly Grooveyard territory but his appearance on Fabric’s latest live compilation – volume 54 – deserves inclusion. It’s an inspired set-up. ‘Sir’ David jumps between vintage dub, dancehall, vocal and toasting tracks with confidence and no little panache, avoiding the usual reggae comp fodder to skank on the cutting edge – tracks fly from reggae royalty including Augustus Pablo and dub master King Tubby, as well as contemporary names Konshens and Romain Virgo. The results are truly rocking – for diehards and newcomers alike.

Till next time,

Please feel free to contact Ben with any House & Dance news that you feel would benefit others - Thank you.

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