07/25/14 The Nod

New compilation Tropical Disco Hustle digs deep into the Caribbean dance-floor groove

Tropical Disco Hustle

Our friends at Cultures of Soul have recently released Tropical Disco Hustle, a very tasty compilation of Caribbean disco and funk that’s fitting perfectly in our summer soundtrack. Sourced via a bevy of the deepest diggers around, the rarities made available here are many and all pack plenty of dance-floor heat. Favorites include Mavis John’s slinky “Use My Body,” the punchy Trinidadian disco burner “Got to Have You” by Joanne Wilson, Merchant’s jazzy “Instant Funk” and a pair from the rare groove stalwarts Wild Fire. The set, available as a single compact disc or a pair of vinyl LPs, also includes reworks by the Whiskey Barons, disco evangelist Al Kent. and Waxist Selecta.


It seems like no part of the world has evaded discos’ ubiquitous influence, including the Caribbean. The Caribbean in the late ’70s and early ’80s was a hotbed of musical activity and this compilation focuses on the best disco-influenced tracks from Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. All of the tracks here were officially licensed and reissued for the first time ever.

Highlights of the 13 tracks included on this compilation are: the under-the-radar cosmic disco tune “Got To Have You” by Joanne Wilson, a rare P&P Records-influenced track “Dance With Me” by Odessey One, the icy cool synth-trenched “Living On A String” by Wild Fire, the incredible dance floor-friendly “Instant Funk” by Merchant, and the disco reggae cover of “Rapper’s Delight” by Prince Blackman masterfully edited by Waxist Selecta. This compilation was compiled and researched by Deano Sounds and includes edits by Al Kent, the Whiskey Barons, and Waxist Selecta. Coming out on June 17th on CD and 2LP gatefold.

1. Odessey One – Dance With Me
2. Levi John – Feel Like Dancing
3. Joanne Wilson – Got To Have You
4. Merchant – Instant Funk
5. Trinidad Troubadours with Tony Ricardo – Disco Music
6. Mighty Duke – Be Yourself
7. Wild Fire – The Rebels
8. Wild Fire – Living On A String
9. Ronnie Butler and the Ramblers – Peace Without Love
10. Mavis John – Use My Body
11. Prince Blackman – Rockers Delight (Waxist Selecta Edit)
12. Joanne Wilson – Got To Have You (Whiskey Barons’ Rework)
13. Odessey One – Dance With Me (Al Kent Version)

07/24/14 Contests/Events/News

Salsoul Records, the preeminent label of iconic disco, is being reissued by U.K.’s Big Break

Catch the Salsoul disco experience at NYC's Summerstage and win classic reissues!

Salsoul RecordsFor sheer quantity of iconic dance music released, there are few record labels that can top Salsoul Records. Between its founding in 1974 to its dissolution ten years later, the New York–based label introduced so much of the classic disco canon that it can be difficult to keep track of just how many landmark tunes it was responsible for. Read on for a few great ways to remind yourself and get familiar with the legacy.


Click here to enter the contest


On August 6, Mobile Mondays!, Salsoul, and RBMA Radio are partnering up to bring a classic NYC dance experience to Summerstage 2014 at the East River Park Bandshell in Lower Manhattan. The evening will feature performances by boogaloo godfather and coiner of the term “Salsoul,” Joe Bataan, three-piece female disco group First Choice, Salsoul ambassadors Double Exposure, ’70s disco wonder Instant Funk, vocalist craftswoman Carol Williams and the Ladies of Skyy. Check out the Facebook invite.

Joe Bataan Rap-O Clap-O

Later that night, the party continues with the Mobile Mondays All-Stars DJ crew at the Hotel Chantelle.

Fraternity Music Group and Salsoul will also be issuing a special 7-inch single containing two of the biggest breakbeats to originate on the label, Instant Funk’s “The Funk Is On” and Gaz’s “Sing Sing.”

Those outside of New York City, don’t despair, because U.K. label Big Break Records has been steadily reissuing many of the best Salsoul titles in expanded, remastered, and generally top quality packages. Wax Poetics is proud to be partnering with BBR to offer our faithful readers a chance to win several handpicked releases, chosen by the Wax Poetics editors to represent the finest of the Salsoul stable.

Joe Bataan’s 1974 LP Salsoul was ironically not on the eponymous label at all. Bataan coined the title to signal his breakaway from Fania Records and the explicit combination of Latin rhythms with Black R&B he was formulating. Buoyed by strong performance of the two singles “Latin Strut” and “Aftershower Funk,” the LP did well enough that its financiers, the entrepreneurial Cayre brothers, would immediately inaugurate a new label to exploit this new avenue of dance music. That label was Salsoul.

The Salsoul Orchestra was admittedly inspired by MFSB, the group responsible for the Philly Sound that ruled early discos via the Philadelphia International label and artists like the O’Jays, Billy Paul, and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. In fact, the Salsoul Orchestra actually used many of the same session players, augmented by more extensive Latin percussion and the prominent placement of bandleader Vince Montana’s vibes. Their first album remains a powerhouse of funky disco, from the relentless “Salsoul Rainbow” and “Salsoul Hustle,” cuts that were enormous at the time and made sure the Salsoul term was embedded in dancers’ minds, to “Chicago Bus Stop” and “You’re Just the Right Size”—funky rewrites of Philly International jams “Love Is the Message” and “Do It Anyway You Wanna,” respectively.

The Salsoul Orchestra’s Getaway LP contains one of their signature tunes and one of the most beloved disco classics, “Runaway.” The soaring vocal by Loleatta Holloway is still heard echoing from clubs around the world, usually accompanied by crowds blissfully singing along. Other highlights are the group’s cover of Earth Wind & Fire’s hard-edged “Getaway” and the funky rare groove workout “Journey to Phoebus.” BBR demonstrates their bona-fides on their reissue by including Danny Krivit’s expertly extended edit of “Runaway” and the Walter Gibbons “Magic Bird of Fire” remix from the Disco Madness LP, notorious as one of the most avant-garde mixes of its day.

Loleatta Holloway is a powerhouse vocalist who stands out even in the upper echelons of that diva-filled realm. She debuted on the Salsoul subsidiary Gold Mind with two strong singles, “Dreamin’” and the down and dirty “Hit and Run.” A third single, “We’re Getting Stronger Together,” had enough juice that thirty years later it was lifted wholesale for Whitney Houston’s last great hit, “Million Dollar Bill.” Holloway’s output for Gold Mind/Salsoul remained on a consistently high level through the early ’80s, and included monster club anthems like “Love Sensation” and “Relight My Fire” (with Dan Hartman). BBR’s two-disc Holloway anthology touches all the bases and includes a booklet of reminiscences on the sadly departed icon from folks like Tom Moulton, Bobby Womack, and Patrick Adams.

We’ve chosen BBR’s Skyyhigh: The Skyy Anthology to represent the later era of Salsoul. Produced by Randy Muller at the peak of his creative powers, Skyy was a Brooklyn-based band who perfectly embodied the archetypal sassy female New Yorker and her slick male counterpart in a style of irresistible, smart, modern funk that would later come to be known as “boogie.” The two-disc set begins with the space disco nugget “First Time Around” (synth lasers galore), and touches on massive cuts like “High,” “Call Me,” “Let’s Celebrate,” and the absolute perfection of “Here’s to You,” while also including under the radar favorites like “Superlove,” “Get into the Beat,” and the breakbeat teaser “No Music.”


Five different lucky winners will receive one of these releases, but there is much more to choose from on the Big Break Records site, who have no plans to stop putting out deluxe packages of the finest Salsoul material as well as other choice gems from the golden era of disco and modern soul.

Click here to enter the contest.

For those in the New York area, the riverside party on the evening of August 6th promises to be as funky a good time as they come, and a rare chance to see some of the original Salsoul artists in person.


Read Randy Muller’s “12×12”

Read Oliver Wang’s interview with Joe Bataan



07/09/14 Guest Blog

Polysom is Brazil’s most popular—and only—vinyl pressing plant


Around the Praça Tiradentes in downtown Rio de Janeiro, used vinyl abounds. Vendors haul crates in with wheelbarrows and prop records up on building façades, lazily keeping an eye out for customers while they chat with taxi drivers and doormen. Start showing some interest they will quickly point out the organizational scheme of the day: pricier imports vs. bargain domestics, an economic equation that holds for most goods in the Brazilian economy (appliances, clothes, beer).

07/07/14 The Nod

Respect the Classics campaign reissues LL Cool J’s Radio, N.E.R.D.’s In Search Of…, and Redman’s Whut? and Muddy Waters on vinyl

Enter to win a batch of vinyl!

LL Cool J Radio

It would have been hard to imagine in 1985 that LL Cool J would still multimedia force 30 years later. Of course, James Todd Smith has never lacked confidence, but one wonders if he would have seen himself hosting major awards shows while also being a centerpiece on a popular network TV show. Radio spawned hits like its title track and a remix of “I Need a Beat.” He also gave props to Cut Creator on “Dangerous.”

A decade later, Def Jam was on to another star with Redman who came up with the assistance of Erick Sermon and EPMD. Although his debut album Whut? Thee Album was released on Rush Associated Labels, by the mid-’90s he’d be a consistent force for Def Jam, releasing an album every two to three years, including Muddy Waters.

Also making a big splash in the ’90s were a couple of guys out of Virginia named Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo. After making hits for nearly everyone under the sun in the hip-hop, R&B, and pop markets, Virgin extended their leash and let them make an album under the guise of N.E.R.D. in the early 2000s. When first released in Europe, an all-electronic version of their debut In Search Of… hit shelves. However, months later when it came to the USA, the album had been completely reconstructed with the help of a live band named Spymob. The new readings were much more amplified (and better). Guests included both members of Clipse, Kelis, Lee Harvey, and Vita.

Aside from the music being reissued on vinyl being a huge draw, Universal/Respect the Classics has added some exciting features. Redman’s Whut? Thee Album is being pressed on red vinyl, while Muddy Waters has a lenticular (think 3D) cover. The N.E.R.D. album is pressed on white vinyl and also features the original version of “Run to the Sun” as a bonus track.


The contest is now over.


N.E.R.D. In Search Of Redman Muddy Waters Redman Whut? Thee Album

07/07/14 Events

The Decoders perform free tribute concert to Minnie Riperton

Win a pair of tickets for VIP seating!

The Decoders Minnie Riperton


On Saturday, July 12, in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, the Decoders will be joined by a 20-piece ensemble that will include very special guest vocalists to celebrate the life and music of female soul icon Minnie Riperton. The event is entitled Adventures From Paradise and will feature a live remixing and reinterpretation of her music, which has never been done before.


Wax Poetics is giving away two pairs of tickets for VIP seating! Click here for details!


This unprecedented concert will be honoring contributors to her music such as Richard Rudolph (her husband and cowriter), Leon Ware, Charles Stepney, and the psychedelic soul sounds of his multiracial ’60s super group the Rotary Connection (of which Minnie was also a part of), as well as highlighting her work with Stevie Wonder and other great producers/songwriters like Stewart Levine and many more. July 12 marks the date of her transition into the infinite. Falling victim to breast cancer at the young age of 31, Minnie spent her last days on earth in Los Angeles; paying tribute to her musical greatness in the last place she called home is an honor which the Decoders do not take lightly. It will be a magical night under the stars at Grand Performances, a historic outdoor live music venue in downtown L.A.’s Califronia Plaza. The event is free and open to the public.


07/02/14 The Nod

Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend gets a double-vinyl reissue

Sam Cooke Portrait of a Legend

It turns out that Sam Cooke’s Record Store Day reissue of Ain’t That Good News was just a warmup for ABKCO. On June 24, the label, which controls a sizable portion of his catalog, released a double-LP 180-gram issue of possibly the greatest single collection of Cooke’s catalog, Portrait of a Legend 1951–1964. Thirty-one tracks from throughout his secular and gospel careers are found on the collection, which is seeing its first release on vinyl after being released a decade ago on a CD/SACD hybrid format.

As the press release states, “The songs included in Portrait of a Legend collectively logged 273 weeks or five years and three months on Billboard’s Pop Chart and a mind boggling 508 weeks (nine years and nine months) on the Pop and R&B charts, combined,” which is an astounding factoid. A Discogs member has even posted other photos of the release such as the sheet showing the musicians featured on the tracks.

To close out this collection of hits, the compilation producers wisely selected a snippet of an interview with famed DJ Magnificent Montague where Cooke is asked to hum eight bars of soul. The results are breathtaking. You can hear the full interview from 1963 over at the official Maginificent Montague website. As a side note, the Montague biography is an excellent read.


This contest is now over. Please see our other contests 


Portrait of a Legend Tracklist

LP1 Side A
1) Touch The Hem Of His Garment
2) Lovable
3) You Send Me
4) Only Sixteen
5) (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons
6) Just For You
7) Win Your Love For Me
8) Everybody Loves To Cha Cha Cha

LP1 Side B
1) I’ll Come Running Back To You
2) You Were Made For Me
3) Sad Mood
4) Cupid
5) (What A) Wonderful World
6) Chain Gang
7) Summertime
8) Little Red Rooster

LP2 Side A
1) Bring It On Home To Me
2) Nothing Can Change This Love
3) Sugar Dumpling
4) (Ain’t That) Good News
5) Meet Me At Mary’s Place
6) Twistin’ The Night Away
7) Shake
8) Tennessee Waltz

LP2 Side B
1) Another Saturday Night
2) Good Times
3) Having A Party
4) That’s Where It’s At
5) A Change Is Gonna Come
6) Jesus Gave Me Water
7) Soul (Hidden Track)