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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Series: Philpsophy (VLS) (Pop Life Music Inc., 2002)

2002 release from a Brooklyn duo who were formally 2 thirds of the 2000 indie trio 3 Series. A lot less 'crossover' than their previous song it was produced by Bryan-Michael Cox and the beat borrowed from KRS-One's song "The Bridge Is Over." I don't know how much of a wide release it ever got but the duo - comprised of Serena MnKinney and Tiffany Alexander - later went on to win UPN's Half & Half Fasttrack Contest in 2005.

Philosophy 3:45
Instrumental 3:33
TV Mix 3:44
Philosophy feat Sacario 3:44
Rock's Logic Mix 3:36
Acapella 3:17

Jaï: Checking Me Out (White Label VLS) (2000)

DC-esque R&B from a short-lived French-Canadian trio who only ever appeared on one compilation. They had some local success which culminated in them performing at the Dome (presumably the Rogers Centre or "SkyDome" in Toronto) but as far as I can tell they never recorded anything else. Never actually released as a single as far as I can tell although some promo CDs featuring the one track were made. Outside of this, it was pressed onto white label vinyl with a shitty Italo Dance act as the A-side.

Checking Me Out 3:39

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Kleshay: Rush (UK CDM) (Jerv Records/Epic, 1999)

The last of two singles from Honeyz sister group Kleshay and released in 1999. As with their previous single I don't think it had much impact on the charts at all - going up against the Honeyz, All Saints and The Spice Girls was never going to be easy - and shortly after they were dropped by their record label. Personally, I think the label made a mistake in releasing one of the more poppy songs they recorded as the second single as the group's album Triodaysde had many potential R&B singles on it. Sadly Rush wasn't one of them and they were not a pop group. Regardless it seemed that their label was keen to take them in this direction rather than put their talents to good use.

Full Circle (Almost.) Soon after the two groups reunited again when members of each (cousins Alani Gibbon from Kleshay and Celena Cherry from the Honeyz) joined together to form yet another short-lived duo Anotherside in 2003. Unfortunately once again their talents were wasted on pop music.

Rush 3:41
Rush (Full Crew Remix) 4:33
Rush (Full Crew Instrumental Mix) 4:35
Rush (O.D.Hunte Street Level Remix 4:48

Kleshay: Reasons (UK CDM) (Jerv Records/Epic, 1998)

Kleshay were another British R&B group from the late 90s and originally started out with members of the Honeyz as one supergroup before splintering off into two separate acts. I believe the members were cousins and relations to The Honeyz' Celena Cherry although I don't know for absolute certain. While the Honeyz notched up several UK top 5 hits, a Gold album and went on to sign with U.S. label Def Jam, Kleshay sadly remained in the shade. I don't think their debut single charted at all and after a final release Rush in 1999, they disappeared from the scene completely. They did record an album Triodasyde, which, thanks to former member Leah Charles-King, can be found on Soundcloud in its entirety. A mixture of urban pop and smooth & funky slow jams, they were definitely as good as their sister group the Honeyz and hands down better than the awful All Saints...

The above release was originally produced by Karl "K-Gee" Gordon of All Saints fame but was remixed prior to release which was probably a mistake on the record company's part. Slower and slightly more poppy, it was not a patch on the R&B original. Maybe had this version been released, they might have stood out more.

Reasons 3:56
Reasons (Full Crew Club Mix) 4:40
Reasons (Colour System Inc Classic Vocal) 6:54
Reasons (Original Version Edit) 3:49

Montage: In The City (UK CDM) (Polydor, 1997)

The second of two singles from UK R&B trio Montage who originally started out in the early 90s on a New Jack Swing compilation. The original song initially served as b-side to their previous single "There Ain't Nothing Like The Love" and bore a slight resemblance to TLC's style - especially on the hook. Although they pretty much had all the odds stacked against them - 1997 was an even worse year for music when The Spice Girls continued to make it to number one  - they must've done something right as they were (to my knowledge) the first British group ever to work with Jermaine Dupri. Sadly they never went on to release anything else and the album that was mentioned for the end of 1996 never materialized. Along with Serenade, they remain a group strictly for collectors.

NOTE: The b-side is a quasi-instrumental with the group singing only on the hook and features UK producer Linslee Campbell on the talkbox. I cannot say if it was recorded for their album or not.

In The City (Radio Edit) 4:24
In The City (So So Def Atlanta Mix) 3:57
In The City (So So Def Atlanta Dub) 3:56
Dancefloor featuring Linslee Campbell 4:17

Montage: There Ain't Nothin' Like The Love (UK CDM) (Polydor, 1996)

The first of two TLC-esque singles that Montage released for Wildcard Records in the mid 90s and a lot different to their New Jack Swing stuff from three years previously. Sadly I don't think it even charted - 1996 was a dark year for British music when The Spice Girls made it to number one  - but a music video was made for it and they did get a mention (albeit very brief) in Billboard's June 06/08/96 issue. The b-side "In The City" would later serve as their second single and was given the remix treatment from So So Def's very own Jermaine Dupri.

Original Version 3:53
Lucas R'n'B Mix 4:10
Instrumental 4:09
In The City 4:19

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Montage: Ghetto Feel - Now Who's Got The Rhythm? (CD Compilation) (Mission Records, 1993)

Also from the Mission Records compilation, an additional female swing trio from the early 90s who were way better than anything you might've read about in Smash Hits Magazine. They were produced by the same people behind Serenade but had a slightly more dance-orientated sound. Sadly they never made it off this compilation although they did re-emerge in 1996 signed to Polydor Records (see next post.)

Yinka (Voice Of Reason - Part Time Lover 4:21
Da Big Kidz - Bustin Outta Play Pen 4:20
Montage - Get With You Tonight 4:06
Serenade - Friend Not A Lover 4:41
Rhythm Within - You Make Me Feel 4:16
Serenade - Don't Lead Me On 5:13
Da Big Kidz - Blast From The Past 4:15
Yinka (Voice Of Reason) - Come Correct 4:15
Da Fellas - Tell Me 4:18
Montage - You're The One For Me 4:27
Rhythm Within - The Rhythm Ain't Playin (Hip-Hop Mix) 4:14
Serenade - I Surrender (Hip-Hop Mix) 5:22

Friday, August 26, 2016

Serenade: Ghetto Feel - Now Who's Got The Rhythm? (CD Compilation) (Mission Records, 1993)

Further music from impressive UK "New Jill Swing" quartet Serenade and exclusive to this Mission Records compilation only along with a bunch of other little-known swing and hip hop acts that you probably haven't heard about. Many of the songs featured were released as obscure 12" singles but it seems only Serenade got a wide release on CD single with Friend Not A Lover in 1993  Quality music that was sadly overlooked in the early 90s in favor of East 17, Eternal and other pop groups like them.

Yinka (Voice Of Reason) - Part Time Lover 4:21*
Da Big Kidz - Bustin Outta Play Pen 4:20
Montage - Get With You Tonight 4:06
Serenade - Friend Not A Lover 4:41
Rhythm Within - You Make Me Feel 4:16**
Serenade - Don't Lead Me On 5:13
Da Big Kidz - Blast From The Past 4:15
Yinka (Voice Of Reason) - Come Correct 4:15
Da Fellas - Tell Me 4:18
Montage - You're The One For Me 4:27
Rhythm Within - The Rhythm Ain't Playin (Hip-Hop Mix) 4:14
Serenade - I Surrender (Hip-Hop Mix) 5:22***

*Later recycled and used for a further scrapped  Serenade song Show Me You Love Me 
**Later recycled and used for a further scrapped Serenade song Only You
****Appears an exclusive mix to this compilation only

Serenade: I Like/I Surrender (UK CDM) (Mission Records, 1995)

Further 1995 release from London quartet Serenade who sadly never released a full album. Most likely recorded two years earlier along with their previous single it is pure UK Swing but once again very few people seemed to have heard of them and you won't have seen their name mentioned in Smash Hits Magazine. Again production comes from Rhythm Within, who - in my opinion - deserved to be up there with the best that the U.S. had to offer.

I Like (Radio Mix) 4:03
I Like (Hip Hop Mix) 5:17
I Surrender (Street Mix) 5:25
I Like (Swing Mix) 5:26

Serenade: Friend Not A Lover (UK CDM) (Mission Records, 1993)

When you think of female R&B groups out the UK from the 90s, sadly only one group Eternal comes to mind. Don't get me wrong, I very much enjoyed most of what they did but they were pretty much a pop group in comparison to the above quartet who were signed to London label Mission Records in the early 90s. When Eternal hit the big time in 1993, the above group were competing for a small piece of the action with the above release but sadly went unnoticed. They had behind them some of the best R&B & New Jack Swing producers that the UK had to offer: Jazz Black (later went on to produce for Hinda Hicks) and Rhythm Within (Lateef Oluwa & Sikiru Oluwa.) Sadly you won't read about any of them in Wikipedia; they don't even have much of a Discogs entry, but they deserved to be up there with Teddy Riley for the work that they did with this group and other artists like them in the early 90s. Unfortunately it seems that most of their work was limited only to a few obscure singles and little-known compilations. As for Mission Records, they only ever released one full-length album by an American artist alas Father MC - This Is For The Players (1993.)

Originally featured on the following compilation Ghetto Feel: Now Who's Got The Rhythm? (1993)

Radio Mix 3:48
R&B Mix 4:43
Hip Hop Mix 4:50
Dub Vocal Mix 3:58
Sweet Mercy Mix 7:19
Bush Beat Mix 4:41

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

5th Power: I Gotta Know (CDM) (Giant Records, 1994)

Further Latina R&B with this 5-piece New Jack Swing-type group from 1994. Of all the Latina groups tying to break into the mainstream R&B scene back then, I think this one probably showed the most promise but unfortunately as with the previous quartet, they never went beyond this one single. I guess it didn't help being signed to the same label as the platinum-selling R&B group Jade. A further song by them No Intermission appears on the Beverly Hills 90210: The College Years soundtrack but sadly never saw a proper release.

Quiero Saber (Spanish Version) 4:34
I Gotta Know (Spanglish Version) 4:04
I Gotta Know (English Version) 4:39
I Gotta Know (Remix) 5:04
I Gotta Know (Spanglish Remix) 4:03

4 Corners: Girls It Ain't Easy (Promo CDM) (Mercury, 1994)

A further soundtrack cut from a Hispanic/Latina group which featured on the Mi Vida Loca soundtrack and a cover of 70s soul vocal group Honey Cone's 1970 song of the same name. Unfortunately I don't know much about them - aside from that they were a quartet - but their short-livedness was no doubt down to the fact that the soundtrack was a commercial failure. A further song by them Suavecito is also featured on the album.

It Ain't Easy Radio Remix 3:32
It Ain't Easy LP Version 4:02
It Ain't Easy DJ EFX & Ty's Radio Mix 3:41
It Ain't Easy DJ EFX Transient Mix 4:11

K.R.U.S.H.: Let's Get Together (So Groovy Now) (Promo CDM) (Perspective Records, 1992)

An acronym for "Keep Reaching Up Some How", here is a further group that never evolved beyond one single, which was featured on the Mo' Money soundtrack, and were discovered and signed by Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis in the early 90s. Sadly the timing could not have been more wrong for them- possibly owing in part to then-popularity of fellow group TLC who were also in their first year - and this remains to be the only thing they ever did together. It was released on 12" vinyl only in the U.S. but saw a wider release in Europe where it was released on CD.

Fun fact: One member (Karen) Ashley Jackson later appeared as the yellow ranger Aisha Campbell in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV Series and movie.

Let's Get Together (So Groovy Now) (Album Edit) 3:45
Let's Get Together (So Groovy Now) (90's For Peace Radio Edit) 4:38
Let's Get Together (So Groovy Now) (B.R.A. 90's For The People Radio Edit) 4:25
Let's Get Together (So Groovy Now) (70's Radio Edit) 4:04

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Karisma: Demo (Promo CDr ) (2001)

I first brought mention to this group back last year and hot on the tail of a previous group I posted For Eternity. Both were from Chicago and had been under the wing of local, now-defunct management company High Velocity Entertainment along with a handful of others in the early 2000s. Both were R&B groups looking to ride the wave created by Destiny's Child and others like them but the above group was the more poppy out of the two and featured production from Chicago music legend Maurice Joshua. I posted a sampler of their proposed album Turn It Up here but here is an earlier

Marcy: Let Me Love You (BradleyHouse Records, 2001)

Rare funk/soul pressing from South Carolina by a former church singer. Sadly I don't know much about her but according to the inlay, she toured with Bill Pinkney of The Original Drifters prior to releasing this solo work.Unfortunately it appears to be her only release but she is still active in the local church scene.

The Party 2:56
That's Right... It's Over! 4:22
Let Me Love You 3:46
Whatever 6:22
All About The Benz 4:43
You Could Be The One 3:40
Let It Go 4:20
Crazy 4:52
I'm Over You 4:54

Shelundia: A Real Woman (Hometown Records, 1998)

Rare R&B and quiet storm soul from the Dallas, TX area and released independently in 1998. Sadly not much is known about the artist Shelundia Cooks but her voice oozes classic soul class. She released a further set in 2001 titled I Love Me which is also worth checking out although takes on a slightly more personal, grittier theme. Unfortunately a further project from 2014 was not released.

Just Believe (Interlude: In) 3:02
A Real Woman 3:47
Love Through The Night 5:45
Touch Me 4:13
Till Forever Come 3:23
Congratulations Baby 4:31
Sittin' Tite 3:32
If You Didn't Want Me 4:18
Definition Of A Real Woman 3:12
Don't Play Me 4:36
Casanova 3:41
Keep It Real 3:41
Fairy Tales 2:59
Children-R-The Future 5:49
Just Believe (Interlude: Out) 2:37

Friday, August 19, 2016

Tonia Woods: Fruition (Double-O Productions, 1999)

Obscure private pressing from a modern soul/jazz artist based out of DC and whose 2001 album All That Glitters has been compared to work by Regina Belle, Anita Baker and others. Sadly this earlier album is a little on the Adult Contemporary Pop side but there are a few good smooth & funky R&B cuts.

Features a live backing band on some tracks.

Without Your Love 4:33
Disappear 3:59
If I Only Had One Wish 3:30
Learn To Forgive 3:40
Runaway 4:37
Lazy Daze 3:39
Goes Around 3:45
The Question 4:14
At This Time 3:30
On My Way 3:34
Wished You Were Here 3:46
Make Me Love Somebody Else 3:55
Make Me Love Somebody Else (Rap Version) 3:54

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Riki Brooks: Freak Zone (NDN Music Records, 199x)

First posted by my buddy Stuart back in May, we stumbled across this smooth R&B/modern soul rarity on Amazon. Possibly from Miami, FL, there's no information about the artist anywhere but she formally released a freestyle track in 1988 titled I Need Love. Sadly the above release - which spawned at least one single - has since been popularized by the plethora of European You Tubers and Bloggers and now comes with a hefty price tag to boot. Props to Stuart for snagging it when it was under $239...

Always 5:33
Freak Zone 10:01
Here's To Lovin' Your Baby 5:11
Never Never 5:00
Don't Give In To Love 4:52
Our Love Is A Memory 4:38
Sensual Sexual 5:02
Come Get Me Love 4:58
Don't Give In [Interlude] 4:51
Remember Mama 4:02

Tamar Davis: Milk & Honey (Advance CD) (NPG Records/Universal, 2006)

Further aborted music from another of Prince's former proteges and a mainly a mixture of neo soul and blues with funk and rock influences. From Houston, TX, it should come as no surprise that Davis started out in Gyrl's Tyme, the group which would later become Destiny's Child, but was cut from the original lineup by Matthew Knowles following the group's defeat on TV singing competition Star Search in 1993. Following an audition for American Idol in 2004, Davis came across Prince at a house party and upon auditioning for him, was

Fundisha: Lessons (Promo CDr) (Columbia, 200x)

Formally only ever being in possession of the sampler, I am now pleased to own the entire album in HQ thanks to kingwazo :-) "Y'all know who this is..." Aborted project from Jermaine Dupri's first ever solo female artist Fundisha (Johnson) who first came to prominence as a featured vocalist for rap artist Bow Wow in 2001. A mixture of neo and hip hop soul, her style was a new direction for Dupri who had mostly spent

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Jamelia: Album Tracks (Promo CDr) (BMG Music Publishing 2000)

Unreleased early production from UK artist Jamelia and cut from the final release of her debut LP "Drama" in 2000. Comparable to Brandy and Monica, she sadly never made it to the U.S. but released three albums between 2000-2006 in the UK, the most notable being her debut featuring the hit "Money" with Beenie Man.

Money 6:20
Call Me 4:15
Room 101 4:23
What Is Love (Main Mix) 3:59 (Unreleased Track)
Boy Next Door 3:39
Guilty 4:06

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Anita Jahshana: S/T (Promo CDr) (Self-Released, 2004)

Rare demonstration CDr from an independent Chicago artist who released an album in 1995 under the moniker "Yetta." The release/pressing date is from 2004 but I am guessing that the date on the disc is probably not the date of recording as it contains some of the same tracks, including a cover of UK artist Michelle Gayle's 1994 hit Sweetness (which was written and produced in part by Narada Michael Walden.) Most of the other tracks appear to be unreleased demos, possibly from the recording of her album although I am not 100% certain. The feel of most are very old skool.

Thanks again to Stuart for sharing this rarity. A 4alldarnb and Jewel Case Heaven exclusive only!

Make Love Tonight 3:43
Don't Go Nowhere 3:32
My Place 3:05
Pouring Like Rain 4:54
Try My Love 4:43
Love Or Nothing At All 3:59*
Pray 5:03
Sunshine 3:49
Sweetness 5:23

*By jazz vocalist Al Jarreau and not Jahshana as per the label of the disc. The track is taken from his 1988 album Heart's Horizon.

Alicia Myers: Good Thang (CDM) (Chance Records, 2002)

Smooth R&B from Detroit's Alicia Myers who was formally a vocalist in the 70s disco/funk band Al Hudson and the Soul Partners (AKA One Way.) Original versions of the title track its b-side can be found on their album One Way With Alicia Myers And Friends which was released independently in 1993. As a soloist in the 80s, she released three albums and her songs have been covered by the likes of Chante Moore, Brownstone, Syleena Johnson and others. Her biggest hit to date was I Want To Thank You which reached No. 5 on the Billboard R'n'B chart in 1980. 

A Good Thang [Extended] 4:52
Our Love 3:46
A Good Thang [A Cappella] 4:14
A Good Thang [Radio] 4:00