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Just as an otherwise ferocious Winter draws to end and the first flowers of Spring begin to blossom, lo and behold what could be better then another special edition of another one of Harmless’s flagship series, so welcome to “Mellow Mellow” – 15th Anniversary Crystal Edition.
As with the original albums in this flagship series, we present a veritable cornucopia of Mellow Soul delights designed to be played as you’re relaxing in the Sun, preferably on a beach or in long field of tall grass. As with “The Breaks” (also released this month) we’ve utilised the services of compiler extraordinaire Dean Rudland to scour the vaults of various catalogues like Curtom, Philadelphia International, Kelli-Arts, Invictus, Columbia, Epic, Hi, Brunswick, Fantasy, Philly World, Sleeping Bag and Spring to bring you 2 CD’s worth of simply delectable music compiled with love and expertise by one of the most knowledgeable Soul Music experts in the world.
Naturally there are a host of tracks which have either NEVER been available on CD before or which are currently unavailable on compilations like Jae Mason’s “Cloud Of Sunshine”, Maryann Farra & Satin Soul’s “Living In The Footsteps Of Another Girl”, Side Effect’s “Spend It On Love”, Anthony White’s “I’m So Much In Love With You”, MFSB feat Carla Benson’s “Tell Me Why” and Millie Jackson and Isaac Hayes’ “Soft Lights, Sweet Music & You”. Also it gives us great pleasure to finally unearth Eugene Wilde’s superlative UK and US smash “Gotta Get You Home With Me Tonight” which has long been unavailable on CD and is always in demand.
As per usual, Harmless will be doing a full-on major Press, Promotion and Radio campaign targeting a much larger range of media then other Harmless releasesas we think “Mellow Mellow” has the potential to reach a much wider audience then most Harmless releases.
So ease yourself into what will undoubtedly be a beautiful Spring this year and make “Mellow Mellow” the soundtrack for the Summer! You know it makes sense!
|| ||All Because Of You|
|| ||Why Can’t We Be Lovers|
Holland & Dozier
|| ||Cloud Of Sunshine|
|| ||I’m Back For More |
Al Johnson & Jean Carn
|| ||Give Me Some Emotion|
|| ||What Do You Want Me To Do|
|| ||Call Me (Come Back Home)|
|| ||The Sweetest Pain|
Dexter Wansel ft Jean Carn
|| ||Ain’t You Had Enough|
|| ||If Only You Knew|
|| ||Just As Long As I Know You’re Mine |
Dee Dee Sharp Gamble
|| ||Darlin’ Darlin’ Baby|
|| ||Living In The Footsteps Of Another Girl|
Maryann Farra & Satin Soul
|| ||Keep Goin’ On|
|| ||This Feeling’s Killing Me |
The Jones Girls
|| ||Oh Girl |
|| ||Spend It On Love|
|| ||Gotta Get You Home With Me Tonight|
|| ||Come Into My Life |
|| ||I Choose You|
|| ||Heaven Only Knows |
|| ||Use To Be My Girl |
|| ||My Love Don’t Come Easy|
|| ||Tell Me Why |
MFSB feat. Carla Benson
|| ||Let’s Make A Baby |
|| ||Do You Get Enough |
|| ||I’m So Much In Love With You |
|| ||Love For The Sake Of Love |
|| ||Devotion |
Earth Wind and Fire
|| ||Soft Lights Sweet Music and You|
Millie Jackson & Isaac Hayes
|| ||Count On Me |
|| ||Mon Belle Amour|
Ann Peebles 3
|| ||Don’t Leave Me Starving For Your Love |
|| ||Look At The Boy|
|| ||Aretha, Sing One For Me |
As I write this, Clive Campbell is appealing for help. Better known, though only to some, as DJ Kool Herc, Campbell isn’t the only musical pioneer to struggle with his medical bills in the land of the uninsured. But he is perhaps the first designated genre-daddy, since music struck recording-industry gold, to subsist without a single royalty cheque or headline tour to replenish the coffers.
Herc didn’t just invent hip hop, he’s also the father of breakbeat culture, the practice of isolating one short patch of a record and repeating it over and over for maximum effect. As a DJ, he called it the merry-go-round. The industry- and the law courts- knows it better as sampling. But it took years for the technology to catch up. The earliest hip hop records weren’t sampled, but replayed by house bands, chief among them Sugarhill’s, who produced expert reconstructions of funk and disco loops, ranging from huge hits (Chic’s Good Times which powered Sugarhill Gang’s Rappers’ Delight) to obscure punk-funk (Liquid Liquid’s Cavern, familiar to every man Jack as the bricks mortar of Melle Mel’s White Lines).
The culture flirted heavily with illegality from the off. Just as Sugarhill boss, Sylvia Robinson, in a fit of what might charitably be called amnesia, credited herself as the composer of Rappers’ Delight, the first compilations to cash in on the new craze for old tracks were assembled by doo-wop producer Paul Winley from his own collection, unencumbered by formal licensing. His Super Disco Brake’s (sic) series predated sampling on record by several years, but tracks like Bob James’s Mardi Gras or Magic Disco Machine’s Scratching that found their way from the block parties to Winley’s bootlegs were still underscoring hip-hop hits decades later. Super Disco Brake’s and the later Ultimate Brakes & Beats series were vital cogs in the culture, broadening the palates of kids who often had no idea who they’d been listening to in cut-up form (including such counterintuitive breakbeat classics as Honkey Tonk Women and The Monkees’ Mary Mary).
The Harmless label’s previous compilations were weighted to the old school, the giddy, delirious funk championed by Kool Here and his followers. The Breaks tells a longer story, following sampling culture from its origins on to the slower-tempo sounds favoured in the ‘90s (there’s plenty more of the latter to be had on companion compilation Mellow Mellow: Original Smooth Grooves & Chilled Beats). As the wells of great funk ran dry, some producers turned to jazz, others to soul. The latter proved particularly fruitful to those with one eye on mainstream radio. While underground producers were seeking out esoteric jazz from which they’d strip down pin-sharp off-kilter beats, soul records by The Stylistics and The O’Jays were plundered for their melodies, even choruses, as the likes of Jay-Z and Ja Rule clocked up sales that KRS-1 of Rakim could only dream of.
The creative flowering of sampling’s golden age was mown down by too many lawyers squabbling over too few percentage points. De La Soul’s kaleidoscope vision of Johnny Cash, Led Zep, Dolemite and Syl Johnson coming together in one nation under a loop became prohibitively expensive. The sweeter, deeper sound of Al Green cam in. Two of his tracks feature here (and a third on Mellow Mellow), sampled by artists as diverse as Rakim, Massive Attack and Busta Rhymes, while Groovin’ by his producer Willie Mitchell supplies the chugging hypnotic pulse to Gza’s ineffable Liquid Swords.
In the age of the ringtone, hip-hop hitmakes are less likely to sample raw funk of 80s groove than the European dance and synth-pop of Eurythmics, Buggles and Daft Punk. But you’d struggle to tell an anthology of modern sample sources from a Now…album, as the ersatz aesthetic of the likes of will.i.am can’t camouflage his suffocating caution. The joy of the original breaks culture is that the beat could come from anywhere- underlined by British library musician Alana Hawkshaw’s opener Champ- so long as it had that one great part. While Mellow Mellow adheres to its right remit of warm repose, The Breaks careers through sound and style, always looking for the passage that will both rock and shock the house. It’s an unalloyed 31-track joy that deserves to sell by the truckload. Then maybe they could give Herc a cut.
Here’s one for the slow-jam fans: Harmless Records is releasing a new volume of their classic Mellow Mellow compilation series. This release is part of Harmless’ string of 15th Anniversary “Crystal Edition” releases — a similar honor that has been given to their Pulp Fusion and The Breaks reissue series — and it collects a variety of R&B ballads and gentle grooves, going beyond obvious hits to find the deep-catalog treasures in the world of vintage down-tempo soul. It’s also worth noting that this set will collect several hard-to-find tracks, including some songs that had never been on CD.
Taking its name from Lowrell’s ‘Mellow Mellow, Right On’ (featured on the 1st volume), the 15th anniversary edition of this highly revered series looks at the luxuriant, warm and distinctly down-tempo take on soul music of the 70s and early 80s.
Mellow Mellow arrived in the late nineties — a much-needed antidote to all the identikit Ibiza Chill Out compilations — unearthing down-tempo soul, funk and jazz gems from the golden era of the 70s and early 80s. Most of these records were obscure and highly collectable but also instantly recognisable via samples from contemporary artists such as Massive Attack, A Tribe Called Quest, Ice Cube Portishead, J Dilla and Eric B & Rakim.
As with the original albums in this flagship series, Harmless presents a veritable cornucopia of Mellow Soul delights designed to be played as you’re relaxing in the sun, preferably on a beach or in long field of tall grass. As with “The Breaks”(also released this month) compiler extraordinaire Dean Rudland scoured the vaults of various catalogues like Curtom, Philadelphia International, Kelli-Arts, Invictus, Columbia, Epic, Hi, Brunswick, Fantasy, Philly World, Sleeping Bag and Spring to bring you 2 CDs worth of simply delectable music compiled with love and expertise by one of the most knowledgeable soul music experts in the world.
Naturally there are a host of tracks which have either never been available on CD before or which are currently unavailable on compilations like Jae Mason’s “Cloud Of Sunshine”, Maryann Farra & Satin Soul’s “Living In The Footsteps Of Another Girl”, Side Effect’s “Spend It On Love”, Anthony White’s “I’m So Much In Love With You”, MFSB feat Carla Benson’s “Tell Me Why”and Millie Jackson and Isaac Hayes’ “Soft Lights, Sweet Music & You”. Also it gives us great pleasure to finally unearth Eugene Wilde’s superlative UK and US smash “Gotta Get You Home With Me Tonight” which has long been unavailable on CD and is always in demand.
Harmeless Records continue their 15th anniversary celebrations by revisiting one of their best ever series of compilations – 'Mellow Mellow'. The original '96 set took its name, of course, from Lowrell's ever-lovely 'Mellow Mellow Right On' and in an age when Ibizan chill-out collections were all the rage with the so-called chattering classes, the Harmless compliers showed them all what proper chill out music was all about. They carefully selected classy down-tempo soul, jazz and funk classics from the 70s and 80s and simply let the music speak for itself.
For this new 2 CD, 35 tracker complier Dean Rudland has followed the same game plan and to make sure everyone knows where he's coming from he opens with two 24 carat soul chillers – Leroy Hutson's 'All Because Of You' and Holland & Dozier's 'Why Can't We Be Lovers'. Then, before anyone can accuse him of playing safe and obvious, he hits us with a real rarity – Jae Mason's wonderful 1975 Buddah outing, 'Cloud Of Sunshine' – a tune that's never been on CD before... and so a pattern is established – the well-known and much-loved, refreshingly juxtaposed with the rare and collectable.
They big names include Al Green, the O'Jays, Patti Labelle, Jean Carn, the Chi-Lites, EWF and Billy Paul and though familiar, their inclusions are well worth it. Then there's a raft of music from artists beloved of soul connoisseurs – people like Webster Lewis, Dexter Wansell, the Natural Four and Dee Dee Sharp. The set's USP though has to be those rarities - like Maryann Farra and Satin soul's version of the Chi-Lites re-named 'Living In The Footsteps Of Another Girl' and the Ann Peebles/Don Bryant duet, 'Mon Belle Amour'. Interestingly, Eugene Wilde's 'Gotta Get You Home Tonight' is here too – and though it's always been popular it's not been available on CD for a long, long time. If that's not enough to make you investigate then maybe telling you that you also get Paris' 'I Choose You' and George Jackson's 'Aretha Sing One For Me' might do the trick. I doubt if we'll get a better balanced, laid back soul compilation all year.