Strut present the first definitive retrospective of an icon of 1970s and ‘80s soul, jazz and disco, Patrice Rushen, covering her peerless 6-year career with Elektra / Asylum from 1978 to 1984.
Patrice Rushen joined the Elektra / Asylum roster in 1978 as they launched a pop / jazz division alongside visionaries like Donald Byrd and Grover Washington, Jr. “The idea was to create music that was good for commercial radio / R&B,” Patrice explains. “We were all making sophisticated dance music, essentially.”
Early classics like ‘Music Of The Earth’ and ‘Let’s Sing A Song Of Love’ were among Patrice’s first as a lead vocalist before her ‘Pizzazz’ album landed in 1979, featuring the unique disco of ‘Haven’t You Heard’ and one of her greatest ballads, ‘Settle For My Love’. Slick dancefloor anthem ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ and the ‘Posh’ album in 1980 led to her landmark album ‘Straight From The Heart’ two years later.
Receiving little support from her label, Patrice and her production team personally funded a promo campaign for the first single from it, ‘Forget Me Nots’. It went on to peak at no. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 and the album was later Grammy-nominated, while the track became a timeless anthem and popular sample.
Patrice’s final album for Elektra, ‘Now’ kept the bar high with sparse, synth-led songs including ‘Feel So Real’ and ‘To Each His Own’. It concluded a golden era creatively for Patrice which remains revered by soul and disco aficionados the world over.
‘Remind Me’ features all of Patrice Rushen’s chart singles, 12” versions and popular sample sources on one album for the first time. Formats included a 3LP set and CD fully remastered by The Carvery from the original tapes. Both formats include an exclusive new interview with Patrice Rushen and rare photos. You Remind Me is out 19th July and available to pre-order now.
Afro soul pioneer ORLANDO JULIUS with THE HELIOCENTRICS head off for another monster European tour, starting tomorrow! Still one of the best Afro shows out there – catch them if you can…
16.05.19 Atlas, Arhus, DK
17.05.19 Alice, Copenhagen, DK
18.05.19 Fasching, Stockholm, SWE
20.05.19: Rachot, Prague, CZ
22.05.19: Yaam, Berlin, DE
23.05.19: Brotfabrik, Frankfurt, DE
24.05.19: Sniester Festival, Rotterdam, NL
26.05.19: Lentekabinet, Amsterdam, NL
30.05.19: Caracol, Madrid, ES
31.05.19: Las Armas, Zaragoza, ES
01.06.19: La Nau, Barcelona, ES
07.06.19: Pardon To Tu, Warsaw, PL
08.06.19: Drift Festival, Nijmegen, NL
“Strut Records were there first, well before DFA recorded The Rapture’s Sub Pop debut. ‘Disco Not Disco’ preceded the punk funk revolution by two years.” Resident Advisor
For Record Store Day 2019, Strut present the first ever repress since 2000 of the influential first volume of ‘Disco Not Disco’ compiled by Joey Negro and Sean P as part of the label’s 20th Anniversary.
‘Disco Not Disco’ was a perfectly timed compilation back in 2000. Released when interest in the myths, history and playlists of original New York clubs like Paradise Garage and The Loft was at its peak, the album drew on the outer limits of leftfield disco championed by Levan and Mancuso, bringing together unlikely dancefloor anthems by rock acts like Yoko Ono and Ian Dury, obscurities from cottage labels like BC and Splash and selected oddities from the unique mind of avant-garde hero, Arthur Russell. It was essentially a celebration of the sonic melting pot in New York during the early ‘80s, an era when punk had burnt itself out and disco had become commercial and saccharine; in its place, the post-punk movement threw up brilliant oddities which tore up the accepted rulebook.
Since its release, the compilation title has become a by-word for a whole genre of music and remains a landmark collection of its time. With original copies now changing hands for €100+, this new pressing is a welcome return for an essential celebration of disco’s difficult cousins. The album features full original artwork and Kris Needs’ sleeve notes and is remastered and cut by The Carvery.
Release date:: 13th April 2019 (RECORD STORE DAY)
We’re celebrating a big 20 years of good grooves here at Strut in 2019 and the limited edition Strut 20 t-shirt is now available to order via Everpress. Order here.
By only printing exactly what’s sold through pre-orders Everpress are able to avoid unnecessary waste ending up in landfill. The t-shirt is available to pre-order for the next two weeks.
As part of our 20th Anniversary celebrations, Strut present the first new volume in their pioneering ‘Nigeria 70’ series for over 8 years, bringing together rare highlife, Afro-funk and juju from the ‘70s and early ‘80s. Compiled by collector and DJ Duncan Brooker, this new selection of tracks is receiving its first international release outside of Nigeria.
The album explores the close connection between Nigeria and Benin’s music, most famously through Sir Victor Uwaifo, appearing here with a killer mid-‘80s ekassa jam, as well as highlife hitmaker Osayamore Joseph on ‘Obonogbozu’ (Joseph made headlines in Nigeria for very different reasons in 2017, surviving a one month kidnapping ordeal).
Other tracks include ‘Sickness’ a 1979 lament on how all countries share troubles by Prince Nico Mbarga, the Nigerian / Camerounian star behind the smash hit ‘Sweet Mother’; reggae singer Felixson Ngasia switches to funk and disco for a heavy workout with potent lyrics around black identity; another major highlife great Etubom Rex Williams unleashes a punchy psych funk gem with ‘Psychedelic Shoes’ and Africa 70 member Pax Nicholas vocals a simmering Afrobeat groove from Jacob Lee’s Saxon Lee & The Shadows International Band.
‘Nigeria 70: No Wahala’ is released on 29th March 2019 on CD, 2LP and digital. All tracks have been restored by See Why Audio and mastered by The Carvery. The package features comprehensive sleeve notes including exclusive interviews with some of the original artists.
Strut present an exclusive new reissue of a great (and now very rare) original album from the early career of Nigerian juju star Shina Peters, ‘Sewele’ from 1986.
“‘Sewele’ represented a time of transition in my music career”, explains Peters. “I had branched out to start as a solo artist after spells with Ebenezer Obey, Prince Adekunle and Segun Adewale and I was trying to find my own voice and to play juju in a more progressive direction. This was an important time for me. Three years later, I had honed that sound into Afro-Juju, and my ‘ace: ‘Afro Juju Series 1’ album broke me as an artist.
On ‘Sewele’, Peters explored different themes on four extended juju workouts, showcasing his incredible guitar work and his sense of fun as the odd Bob Marley and Abba riff pops up in the grooves. The title track means ‘shower of blessings’: “it’s like a prayer for my fans throughout Nigeria and the diaspora.” The funky Afrobeat of ‘Yabis’ is about being proud to be African and not to follow American ways and ‘Agbe’ere De’ states proudly that Peters is coming again with something different: “I always wanted to get the message across to my fans that I was keeping things fresh and creating melodies and music that people would enjoy.” The final track, ‘Late Aboderin’, is a moving tribute to Peters’ mentor, the late Chief Aboderin: “He helped me in many ways including legal aid in a court case against a record label. He also bought a van to carry the band to concerts.”
This new reissue features all original artwork and a new sleeve note by Sir Shina Peters telling the story of the album and his wider career. The album audio has been restored by See Why Audio and remastered by The Carvery. Released 25 January 2019 on Strut.
Strut proudly present the brand new studio album from Nubiyan Twist, ‘Jungle Run’.
Now one of the leading lights in the UK’s new generation of soulful, genre-fluid artists, the Leeds-born and now London-based 12-piece collective have created their finest recordings to date, effortlessly weaving together elements of jazz, soul, hip hop, African styles, Latin, dub, hip hop and electronics in a flow of thought-provoking and life-affirming music.
Recorded at the band’s own self-built Henwood Studio in rural Oxfordshire, the album fluidly moves through different voices from the band’s circle. The inimitable, timeless vocals of Nubiya Brandon lead the way on the album’s title track about breaking preconceptions and promoting equality, “Where you from? I’m from wherever I be.” Saxophonist Nick Richards vocals the killer first single from the album about inner turmoil and a search for the truth, ‘Tell It To Me Slowly’ while rising Ghanaian star K.O.G. appears on the Afro jams ‘Basa Basa’ and ‘They Talk’. Percussionist Pilo Adami (Nina Miranda / Afrosamba) voices the infectious bossa-jazz jam ‘Borders’. The band also draft in two African legends for guest duties with the original Afrobeat maestro Tony Allen on ‘Ghosts’ and Ethio jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke contributing vibes on the sinuous ‘Addis To London’.
The album is another landmark for a band that has been consistently developing their sound since their formation in 2015 at Leeds College Of Music. ”One of the biggest factors in our sound was the exciting music scene in Leeds,’ explains Joe, “from a reggae night called ‘Sub Dub’ to venues playing whacked out experimental jazz.” Since then, the band’s self-titled debut album (2015) and EP ‘Siren Song’ (2016) have become classics in their own right and their live show has become an essential ticket; previous live highlights have included high profile slots at David Byrne’s Meltdown at the South Bank and Glastonbury West Holts.
‘Jungle Run’ is released on 15th February on CD, 2LP and digital. Cover artwork comes from acclaimed designer Marcus Davies and the album is mastered by The Carvery. Nubiyan Twist tour across Europe from November.
Strut present the first ever international reissue of in-demand ‘80s zouk LP ‘Las Palé’ by Feeling Kréyol, out of Guadeloupe.
Producer Darius Denon explains: “This was 1988 and bands like Zouk Machine and Kassav were huge. I had met producer Frankie Brumier when I was performing at festivals and parties and he wanted to record a girl group so we began scouting venues, mainly around the Grande-Terre district in the island’s capital, Pointe-à-Pitre. I ran auditions and picked out the best three voices – Fabienne, Leïla and Yolande.”
Recording at a studio in Le Gosier, Denon trained them to sing the songs and spent around 6 weeks recording the album: “I gave them a couple of compositions that I had planned for my own solo album. I remember that we all got on really well; the sessions were fun.”
The title track ‘Las Palé’ was the lead track pushed as a single and achieved modest success domestically. The band did a few promotional performances in the island’s discotheques but, in the end, the album stalled. “Studios were expensive and there was no cheap technology as we have now. So, the producer ended up cutting corners with the production – the mix was not completely finished and the voices were not synchronised right to some of the tracks.”
For Denon, he continued his career to the present day, successfully moving to Paris and breaking through with the hit ‘Je t’emmene’ in 1998. Meanwhile, although ‘Las Palé’ turned out to be Feeling Kréyol’s only recording, the interest in the album has grown in recent years with the title track’s lo-fi charm finding its way into sets by Invisible City and onto Red Light Radio and more. This first full reissue is remastered by The Carvery and features full original artwork along with a new interview with Darius Denon. Out now on Strut.
Strut present an exclusive new compilation curated by Optimo’s JD Twitch, ‘Kreaturen Der Nacht’, bringing together classics, rarities and oddities from Germany’s original post-punk and independent scene from 1979 to 1985.
This was an era of particular artistic upheaval in Germany; emphasis was placed on expression rather than technical perfection, artistic impact rather than skill. Bands consciously abandoned the English-speaking mainstream with German band names and lyrics. “Although we had a small underground scene, it was very vibrant,” explains Gudrun Gut of Malaria! “Bands like Die Haut, our first band Mania D., Malaria!… we organised gigs ourselves, hung around together in a handful of clubs like Risiko or Dschungel and went to gigs at SO36. West Germany had other regional scenes too: Düsseldorf and Köln around Der Plan and the Ata Tak label and there was the Hamburg side with Abwärts. Germany didn’t have a real music industry like the US or UK back then.”
This new collection is a personal selection from JD Twitch: “The compilation is not designed to tell a definitive story of what was going on in Germany in this era; it is more an arbitrary collection of records I adore from a specific era with a specific attitude that hopefully together sum up some of the musical undercurrents in Germany at that time.”
The package features a host of rare and unseen photos from the period along with extensive interviews with artists including Beate Bartel (Mania D.), Gudrun Gut (Malaria!, Mania D.) Christoph Dreher (Die Haut), Michael Hirsch (P1/E, ExKurs) and Thomas Voburka (Weltklang).
‘Kreaturen Der Nacht’, released on CD, 2LP, is out now.
Strut present a brand new edition of Oneness of Juju’s Afro-jazz classic ‘African Rhythms’, originally released on Black Fire in 1975 and first reissued on Strut in 2002.
For bandleader James “Plunky” Branch, ‘African Rhythms’ marked a significant return to his home town of Richmond, Virginia after a politically charged five years based on the East and West coasts. His personal journey had taken him from activism at Columbia University to San Francisco where Zulu musician Ndikho Xaba used theatre to “resurrect” Afro-Americans with a new African identity. The first incarnation of Plunky’s band, Juju, drew attention to the struggle in South Africa under apartheid, layering heavy Afro rhythms under uncompromising avant garde jazz.
Back in Richmond, Plunky tapped into the mid-Atlantic preference for Southern R&B and gospel: “Juju had always been blues-based and it was a natural progression to add R&B and dance rhythms. It didn’t change our message.” Produced by Jimmy Gray of Black Fire Records, the new sessions included the title track (“We wanted a song to dance to with a message – ‘you are dancing to African rhythms’”), the positive message of ‘Don’t Give Up’ and political commentary on ‘Liberation Dues’.
Originally just a regional hit on the East coast and in Washington DC specifically, the album gradually spread, influencing the nascent DC go-go scene. The UK revived the album during the rare groove era of the late ‘80s and the title track has since become a soul-jazz favourite worldwide.
Remastered from the original sessions and featuring rare photos and extensive liner notes, this new repress also features Part 1 and Part 2 of the original 45 version of ‘African Rhythms’ and the previously unheard ‘Afrobeat’, recently unearthed from the original tapes. Out on Strut now.