Lady Wray’s newest full-length, Queen Alone is a showcase of Nicole Wray’s inarguable vocal talent. Behind that talent is a musical force deserving of it’s own recognition. And that’s where the spotlight shines on this release, Queen Alone Instrumentals. The record was written and recorded in 10 days at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios, in Queens NY with Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck handling production.

Produced by Leon Michels and Thomas Brenneck, and brilliantly performed by the Expressions, Special Night was written, recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely to tape in three weeks at the legendary Diamond Mine Studios in Queens, NY. A sense of urgency, equal parts fun and inspiration, and a decent amount of beer and Jack Daniels were the driving forces during the sessions that produced Lee Fields & The Expressions latest offering. Whether tackling a tune about love lost, found, or broader topics like the state of humanity, Lee has a very unique and honest perspective that is on display with each unforgettable performance. Also, The Expressions have never been sharper, they, along with Lee, have created a collection of music on Special Night which holds court with pretty much any soul music that came before it.

Big Crown Records is proud to present the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band’s smashing cover of PIMP. Following up on the smashing success of their debut album “55” and a string of essential 45s, Big Crown Records is the third label to press this staple tune. Three labels, three times, three different B sides. Side B is the proper reggae offering from BRSB, a cover of the legendary John Holt’s classic “Police In Helicopter”. Another must have two-sider.

Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band’s drop 2 B-Boy classics back to back on this tough two sider that comes in a beautifully illustrated picture sleeve. The A side “Scorpio” is a killer cover of the Dennis Coffey breakbeat staple. BRSB turn up the tempo a touch on the original doing the tune justice with crushing drums they have become known for. This is sure to be in every breakbeat enthusiast’s box. The B side features the non album cut, BRSB’s cover of The Sugarhill Gang’s 8th Wonder, a tune that lends itself to pans like it was written for them.

El Michels Affair are back with a 45 of original material that features a new NYC band called The Shacks. Side A Strange Boy, sounds like the Five keys met Neil young and cut a record with Jane Birkin – but in english. A fuzzed out, heavy backing track with doo-wop background vocals create a peculiar, but perfect bed for Shannon’s dead pan celebration of her “Strange Boy”, of whom she would gladly “drink the kool aid from his cup”. Side B, No Surprise, is a perfect blend of El Michels Affair’s hazy, cinematic soul and 60’s pop ala Sonny and Cher.

Long awaited debut “55” is finally being released on Brooklyn’s own Big Crown Records. 55 is a journey through re-interpolations and covers with an updated approach, pushing Steel Pan music to uncharted territory. From the smoothed out Reggae cover of John Holt’s “Police In Helicopter” to the DJ sure shot cover of Faith Evan’s “Love Like This” BRSB’s 55 is reinvigorating tunes both well-known and helping to shed some light on tunes still largely undiscovered. If the 45s that have already come out on Mocambo, Plane Jane, and Truth & Soul are an indication, this full length is going to be a staple to both casual listeners and DJs alike.
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El Michels Affair is back with the follow up to 2009’s underground cult classic Enter the 37th Chamber. The first single 4th Chamber, a cover of one of the toughest GZA tunes from Liquid Swords finds EMA’s signature sound stronger than ever. Fuzz guitar and synths reminiscent of Morricone scoring Scarface dance over absolutely crushing drums giving the original RZA production a proper run for it’s money. The B side is something of a Big Crown family affair, El Michels inviting the one and only Lee Fields to the track to sing the vocal part over from Ol Dirty Bastard’s rawer than raw album cut Snakes.