Lee Fields & The Expressions It Rains Love At the corner of Living Legend St. and OG Ave. you will find Lee Fields’ house. A home that was built with blood, sweat, and tears, and stands on the unshakable foundation of his god given talent. Lee has been singing for 50 plus years and is undeniably, yet amazingly, at the top of his game. Those who have paid attention know that Lee is part of the class that is directly responsible for the revival of old school funk and soul. He has inspired many of today’s younger artists who are doing their best to carry the torch. As long as the road has been, and heavy as the crown may be, Fields is proving yet again that he’s “still got it”. His latest offering is sure to be a warmly received instant classic. It Rains Love is the 2nd album by Lee Fields & The Expressions on Brook- lyn’s Big Crown Records and gives us yet another masterclass in soul. Teaming up again with frequent collaborator and producer Leon Michels and his devoted band, The Expressions, they have managed again to take a classic approach and update it. Traditional soul sensibilities are mixed with a hip-hop tinged, sample ready sound that is as much an homage to the old as to the new. Some of the songs sound like they could belong to any of the last 4 decades without it feeling like a throwback, while others are 60’s soul through and through. Lyrically, Lee runs the gamut from gushing admonishments of love to politically charged calls to action, from proclamations of God’s existence to love letters written to his wife. This record marks the fifth studio album from Lee Fields & the Expressions and we are very proud to add it to the already impeccable catalog they have created together. Another strong offering by a man many people consider to be a national treasure, the professor of love himself, Mr Lee Fields. It’s all love baby! Big Crown CD | LP
Paul & The Tall Trees So Long Paul Schalda is a poet, perhaps a bit of a tortured soul, a hopeless romantic, and a guy from Staten Island. That last bit might not make sense to people who aren’t from New York. Let’s say that it puts the blue in his collar and sticks his feet to the ground. Paul’s music seems to embody the unexpected overlap of The Band’s Americana, Ian MacKaye’s unhinged emotion, Otis Redding’s raw soul, and the doo-wop melodies his father, Bill Schalda Sr. (a member of Brooklyn vocal group, The Montereys) raised him on. His sophomore album is produced by long time collaborator and old friend Tommy Brenneck and Big Crown’s own Leon Michels. For the people who are already fans of Paul’s debut Our Love In Light, the growth and maturity will be impossible to miss. So Long reads and feels like you snuck in his room and read his journal. Deeply personal and heartfelt, he takes on a variety of topics in the songs, the common thread being the vulnerability and passion he delivers them with. Big Crown Records CD | LP
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band Great To Be Here Another absolute heater from the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band - punchy steel band dance floor destroyers! Big Crown 7"
El Michels Affair / Lee Fields Never Be Another You (Reggae Version) For years, Lee Fields has been asking for and patiently waiting on a reggae rhythm to sing over. To bring this dream to fruition, EMA teamed up with frequent collaborator and reggae enthusiast, Nick Movshon, and busted out this version of the Lee Fields & The Expressions' instant classic, Never be Another You. The A side is the vocal version of the tune; EMA cut a killer interpolation of the original and had Lee lay down the vocals like only he can. The result is right on time for summer, a feel good side that can hold court right next to the classics. The B side finds Michels manning the boards for a proper version of the tune. Echoes, drop outs, and reverb flourishes all dancing through the mix in proper reggae style. Big Crown 7"
The Shacks The Shacks The self-titled release from dreamy indie-poppers The Shacks. When you listen to the Shacks’s self-titled debut, you might imagine that Shannon Wise and Max Shrager are much older than their respective 18 and 20 years. But when Shannon’s whisper-vocals breeze through the speakers, you hear the youthfulness of their sound which then in turn explains the fearlessness of their songwriting. Both vaguely familiar and completely fresh, The Shacks are one of the most interesting NYC bands to surface in a minute. Big Crown CD | LP
The Shacks This Strange Effect / Hands In Your Pocket The A side “This Strange Effect” is an updated take on the Ray Davies penned classic from 1965. The B Side “Hands In Your Pockets” finds The Shacks dipping their toe into the rocksteady / reggae world. Recorded with the rhythm section of the infamous Frightnrs of Daptone Records fame, Shannon’s floaty vocal stylings are right at home on a new jack reggae rhythm. Big Crown 7"
Sunny & The Sunliners The Missing Link [Black Friday 17] Limited Black Friday release available instore and online from Friday 24th November, strictly one per customer. $2 from each copy of The Missing Link sold on Black Friday Record Store Day 2017 will go to The Greater Houston Community Foundation to help with relief for areas of Texas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey When it comes to living legends in the Texas and Latin Music pantheon, few have been at it longer and are more revered by their fans and peers than vocalist, songwriter and bandleader Sunny Ozuna. Born and raised in San Antonio, where he still resides, Sunny became a star right out of high school in the late '50s and hasn't looked back in the six decades since. After releasing dozens of albums since the mid-1960s (in Spanish and English), Sunny still keeps a busy schedule and loves performing as much as he did as a teenager. His classic 45s regularly change hands for hundreds of dollars among collectors around the world, affirming his timeless appeal. As a logical next step after Big Crown's excellent (and Sunny-approved) Mr. Brown Eyed Soul compilation from September, the label has started digging into the vaults of Sunny's Key-Loc Records label to unearth some legit soul classics - which are hard to find even in San Antonio, and clean originals will cost you a pretty penny if you ever luck into one - and have not been on vinyl since the late '60s. Each has been remastered and includes original album art. Second in the reissue series is The Missing Link, a 10-cut, all instrumental album, and the tracklist is a wild ride indeed. Ranging from hip soul - James Brown's "Soul Pride," The Inclines' Muscle Shoals groover "Pressure Cooker," and the Meters classic "Cissy Strut" - to a wide swath of '60s Texas Latin party essentials ("Uno," "Rosita Bonita" and "La Pecosita"), the Sunliners are in top form all throughout. It won't take much to envision a San Antonio backyard BBQ in the early '70s with this long player spinning in the background, on repeat. Instrumental party albums were all the rage back when this hit in the late '60s, and Sunny Ozuna and crew show here that they could groove with the best of them. Throw it on, break out the back deck smoker, and let the good tunes roll. A1. Soul Pride A2. Duffy A3. Cissy Strut A4. Rosita Bonita A5. Madrid B1. Boo Boo B2. La Pollera Colorada B3. Pressure Cooker B4. Uno B5. La Big Crown LP
Sunny & The Sunliners Smile Now, Cry Later [Black Friday 17] Limited Black Friday release available instore and online from Friday 24th November, strictly one per customer. $2 from each copy of Smile Now, Cry Later sold on Black Friday Record Store Day 2017 will go to The Greater Houston Community Foundation to help with relief for areas of Texas that were affected by Hurricane Harvey When it comes to living legends in the Texas and Latin Music pantheon, few have been at it longer and are more revered by their fans and peers than vocalist, songwriter and bandleader Sunny Ozuna. Born and raised in San Antonio, where he still resides, Sunny became a star right out of high school in the late '50s and hasn't looked back in the six decades since. After releasing dozens of albums since the mid-1960s (in Spanish and English), Sunny still keeps a busy schedule and loves performing as much as he did as a teenager. His classic 45s regularly change hands for hundreds of dollars among collectors around the world, affirming his timeless appeal. As a logical next step after Big Crown's excellent (and Sunny-approved) Mr. Brown Eyed Soul compilation from September, the label has started digging into the vaults of Sunny's Key-Loc Records label to unearth some legit soul classics - which are hard to find even in San Antonio, and clean originals will cost you a pretty penny if you ever luck into one - and have not been on vinyl since the late '60s. Each has been remastered and includes original album art. First up is Smile Now, Cry Later, a 12-song platter which first hit in 1966. As with most Sunny LPs, this is a mix of soulful originals - most notably, "Smile Now, Cry Later" and "Put Me In Jail" - and provocative, wide-ranging covers. Cases in point on the tributes side of this great album include the Sam & Dave shouter "Hold On I'm Comin'"; "Forever," made famous by both the Marvelettes and Marvin Gaye, and a song that Sunny performs to this day; and the '60s Louis Prima crooner special "Just A Gigolo." The band is tight, the sound is honest, the vocals are dusky and deep, and the album is an undeniable soul and Texas music classic, ready to be discovered by a whole new generation of music fans. Dive in and be ready for a permasmile, thanks to that patented Sunny sound. A1. Smile Now, Cry Later A2. Baby, I Apologize A3. I Want To Make It Up To You A4. Forever A5. You Don't Have To Say You Love Me A6. Everybody Knows B1. Hopeless Case B2. Stop That Thief B3. Hold On I'm Comin' B4. Just A Gigolo B5. Put Me In Jail B6. Sidewinder (Part 1 & 2) Big Crown LP
El Michels Affair Shadow Boxing / Iron Maiden Following up on the smashing success of El Michels Affair’s Return To The 37th Chamber, EMA drops one more 45 for the collectors. The A side is the crushing cover of the Wu classic “Shadowboxin” off GZA’s cinematic masterpiece Liquid Swords. El Michels Affair takes the tune and makes it their own with dancing guitar licks, floating organ notes, and their signature heavy drums. The B side is a treat for the fans, a non album cut, they cover Ghostface’s “Iron Maiden”, the tune that opened up and set the tone for his debut classic Ironman. El Michels smashes this one with a frantic off beat intro that drops into a heavy duty cover of the tune. The inimitable studio prowess of Michels is higlighted all over this track in the nuances and arrangements. Play it loud, and also smoke something and play it in your headphones. Another Big Crown sureshot. Big Crown 7"
Lee Fields & The Expressions Special Night First press of the CD (double CD) comes with a bonus disc of instrumentals. Soul legend Lee Fields is back with an incredible album and teamed up with The Expressions! "Special Night" is a masterclass in soul music past and present. “I feel that every human being’s purpose is to do what their inner voice says to do,” says Lee Fields. “And my inner voice, my driving force, wants me to put out music and keeping making better records.” Special Night is also the first record in the Expressions catalogue in which every song was written jointly by Lee Fields and The Expressions. Big Crown CD | LP
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band Scorpio / 8th Wonder A couple of great covers from Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band! Coming after the smashing success of their debut full length “55” they 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 enthusiasts 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. Another dance floor winner sure to be in DJs sets the world over shortly. Big Crown 7"
El Michels Affair Sounding Out The City Reissue of the first album by Wu Tang collaborator El Michels Affair. One of the very first and most noteable NYC soul scene releases! Leon Michels, who was 18 when recording 'Sounding Out The City' began, had just released 'Thunder Chicken', the first record by his high school band The Mighty Imperials. At the time of SOTC, Michels was just discovering early rocksteady, afrobeat, and 60's garage rock, which inevitably crept its way into the songwriting. Big Crown LP
Bobby Oroza This Love Bobby pushes the borders of soul and rock balladry and creates a sound distinctly his own. Cold Diamond & Mink provide a pitch perfect collection of lo-fi, low-key classics on which Bobby’s smokey tenor floats atop, breaking hearts on some tunes and melting them on others. Maintaining the band’s signature dark and intimate aesthetic, they run the gamut of tempos, breaking hearts on some tunes and mending them on others. The group’s second single “Your Love Is Too Cold” is a stomper that blends the groovy soul drumming of early Motown records with guitar that could have been lifted from a James Bond score and has been getting heavy spins across the globe at soul parties and on radio shows. Bobby takes care of the dancers with a few up numbers, ranging from the northern soul nods on “Lonely Girl” & “Falling in Love” to the 70s jazz funk nod on “Keep On Believing”. However, the ballad lovers with the uncontrollable urge to two-step late into the night will be the real winners with “This Love”. Bobby thrives on the bed of dark and intimate sensuality found on tracks like “Alone Again”, “Down On My Knees”, and “Deja Vu”. The world is about bear witness, and surely be taken back by this strange and unique shade of Soul born in Finland but made for the whole world to enjoy. Big Crown Records CD | LP
Lee Fields & The Expressions Coming Home / Precious Love Side A is “Coming Home”, Lee’s incredible take on working, how we get through it, and why we do it. He sings to his wife a story a lot of people can relate to, working all day looking forward to coming home to his family. The Expressions provide the perfect feel good backing to this midtempo masterpiece with beautiful horn arrangements, catchy background vocals, and a guitar riff as catchy as the chorus. Side B’s “Precious Love” is the perfect example of the song writing and arranging prowess the producers (Leon Michels & Tommy Brenneck) and the band have honed over the years. Catchy from the intro, this love song keeps the dance floor and holds up next to the classics. Play this for your precious love. Big Crown / Traffic 7"