Yolanda "La La" Brown & iCandi

The forgotten Midwest R'n'B duo that met a tragic end.

Ne-Yo

Unreleased from 2001, Ne-Yo as "Shaffer".

Mya's Liberation

Mya's doomed fourth album.

Girl Power!

Unreleased R'n'B/UK Garage from 2001.

From Tha'Rayne To The First Seed

Unreleased Yummy Bingham from 2006.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Juliana: 100% (Promo VLS) (R&B Productions, 1996)

More 90s greatness from the midlands (UK) with Juliana, who at one point was tipped to become the UK’s latest Queen of Swing. I don’t know if she ever did anything else but her manager was formally involved in PR work for US legends Jean Carne and Roy Ayers before deciding he wanted to go into management. It seems this girl, formally of a group called Trilite in the 80s, was one of his first projects and straddles the 90s UK street soul and contemporary R&B genres quite well. Many thanks again to “L” for his original rips! 

100% 5:05
100% (Instrumental) 5:02

Jozay: Secrets (Ooh Aah) (VLS) (Fancy Footwerk Records, 1998)

A further smooth track from the late 90s that has been seen before from a few of the usual “collectors” and a few fans of garage house for its remixes. I know nothing about the artist – this appears to be the only thing she ever did – but the R&B and Bass remixes on this particular 12” have not been seen before. Many thanks again to “L” for his original rips!

Secrets (Main Mix) 4:02
Secrets (Slow Down Mix) 4:14
Secrets (Miami Mix Feat. Sugarman) 3:00

Aysha: Let Me Break It Down (White Label VLS) (1999)

Only R&B release from former Miss England Talented Teens contestant Aysha Loren who despite really putting it down on the above smooth track, appeared to be mostly a reggae artist. She may have been primed for big things at one point; this single was produced by Barry Bee formally known for his early work with Leona Lewis but despite talk of an album due for release on Feb 28th 1999, her catalog mainly consists of a few obscure reggae 7”s (split with other artists on the Jet Star label) and some backing vocals for Chukki Starr. She did however provide vocals for an early song by Phoebe 1 “Keepin’ Up The Vibes” from 1997. Many thanks again to “L” for his original rips!

Let Me Break It Down 3:57
Let Me Break It Down 4:29

Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Attorney Project: The 8th Day (Ladies Anthem) (White Label VLS, 200x)

A further rare UK find from the Attorney Project and a reply of sorts to Craig David’s 2000 song “7 Days” when that sort of thing was popular in the early 2000s.  I don’t know anything about the artist but I believe they were a female duo or group. Possibly unreleased although I don't know for exact certain.

The 8th Day (Ladies Anthem) (Mix 1)     4:21
The 8th Day (Ladies Anthem) (Mix 2)     4:22

Second Nature, Deshai: Kingswing EP (Promo VLS) (Ticking Time, 1999)

Further unknown R&B groups and artists on promo vinyl with a very contemporary sound. Again no information about any of them anywhere but the label Ticking Time was a hip hop and jungle label out of London. 
 
Promises 3:50 (Second Nature)
Check My Flo 4:19 (De'Ano)
Moove It 2 Da Left 3:30 (Deshai)

Era: Time 4 Action (White Label VLS) (200x)

Unknown male group on white label from the early 2000s era and featuring 2 tracks upbeat contemporary R&B and one 2-step garage remix. I know nothing about them but like Ten 4 before them, they worked quite well as both an R&B and garage act.

Time 4 Action (R&B) 4:02
Time 4 Action (Garage) 3:14
Incredible 4:08

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Maria Marcial: Urbanize Vol. 2 (EP) (2005)

More great midlands (UK) R&B with Maria Marcial, a female R&B/soul singer based out of Manchester. Mainly being known for Oasis and Take That, I haven’t come across much quality R&B from here in my many years of collecting other than Sons Of Rhythm. Sadly Maria’s track is the sole R&B song on an EP hailing from Manchester’s “fruitful” urban scene in 2005. According to the info sheet, she was a Top 20 gospel finalist in Trevor Nelson’s Talent Search. A further standout track is producer/MC duo Rayze & Raye’s “Away” featuring vocals from another singer/songwriter Sapphire.

I Don't Love U Like That (Maria Marcial)  3:53
Away (Rayze 'n' Ryze Feat. Sapphire)  4:26
What It All About (2FO)  4:46
Long Weekend (Rayze 'n' Ryze)  5:10

Marley-Dee: Album Sampler (EP) (Black Story Records, 2004)

More contemporary R&B on Bristol’s Black Story label, which was set up and run by prominent mix DJ Mark Watson (aka Mixmaster M.) Her first single, the catchy “Hot Inside” was released in 1999 but she still appeared to be active with the label all the way up until 2005 when sadly Watson was trying to turn her into the British version of Ciara. The above sampler, which was released a year prior to this, showcased her much better as a contemporary R&B/pop singer who had some really catchy tracks. Regardless, Watson had a great ear for production and for whatever sound was popular at the time. 

Nasty (Original Mix)  3:50
When (Original Mix)  4:17
Hot Inside (Original Mix)  3:58
Nasty (Instrumental) 3:50
When (Instrumental)  4:17
Hot Inside (Instrumental)  3:58

Jocasta: No More (VLS) (Black Story Records, 2005)

A further early 2000s R&B act on Bristol’s Black Story label who were mainly known in collector’s circuits for N.Q., Hughie Crawford and the female trio She-Du-Ni. Again, I don’t know anything about this particular artist but this is one of two releases that she had with the label. Sadly, as with Marley-Dee, it seems that she also went the way of Ciara with its follow-up “Wyne”. This appears to be the last thing that Watson’s label did back then but they did make a comeback in 2012 with Watson still having a great ear for current sounds. 

No More (Main Mix)  3:59
No More (Instrumental)  3:59
No More (Accapella)  3:48

Rose: Why You Wanna (VLS) (Black Story Records, 2000)

More great early 2000s flava out of Bristol with Black Story Records, a label fronted by DJ Mark Watson (billed as Mixmaster M.) and whom had many great artists on their roster back in the mid 90s and early 2000s not limited to collectors favorites N.Q., Hughie Crawford and more. I don’t know much about this artist but the label’s sound attempted to evolve with the times, coming from the funky street soul sound of N.Q. and Crawford and to a more early 2000s contemporary R&B sound a la Destiny’s Child, TLC and others. 

Why You Wanna  3:53
Why You Wanna (Instrumental)  3:53
Why You Wanna (Accapella)  3:47

Monday, August 24, 2020

Ten 4: Britain's first ever oriental R&B group

Signed to the same label as Alexia Khadime, Ten 4 were an Oriental R&B trio who were breifly active in the ealry 2000s. Destined to take the world by “storm” and “break down all racial and cultural barriers that exist”, they were co-signed to a garage label where they released only one promotional single “Flava.” Sadly, it wa`s aimed more at the garage scene with the original R&B track basically appearing on the b-side billed as a remix. Similar in style to Alexia’s “Ring”, I can’t help but feel it works better as an upbeat song though. A further song “No Way” showcases them in a much more contemporary R&B light. Preview both below and thanks again to “L” for the contribution. 

Flava (Promo VLS) (Red Rose Recordings, 2001)
Flava (Code Blue Vocal Mix)  4:58
Flava (Mr Blue Jazzy 2-Step Mix)  4:27
Flava (Code Blue Dub)  5:56
Flava (R&B Mix)  4:26

No Way (White Label VLS) (Nu Hope Entertainment, 200x)
No Way  3:47
No Way  3:48
No Way  4:52
No Way  4:39

Friday, August 21, 2020

Lisa Roxanne: Get The Hookup (CDS) (Big Chief, 2004)

Lisa Roxanne was only 14 when she signed a 2-year 4-album deal reportedly worth more than 1 million pounds. It apparently took a long time to convince her mother, a former singer with London soul group Loose Ends, that she had the stamina necessary to succeed but she eventually landed a deal with New York-based Palm Pictures LLC., a label set up by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. The deal made headlines in 2001 with some people incorrectly branding her a “black Billie Piper wannabe” but she was streets ahead of her, Jamelia and anybody else in the UK at the time. Her vocals were on point and her songs were incredibly

Monday, August 17, 2020

Mikayla Hart: Demo (199x)

Further songwriter or singer/songwriter demos won by Stuart on eBay a few months back. I have no idea who this artist is but the music is primarily a mixture of pop and soft rock. Sadly not the best - not all of them are absolute winners - but the first track "So High" is a pretty good slice of early 90s pop soul.

So High  4:02
Light Year  3:47
Tell Me Now 5:14
Think About Love  3:55
All She Wants  3:06
Think Again  3:48
You're My Baby  4:42


David L. Stewart: Demo (1992)

Stewart is an R&B songwriter and producer from Los Angeles who has worked with Jesse Campbell, Michel'Le and others since the late 80s. His most notable production is former Death Row vocalist Michel'Le's "Can I Get A Witness" but from 2007-2014 he worked with K. Michelle. Sadly he is not a very prolific songwriter but it was not for want of trying, as demonstrated on the above cassette which Stuart won on eBay a few months back. All are are dated from 1992 and feature male and female vocalists over various arrangements of early 90s greatness. The first track "What About You" is a killer slow jam with a similar smooth vibe to "Can I Get A Witness" while the uptempo tracks "Show Me", "Good & Plenty" and "Stop, Look & Listen" are early 90s New Jack Swing at its best. No ideas as to who the vocalists are but they are not Campbell, Michel'Le or anybody else he worked with back then.

Thank you once again to Stuart for scoring this and keeping it in the U.S. where it belongs!

What About You  3:37
Show Me (Extended Mix)  5:19
Falling For You  4:49
Good & Plenty  4:15
To Love Somebody  5:42
Stop, Look & Listen  4:36
I Believe In You  5:24

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Groove United Productions Presents: Urban Grooves (Promo) (Groove United Productions, 200x)

Unreleased productions from Groove United Productions, a Canadian label headed by Canadian Dave Sereny and mostly known for R&B singer Wade O. Brown. Brown had been active since the late 90s when he released the single “No Other Woman” via Parlophone’s Rhythm Series imprint. Between 2002-2005, he released 3 albums, the most widely known being 2002’s “Complete”. He released an eponymous follow-up in 2003 which was later re-tooled as “All Night, All Love” in 2005. It featured contributions from a host of A-list producers and song writers not limited to Daryl Simmons, Herb Middleton and Kipper Jones. Here are 3 productions that never made it on to any of his albums as well as tracks from male R&B/neo-soul duo Opinion, which was a side project of Canadian MC and producer Slakah The Beatchild and featured singer Jason Simmons on vocals. Their only single “You’ll Be Fine” was released in 2003. There are also a host of other artists that were a part of this label as well, including 2 further R&B/soul singers Jaque and Peter Miller and Canadian MCs G. Stokes and Phatt Al. I believe the tracks were mostly all written by Wil Van Zyl, who served as the then-president of the label. Van Zyl and Wade formed Williwade Music in the early 90s which began as a writing house and eventually evolved to also become a facility for artist development and management. This disc may have been sent out to prospect labels to get a distribution deal although I don’t know for exact certain. The pinnacle of the disc is most definitely Wade though, who delivers the best in authentic rhythm and blues with a modern twist. At least one of his tracks (“Real Love”) was produced by Daryl Simmons. 

Real Love 4:53 (Wade O. Brown)
Just Say When 4:16 (Wade O. Brown)
Celebrate 4:16 (Wade O. Brown)
Rock My Heart 4:20 (Wade O. Brown)
Rasheeda 3:09 (Opinion)
You'll Be Fine 3:49 (Opinion)
Play Along 3:44 (Opinion)
Any Reason 4:53 (Jaque)
Rock Da Block 4:14 (G-Stokes)
Cocoberry (Remix) 5:32 (G-Stokes)
Love Is So Strange 4:43 (G-Stokes)
Leavin' 3:19 (Peter Miller)
Fresh Air 4:00 (Phatt Al)
Phattman 3:25 (Phatt Al)
Everybody (Wanna Be An MC) 4:27 (Phatt Al)

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Lee-Prada Entertainment Neo Soul(ed) Up, Jazz(ersized) R&B Sampler (Promo) (P.U.R.E. Underground, 2003)

Unreleased productions from Chicago-based producer and musician Lee-Prada who created his label (originally Purely Underground Radio Entertainment) to bring credibility from the street “back to the lab in 2003. I don’t know much about him but he was a former military guy with a mission: to help young artists everywhere display their natural talents and develop that talent from the heart and not from the “sole” of some labels’ feet (as quoted from an archived version of his label’s webpage). He started out focusing on hip hop but later branched out to other styles as demonstrated on the above disc. I don’t know much about these artists but Darius Wyatt released an EP “Unconditional Love” in 2005 while Danny Divine is an unsigned neo soul artist. Other stand out tracks by other artists include the R&B-styled steppers jam "Step With The 1 You With" and the gorgeous live soul/blues track “Where Will U Be.”

Intro 0:29 (Lee-Prada)
Bounce, Bounce 3:44 (Darius Wyatt)
Should I Stay 3:43 (Darius Wyatt)
2nd Man 5:36 (Darius Wyatt)
I Don't Know 4:57 (Darius Wyatt)
Play It 4 U 4:09 (Truism)
Angel 5:04 (Truism)
Little Somethin 3:37 (Truism)
Show Me 4:08 (Danny Divine)
Complete Azz 4:27 (Danny Divine)
Crashin' Down 4:19 (Danny Divine)
Lovely Day 3:34 (Darius Wyatt)
Hug 3:05 (Yaw Agyemon)
Where Will U Be (Live) 4:15 (Yaw Agyemon)
Step With The 1 You With 4:08 (Maurice G)
Steppin' 4 The Soul 4:09 (Truism)

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Jamm-A-Lott Records – R&B & Hip Hop Compilation (Jamm-A-Lott Records, 1996)

Further underground music out of Indianapolis with Jamm-A-Lott Records, a label initially started in the mid-90s by local entrepreneur Daron Washington who described his music as old school mixed in with today’s modern sound.” Sadly, it is mostly very underground sounding; the vocals on track 4 are also pretty bad but this is a rare piece of Indiana rap history. “Can U Rap ‘96” apparently became an underground hit with this compilation originally scheduled to drop in July, 1996. I don’t know if it ever did but in 2006, a decade later, Washington released The Jammalott Power Compilation to CDBaby.

Do Your Thing 3:29 (Pontiak & Comp)
Can U Rap 96 4:47 (Pontiak)
Wanna Get 2 Know U 3:22 (Pontiak & Comp)
Laydown 4:01 (Pontiak & Comp)
Gunz Don't Kill 4:05 (Pontiak)
Like What U C 3:46 (Mozelle)
Searchin 5:24 (Code Blue)
On The Rise 4:37 (Da-Difrinz)
Symptoms Of A Cyko 4:42 (Da-Difrinz)

Signal Music Productions (SMP Records, 1998)

Underground rap and R&B out of Newark, New Jersey that I know very little about but seemingly contains early work from local rap artist Rasheed Campbell who is still active today. Unfortunately, the R&B tracks are few and far between (3 in total out of 11 tracks) but Dominique is definitely a stand out artist. 

Levitate 3:53 (SySez)
EastNWest 4:18 (SySez)
Let Me Find You 3:27 (Dominique)
Why Did You Lie 3:16 (Dominique)
Loving Goes 4:25 (Precious)
1998 Two Years Left 2:58 (Life)
Love 5:06 (Life)
1989's Da Number 3:58 (Rasheed)
Analyze 3:22 (Rasheed)
Llename (Spanish) 4:32 (Joselito)
Unknown 4:10 (Unknown)