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HOT Record Picks from Alan H

Alan Handscombe or Alan H (as he is affectionally known) has been out and about on the Mod Scene since 1979, becoming a prominent DJ and Club Promoter, with the LEGENDARY Capitol Soul Club being one of his most memorable. 

Suit Yourself were regulars at Capitol Soul and it still remains one of the most talked about clubs ever, it was EPIC - so we are very proud to give you Alan H, who is delving into his most sought after record boxes to bring you his column - SUIT YOURSELF - Alan H does..!


Straight from the Playbox for Suit Yourself Modernists Everywhere...


Well, I hosted my first DJ nights back in the early 80s at the Sols Arms on Hampstead Road, We became known as the Camden Stylists the smartest dressed Skinheads and Rudies in Town. The Penny Black reggae sessions in Farringdon, and the Dublin Castle in Camden were 2 of my clubs in the late 80s, early 90s. I  carried on record collecting and Djing through the 90s and started Capitol Soul Club with Irish Greg in November 1998. Come the 00's I was very busy with Capitol Soul Club and I also became resident DJ at These Old Shoes, Jo Wallaces club,  as well as running the Reggae Shack at Smersch, with Dave Edwards and French Fred. Then I started RnB123 early 2011, we were running regular Club Nights and Sunday Sessions. RnB123 became a great place to meet all your oldest and best buddies, but unfortunately the venue closed down in Jan 2017, so a farewell party was the only thing left for me to do. Suit Yourself were there, as they have been throughout much of my journey. Nowadays I'm still doing a bit of DJing but not as much as I used to do, ten gigs a year feels just about right now, and it gives me time to do some different things, like my column here - but no doubt I'll be catching up with a lot of you lovely people on a Dancefloor very soon. Alan..

Aretha Franklin - Cry Like a Baby

Columbia - 1966

The 16th August 2018 was a very sad day as the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin passed away after losing her battle with pancreatic cancer. Her back catalogue is stuffed to the rafters with so many great tunes. She could basically sing the phonebook and make it sound soulful.


I'm going with Cry Like a Baby released on Columbia in 1966. It's a superb Mid-Tempo confection that grabs you by the heartstrings. Written by soul royalty Jo Armstead, Nick Ashford and Val Simpson and Produced by the great Clyde Otis -  RIP Aretha 



The Tempests - Out of My Life

Smash - 1968

August 2018 was a sad month, as well as Aretha, Nelson Lemmond the drummer of The Tempests passed away. I had been chatting to him only the month before and he thought how fantastic it was that The Tempests were loved in the UK for at least the last 40 years.

All their smash releases including the LP are essential purchases. I'll go with this one perfect in every way and not on the LP, Hazel Martin had a voice to die for. RIP Nelson Lemmond I will miss our chats.



Cool Benny (Velarde) And His Stone Swingers - Wobble-Cha

Virgo - 1964

Right now let's get on a Latin Mod Jazz tip


Here we have Cool Benny Velarde and His Stone Swingers on Virgo. This track is cool as well Benny obviously. Everybody Wobble 



Broken Hearts Inc. - Please Don't Walk Away

Kimberlite - 2018

New Release Alert. This is the second release on Kimberlite Records and what a beautiful track both sides perfect Soul for an Indian summer Afternoon.


It was only a limited release so may well now be sold out. So looking forward to further Kimberlite releases if they are of this quality. Soul is alive and very much kicking in 2018



Oscar Lindsay - Early in the Morning

ABB - 1962

Oscar Lindsay Early in the Morning on Abb seems to be taking off the last few times I've been out.


I originally found mine the early 90s but really gave it some welly at the Capitol Soul Club and These Old Shoes late 90s early noughties much to the horror of the die-hard I hate anything pre-1970 crowd. Perfect in my opinion, great gravelly vocals which will deffo make you jump out out the bed before work and do a quick skate to work.



Toni Washington - Good Things

Kon-Ti - Unknown

Stomping New Orleans goodness here with Toni Washington with Good Things on Kon-Ti 


As John Manship describes - Stand back as Toni Washington is about to enter your life! 



Jr Thomas and the Volcanos - Chin Up

Colemine - 2018

Last but not least is the New 45 From Jr Thomas and the Volcanos on Colemine Records.


Its ready to get on pre-order but there's no youtube clip yet, so we have linked to a clip of their last 45, What a Shame. If you're a lover of Rocksteady early Reggae nab yourselves a copy as it won't disappoint. Colemine records really are on fire at the moment just got the Ben Pirani LP through so I'll do a review of that next month along with a few other new releases. Modernism in its many forms is thriving in 2018.


So till next time Adios Amigos -  Al H 



Prince Buster Allstars - Work Song

Rock a Shacka - 2013 (previously unreleased)

Next up two superb releases from Rock a Shacka over in Japan which were released in 2013 .


Two previously unreleased tracks from the vaults and boy do these two Rock the Dancefloor.


Fist up, The Mod Classic, Work Song by the Prince Buster Allstars backed by Vera Cruz



Prince Buster Allstars - Hey Train

Rock a Shacka - 2013 (previously unreleased)

Then as above, here is Hey Train a great Prince buster version of the Art Blakey jazz standard  Moanin, which was recorded in 1965. Backed by Ali Shuffle.



Baba Brooks Band - Flames in the Street

Duke Reid Classics - 2016 (previously unreleased)

Next up we are sticking to the theme with two more unreleased tracks.


This time by Baba Brooks Band, first up Flames in the Street, coming out on Duke Reid Classics from Japan in 2016 


Flames in The Street is a superb stormin Ska instrumental which is getting some plays on the scene from myself and Callum Simpson.



The Miracles - I'm Gonna Move On

Duke Reid Classics - 2016 (previously unreleased)

The Miracles I'm Gonna Move On is the second one from the vaults and is the flip side of the tune above.


Ska, Ska, Ska at its beautiful finest.








Honey And The Bees - Jing Jing A Ling

North Bay - 1969

Superb Christmas 45 from Honey and the Bees on North Bay, as the local Release, and then Nationally on Chess. 


It's a nifty little Dancer as well. Get those tamborines and sleigh bells ready.! 



Bardo Martinez & The Soul Investigators - Bad Education

Timmion Records - 2017

The First track is not on a 6t's label ,Timmion Records out of Finland. Sounds like they have just headed off uptown to meet Joe Bataan circa 1969. Wow a real classy 45 here with the Soulful vocals of Bardo Martinez. Modern Latin Soul doesnt come any better than this. Expect to hear this in the coming months on a Discerning Dancefloor near you 


Released just last month, August 11th 2017. 



Henry Strogin - Love Insurance

Ten Star Records - 1966

Next Up we have Henry Strogin with Love Insurance on Ten Star Records, the same label as Toni and the Showmen, Try My Love and the TKOS, The Charge.



Henry is more well known for his earlier RnB Sides but here he is with a great Soul Side which had plays in the 80s down in London via Tony Smith which is where I first heard it. It's back in the Playbox for a few months so will deffo be getting a few spins out again.



Jackie Beavers - Hold on

Sound Stage 7 - 1969

Now here we have a real Golden Oldie, Jackie Beavers Hold on Sound Stage 7, and was on Jaber Records, that being the first release. First heard this spun at the 100 club and was on an old Charlie Compilation up all night was the title.


Jackie Beavers made some outstanding 45s in his career on Revilot, Jaber, Grandland and Mainstream to name a few

Here he stomps along at a fair old pace, not heard it out in a while so time to be reactivated I reckon.



Chuck Wilder - The Clown

Tragar Records - 1968

So the last one for this month, a bit of a Deep Soul low Rider. Chuck Wilder, The Clown on Tragar Records.

A Stunning Deep Soul Side taken at a funeral march step with some outstanding brass complementing Chucks anguished tale in the same vein as Bunny Siglers, For Crying Out Loud .Top Stuff gives me goosebumps every time I play it.


Joe Bragg - I've Gotta Make It

Bocart Records - 1963

The First track is by Joe Bragg with I've Gotta Make it On Bocart Records. If you love Big Voiced Big City Soul then this is for you. 


This 45 has some fine pedigree being Written by J J Jackson and Harry Bass and arranged by one Eddie Singleton who went on to form Shrine Records with Raynoma Gordy in 1964. Joe released two other 45s on Arlis, "Its a lovely thing" and "Atlas" which also had the rather superb "If I had a lover like you" which is in the same vein as I've gotta make it.

Quite a Hard 45 to turn up as its also Big on the Popcorn scene but well worth the search



The Sisters Three - Can You Qualify

Early Bird Records - 1966

Number Two and we are back to the Girls with the Sisters Three, Can you Qualify, on Early Bird Records. This 45 is better known for the other side, You can Forget it .


Can you Qualify is a Haunting mid tempo, fantastic vocals and an Organ thrumming away in the background. I've been spinning this on and off for donkeys years and always has a good reaction on the floor.


Well us Modernists are very discerning listeners .



Reverend Cleophus Robinson  - Sweet Home

Peacock Records - 1962

Now here we have a lovely slab of Down Tempo Gospel from Reverend Cleophus Robinson, with Sweet Home on the Peacock Spirituals imprint.



His Elijah Rock and Shout Shout have been Big Dancefloor Faves over the years. This is maybe too down tempo for the Dancefloor but what a SoulFull Tune I would Dance to it .Great Piano and Organ with Female backing and its a cheapie so check out Discogs for a copy 



Ben Branch & The Operation Breadbasket Orch & Choir - Motherless Child

Chess Records - 1968

For the last 45 we have Ben Branch & The Operation Breadbasket Orch & Choir, with Motherless Child On Chess. Wow what a 45, Gospel ,Jazz, full Choir and Bens Deep Pleading Voice.  Just a shame the 45 wasn't two mins longer.

Ben Branch  was  musical director for the SCLC's Operation Breadbasket, he led the Breadbasket Orchestra and Choir that performed benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  and Operation/PUSH. Just moments before being assassinated, Dr. King had just asked Ben Branch to play a Negro spiritual, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," at a rally that was to have been held two hours later.



The Deb Tones and the Del Rays - Groovy Generation

Angeltown Records - 1960's

This label is out of LA and mainly known for the Mega Rare and absolutely blinding John Wesley Smith Talkin Bout Women on Angeltown 714 .The Deb Tones 45 is 2 numbers back and is a fast foot shuffling finger snapping blocker if ever i heard one.


I recall it was given a few spins back in the 80's by Nick Brown but seems to have vanished since then. Not a lot known about the label the two others by Don Pierce 102 and 713 and that seems to be about it.

Lets hope there' s some Groovy Hip shaking 45s to be discovered on Angeltown in the future.



Betty Jean with My Fellows - Coming Home

J Records R - 1963

The Next Goodie is the rather Fabulous Betty Jean with My Fellows bring you Coming Home on J Records R. This one is straight out of Detroit.


This is a Organ led Early Soul Type 45 which has an Amazing organ break in the Middle. Taylor Made for the Modernists down in the basement at three in the morning sessions

Quite a hard one to find but they do turn up .



Barbara Lynn - I Don't Want a Playboy

Tribe Records - 1967

Well what can you say about Barbara Lynn that hasn't been said already, so many fantastic 45s spanning the 60s and 70s. This one has lived in the shade of I'm a Good Women for far two long, so here it is.


I Don't Want a Playboy on Tribe records has it all, the flip side on New kind of Love. That choppy guitar work really sets the tone for the rest of the 45.


This  will get us all up dancing. It's still not an expensive 45 so if your looking for something a bit different then you should grab one while you can .



Shelia Ferguson - And in Return / Are you Satisfied

Swan Records - 1964

Well  we are slowing things  down now. This really hasn't left my main playbox in the last 30 years. Shelia Ferguson And in Return / Are you satisfied Swan. Satisfied is a great Uptempo dancer but it's And in Return which is the one for me.

From that opening And in return -  'I'll  give to you a love thats true' then cue the strings and off we go. Pure perfection from start to finish with Sheilas sultry tones penetrating our hearts.


Been played on the various scenes for donkeys years but always sounds as fresh as the first day you heard it. Check out  her Don't Leave me Lover on Swan for some serious beat ballad heart wrenching and Heartbroken Memories another Dancefloor winner .


Shawn Elliott - Laia Ladaia

Roulette - 1964

My first pick is a Tune I only heard last year while scanning the Net for anymore Shawn Elliott Tunes that were playable other than the Joker, Sidewinder and Shame and Scandle in the Family.

This Jumped straight out at me from the first listen on Youtube and managed to get a copy from Craig Moeror for 40 dollars it was listed for the other side You opened up my eyes . Well is this Brazilian via New York? Easy Listening? Latin?  Whatever it is its deffo got a lot going for it. The song is Based on Reza Written by Edu Lobo and Ruy Guerra and released in 1964. 

There's a great version on the Marvin at the Copa LP but a tad long at six mins and of course the Sergio Mendes is not bad either, but for the floor Shawn Elliott Anytime. My only Gripe the electrified Bongos/Congas should have been given a minute to do there stuff otherwise perfect. Before you all know it you'll  all be Laia Ladaiaing all day long.


Betty and Len & The Rhythmaires - Hey Señorita

Ole Records - 1960's (unknown)

Got this from Fonsoul over in Barcelona, a man who has made it his mission to turn up the weird wonderful and playable before the rest of us. Not sure if this came first or the other version Hey Señor by the Tiaras on Okeh. I'd had the Tiaras from Soul Bowl Records back in the 80s and had no idea until last year that this even existed.

A Brilliant male / female duo with lots of great percussion that keeps the energy flowing right through the track. I'm sure once more copies turn up this will become a future Dancefloor Classic until then ill be giving it a few spins - Class Tune.


The Orqustra B.A The Boogaloo Assassins - One and Only

Pres Records - 2016

Well this sneaked out last year on Nick Waterhouse Pres Label. I was alerted by fellow Record Hunter Neil Youdale, but to no avail it was sold out.! Drat drat and double drat but never fear, Fonsoul Barcelona came to the rescue and I managed to pick one up from Japan for 3 million Yen, about 10 Quid I think .

This just takes you back to the glory days of Latin Boogaloo and Fania Records it's going down a storm whenever I give it a spin. check out their website I'm really looking forward to hearing more of these guys -


Les Sandgate - Fever

French Typic - 1960's (unknown)

Don't think you'll hear a cooler record than this anytime soon. Big thanks to my good pal Mark Annis for the heads up on this one. 

So it's got to be one of the best versions of Fever ever and that's really saying something. They all look like the sort of people you would want round your House Party too.

There's some great brass and broiling congas going on in the moody music just how we love it, then the sax break knocks you for six. Yep they are deffo giving me the Fever through the night and even sitting here at four in the afternoon they've really got a hold of me.

Its a 4 Track EP Donne Donne Tes Yeux is not too shabby either but I do need to learn French to be sure!


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