Its no secret Australia isn't exactly a treasure trove for deep groove and jazz funk collectors. A subject I've already touched on. However, that's not to say there isn't the odd pearl to be dug up. Australia has produced some absolute gems long sought after by some of the deepest record enthusiasts across the world. There's been a handful of seasoned crate-diggers who have championed our homegrown sounds. Names like Arks, Delta, Katalyst, James Dutronc, Milesago, James Pianta, Chris Gill have played a big part in my education over the years. There's plenty of others out there. A particular mention must go to Kinetic's wonderful blog which has become an invaluable resource for the uninitiated. There's many staple dollar bin records with hints of the funk one shouldn't sneeze at. Though often they're not exactly great albums you want to listen right through. Who knows about the use of Daly Wilson Band's break on Mobb Deep's Shook Ones pt II ? By no means a complete list, here's just a few of my favourite rare LPs that one should instantly cop if you're so fortunate enough to stumble across in an op-shop or garage sale.
SUE BARKER - ST (Crest, 1976)
The only release from Sue Barker featuring this fantastic cover of Curtis Mayfield's Love To The People. This gem recently featured on Guts & Mambo's Beach Diggin compilation series out through Parisian re-issue kings Heavenly Sweetness.
HIROSHI & CLAUDIA - SIX TO SIX (Atom, 1979)
An incredible piece of Spiritual / Jazz Funk. To this day not much is known about this album other than its a collaboration between Japanese guitarist Hiroshi Yasukawa and an unknown singer known simply as "Claudia". It was recorded in both Tokyo and Sydney. Very very rare. Copies of this go for incredible loot. I'm still hunting for a copy!
THE MOIR SISTERS - LOST SOMEWHERE BEYOND HARMONY (EMI, 1975)
A beautiful slice of high pitched harmonies. This pop outfit were quite successful in the 70s. The lead single Good Morning (How Are You?) with its rich arrangements was an Australian chart topper but its this cut Stop The Music that is one of my absolute favourites. Haunting melancholic soul! This one pops up here and there if you're looking.
JUDY BAILEY QUARTET - COLOURS (Eureka, 1976)
An essential piece of killer Jazz Fusion. This is a highly sought after four tracker from pianist / arranger Judy Bailey. Colour Of My Dreams features some scatting on top of a fantastic piece of modal jazz that is straight Flora Purim! Fall Down Dead is a break-beat led burner for the Hip Hop heads. Then there's probably my favourite cut The Eleven Eight Song, a mesmerising 10 minute session of beautiful keys and flute. Easily one of my favourite Aussie Jazz records!
LEONG LAU - THAT ROGENG SOUND (Sunscape Records, 1977 / RE: Left Ear Records, 2014)
Another extremely rare album that recently got the re-issue treatment as the debut release from Melbourne's Left-Ear Records. Now even that pressing is going for some serious cake! An incredibly original sounding record that fuses Jazz, Rock and Funk from the Malay Australian. His only follow up album Dragon Man is another impressive offering of psychadelic fuzz and wild vocals but this is the one for groove heads. A really amazing release that stands up internationally.
JOHN SANGSTER - A HEAD OF HAIR (Festival Records, 1969)
All hail the king! John Sangster was the man. There's a heap of gems in Sangster's prolific output but i chose this one as arguably his most classic slab of Jazz Funk. Sangster's interpretation of Galt MacDermot's musical composition Hair is killer! Big drums and funky bass lines, its no wonder this became so desired by the Hip Hop generation. What a cover! With a sound like that coming from this beautiful bearded man whats not to love?