Wah Wah 45s sprang to life in 1999 with a very tidy little dance floor seven-inch split between Espen Horne’s Nordic future jazz anthem “Magnetica” and funky latin boo-ga-loo classic in the shape of Benny Poole’s “Pearl Baby, Pearl”. The release was a perfect reflection of the Friday night Wah Wah sessions that label founders Chris & Simon Goss were putting on at The Jazz Cafe in North London – a 360 sound of the more soulful dance floor, perfectly blending the old with the new, with a sense of fun and humour.
Dom Servini joined that seminal club night and the label itself later that year, and over the next decade helped sign future stars like Hackney Colliery Band, Resonators and Scrimshire – who himself joined the label as co-owner after Simon’s sudden passing in 2010.
In the label’s second decade there was a focus, perhaps, on more worldwide bass heavy and psychedelic soulful sounds, with Soothsayers, Dele Sosimi, Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon and The Milk joining the family.
Wah Wah Twenty, the brand new compilation, not only features many highlights of the past two decades, but also no less than seven previously unreleased tunes.
The label first released music by U.S. vocalist Alison Crockett way back in 2003. The street soul flavoured debut single “Nappy” was perhaps somewhat eclipsed though by its B-side string laiden soul-jazz gem “Like Rain” which soon became a huge hit with DJs like Gilles Peterson – even making it to number 3 in his “Worldwide Winners” Single of the Year! The label then commissioned a couple of remixes of Alison’s work from the super hot Yam Who? with their classic remix of “UR” making out onto vinyl the following year, but their gorgeous re-work of “Like Rain” stayed under wraps, until now…
Hardkandy released the now classic album “Second to None” on Wah Wah 45s in 2008. The album has remained hugely popular for over a decade now, despite the Brighton based outfit (originally formed by Tim Bidwell and Simon “Capstone” Little) not releasing any new music in that time. Tim has recently dusted off the project though and recorded new music with, amongst others, uber talented young vocalist Scarlett Fae, who features here on the deeply soulful and catchy “Brief Encounters”.
The aforementioned other half of Hardkandy, Simon Little released a one-off 45 with the label under his Capstone moniker back in 2005, and he too is also back in 2019 after a 14 year hiatus with new music. “Burning Up” is a firing little disco nugget, featuring the incomparable horn work of none other than Grammy award winning multi-instrumentalist Sly5thAve!
Another act that debuted on the label in 2005 were blue-eyed, fun loving smooth and soulful music makers Jim Knight and Nichol Thompson, AKA TALC. Ever since “Modern Sleepover”, their homage to a love affair between “woman and machine”, dropped that year, this unique and frankly hilarious outfit have had something of a cult following that stretched far and wide. They were even featured on one of the latest “DJ Kicks” compilations, compiled by the legendary Moodymann! Having had significant success in Japan, they also released a couple of tunes exclusively for that market, one of which, “Pie Time”, features here for the very first time on Wah Wah 45s.
One of the label’s more recent signings, young multi-talented musician Robert Jones, also known as The Gene Dudley Group, has released two albums so far for Wah Wah 45s. In preparation for his third, he’s stepped up to deliver a soulful celebration of “Two Decades” of the imprint, featuring the rarest of things, his very own vocals!
Also featured on the album are never before released remixes and versions from Isaac Birituro & The Rail Abandon in the shape of Envee’ s Shrine Mix of “Yesu Yan Yan” and a dub take of Lea Lea’s “The Road”.
The album will be available digitally and on a very limited double CD for now, but look out for vinyl possibilities in the future!