IZIPHO SOUL RECORDS
Firstly, please let me explain the strange label name origins! As a lover of legendary jazz saxophonist, Pharoah Sanders, his 1973 Strata East album entitled IZIPHO ZAM, translates from the Zulu language IZIPHO, meaning ‘gifts’, therefore IZIPHO SOUL translates to 'Soul Gifts' / 'Gifts of Soul', which is what our music is!
This ‘bucket list’ idea of putting out a record all started after I became great friends with Kansas City based singer Bryan Austin. We hit on the idea of getting Bryan back on vinyl. Bryan is a dear friend of legendary Motown songwriter Janie Bradford, she had given him one of her songs ‘What Would Marvin Say?’. The three of us worked together and released the first record in May 2016.
It was amazing how much I learnt from this release, the many elements that go into putting a record out. Once you have an informal agreement with the artist/owner to the rights of the song, a legal license agreement is signed which will contain amongst other information fees payable, declaration that the ‘Licensor’ owns and controls the rights to ‘The Work’ and the granting of permission through an exclusive perpetual license.
Employing the services of a media agency and a sound engineer to master your tracks are essential elements of getting your record released. I am fortunate to be working with two experts in this field Mark Allbones (Grand Vinyl Ltd) and Matt Fletcher (Mixpro). Label designs are great fun if you are a fan of replica style label artwork, evident with the majority of releases.
Once the test pressings are approved, there is the long wait for the full quantity to be delivered, then the real work begins – selling them!
Back to the artists and along with many others, as a lover of Gregg Jackson’s anthem ‘One For The Road’. The vision was to release this LP only track on a 7’’. After several attempts at contacting Gregg, he responded to one of my many messages and once he was in agreement the dream became a reality. Of course Gregg coming over and performing at Soul Essence completed the circle on this project.
Following the incredible response from ‘One For The Road’, I had now had the bit between my teeth and was eagerly seeking out my next target! Melvin Brown’s ‘Love Stormy Weather’ came into my thinking. I established that Melvin was very active touring the world with his black music tribute shows. I connected with him and he was interested to know more. Melvin then revealed that he had an unreleased track and rated it above ‘Love Stormy Weather’. I couldn’t contain my excitement, but had to wait about three weeks for the MP3 to come through. He wasn’t wrong, an unreleased version of ‘Crying For Your Love’ had me in tears within seconds! To secure the license agreement I travelled to Brighton to meet Melvin and his manager where he was performing at the fringe festival. I had an amazing two hours talking all things music, particularly the rich tapestry of the Ohio Black Music scene in the seventies.
I became Facebook friends with Houston legend Sammie Relford, I knew his impossible to find 45 ‘Breaking Ice On Love’ was a guaranteed winner. Sammie met the project with bucket much enthusiasm, to the point that he recorded a brand new track, ‘Hook me Up’ for the flip.
Alabama’s finest, Clarence Mann has one of the great soul vocals, his self penned and at the time relatively unknown dancer ‘You Met Your Match’ was the perfect next release.
There are no restrictions on what year a song was recorded and when I contacted Frederick, I felt very privileged that he chose my label for two of his unreleased songs that were very personal to him being the first music he had recorded after ‘Gentle’.
My sleuthing powers exceeded all expectations when I located Herby Brown. To reissue this modern soul holy grail was a dream come true. Herby is an incredible man, he became blind in his teenage years and self funded ‘One More Broken Heart’ whilst at college.
Bringing us up to date on releases, Philly group The Precisions, under the guidance of the late Marty Bryant, road manager of The Stylistics. I contacted Marty’s family, my timing was very fortunate, as they had been thinking of ways to keep his musical legacy alive. I am honoured to play my small part in this, with the release of ‘Take A Good Look’ / ‘My Sense Of Direction’ in memory of Marty.
Running an independent record label certainly involves much work, stresses and strains, however an obsession for real soul music and rewarding the artists, along with raising their profiles is what inspires me to keep on keeping on!
I am excited about forthcoming projects and hope the quality and variation will satisfy your love for our music!
Thank you to all who have purchased any or all IZIPHO SOUL releases.(there are some label completists out there!) To the discerning radio presenters who continue to play them and anyone who has offered words of encouragement.
ZP01 / BRYAN AUSTIN - 'WHAT WOULD MARVIN SAY?' / 'SUNDAY' as ZIP PROMOTIONS
ZP02 / GREGG JACKSON - 'ONE FOR THE ROAD' / 'YOUR LOVE' as ZIP PROMOTIONS
Thereafter, label name changed to IZIPHO SOUL RECORDS
ZP03 / MELVIN BROWN & JAMES MATTHEWS - 'LOVE STORMING WEATHER' /
'CRYING FOR YOUR LOVE'
ZP04 / SAMMIE RELFORD - 'BREAKING ICE ON LOVE', 'HEY LOVE' / 'HOOK ME UP'
ZP05 / CLARENCE MANN - 'YOU MET YOUR MATCH' / 'HAVE FAITH IN ME'
ZP06 / SAMMIE RELFORD - 'ISN'T IT AMAZING' / 'MI-O-MI'
ZP07 / FREDERICK - 'SHOULDER TO CRY ON' / 'LET GO'
ZP08 / HERBY BROWN - 'ONE MORE BROKEN HEART' / 'GRAND LARCENY'
ZP09 / CLARENCE MANN - 'SHOW ME GIRL' / 'YOU MET YOUR MATCH' Soul Essence 25th Anniversary single
ZP10 / THE PRECISIONS - 'TAKE A GOOD LOOK' / 'MY SENSE OF DIRECTION'
ZP11 / THE MICHIGAN SOUL SEARCHERS - 'WHERE COULD I GO' / 'SOLID ROCK'
ZP12 / BOBBY FINCH - 'GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF' / 'GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF' (unreleased mix)
ZP13 / AURA - 'FOLLOW ME (WITH YOUR HEART) / 'TAKE A TRIP'
ZP14 / ERIC DEBONAIR McNAIR – ‘PAY YOUR LOVE BACK / L-O-V-E LOVE YOU
ZP15 / PERCY MAYS – ‘CHANGES’ / ‘CHASE AWAY THE BLUES
ZP16 / BILLY WILSON – ‘I LIKE IT’ / ‘KING ON A THRONE’
ZP17 / FREDDIE CHAVEZ - 'COLD RAINY DAY' / 'YOU'VE BEEN WRONG SO LONG'
September 2018 - ZP18 & ZP19 - To be announced very soon!
ZIP Promotions Ltd
Registered in England No. 8167646
70 High Street