terça-feira, 21 de março de 2017

FUNK 45 SESSIONS

This two-CD set offers three dozen funk cuts from 1967-1974 that were only available on 45 at the time of their release. (To be technical about it, one track, Mary Jane Hooper's "Don't Change Nothin'," didn't come out until 1997, but it was included here as it was originally intended for a single release around 1970.) That doesn't mean that every cut is hard to find on CD reissues; some of the songs, particularly those by big names such as James Brown ("Get Up, Get Into It, Get Involved") and Marvin Gaye ("You're the Man, Pt. 1"), are no longer hard to acquire. Still, this certainly does present material that's fairly-to-very obscure for the most part, regardless of whether it's been reissued elsewhere. There are some lesser-known cuts by stars here, like those by Brown, Gaye, Kool & the Gang, and the Meters, but mostly the artists are unknown beyond the soul/funk collector world. And while this particular selection couldn't be said to be among the greatest funk from the era (or even the greatest uncelebrated funk from the era), it's a decent rundown of sides from funk's heyday that haven't found a wide audience. James Brown's influence (and, less often, Sly Stone's) in particular is often felt; in fact, a few bands, like Maceo & All the King's Men, the Pace-Setters, and Fred Wesley & the J.B.'s, were spinoffs of Brown's backup units. As with many soul and funk comps, there's not quite enough variety or standout performances here to make this measure up to the cream of the style, though the grooves are almost always pretty respectable. But there are a good number of workouts that are high above the average, like the Rimshots' sassy cover of the Fatback Band's "Dance Girl"; the Identities' "Hey Brother," which approximates the funkiest side of the early Jackson 5 sound, even if the song's a rewrite of "Hey Joe"; and the T.S.U. Toronados' "The Toronado" and the Fabulous Origins' "It Ain't Fair But It's Fun," both smoking instrumentals. The lyrics are mostly of the incidental sex-dance-party chant variety, but the heavier sociopolitical concerns of the day are aired in tracks like the Honey Drippers' "Impeach the President," Moody Scott's "(We Gotta) Bust Outta the Ghetto," and most impressively in the Pace-Setters' "Push on Jesse Jackson."



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