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Funk Soul Sisters, CD (£11.50)
Classic and rare female funk, guaranteed floor fillers and listening pleasure
By Dean Rudland
There is sometimes an element of giggling and laughing involved in putting together an Ace compilation. Not condescending or rude laughter, but more the sort that you get when you are young and Santa Claus has been with a large pile of presents. It's an uncontrollable urge forced onto you by the sheer joy of being given so much good music to play with. Of course it's not all fun round here, we sometimes have to clean the drains and stuff as penance but when I get to work on a compilation like 'Funk Soul Sisters', I can genuinely claim that it is worth it.
So what is this comp about? Well over the past decade or so of DJing, I've often noticed that the sort of records that really fire up a dancefloor, and will work in almost any club land situation are a certain sort of late 60s/early 70s female vocal record. It's hard to explain exactly what they are like, but they tend to be soul with a touch of funk, or conversely funk with an edge of soul. Records that immediately come to mind are Spanky Wilson's You (available on Living In The Streets CD/BGPD 131), or Alice Clark's Don't You Care (which for licensing reasons is not available anywhere at the moment). So we thought wouldn't it be a great idea to put together an album of this sort of material. So we did.
To our ears the results are splendid ?ê but then again we would say that. But let us try and explain why it is so. Firstly we turned up some unreleased monsters, notably the wonderful Betty Barney, who leads out the Pazant Brothers on a track from an amazing live album recorded in 1970 for which we've only just unearthed the tapes. The rest of the album will be out later in the year, and this is a worthy taster. Another of the unreleased cuts is by Lynn Varnado, who graces us with Staying At Home Like A Woman, and the rare Gator 45 Tell Me What's Wrong. As well as unreleased titles we have a bunch of cuts that have only appeared on soul comps put out by our sister label Kent. We felt Betty Bibbs' Pounds Of Soul, Paula Lamont's One Monkey and the alternative version of Little Ann's One Way Street were too funky for the BGP crowd to miss.
Our favourite track, today at least, is the most down-tempo on the album, Louise McCord's Better Get A Move On from a rare gospel album on Stax's Gospel Truth label. It is intense, funky and extremely deep. Look out for the live version of this on the new Watt Stax box set later in the year.
As well as these we have Fontella Bass, Millie Jackson (her funky debut 45), the Genies, Spanky Wilson, Bonnie and Sheila and Thelma Jones. Records that are absolutely busting out of their chains to make you move, either in the comfort of your front room, or, if you DJ, on a night-club dance floor. Just make sure if it's at home you warn the neighbours that they'll be hearing some mighty fine music.