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Stax Of Funk, CD (£11.50)
Memphis never really recovered from losing Stax. If you want to make music in the southern states of America these days you go to Atlanta. But maybe it wasn't all bad, there's a fair chance that Rick Dees' awful Disco Duck would have ended up on the legendary label - it is after all a Rufus Thomas groove badly executed. But the hangover continues and no major independent operation now runs from the city that created so much of America's popular music history.
For many years Stax was considered to be a label of parts, great in its Atlantic distributed blue period, less so in the finger clicking era. In the past decade or so Ace has nailed that lie, unearthing album after album of amazing soul, and four albums of rather tasty funk. Now BGP has now got in on the act, digging out the most appropriate cuts for today's rare funk scene and giving them a suitable stylish home together on Stax Of Funk.
So we bring you a host of the heaviest funk available. Why for instance was Rufus Thomas' Funky Hot Grits unreleased for the best part of 2 decades? And why was his infectious Turn Your Damper Down hidden on a flip side? We round up the essential cuts from Roy Lee Johnson's rare album, give you Kim Weston's explosive Brother's And Sisters (Get Together) and show you how Little Sonny made the harmonica funky.
If this wasn't enough we show you how damn slinky and sexy listening to funk can be. The Sweet Inspirations ooze through the fantastic Slipped and Tripped, Mable John gets down and dirty and she leaves on Running Out whilst Inez Foxx gives some warning about bad lovers. Hot Sauce's I'll Kill A Brick About My Man isn't so much sensual as paranoid, which gives it exactly the sort of edge that makes for inspired listening.
On the rare tip we have Bobby Holley's obscure 1970 popcorn groove Movin' Dancer, Lee Sain's fantastic She's My Old Lady Too and a full length version of Harvey Scales' rare Stax distributed Magic Touch release Broadway Freeze. Also if you can track down the one Art Jerry Miller album you are doing well, but if not we provide you with the best track, the Bar Kays sounding Grab A Handful. The Bar Kays make an actual appearance with the long time unreleased Sock Soul which was recorded for their debut album.
But for me the best is last, with the Soul Children's take on Bill Withers' Who Is She And What Is She To You which originally appeared on our 5000 Volts Of Stax compilation of unreleased Stax cuts. Those with a funky edge may have missed this so it is a pleasure to feature it on Stax Of Funk for its 1st ever vinyl release.
By Dean Rudland