Street Sounds From The Bay Area: Music City Funk & Soul Grooves 1971-75 Various Artists (Music City)


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It’s about time BGP got seriously funky and over the next few months we will be serving up some fantastic collections of rare funk and groovy soul from the depths of the black American recording industry. In the last decade funk has gone from the forgotten cousin of soul to the genre that has been most quickly excavated and then sometimes discarded. It often seems that every rare record has been snapped up and compiled already (it’s not true but sometimes it seems like it). However, the Ace collective really does have the ability to go deeper; as with the world of rare soul, our access to the tape vaults of various companies allows us to bring the world some exceptional music that has never been heard since the day it was recorded. “Street Sounds From The Bay Area” is the result of our examination of the recordings made, and then on the whole not released, by Ray Dobard’s Music City outfit between 1971 and 1975.

In his exhaustive sleeve notes Alec Palao throws lights on the idiosyncratic working practises of Dobard, who was a fixture of the Bay Area’s musical scene from the early 50s with his Music City store, studio and record label. With the shop as a local musical landmark, he was an obvious stop off point for any young musician looking to take his or her first steps in the industry. However, Dobard was not an especially artist-friendly producer, and by the early 70s, with better recording facilities available locally, he was starting to lose his pre-eminence in the area. As a result, much of what was recorded at the time remained in the can. Of the 17 cuts on this CD, only the two by the Two Things In One have seen the light of day before, and only the recordings of Darondo – whose Music City single ‘Didn’t I’ is a cult classic these days – have anything of a legend around them. What we have then are 15 undiscovered slices of street funk which, had they been released at the time, would be highly sought-after collectors’ items today.

The music here shifts through virtually all the shades of sounds beloved by funk collectors down the years. The Two Things In One singles are wonderful and make a great taster for a whole CD of their recording which will be released further down the line. The same can be said for Darondo, who gives us a slick soul-funk workout under the title ‘Gimme Some’. There are some storming funky jazz cuts from Al Tanner, Charles “Doc” Williams and the Love Uprisers and a great funk cut from Chucky Thurmon (to go alongside his rare 45 ‘Turn It Over’), while the discovery of another Houston Outlaws recording to add to their slim catalogue is a major find. To my ears, the Soul Messengers are the discovery of the collection. As Alec explains in his note, very little is known about them but, if their session of political jazz-tinged funk had made it to record, it would be held in the same esteem as super rarities such as Boscoe’s or Soul Expedition’s self-titled albums.

The wealth of music that has yet to see the light of day from American studios big and small is breathtaking. This is just a small but highly rewarding sample.

By Dean Rudland


Track listing


Side 1

  • 01 Preview Bumpin' On Sunset / We Got More Soul - Charles "Doc" Williams featuring Darondo

  • 02 Preview Just A Man - Chucky Thurmon & Pharris Wheel

  • 03 Preview Stop Telling Me - The Two Things In One

  • 04 Preview I Just Got To Be Loving You - Houston Outlaws

  • 05 Preview Wouldn't It Be A Shame - The Soul Messengers

  • 06 Preview The Rock That Killed Goliath - Al Tanner

  • 07 Preview TP Paper - The Soul Sensations

  • 08 Preview Snag Nasty - The Two Things In One

  • 09 Preview Gimme Some (Version 1) - Darondo

  • 10 Preview Is It Right - Kevin Burton & Peace

  • 11 Preview Time Flies - The Benida Madison Group

  • 12 Preview A Lonely Place - Bob Carson

  • 13 Preview Sixth Sense - The Soul Messengers

  • 14 Preview Everything's Alright - Dry Ice

  • 15 Preview Giant Hamburger Part 2 - Victor Green

  • 16 Preview Eddie Boogaloo - Love Uprisers

  • 17 Preview Ruby Dee - The Cookin' Bag

Delivery & Returns


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We use Royal Mail First Class for UK deliveries and standard Air Mail for all other territories, very large orders will usually be sent via parcelforce. You may cancel your order at any time prior to your order being dispatched by emailing us at ensuring that you quote your name, address and order reference number or by telephoning +44 (0) 208 453 1311 between 9am and 5pm GMT/BST, Monday to Friday. Please note: As music downloads are dispatched immediately after purchase, there is no possibility of cancelling these orders.

In the event that any products supplied to you by us are damaged or defective, we agree to replace or repair the damaged or defective products or refund the amount you paid for such goods (including postage & packaging) providing you notify us (either via post at or e-mail: ) and return the goods within 28 days of purchase. Physical goods should be sent back to us in the same condition you received them to: “Returns” Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the e-mail address above including a copy of your notification.

You have the right to cancel your order within seven days of purchase, or seven days of receipt of the goods (whichever is the longer). If you choose to cancel your order, full payment will be returned to you. Returned items should be sent to: “Returns” c/o Ace Records, Such Close, Letchworth Garden City SG6 1JF, United Kingdom. Music downloads should be returned to us via the email address: including a copy of your notice of cancellation and order number.

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