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Super Funk Vol 4, CD (£11.50)
Yes I know we probably always say it, and us record company types are by definition a bunch of deceitful swine, but this really is the best one so far. With the funk market maturing nicely we have gone deeply into the whole of America's funky nooks and crannies and come up trumps with a bunch of rare and sought after funky music. What's more we didn't stop at the master tapes this time and in the booklet of the CD and (sadly to a lesser extent due to space) on the back of the LP cover we have tons of label shots, obscure pictures of the bands and a stunning picture of the tape box for Ron Buford's Deep Soul (believe me, it looks great).
So fine, but what about the music. Well we open up with Billy "Sugar Billy" Garner. Now Billy has been a Super Funk favourite since we released his Brand New Girl a few years back, his opener here, I Got Some, is from the same sessions as that classic and was released as a rare New Day 45 in 1972. This is followed by Ron Buford with the grinding organ funk of Deep Soul (Part 2) a record that has been selling for well into the three figure mark over the last year. We then come on with bluesman Eddie Clearwater with his 1969 Chicago take on the James Brown There Was A Time riff called Doing The Model - an absolutely mad winner of a track.
I think that one is pretty unknown even to funk collectors, whilst The New Jersey Queens and Friends Party And Don't Worry About It is very well known to all and sundry as a rare groove classic. However it's been unreissued since 1989 and prices for an original copy have creeped up over ¬£100 in recent years, so we felt it was our duty to bring it to you. As we did with Albert Washington's 1969 funk-out Crazy Legs which is made in the hometown of King Records - Cincinatti - with James Brown bass player Tim Drummond and it shows.
Our next two numbers are down right sassy 'sister funk' pieces from Pat Hunt with Super Cool and Betty Barney's Momma Momma which has a dirty New York sassyness about it. We then bring in the mystery man - 23 singles released over 20 years and we know nothing about him - Chet Ivey with his 70s sax led work out Don't Ever Change. We know plenty about Vernon Garrett, who is our next artist, but most of all we know how good he is and Don't Do What I Do is one of his best.. It wouldn't be "Super Funk" without a bunch of unreleased grooves and it's just the same here as we take a couple of tracks from Phoenix, Arizona and one from deepest Louisiana. From Louisiana we have the National Soul Band, who producer Eddie Shuler can remember nothing about. We reckon this might have been the last recording scheduled for the ANLA label and it is the dirtiest funk take on Wilson Pickett's Get Me Back On Time Engine #9. From Phoenix we have Michael Liggins whose Mighty Records releases have recently been picking up attention, and the Soul Blenders. Both firey cuts were produced by Mike Lenaburg.
Out of Phoenix also, this time via Los Angeles, are the Soulsetters, who would later achieve wider fame as Freddie and Henchi-.-we feature their Out Of Sight from the Onacrest label who also released Joe Swift's feisty Boogaloo Party. And then we have Clifton White's brilliant "son of" Tighten Up, The Warm Up which would keep most dancefloors moving as would Charles Crawford's Fat'n'Funky. Our final uptempo cut is the infectious funk soul of Little Charles and the Sidewinders' Shanty Town. This leaves us with the mighty instrumental version of Syl Johnson's Is It Because I'm Black by E. Rodney Jones and Friends titled Soul Heaven which really cools things off.
So there you go. The best yet!
By Dean Rudland