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The Return Of The Funk Soul Sisters, CD (£11.50)
I love this album!
Yes I know we should really be giving you some unbiased run-down of the merits of the tracks on this here slab of shiny disc (or slightly larger two-piece vinyl alternative), but I thought I'd get that unfettered love for the product out of the way.
"But", I hear you murmur, "it's hardly likely that the compiler of the item is going to slag it off". Well, yes, you're right there. But the first Funk Soul Sisters compilation struck a rich seem of soulful funk, and funky soul and this time round we think we have bettered that, and from my point of view managed to include some of my favourite records from my club DJing sets as well.
So what have we got? Our opener is Honey and the Bees' Love Addict, which in the last year has gone from being a virtual unknown to becoming simply the most sought-after funk dancer. This is followed by Martha and the Vandellas with Easily Persuaded, a Tamla Motown album track that sound like it could have been written for a blaxploitation movie. Family Tree by Little Rose Little is a brilliant slice of funk, that was previously only available on a GWP promotional album from the early 70s. Her other number on the set, He's What I Need, never even made it that far before we grabbed it from the vaults. Who Told You by Jackie Moore has a distinct latinesque feeling, and the James Brown production That's How It Feels by the Sisters Of Righteousness allies a stomping beat with a gospel shout to impressive effect. James also produced the R&B / funk classic Do You Really Want To Rescue Me by the larger-than-life Elsie Mae. Another soul great was involved with Patti Jo's two records on Scepter, Curtis Mayfield produced and wrote them, and we've gone for the underrated of the two Ain't No Love Lost.
Our next three tunes all have a deep southern flavour. Tommy Young's flute-laden It's All A Part Of Loving Him appeared on the Louisiana-based Soul Power label, which was part of the Jewel-Paula label that also issued Harolyn Montgomery's Got To Get Away. Annette Snell's glorious Love Connection is one of two fine cuts that we feature from Nashville's Dial label, the other, by Mr Big Stuff hitmaker Jean Knight, is just as hot. While talking the sound of the South we should also make note of Georgia-born Millie Jackson who, although signed to the New York-based Spring label, recorded her breakthrough hits in Muscle Shoals, Alabama with Brad Shapiro. The wonderful Hypocrisy is from those sessions.
Jeannie Dee's Two Heads Are Better Than One features some pounding piano at its entry point before Ms Dee gives us her words of wisdom. The Ebonettes provide us with a slightly odd sounding femme funk groove recorded up at Dave Hamilton's Detroit studio, whilst another - slightly better known - Detroit singer, Gloria Taylor, gives us her club classic the frantic Grounded. TV Mama Jean's only Kent single is the slippery funk-with-a-message of Woman's Liberation, which is a similar concept to that delivered by Betty Moorer on It's My Thing. Inez Foxx is less politically right-on, but more scathing to her man on Speed Ticket, and the groove laid down is one of the hardest on the record. Leaving just room to mention Marie Adams, whose Get Up And Do It Baby should be a manifesto for anyone who loves this music.
Not a duff track amongst them.
I love this record.
By Dean Rudland