Poets of Rhythm

Practice What You Preach

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Practice What You Preach is a solid 11 cuts of hard-hitting, greasy soul-funk that takes its cues straight from the greats (the JB's, the Meters, etc.). The compositions are catchy, if admittedly derivative, and enjoyably varied, spanning all-out party-starting burners ("Funky Runthrough," the title tune), simmering midtempo groovers (all with food-related titles), and a couple of decently convincing soul ballads. The grooves are deep in the pocket, and the musicianship is basically impeccable. But what makes the record especially notable is its provenance: Munich in 1993 (or any other year for that matter) was hardly a hotbed of Afro-American-derived groovesmanship. Germans aren't exactly noted for their funkiness, but they are known for a punctilious work ethic, which might explain the care that clearly went into this album's meticulously accurate period vibe, right down to the recording and mixing. Unlikely as it must have seemed to them at the time, the Poets of Rhythm can now be seen as the forefathers of the 2000s soul-funk revival, so it's fitting that this, their debut album, has been reissued by Daptone Records, the standard-bearers for faithfully authentic retro-soul. Collectors should take note, however, that all of these tracks, in a different sequence but with the addition of two non-album 45s, are still readily available on the Shadow Records compilation What Goes 'Round.

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