Various Artists

SuperFunk, Vol. 5: SuperFunk Is Back -- Rare and Classic Funk 1968-1977

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Each volume of BGP's SuperFunk series can be relied upon to deliver a heaping serving of quality rare funk, and this fifth installment is no exception. While it might be on the whole more "rare" than "classic," much of this is really fine funk that happens to be rare, not rare funk that collectors rave about solely because the vinyl sells for a lot of money. You won't find any big names here, except a past-prime Jackie Wilson, Dyke & the Blazers, and perhaps Alvin Cash, whose track is a 1970 remake of his 1965 hit "Twine Time." And while there aren't any James Brown cuts, there are certainly a bunch of moments when you'll almost think you're listening to him, so pervasive is his influence on the likes of La May & Company's "Free the Soul Man," the Mello Matics' cover of his "Mother Popcorn," and the Phillips Brothers' two-part "I Got Hurt." But there are also a good number of fine tracks that aren't duly imitative, like Smithstonian's [sic] slow-burning "Just Sitting" -- a funk rarity not only in being hard to find, but also being funky and super-slow, with spooky organ. Miles Grayson's "Home Brew" is a cool mixture of "Night Train" with "Gloria"-like garage rock guitar riffing, while Lorenzo Holden's instrumental "Hold On" adds some Latin spice and jazzy flute to the mix, sounding a little like early War getting far out. Some of the other songs are just so-so, lowering this on the whole from the ranks of the excellent to the very good.

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