Various Artists

The Sound of Funk, Vol. 1

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If you like uncut funk, you'll love this compilation of obscure '70s funk sounds from artists like Leroy & the Drivers, Sons of Slum, and Jake Wade & the Soul Searchers. Funny names aside this is good potent funk, not the self-contained funk band stuff that owned a piece of the charts in the '70s but harder, wicked tracks that would make James Brown and Dyke (of the Blazers) proud. You'll think you're listening to James Brown when "Let the Groove Move You" by Gus "the Groove" Lewis cues and starts spinning; you'll swear Bootsy Collins was playing the hyper basslines, and Lewis has Brown's grunts and groans down pat. Frank Williams must have been schooled at Dyke & the Blazers University because that's who he sounds like on "You Got to Be the Man," spirited horns signifying every line Williams sings. "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" by Robert Moore is straight from the Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Band book of funk and is similar to "Express Yourself."

Women can funk too, as Spanky Wilson proves on "You," a funky riff with some good shout/singing. Other funkers include Dave "Baby" Cortez & the Happy People's "Happy Soul," "The Tramp Part 1" by the Showmen, Inc., "Jan Jan" by Detroit's Fabulous Counts, and "Iron Leg" by Mickey & the Soul Generation. Though most of the artists are unknown, the familiar rhythms, riffs, horn play, use of backing vocals, drum patterns, and basslines aren't. Collectors and casual fans alike can appreciate this one, funk is funk, no matter who's singing it, and a grunt is a grunt is a grunt.

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