Poets of Rhythm

What Goes 'Round

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The bad news about this German funk ensemble is that it's shamelessly rewriting James Brown. But that's also the good news -- after all, Brown himself isn't doing it anymore, and a world without this sort of raw, horn-heavy, hip-shaking funk is no kind of world for anyone to have to live in. So really, to acknowledge that there's not a single original horn stab, guitar cluck, vocal grunt, or rimshot to be found anywhere on this album is not to criticize it, but to celebrate it. The majority of this program is a reissue of the band's 1993 release, Practice What You Preach; two additional tracks were previously issued as part of the 1995 compilation Original Raw Soul, Vol. 1. As you might expect, there's no discernible difference in sound or style between the two periods; every song is a straightforward throwback to James Brown's glory days in the 1960s, with intricate cross-rhythms bobbing and weaving around the funky horn lines and singers shouting catch phrases and exhortations to the band. Only the two slow tunes -- an awful number called "What You Doing" and a marginally better one titled "It Came Over Me" -- drag the proceedings down. Recommended overall.

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