Johnny "Guitar" Watson

Funk Beyond the Call of Duty/Giant

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This 2013 compilation pairs Johnny "Guitar" Watson's 1977 album Funk Beyond the Call of Duty with its 1978 successor, Giant. Both of these records find Watson defiantly resisting his past, trading in blues for funk and disco. Of the two, Funk Beyond the Call of Duty is a livelier, loose-limbed record, displaying a clear debt to Parliament/Funkadelic, but for as funky as it's intended to be, it's a bit too in the pocket to truly be wild. Giant places all of Watson's chits on disco and it has a bit of a polyester gleam to its surface, which is kitschy and appealing. It's also fun to hear Watson stretch a bit, by delving into a shuffle on "Gangster of Love," then light up the strobe ball with "Guitar Disco," which is so silly it plays like intentional parody, and it's not the only time where he gets weird here: "You Can Stay But the Noise Must Go" is ludicrous in its slow groove and Watson's testifying. These quirks make Giant a more interesting and better album than the tighter record it's paired with.

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