Various Artists

Funk Gold

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Hip-O's Funk Gold, a two-disc set, is somewhere between an addendum and an alternate version of The Funk Box, released by the same label nearly five years prior. Between the two releases, there are several overlapping selections (Charles Wright's "Express Yourself," Billy Preston's "Outa-Space," the Brothers Johnson's "Get the Funk Out Ma Face"), but it's just as likely that artists are represented with different songs (here, there's Jermaine Jackson's "Let's Get Serious" instead of "Erucu," Kool & the Gang's "Funky Stuff" instead of "Hollywood Swinging," Marvin Gaye's "Got to Give It Up" instead of "'T' Plays It Cool"). Unlike The Funk Box, Funk Gold is heavy on single/radio edits -- that's a definite negative point, since most of these songs deserve to be enjoyed to the fullest extent possible. Regardless, this is a decent starter kit and a way for fans of funk to plug a few gaps. It's by no means definitive, but it does strike a rather favorable balance between the obvious and the novel. The sound is vibrant and the packaging is thoughtful, which only helps in the war against the heaps upon heaps of cheap funk compilations that have plagued bins throughout the years.

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