DJ Spinna

Funk Rock

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This collection from Barely Breaking Even takes a unique tack in the funk compilation arena by compiling a series of tracks that finds a unique meeting point between the hard grooves of funk and the crunch of hard rock. As one might expect, traditional funk is well represented: Sly & the Family Stone's "Trip to Your Heart" bookends a vocal-harmony enhanced groove with some free-form psychedelic weirdness and Cymande alternates fluid guitar solos and airy flute lines over a relentless bassline in the gently soulful "Dove." There are also plenty of rockers on hand to filter their style to fit a funky mood: Can's "Vitamin C" layers trance-inducing Krautrock flights of fancy over an equally hypnotic rhythm-section groove worthy of a James Brown tune and Babe Ruth's epic "The Mexican" weaves its compelling tale of foreign revolution from a novel combination of flamenco guitar riffs, churning bass licks, and the hazy atmosphere of a spaghetti western (its instrumental break quotes Ennio Morricone's classic theme "For a Few Dollars More"). In between these two poles, Funk Rock also throws in some oddities that fit the compilation's style: one of the best is Buddy Miles' version of "Down By the River," which re-imagines the Neil Young classic as a smoky, Memphis soul-style ballad anchored by a moody, thick bassline. All in all, Funk Rock delivers on the promise of its title from start to finish and is well worth the time for funk scholars in search of some unique grooves.

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