Keb Darge / Josh Davis

Funk Spectrum

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Compiled by Josh Davis (aka DJ Shadow) and Keb Darge, Funk Spectrum is yet one more addition to the stable of essential BBE label collections, a virtual primer in old-school funk that assembles 20 tracks likely familiar to only the most diligent of rare groove collectors. According to Davis' liner notes, the omission of artist credits from the sleeve is in homage to the code of B-boy secrecy, although it makes the disc damn hard to critique; that said, the opening "Party Time" conjures the spirit of James Brown to uncanny perfection, "Let's Do It Today" could be a lost Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Band track, and "Clap Your Hands" imagines an alternate reality where the Jackson 5 comprised sisters, not brothers. Darge's ten selections are excellent as well, most of them slavish in their devotion to the genius of James Brown -- some are actual covers (Lou Pride's up-tempo reading of the perennial "It's a Man's Man's Man's World") and some are just mirror images (Ricky Caloway's "Tell Me," with its "Good God!" interjections), but all boast the funk in spades.

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