Various Artists

Funkin' on the 1

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The no-frills Funkin' on the 1 box gives you plenty of bang for your buck by dishing out 90 tracks spread across five discs. By no means definitive, the nonetheless highly serviceable box bounces between the well-known and not-so-known, providing a snapshot of all things soul, funk, and proto-disco produced between the mid-'60s and early '80s, with a heavy emphasis on the first half of the '70s. Put the entire set on rotation during a party and put your worries about keeping things fun and varied to rest. There's little overlap here with the myriad funk compilations that were released in the late '90s. For instance, you don't get Parliament's ubiquitous "Flash Light," but you do get the Parliaments' "Breakdown," "Funky Woman," and "Good Ole Music," among others. And while you don't get the Ohio Players at their most familiar, you do get all 113 rough seconds of 1968's Sam & Dave-influenced "Trespassin'." For every classic known by the general populace, like Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly" or Average White Band's "Pick Up the Pieces," you get a handful of relatively (!) unknown gems, such as Donald Byrd's "Change," and Gil Scott-Heron's "The Bottle." Repetition with groups like the Meters (one song per disc), Ripple (three songs), and Average White Band (enough to choke a large farm animal) can be forgiven with the representation of some of the lesser-documented acts of the genres. Housed in a compact box, its cheap import price is good for an impulse purchase. Unless you're a die-hard collector and have all of this (not very likely), the content should please just about anyone.

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