Various Artists

Grazing in the Trash, Vol. 1

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When the funk revival label Desco dissolved, co-founders Gabriel Roth and Phillipe Lehman split to form their own separate imprints: Dap-Tone and Soul Fire, respectively. Lehman conceived of Soul Fire as a vehicle for his personal taste in production: raw, lo-fi, and intentionally amateurish. That's the sound that dominates Soul Fire's first singles compilation, Grazing in the Trash, Vol. 1. It follows in the footsteps of Desco's Spike's Choice collections, which gathered the company's limited-edition 45 rpm records for CD release. This one features the A- and B-sides of six singles, plus one "educational" release featuring drum tracks to be imitated; aside from stalwart Lee Fields -- weighing in with his trademark James Brown homages -- there are no holdovers from the Desco days. Two groups here went on to cut their own full-length albums not long after; Calypso King & the Soul Investigators offer strong J.B.'s/Meters grooves on "Compin' and Smokin'," while JD & the Evil's Dynamite Band conjure a blunted, psychedelic feel on "Haaa-Sheesh." Of the more obscure groups, Speedometer and the Soul Command share that J.B.'s/Meters fixation, with the latter throwing in a cover of Eddie Bo's classic "Hook and Sling"; the Third Point, meanwhile, offer a more relaxed, jazzy style. These groups won't make you forget their influences, but they definitely know how to groove, and funk fanatics with a taste for things on the raw side will likely enjoy this collection quite a bit.

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