Keb Darge

Keb Darge's Legendary Deep Funk, Vol. 3

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The final volume of BBE's fantastic series, Keb Darge's Legendary Deep Funk, Vol. 3 gathers another set of 20 sides from the collection of the U.K.'s foremost expert on vintage funk rarities. If the very obscurity of this music is what entices collectors to hunt down the original vinyl, it's the surprisingly consistent high quality that should convince dedicated funk fans to seek this material out, regardless of whether anything here rings a bell. With no signs of slowing down this far into the series, volume three just reinforces what an amazing wealth of great, D.I.Y. funk slipped through the cracks the first time around -- it evokes a strong grassroots movement that could give rise to great music just about anywhere. Volume three has a higher concentration of medium-tempo tracks, which mutes some of the manic energy of the first two volumes (especially the second), but the overall quality doesn't suffer one whit -- the grooves keep on pumping with authority. There's no shortage of bright, horn-driven funk: the Unknown's "Pad Out," Freedom Now's "Sissy Walk," the Personations' "Future," and River City's "Fell Into a Bag" (where Darge's fellow collector and DJ, Ian Wright, is brought in to sweeten the original mix). There's a nice bit of female soul in Francine Thomas' "I'll Be There," and a few disco-tinged selections toward the end that nonetheless keep the funk quotient high. Most great deep funk comps have at least a couple of crazy vocal cuts, and this one is no exception; on "I'm Hungry," Johnnie Morisette manages to criticize the president's apathy toward poverty right after threatening to break his waitress' jaw, and Paul Jackson's "Quack, Quack, Quack" -- as the title suggests -- is an inspired bit of madness. A great way to cap off an excellent series.

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