Various Artists

Ministry of Sound: 80s Groove -- Old Skool Funk Soul Classics

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After branching out from their more familiar dancefloor anthems into chillout, acoustic pop, and R&B, Ministry of Sound's latest compilation covers the funk, soul, disco, and hip-hop sounds of the '80s groove scene. Featuring 51 tracks from artists as diverse as Earth, Wind & Fire, Hall & Oates, and A Tribe Called Quest, it's a comprehensive collection of songs from a genre usually ignored by other retrospectives. There are classic Top Ten singles from Chaka Khan and Rufus, McFadden & Whitehead, and the Jacksons, recently sampled tracks that have been given a new lease on life from Patrice Rushen, Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam, and Shannon, and some rather obscure additions from the likes of Michael Wycoff, Keni Burke, and Mtume. Highlights from the first disc include the powerful gospel vocals of Jocelyn Brown's “Somebody Else's Guy,” Sister Sledge's classy string-laden disco ballad “Thinkin' of You,” and Luther Vandross' joyously uplifting “Never Too Much.” Mantronix's club classic “Got to Have Your Love,” Run-D.M.C.'s influential “It's Like That” (the original rather than the Jason Nevins remix), and Indeep's anthemic “Last Night a DJ Saved My Life” provide the standouts for disc two. The sensual soul of Marvin Gaye's “Sexual Healing,” Bill Withers' effortlessly summery “Lovely Day,” and Sly & the Family Stone's funk-rock standard “Family Affair” are the choice cuts from disc three. 80s Groove showcases the best old-skool urban music from both the U.K. and U.S., and is a refreshing antidote to the countless new wave, electro-pop, and rave albums that usually dominate the decade's nostalgia market.

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