Various Artists

Simply Funk

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Simply Funk Review

by Jeff Tamarkin

With its four discs sectioned off into themes -- Raw Funk, Party Party Funk, Sophisticated Phunk and Funky Roots -- you would be excused if you couldn't figure out what the difference was between the four categories. And truly, there doesn't seem to be much of one: What, for example, makes Joe Tex's "I Gotcha" raw but makes Curtis Mayfield's "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Gonna Go" sophisticated? And how is Funkadelic's "One Nation Under a Groove," from which so much funk sprang, not roots? In the end it's best to ignore the compilers' compartmentalizing and just boogaloo. In addition to many of the expected names -- Kool & the Gang, Maceo Parker, Ohio Players, Bobby Womack -- there are many surprises and rarities to be found here. Simply Funk is neither the first nor last word on the subject, but it's got all the groove you could want.

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