Various Artists

Texas Funk: Black Gold from the Lone Star State 1968-1975

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As proven by the various locales that leading funk purveyors hailed from (Funkadelic from Detroit, Ohio Players from Ohio, Sly Stone from San Francisco, etc.), you cannot pin down one specific U.S. area as a hotbed -- or birthplace -- of funk. It appears as though every area had its own leading funk act(s), and Texas was chock-full of them, as evidenced by the exceptional compilation Texas Funk: Black Gold from the Lone Star State 1968-1975. Issued as part of an ongoing series by the Jazzman label (which specializes in compiling obscure funk standouts from specific areas -- Midwest Funk, etc.), Texas Funk is a gold mine for funk fanatics worldwide. Few, if any, of these artists will be well known to anyone outside of the Lone Star State, but it quickly becomes apparent that all these artists mastered the grooves from their James Brown records. Quite a few artists here replicate the style and approach of the Godfather of Soul to a T, namely the Latin Breed's "I Turn You On" and the Majestics' "Funky Chick," but others inject their own "thang." Standouts include Sunny & the Sunliners' "Get Down," Timothy McNealy's "Sagittarius Black," and the Vern Blair Debate's "Super Funk" (the latter of whose bandmembers also appear on the album cover) -- all of which could have easily fit on the Shaft soundtrack or an episode of Chico and the Man. And if the outstanding music wasn't enough, the CD booklet is 23 pages long -- crammed with pictures, info on each band, an intro by DJ Shadow, and also explorations of each Texas area that spawned funk bands. Texas Funk is an essential purchase for fans of first-wave funk.

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