Various Artists

The Return of Funk Phenomena

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By and large, funk is a genre that is often subjective and truly difficult to capture on a compilation. The Return of Funk Phenomena gives it a shot and offers often-forgotten tracks from the late '60s to the early '80s. The best work here is clearly apparent. Charles Sherrell's fun 1974 single "Yes It's You" is right in line with James Brown productions like Hell and Reality. As good and as rare as it is, it isn't the best song here. That distinction goes to 1979's infinitely listenable "Ain't Got Time fa Nuthin'" by the Futures. Roy Ayers' gem from Virgo Red, "Love From the Sun," comes in a close second. Sets like The Return of Funk Phenomena do have their share of oddities to keep things interesting. Ernie Hines' "Our Generation" is one of those "groovy" tracks that was no doubt dated within six months after its release. Polyrhythmic and overblown, "Gang Bang" from Oscar Brown, Jr. should be here on the kitsch factor alone. Like many sets of this nature, The Return of Funk Phenomena offers one or two tracks that diminish its credibility. The Jackson 5's "Mirrors of My Mind" and MFSB's "Mysteries of the World" aren't really "funk" at all. The intentions are certainly good here, but The Return of Funk Phenomena suffers from lack of strong and undeniable songs.

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