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Soul Jazz Records: Studio One Funk Vinyl 2LP

Soul JazzSKU fr-2793

funky gems from the Studio One vaults
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  • Lab Overview
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Lab Overview

Soul Jazz RecordsSoul Jazz has become the caretakers of the immense Studio One catalog and for the last few years has been compiling and reissuing cuts from the vaults in volumes categorized under various themes. Studio One Funk has arrived, and I’ve finally put my finger on the one nagging complaint I have with these packages (besides the hideous color schemes): the genre based catch-all titles. If you go into this listening for quote-unquote “funk,” you may be disappointed. Sure there are the obligatory “Shaft” (Cedric Brooks) and “Funky Broadway” covers, but for the most part this is simply great, soulful reggae– not funk. Now that I’ve gotten that pedantic chip off my shoulder, let’s get into the music (editors breath a sigh of relief). This set runs the gamut from deep roots (Alton Ellis’ “African Descendants”) to straight ska (the Soul Bros “007”) and rock steady (Vin Gordon’s “Steady Beat”) all the way to the moody drum machine instrumental “Music Answer” by The Sharks. One of the strongest cuts has been released as a 45, Lee Arab’s “Now,” but there are plenty of other treats you’re only going to find on the full-length including a version of the Booker T classic “Melting Pot” that immediately dispenses with melody and jumps into a frenzied organ solo. Another Booker T. inspired cover, Jackie Mittoo’s “Hang ‘Em High,” demonstrates the simple reason why these Soul Jazz collections are a worthwhile purchase, even for those who already own the originals. The fidelity has been greatly improved from the Jamaican pressings (see my review for Jackie Mittoo’s Keep On Dancing LP) which moves these cuts into the realm of the playable for DJ’s. Other notables among the remaining cuts are Prince Francis’s sublime “Beat Down Babylon” (can someone tell me in what way this can be described as ‘funk’?), Cedric Brooks’ wicked rip of “Skylarking” entitled “Idleberg” (ditto), Lloyd Williams’ “Reggae Feet,” and the easy DJ choice of Alton Ellis singing the Spinners’ “It’s a Shame.”

  • music label: Soul Jazz 2004
reviewed by Monk 05/2005
UPC: 71712156


Review & Q+A


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