Monday, 13 July 2015

"Groove With A Feeling: Sounds Of Memphis, Boogie, Soul & Funk 1975-1985" by VARIOUS ARTISTS (2015 Ace/Beat Goes Public CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...




"...Just A Little Tighters..."

It's rare (and I mean rare) that I wouldn't recommend an Ace Records CD - but this compilation isn't exactly brimming with their usual fare of quality tracks - it really isn't. It's pretty obvious why much of this sub-standard 80's sounding pseudo-funk stayed in the can - it just didn't cut the mustard. It’s not all bad though...

UK released June 2015 (July 2015 in the USA) - "Groove With A Feeling: Sounds Of Memphis, Boogie, Soul & Funk 1975-1985" on Ace/Beat Goes Public/Sounds Of Memphis CDTOP 293 (Barcode 029667529327) gives you 19 tracks remastered by NICK ROBBINS and plays to 75:26 minutes. All songs are Stereo except tracks 8, 13 and 14 which are Mono (no indication of which track is from what period). The only track on here that was released is number 10 - "New Lang Syne" by Kannon - issued on XL Records 951 as an American 45 in 1978 - all the others are previously unreleased for 2015.

The 8-page booklet has liner notes by noted writer and Soul aficionado DEAN RUDLAND, publicity photos of The Jacksonians, Louis Williams and Takelia Kelly as well as some music sheets and tape boxes. The audio is amazing - incredibly clean and in your face - most of it recorded in professional circumstances.

I wish I could say the material warranted it. Tracks like Lee Moore's "You Can Bet I Can Get You Yet" and "One On One" by Demetrius sound like Eighties throwaways - the 1976 Stevie Wonder clavinet Funk of "Groove With A Feeling" by Freedom Express is a bit more like it - a wicked groove. The politically loaded "Politics" by Everyday People is full of anger and social commentary with a vicious Sly Stone backbeat and lyrics almost screamed. "New Lang Syne" (the only track on here released as a 7" single) sounds like Funkadelic doing too many drugs at a Christmas office party - it's a wildly Funky instrumental loosely based around that famous Scottish New Year toast (can't decide whether its rubbish or genius) - but it sure Funks like a mother with one too many Babychams.

Better is "Gone" by Vision that sounds very Harold Melvin circa 1975 (the audio is only ok though). "We Need Love" by Donald O'Connor sounds like Ronn Matlock's "Love City" album (vocally and structurally) and I think is a highlight on here. It's back to 80s steppers with Lee Moore's "What's In The Dark" - not bad but not great either. "Attraction" is like some bad synth-dominated 80s movie track where someone wears a sweatband on their forehead as they shimmy across a large loft apartment in very tight legwarmers...eek... It’s followed by more of the same insipid tunes trying to be an uptempo hit but just not making it.


A mixed bag really - but for me - too many misses to make it any better than three stars...

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Spines of Exceptional CD Remasters

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