review: funk/soul

V.A. - Hot Funky & Sweaty (Acid Jazz)

"Hot Funky & Sweaty" is the fruits of a single individual; Nick Cope who runs a weekly club night of the same name at The Salmon And Compass in Angel (London, UK). Inspired by an influx of genuinely credible acts current on the funk and Hammond-Beat scenes Nick decided to approach the bands with a view to showcasing their wonderful art through a rather quirky idea - to produce an LP almost solely of modern day acts covering classic funk 45 sounds.

Well then, I never dreamed I would once again own a record by Acid Jazz, nor would I actually want to own one! But here we have the breaker of that frame of mind, gone it seems is the haunting ghost of The Brand New Heavies making a whole generation of record collectors hang their heads in shame and let the funk fall into the wasteland. Could Acid Jazz become a viable label again? Well let's see what their next move is before deciding that, but certainly for now we can thank them for financing and releasing this exceptional compilation. "Hot Funky & Sweaty" is the fruits of a single individual; Nick Cope who runs a weekly club night of the same name at The Salmon And Compass in Angel (London, UK). Inspired by an influx of genuinely credible acts current on the funk and Hammond-Beat scenes Nick decided to approach the bands with a view to showcasing their wonderful art through a rather quirky idea - to produce an LP almost solely of modern day acts covering classic funk 45 sounds.

The Organites open up the LP with a wild n' manic take on Eddie Bo's "Hot Funky And Sweaty", which, to most non-obsessive funk-a-philes will just appear to be just a cover version of The Meters "Cissy Strut".

Milwaukee's finest exponents of raw funk - The Neapolitans take on Jimi's "Crosstown Traffic" in a odd elevator-music style which fast gives way to Monty Stark weirdness, trust me this ones a grower!

Perhaps the finest current recording act: The Soul Investigators take on the holy grail of New Orleans rare funk 45's; Salt's "Hung Up", it was always going to be a tough one to overcome but they do a fine job of it, it's slowed down and is a bit more moody than the original but nevertheless a buttock slapping good job.

The New Mastersound's take on Richard Evan's classic groove 45 "Zambezi" a typical heyday Acid Jazz sound, lots of choppy funk and swirling organs interspersed with introspective psychedelic funk moments.

Scotland's finest - The Boogaloo Investigators take on Led Zep's "Heartbreaker" a gutsy rhythm n' blues number with more poison than a rattlesnakes jissum!

London's premier mod outfit The Gene Drayton Unit take on The Undertones anthemic "Teenage Kicks" with more than a hint of the Bonzo Doo Dah Band about it, it's a cheeky pop-tastic romp that should get the freaks shaking like they mean it.

Speedometer take on 'Work It Out' - perhaps the funkiest chart song written in the last 15 years. A real tough one to better but they have managed a cool and stupidly funky party track to add a bit of fun to the funk dance floor and that's good enough for me.

Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings take on Kenny Rodgers country-psych classic "Just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in", nobody can quite decide whether this version beats Bettye LaVettes killer sisterfunk version, but as neither beat Kenny's that's by the by in my opinion. Mrs Jones' version follows Bettyes almost note for note and does very little to further her original adaptation of Kenny's classic. That said... what a great record, what a great singer, she really is in her own league!

Personally I would have liked to have seen Alice Russell in here as without hesitation I would classify her as one of the two greatest current soul singers - and no the others not that 'wannabe-Bonny-Tyler' - Joss Stone.

The Poets of Rhythm, an act who pretty much kick started the whole new funk thing back in the nineties perform the very deranged "Funky Booty" a sound to rival Motorhead in heaviness. A modern day equivalent to the founding tracks of the current funk scene such as Fish Head, Psycho etc...

The Baker Brothers cover a fairly intense version of "Super 8" which should excite those who ram raid to finance their record habit.

Coventry's Color Climax take on that favourite of the early nineties loungecore scene Black Rite' a choice that will instantly make this compilation a must have for all those devout mods and library collectors observing the funk scene with interest but never finding much of real interest. This is a fantastic reworking, epic, anthemic and funkier smelling than a coach load of old ladies knickers after a 10 day work out with Ron Jeremy, well done chaps.

Big Daddy Moochin' attempt Mary "Queenie" Lyons mighty sisterfunk anthem "See & Don't See" to pleasant enough results.

Reverend Cleatus And The Soul Saviours perform Manu Dibingos killer "Salt Popcorn" and really do little to the track other than heavy it up ever so slightly, it's a great sound-a-like track.

Lefties Soul Connection do a bit of a medley, mixing "It's Your Thing" with "Hey Pocky A-way" which is all good fun, it wont make anyone weep with joy, nor will it make someone throw their dog or cat at the CD player.

To summarise, a great selection of tracks with one or two weak moments, the omission of Alice Russell and Quantic Soul Orchestra is a strange one when you consider their ability to do serious justice to this music. Hopefully it will open doors to this music in other areas, overall it's not really a funk record as such, by and large I'd say it's a pretty modish affair which will really appeal to the Acid Jazz / Hammond Beat buyers as well as those serious about their funk. Boss sounds!!!!!
@soulgeneration.co.uk

24.08.2005 / bap / mail


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