Monday, 23 February 2009

Light Of The World / Beggar & Co Feat.The Funk Jazz Collective - Round Trip

The outset of the 1980s was a time of continuity from the 70s, but soon to be mechanized, computerized and far removed from the groove-laden sounds we were once used to. Also, at this juncture we had the burgeoning UK soul scene, a marriage of our love for American Soul music, the reggae roots of second-generation Jamaican patriots, and pop culture. This, and the rise of the UK soul scene with Alex Lowes’ Soul Weekenders and the rise of the likes of Robbie Vincent from Radio London to Radio 1 gave new British artists a strong foundation to set out their wares. No-one better embraced this atmosphere and opportunity than Brit-Funk outfit Light Of The World. With influences such as Kool & The Gang, Brass Construction and Earth, Wind & Fire and Donald Byrd Kenny Wellington, Bluey, Breeze McKrieth, David Baptiste and co set out to bring home the funk and do it with style. Tracks 1 through 10 are the seminal “Round Trip” album that we all know, with most grooves being canon for any self-respecting funkateer from the days of Caister or the Purley Alldayers. I have to say that these songs appeal more to me now than they did then. It is creditable that the longevity of tracks such as “London Town” is unchallengeable, and the intricacy and beauty of songs such as “I’m So Happy” still evoke happy memories and sound as good – if not better – today as they did in 1980. Even the reading of Bob Marley’s “I Shot The Sheriff” sounds fine and dandy and in no way disrespectful, parodied or crass. “More Of Myself” begs for fresh exposure and would benefit the dancefloors of the classiest, savviest and hipper clubs today. This is class, folks, and all from good old Blighty! I smile when I hear “Painted Lady”, it certainly derives from the Mizzell Brothers and their chant-like vocals. Again, there is deference and not simple mimicry here. I hear echoes of Cameo with “Pete’s Crusade” and jolly good too. Tracks 11 ‘til the end are lifted from the “Brass, Strings & Things” live set from Beggar & Co, and show how the groove is still very much alive, well and being belted out in all the right places! Thanks to EMI for giving this a timely and welcome re-release.

Barry Towler