Saturday, 15 May 2010

Various artists - So Smooth: The Funk Album: A Tribute to 80s Funk Music - 2010 - Smooth Swing records

It amuses me that most new releases sound so old! Is it a case of what goes around comes around - a natural thing - or is it copping a snoop at today's crass and irrelevant R&B scene? Whatever the case this compilation is mighty fine and is exactly what it says on the tin! fans of 80s club sounds need not think twice about this set - just order a copy. Of the 15 tracks on offer, a number are replicated with remixes or extended versions. this is nothing to worry about as all remixes are great and I'm always up for an extended version - especially where Ashanti Munir's killer "So Smooth" is concerned. I bemoaned the brevity of that track in my recent scribblings, and prayers being answered it appears here not only in album mix, but in extended version (almost 6 minutes!) and funky remix. Spoilt, ain't we?! The hand-clapping beats may begin to grind a wee bit if played from start to finish, but in isolation nothing can really be said to denigrate either the singers, production or lyrics. The opening track is a corker - but I direct you to the extended version at the sunset of the CD, where there is so much more to enjoy. The vibe is EXACTLY what we would readily have purchased in the mid-late 1980s and for that I am more than thankful.

"Attack" by by Winfree is right in a Fatback styled groove a la "Is This The Future", "So Delicious" or "Phoenix" - it warms my cockles so much to hear this great sound back again and sounding so fresh! Oui and Fresh may sound young yet Oui hails from 80s funk outfit The Deele! This is another great little tune, full of quirky keys and a real steppers beat. What we could do with, though, is a little more via instrumentation - such as a sax here and there. How better that would be. But, I am splitting hairs. The Funk Remix of Daj's "One Day At A Time" is a great augmentation, and the sweet vocal, catchy hooks and breezy demeanor make this a song to get on the iPod, in the car and play LOUD. Our recently reviewed Leon Beal makes an appearance with the Zapp-ish "We Can Make It" - a welcome inclusion - and Winfree's "Time" is also a winner - taking us back to the Elektro Funk era so recently celebrated by James Reeno and Cool Million. Winfree has an interesting voice and has a Keni Burke flavour to his style. All good, then! J. Marie's "Boy Toy" is provoking and excellent as is Enois Scroggins brilliant midtempo effort a la Kleeeer / The Controllers, "Seasons Of Love". Oh, this collection simply begs to be purchased, and I certainly highly recommend it.

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe