Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Various Artists - Monsters Of Funk And Soul - 2010 - Unique

Unique Records delve into their inventory for a worthwhile compilation of tunes that does not compromise on style or quality. These tracks are new, or fairly recent at least BUT could easily fool many four-to-the-floor buffs as being unreleased Northern monsters. Who would have thought that they would still be making music like this today - but I, for one, am glad they are. We have such a diverse landscape of sounds today in the broad church of soul, funk and jazz that anything like this is welcome. I have never understood those who refuse to acknowledge anything past 1969, or before the '90s, or even those millions who have no idea that R&B isn't a recent phenomenon. This set represents quality, and born from a quality label that has been on the scene for an amazing 22 years. You'll recognise a few tunes that I've waffled on about of recent years such as "Lean On Me" by Al Supersonic & The Teenagers and Glen Anthony Henry's early '70s styled set, "Relax And Love". The aforementioned hit is included here on glorious CD, and from the latter we have the awesome songs "Fired Up" and "I Don't Know". Delicious enough, but that isn't it. Of course not!

I was bowled over from the start with the KILLER Norther styled 60s belter "Am I Dreaming?" from Laura Vane & The Vipertones. This stomping, driving beat with vibes and punchy horns would easily slot into Richard Searling's "Old Bastards" set at Southport - many hours of sheer enjoyment i experienced during those late night sessions! I can cheerfully pour the same accolades onto "Good And Plenty" by the great-sounding Soul Snatchers, and "Shoot The Birds" from Plenty Enough should easily kick up the jolly old talcum powder too. Well worthy of a spin, too, is the excellent Meters / JBs sounding "Quick Sand" by Japan's very own Osaka Monaurail. Turn this UP! It's so funky that it hurts! Vocally we are in a gruff, tough and very gritty soulful mode. The Eternal Godfather would be pleased, that's for sure. A real joy to listen to is the cover version of Bobby Hebb's evergreen "Sunny" by Eli Goulart E Banda Do Mato. With Portuguese lyrics and real and proper Brazilian instrumentation this is a standout track. My final pick is a surprise for me as I love the original so much, and never would I think that I would like a funky / jazzy / retro cover of The Beatles 1964 chart-topper "I Feel Fine". This is, trust me, a real belter ! Yet another essential - if not Monster - release!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe