Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Various Artists - Phat Trax: The Best of Old School, Vol. 1 (1997)

This is the first disc of the 7 volume Rhino series, released in the late '90s. This series features funk tunes from the '70s and early '80s. Normally, Rhino can be counted on for fantastic liner notes, but there aren't any liner notes at all with this release. From I can tell, all versions included are the longer, original album cuts. I highly recommend that you drop this at your next backyard BBQ.

  • (Not Just) Knee Deep - Funkadelic: That's right, son. This disc opens by dropping a 15 minute funk bomb. Heavily sampled by De La Soul in 1989 for their hit, My Myself and I. This song comprised most of side 1 of the album Uncle Jam Wants You which was supposed to "rescue dance music from the blahs." George. Freakin'. Clinton.
  • Dazz - Brick: The band intended dazz to be a combination of disco and jazz, but it comes off as a funk tune. A big hit in '76. A top 40 funk tune with a wicked flute solo. Go figure. (This may be the only time you ever read the phrase "wicked flute solo." Ever. - ed.)
  • Firecracker - Mass Production: I was unfamiliar with this tune, but immediately recognized it as it was sampled by 2 Live Crew for Me So Horny.
  • Funkin' For Jamaica (N.Y.) - Tom Browne: Trumpet players, represent! The shortest cut on the disc, I almost wish it was the longest. How can a song be so funky and so smooth at the same time?
  • Get Up To Get Down - Brass Construction: Not a great funk tune, but not too bad. Feels like a great funk bass line gone to waste.
  • Gotta Get My Hands On Some (Money) - Fatback: What a great name for a funk band. This song is an early foray into rap à la Kurtis Blow.
  • Peanut Butter - Twennynine, featuring Lenny White: a little head of its time in terms of synth use; this '79 release sounds like something Rick James might have released five years later.
  • Wide Receiver - Michael Henderson: A former bass player for Miles Davis, Henderson puts a wicked bass line into play here, although the lyrics are laughable. Bonus points for using sounds from the handheld game Mattel Electronic Football!
  • Hit and Run - Bar-Kays: a great band, but not their best effort. Their music got a little derivative in an attempt to stay current and relevant.
  • Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic - Isaac Hayes: from the album Hot Buttered Soul, its heavy on the wah-wah guitar. I seldom think of Hayes as a keyboard player, but he does some nice work here.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: None. I bought this CD solely for the first track, but a listen will definitely take you back to 1979 in a big hurry.

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