Various Funkrock Compiled by DJ Spinna and Monty Burns

Both these CDs bring us collections of funky rock and progressive groove of the '60s and '70s compiled by top-notch crate-digging DJs, but they couldn't be more any divergent in the quality of the final package. With rock music's growing presence in DJ culture, both CDs give a taste for guitar-based funky source material and compilations such as these should provide some insight into the music's history, making liner notes a necessity. Like all of Strut's recent genre-based compilations, Block Party Breaks 2 places a strong focus on information. Full details on each track's history, context and pilfered breaks are laid out along with recent quotes directly from the original artists. The diversity of the 13-track selection is matched by their consistent quality. Old school funk tracks by Sammy Gordon, the 20th Century and Little Royal swing with the best JB material while Pogo also delves into some sweet Hammond groove with Dave Cortez and a pumping workout by '60s soulful rock shouter Lee Michaels. Classic breaks are also put on display with the likes of the Winstons' "Amen, Brother," and early disco tracks by Juice, the Magic Disco Machine. Also check out some funk from unlikely sources with guitar god Jeff Beck and UK prog outfit Gong. My personal fave however is the hard rocking "Instant Whip," an obscure B side from '60s British pop group the Tremeloes. BBE's compilation, on the other hand, barely has a full track listing with incomplete date and label information. Not to say there aren't some interesting numbers here, even though the sources are a little more obvious, including a great psychedelic groove by Sly and the Family Stone, sultry funk from Betty Davis, funky jazz from Herbie Hancock's mid-'70s band the Headhunters, and a couple great funk rock tracks from Hammond B-3 band-leader Brian Auger. Along with less underground choices from Can, Steve Winwood, Buddy Miles and Santana there are the some obscure progressive fusion bands represented, like Zoo, Cymande and Colosseum. (BBE)