Various Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal

This will be among the top five compilations of the year in any genre. The Numero Group, who have never released a bad collection, have truly outdone themselves in terms of rarity and overall funk value on this one. In some respects the rough and tumble funk of this comp makes Soul Jazz’s also excellent Soul Gospel 2 collection seem polished and refined. These tracks are collected from wilfully obscure labels, barely making it into record shops at all, instead distributed through various congregations in the U.S., and in one case, Canada. The liner notes point out that since there was no "gospel funk” market, these tracks came about as filler for album or b-sides, featuring raw production values and even rawer vocals. The lyrical content on Good God often veers to the apocalyptic: check the titles "This Old World is Going Down,” "Is There Any Love?” and "Bad Situation.” If the apocalypse isn’t immediately at hand, then desperation is on display — this isn’t happy music but urgently religious. Top of the heap is "Oh Yes My Lord” by the Voices of Conquest, a 23-voice choir backed up by one drummer. It’s one of the most powerful songs on disc this year — a choir testifying at full volume and the drummer bashes away with Bonhamic power and Purdiesque funk. This comp may bring some stray sheep back to the flock… (Numero Group)