Various Funk It!
Published Sep 01, 2001Some people worship the late '60s early '70s style of funk to the exclusion of all other eras or styles. They even seek to recapture that sound by recording strictly in analog and emulating the murky mixes they love. This has been a staple of labels like Desco and, as compiled on Funk It! from Soulciety Records. The groups collected here are still trotting the same James Brown road, with the goal to produce a sound indistinguishable from the original item, but it's a put on. The difference is that the new jacks have studied the sound of the original recordings to a fault and have produced a sound rooted in imitation. All the problems of limited studio time and out of tune vocals have been fixed here; things sound fat without being truly muffled. The subject matter of hard times, food and nonsense phrases sounds drawn straight from the book of funk clichés, rather than expressing anything that would truly impact the lives of these artists. Roger Troutman's Human Body is light years away from his futuristic '80s records, while Bobby Byrd (almost 70!) turns in a worthy vocal performance of his classic "Never Get Enough" over a leaden band and some singer copying JB's exhortations from the original to a T. If you like '70s funk, do your own research about why it was compelling; don't restrict yourself to the copycats. (Instinct)