Various Studio One Funk

Soul Jazz have put together another tenuous collection. According to the liner notes, this was compiled shortly before Coxsone Dodd’s death this year and is composed mostly of unreleased material. Unfortunately, this peek into the vaults does not support the theme nearly as well as their Studio One Soul compilation did. Despite a couple of convincing funky tracks such as Cedric Im Brooks’ "Shaft” and Jackie Mittoo’s "Hang Em High,” there are many tracks that simply cannot be described as funk. A number of cuts are unexciting versions of well-known rhythms. Horace Andy’s "See A Man’s Face,” like much of his work at Studio One, is very rootsy, and the version here does not add any kind of funky dimension. Alton Ellis’ "African Descendents” is not a highlight of his oeuvre, and he’s a performer whose catalogue is packed with James Brown and Stax-inspired sounds. Sooner or later, Soul Jazz’s access to the vault will lead to great dividends. However, perhaps these thematic compilations may be running their course — it may be time to put out some more single artist compilations like their excellent Jackie Mittoo retrospective. (Soul Jazz)