A weekly dig through the crates for the stuff you really need to hear
Back in the Dre Day
There's some mysterious hook-up the Dutch Ram's Horn operation has with Dr. Dre that has resulted in an astonishing number of master-quality West Coast hiphop comps in very short order. Dre's best defence against involvement is the new Dr. Dre Presents The Early Years Of The West Side (Street Dance) double-disc old-school mix, which contains tracks by his own World Class Wrecking Cru too hilariously embarrassing to ever want re-released. There are also delightfully inept early joints from King T, Spyder D, Rappingstine, Digital Underground, Rhyme Syndicate and the Arabian Prince along with a bonus electro set for the breakdancers.
One record sure to inspire loud laughter when it appears on collector wants lists is funky drummer Bernard Purdie's elusive soundtrack to the 1974 porn flick Lialeh (Bryan). Sure, the closing jam, Hap'nin', is one of the dopest blaxploitation funk getdowns ever waxed, but forget about finding the original LP. However, once a holy grail rare-groove item clears the $500 barrier it's bound to get reissued, and thanks to the Light In the Attic label, we can all enjoy lost classics like Touch Me Again and All Pink On The Inside, beautifully remastered on fabulous 180-gram vinyl. www.lightintheattic.net
Who says all the best Afrobeat music was created in Nigeria during the 70s? While the L.A. based Najite Olokun Prophecy clearly owe a debt to Fela Kuti's legacy, they use those rhythmic innovations as a launch pad for their free-flowing improvisations on Africa Before Invasion (SoFa Disk) that recall the outer reaches of Oneness of Juju. Having ringers in the ranks like Nate Morgan, Phil Ranelin and Bobby Bryant doesn't hurt. Awesome.
Another Soul Patrol 7-inch of questionable licensing legality, another new sub-label to keep everyone guessing. This time our French connection offers up a dose of prime Barbados-brewed funk with Take The Funky Feeling, by the Blue Rhythm Combo, on the Funky Variation Records imprint. There's so much amazing stuff from Barbados and the Bahamas alone, in't it about time someone got around to compiling an Island funk disc?