For some reason you rarely hear the name Hank Penny mentioned along with Bob Wills , Spade Cooley , Milton Brown and the other greats of western swing - possibly because Penny was from Alabama, not Texas - but he nevertheless created an impressive body of work. The best of his jazzy breakdowns - recorded between 38 and 52 for Vocalion , Okeh , King and RCA - are neatly collected on the reasonably priced two-CD King Of Hillbilly Bebop (Proper) comp, including such classics as My Inlaws Made An Outlaw Outta Me, Bloodshot Eyes (later covered by Wynonie Harris) and Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma'am.
The promotional tag line for William Crain 's 72 blaxploitation horror classic, Blacula , boasted that it was "Deadlier than Dracula!," which could've been referring to Gene Page 's nasty soundtrack stacked with super-sick clavinet-backed funk joints screaming with wah-guitar badness. BMG UK's overdue digital reissue of the Blacula OST doesn't offer any bonus material and the liner notes are weak, but it's tough to complain once the Good To The Last Drop groove starts crankin'.
While getting ready to record The Evil One in 78, 13th Floor Elevators survivor Roky Erickson jammed with fellow Aliens on his fave Buddy Holly and Dion numbers mixed with the odd show tune. Leave it to Billy Miller and Miriam Linna to track down those rehearsal tapes and package them up right on their Norton label. Those familiar with Erickson only through his classic Psychedelic Sounds and Easter Everywhere albums will get a different perspective on his bent genius when he rips through Money Honey and croons through One Last Kiss from Bye Bye Birdie. How scary is that!
Ever since a few key UK funk DJs began dropping Hammond-heavy tracks by the Sound Stylistics in their sets this summer, the mysterious group's Deep Funk disc has been highly sought after by funk collectors. When word spread that it was actually a studio project involving members of the James Taylor Quartet , New Mastersounds , Brand New Heavies , the Herbaliser , Incognito and percussionist Mark "Snowboy" Cotgrove commissioned by the Bruton sound library for exclusive use in films (i.e., no commercial release), the Deep Funk disc was instantly bumped up to holy grail status. And rightly so. The raucously slammin' session is the closest anyone has come to recreating the monstrous crunch of the mighty Mohawks . Watch for white labels.