Femme fatale funk
Other than Ian Wright's decent Sister Funk comp for BBE and James Maycock's I'm A Good Woman "spotlight on the obvious" series for Harmless, the representation of women in the funk revival boom has been seriously disappointing. Parlour Records redresses the gender imbalance with All The Ladies Need Funk, which goes much deeper than prior surveys to uncover genuine gems like Katie Briggs's boisterous throwdown Green Power, Miss Soul's nasty Payback and Kim Tolliver's sexy-fine Cop My Stuff. No liner notes and dubbed-from-disc fidelity, but All The Ladies Need Funk is a primo party-starter nonetheless.
The tag line "Latin grooves on Blue Note" is a bit misleading, since the solidly swinging ¡A Gozar! (Blue Note) compilation of Latin jazz joints from the 60s and 70s draws from the Pacific Jazz, Roulette, World Pacific, Solid State and Liberty label holdings. Yet there's no faulting the stellar song selection. Where else are you going to come across Jack Costanzo's bangin' Sax Con Ritmo, Wali and the Afro Caravan's hypnotic Guaguanco Stroll, and Joe Torres's slinky cool Night Walk on the same delightful disc? Awesome.
Ray Gun revival
Back in the early 80s, Bobby Soxx and his band of fellow anti-Reaganites, Stick Men with Ray Guns, were confronting crowds of perplexed Texans, from Austin all the way to er... San Antonio, with their own gleefully offensive brand of slow, snarling punk rock. Unfortunately, word of their mayhem barely travelled outside Texas, but thanks to Emperor Jones, who released the Some People Deserve To Suffer retrospective CD, we can all be treated to lost classics like Christian Rat Attack and the heartwarming I'd Rather Throw Up Than Grow Up.
Released by the French Marabi label as the soundtrack to the Jacques Sarasin film Je Chanterai Pour Toi, this collection of intimate recordings by soulful Malian bluesman Boubacar "Kar Kar" Traoré – made to accompany his journey from Kayes to Bamako and Niafunké – is mesmerizing magic all the way through. Along the way, Traoré hooks up with celebrated pals Ballaké Sissoko, Rokia Traoré, Madieyé Niang and Ali Farka Touré, who all join in the fun. Kar Kar's 40-year-old radio hits Mali Twist and Kayes Ba are thrown in as an added bonus – as if anyone needs more reasons to get this.