25th Dec2012

Various ‘Craig Charles Funk and Soul Experience’ (Freestyle) 4/5

by ukvibe

North-west based DJ and radio presenter Craig Charles has developed an in-depth knowledge of the funkier side of the musical tracks and this is reflected in a well thought and and presented compilation of relatively new and contemporary classic funk and soul 45s. Of the latter the Al Wilson anthem ‘The snake’ will be a welcome addition to any collection and for fans new to the scene will prove to be revelatory. Likewise the Incredible Bongo Band have earned a well served cult reputation and their take on the Stones’ ‘Satisfaction’ reveals exactly why with pared down piano, bass and percussion over a steady mid-tempo groove. Of the newer material, an update on John Handy’s fusion classic ‘Hard work’ by Smoove and Turrell adds some Ramsey Lewis-esque handclaps to good effectwhile ‘Shaft in Africa’ which Johnny Pate originally scored receives some Afro-Beat horns and beefed up percussion from The Mighty Showstoppers. A major discovery for this writer was the soulful hues of the Fantastics featuring the vocals of one Sulene Fleming on ‘Cold case’. A terrific vocalist in the making. Reggae roots always deserves a place on the dancefloor and Prince Fatty is arguably the UK’s major new exponent. Here he offers ‘Insane in the membrane’ with Horseman to accompany him on the dancehall-flavoured vocals. Reggae rhythms continue on the harmony driven (recalling the great Jamaican groups such as the Uniques and Heptones) ‘Rocket man’ by the Stiff Naked Fools who are anything but! Factor in some dance routine grooves in ‘The bump’ from the exotically titled Haggis Horns and the melodic ‘More than dancing’ from The Federation and you know you have a quality selection of tunes. The presence of the excellent Nostalgia 77 with the equally edlightful Alice Russell on vocals on ‘Seven nation army’ and you simply have a a terrific overview of the left-side of the current dance scene with over seventy minutes of music to wallow in. Tim Stenhouse

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