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Various - Funk Cargo Vol 1
The subtitle to this generic-looking disc proclaims to be the "best funkin' release of the year."  They weren't lying.  Drifting in and out of print since its release in 1994, Funk Cargo is a definitive funky 45 collection that will satisfy anyone with an interest in funk.

Kicking off with yet another cover of Archie Bell's "Tighten Up," things quickly get moving with the Superfly-inspired "Freddie Is Alive And Well" by Spirit of Atlanta, in which we find out not only did Freddie survive that car accident, but he moved down South and gave up the drug game.  The socially-conscious groove is also in full effect on "Operation Breadbasket," "Idle Hands," "Message To The System" and "Push On Jesse Jackson," making this an excellent glimpse into the politically aware nature of African-Americans during the early 70s.

The crown jewel among the 22 cuts has to be "Talkin' The Teenage Language" by the Lost Generation.  A dark, moody groove is the foundation for this song that hints at the generation gap then forming in black America, which would be fully expressed via rap music by the end of the decade.  Ironically enough, there is some proto-flowing here by one of the singers.  

That's not to say every track is, as they said at the time, "heavy."  For pure funkin' fun, take a listen to Popcorn Wylie's "Funky Rubberband" or the Nite Liters' awesome "Afro Strut."    Even the pop tunes "Ode to Billy Joe" and "Light My Fire" get a funky makeover.  There are simply so weak selections, so even if it appears this disc was assembled on the cheap (no liner notes or photos whatsoever), it's definitely a contender for the one of the best funk compilations of all time.

Copyright 2003  All rights reserved.

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Released 1994 on Famous Groove

Selected Tracks:

Popcorn Wylie - Funky Rubberband
Harlem River Drive - Idle Hands
Arlene Brown - Impeach Me Baby
The Devils - The Exorcist

Rhetta Hughes - Light My Fire

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