Alcohol is a killer vice, and Robert Jay knows it. When the Detroit funk legend wrote the infectious Alcohol in 1969, he was hungover and mad as hell. Yet Jays blues-funked Alcohol became one of the most beloved, and nearly impossible-to-find sides in the funk music canon. While a few 7-inch singles can still be located, Californias Luv N Haight, a Ubiquity Records offshoot, just made the process much easier.
With the release of this insane comp, jazz, funk, and breakbeat lovers finally have access to some of the rarest grooves from Michigans funk underground. Jays Alcohol is featured, as is the Detroit Sex Machines Rap it Together. Many songs are from rhythm sections overshadowed by Motown; yet some here were more skilled than the Funk Brothers and Parliament.
Sure, the emphasis is on funk, but Wendell Harrisons Farewell to the Welfare is here, as is plenty of jazz and soul. The real gems are the unknown ballads such as Tommy McGhees Give and Take and I Can Deal With That by Detroit soul chanteuse Dee Edwards. Other obscurities make fine baby-making music, such as the sexy, funky Trust Me from Flint-based Aged in Harmony.
And theres some wonderfully seedy history; youll learn about gangster-run labels and others operated in porn stores, and which songs were recorded in basements. The extensive liner notes and rare photos help put faces to sounds. Essential.
Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.