Various Artists 

Funky 16 Corners (Stone's Throw)

From its genesis, hip-hop DJing and production has found its lifeblood in crate-digging. Crate-diggers are dedicated collectors who unearth obscure early-'70s American funk singles from basement collections, garage sales, and specialty shops, mostly to sample their drum breaks. Countless US and European rare groove compilations have featured jewels like these, accompanied by only the barest of information -- much to the dismay of lay funk historians. Fanatical diggers Peanut Butter Wolf and Egon from LA label Stone's Throw have seen fit to change that. The Funky 16 Corners is their lovingly curated collection built from a cross-country road trip to hunt down contacts and information for the album's sixteen forgotten, largely Southern-based artists. Funky offers myriad 45-rpm flavors from a cross section of funk's hard-playing and brilliantly named garage bands from 1969 to 1974. The collection ranges from the sophisticated instrumental strut of James Reese and the Progressions' "Let's Go (It's Summertime)," to the percussion-and-voice thump of Co-Real Artists' "What About You (In the World Today)," to the frightening precision of Soul Seven's "Southside Funk" and the 21-person Kashmere Stage Band's "Kashmere." Funky is a crate-digger's wet dream, and the album's detailed liner notes alone should make the collection a required text in black music history classes.


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