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4TH COMING: Strange Things: The Complete Works 1970-1974 (2015)

Strange Things 4th Coming[RATING: 5] Former Stones Throw general manager Egon strikes again unearthing another treasure trove of long lost funk and soul for his Now-Again label. This time it’s short-lived L.A. outfit 4th Coming. In their four or so years of existence, the band released eight singles under their own name and a ninth under the moniker Impact! and featured a rotating cast of musicians (including at some points various members of Charles Wright’s Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band) put together by one of two core members – co-songwriter Jechonias ‘Jack’ S. Williams. Despite obvious talent however, the band somehow slipped through the net of success – partly it seems – due to their distribution which was limited by the range of the petrol tank of other core member, co-songwriter and vocalist Henry ‘Hank’ Porter. It’s not an unfamiliar story – but happily now rather later than intended, the band’s complete works are available and collected together as Strange Things: The Complete Works 1970-1974.

And it’s quite a collection. Generically, it’s particularly rich. It opens with laid-back funky soul (We Got Love) but the band’s work also takes in stank fatback grooves and squelching wah-wah (Come On, Don’t Let Him Take Away Your Mind and You Don’t Stand A Chance Parts 1 and 2), funky psychedelia (The Dead Don’t Die Alive), funky country psychedelia (Oh Love), country soul (Heaven & Earth) and paranoid Sly-ish political funk (Waterloo Watergate) among the delights available. Anyone with ears for a sample will also lap this up for its potential. Not that anyone would dream of sampling anything of course – dear me no, that wouldn’t do at all. Still, you know…if. Either way, it’s a rare treat in all senses of the word rare and an essential purchase for fans of funk and soul.
(Out now on Now-Again)

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