The Best of Legendary Deep Funk finds maverick dj and all-round force of nature Keb Darge compiling the highlights of his now legendary Legendary Deep Funk compilations which were in turn named after his also now legendary Legendary Deep Funk club nights at legendary Soho nightclub Madame Jojos. That’s a lot of legendary things, I think you’ll agree. But then there’s a reason for that and it’s Keb Darge of course.
Legend (what else?) has it that after a career as a northern soul dj in London in the 80s, Darge was forced to sell all his northern soul wax to pay for a divorce. Bowed but unbeaten, our man realised there was a future in playing the more sinuous grooves of funk to dancefloors. And when I say ‘funk’ – I don’t mean the sort of jazzy abomination peddled by the acid jazz scene but something…deeper. Which is to say rare (you’d expect nothing less from a man who can a) persuade people to lock him inside a warehouse full of records for the night on a digging mission and b) identify whether a record will contain anything worth listening to just by looking at the label) and, often, raw. Anyway – a movement was born – which brings us to this.
For his compilation of compilations and highlight of highlights, Darge has picked out no fewer than twenty-one tracks. The album actually kicks off with a brace of disco-leaning tracks (King Tutt’s You Got Me Hung Up and Harris & Orr’s Spread The Love) which might seem a little unexpected (but then Darge was a champion disco dancer in a former life) before the appearance of something that sounds more like what most would associate with the term ‘deep funk’ – Cross Bronx Expressway’s self-titled cut – recently re-pressed on Rocafort Records. Highlights include Zebra’s pumping seventies cut Simple Song (not a Sly Stone cover), the blaxploitation-funk of Joe Washington’s Blueberry Hill, the JB-ish vibes of Rickey Calloway’s Tell Me, Ronnie Keaton’s Going Down For The Last Time (drum break alert!) and of course Carleen & The Groovers bass-monster Can We Rap. Also included are three edits put together by two of Darge’s most notable fellow diggers – Ian Wright and Kenny Dope. Nice work all round. Almost worth getting divorced over, in fact.
(Out 28 October on BBE)