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VARIOUS: The Craig Charles Trunk Of Funk Vol. 3

Having knocked out no fewer than six volumes of his Funk & Soul Club compilation series on Freestyle Records between 2012 and 2018, Craig Charles is now on Vol. 3 of new compilation series The Craig Charles Trunk Of Funk which has switched from Soul Bank to Impressive Collective (part of BBE Music) for this release. The format and content is totally different of course – the former series found Craig creating cool compilations of contemporary funk and soul while the latter sees him crafting class collections of modern-day soul and funk. Well, if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it!

Weighing in at nineteen tracks, …Trunk Of Funk Vol. 3 is – blow me! – similar in length to both its two immediate predecessors, not to mention the six Funk & Soul Club volumes. Things get off to a blistering start with Smoove’s drum heavy remix of The Third Degree’s Duffy cover – Mercy, while rising stars Say She She are next up with the early 80s-style soul-funk of In The Morning – the first of four cuts exclusive to this album. Also exclusive are the Mr Lex’s ‘Trunk Of Funk’ remix of Lexsoul Dancemachine’s I Don’t Mind (all uptempo drums in a Smoove stylee and 80s-style vocals again), a vocal version of New Mastersounds’ excellent Meters-ish Watchu Want and the Waz remix of Kylie Auldist’s soulful nu-disco heater LYB (Love You Better). The Third Degree and New Metersounds aside, there’s a decidedly late 70s/ early 80s stylistic bent to the first half of this one with contributions from Sai Galaxy, Dave Lee & Omar and Sunlightsquare all adding to the effect. Things get more varied later with an uptempo gospel stomper from Harlem Gospel Travellers, some mid-sixties style R&B from Sister Cookie and Stax-ish funky soul from Sugaray Rayford. By the time we enter the last third of the LP however it’s often a matter of ‘anything goes’ with a couple of tracks cuts qualifying for the definition ‘funk and soul’ in only the loosest of senses – cases in point being La Rochelle Band’s pumping Prophet which channels the likes of Groove Armada and Kaz Hawkins’ initially slow but – tricked you! – ultimately frantic bluesy barroom shakedown – though there’s no denying the dancefloor currency of both. You also get a heavy breakbeat club-friendly A Skillz remix of The Niceguys’ Power, the lurching modern heavy soul of Sly Johnson’s Trust Me and Cotonete’s Latin-nu-disco bump Day In Day Out. What haven’t I mentioned? Ah yes – two inclusions that hail from the original funk-soul era – Roy Ayers’ uptempo groove Tarzan and Beggar & Co’s 1981 boogie-funk cut Somebody Help Me Out (albeit in its Boogie Back Radio Mix incarnation). Oh – and then there’s arguably the monkey’s favourite cut on the whole release. That’ll be The Nextmen feat. Kiko Bun’s Big Time – with a fat, groovy beat based around a Mohawks sample (no, not that one) which came out two years ago and possibly hasn’t had the profile it deserves (should’ve done a 45!) though maybe this will redress the balance. Still, job’s a good ‘un and Mr Charles once again makes sure he caters for the whole funk and soul family from its nuclear centre to its distant relatives.
(Out now on Impressive Collective/ BBE Music)

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