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elcome to the Digital Meltd0wn Music Blog. The aim of this blog is to introduce the readers to music that is out of print, commercially unavailable, released under a creative commons license, or with approval by the featured artist. The majority of the music posted here would be considered underground. Don't let that fool you into thinking that the music featured here might be any less enjoyable than that of the mainstream artists you hear on the radio, as this couldn't be further from the truth. Please keep in mind that the majority of the artists that appear on this blog, along with their respective record labels, are not wealthy and need your support. If you enjoy the material that you find here, please support the artists/labels by purchasing their material afterwards. If you are an artist/label that would prefer to have your material removed from this blog, simply leave me a comment, and I would be more than happy to promptly remove the offending post. In addition to running this blog, I also work on a few other projects during my spare time. You can find links to those, as well as a few other important links associated with Digital Meltd0wn in the menu bar above.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Various Artists - What It Is! Funky Soul & Rare Grooves [Box Set]



Liner Notes:
Funk emerged in the 1960s, a scorching sound that amped up the spirit of R&B and became the precursor to hip-hop. While major artists topped the charts with funk hits throughout the '60s and '70s, What It Is! celebrates the smaller ones—the heady, groove-monstrous strain of gutbucket funk that remains a major force in American music.

A four-CD, 91-track compendium that would take incalculable hours to assemble from dusty bins at disappearing record shops, What It Is! is culled mainly from the treasure-filled vaults of Atlantic, Atco, and Warner Bros. Records. It's an unprecedented shadow history of funk, pulling together rare sides from well-known artists and definitive grooves from less-known but supremely gifted masters of the art form.

Artists include Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band, Eugene McDaniels, Baby Huey & The Baby Sitters, Allen Toussaint, Little Richard, Labelle, Eddie Hazel, Earth, Wind & Fire, Lulu, Wilson Pickett, Malo, The Meters, Cyril Neville, and many more. Deluxe packaging houses a massive booklet with rare photos, liner notes, and track-by-track commentary.



A righteous undertaking of great magnitude, What It Is! Funky Soul and Rare Grooves trawls through a decade-long stretch of the Warner-distributed archive -- taking in the catalogs of Warner Bros., Atlantic, Reprise, Atco, and smaller nodes like Cotillion, Curtom, Alston, and Jonie -- and pulls up 80 soul/funk truffles, almost all of which were left for dead shortly after release. While many of these cuts have been repurposed as vital ingredients of hip-hop tracks, which has in turn fostered a voracious collector's market (it would cost a fortune to collect these songs in their original formats of release), the box is a leagues-deep trawl through an otherwise forgotten past. There are few well-known names on these four discs, but even they tend to be represented by selections that are not obvious. Curtis Mayfield's "(Don't Worry) If There's a Hell Below We're All Going to Go" is likely the best-known inclusion, and after a substantial number of cuts that can't be considered truly rare, there's a sudden drop into (sweet, sweet) oblivion -- unless you're of the small minority whose spines tingle at the sight of names like Grassella Oliphant and Rasputin's Stash. The chicken-scratch guitars, wild Hammond B-3 runs, group chants, and blaring horn punches are served by the dozens, but the box also illustrates an evolution that took place through the '70s. Since the sequencing is, for the most part, chronological, those changes are all the more perceptible. Funk Factory's "Rien Ne Va Plus" and Faze-O's "Riding High" churn and float slowly, steeped in synthesizers, electric pianos, and studio effects, while legions of artists have attempted to replicate the sound and spirit of Stanga's "Little Sister" and 6ix's "I'm Just Like You" -- two songs graced by the hands of Sly Stone in tripped-out, otherworldly There's a Riot Goin' On mode. It's not one big party, either. Check Baby Huey & the Baby Sitters' harrowing "Hard Times" (written and produced by Mayfield), where the poor and paranoid protagonist subsists on Spam and Oreos and keeps his curtains drawn so he won't see those who peer in on him. The themed playlists and imaginary compilations hiding within this compact box are innumerable, bound to take the average overthinking funk freak to new levels of nerd-dom. There are region-specific sets to be made, as well as sets with possible titles like Latin Funk and Flute Funk and The Early Arrangement and Production Work of the Late Arif Mardin, in addition to a remarkable batch of covers, a tight collection of instrumentals, and a not-very-exclusive list of tracks that have been sampled throughout the years. The accompanying booklet could be sold separately, as it contains scads of seldom-seen photos and scholarly track-by-track notes. Rhino also deserves applause for resisting the urge to house these discs in a massive synthetic afro or an oversized wah-wah pedal. You can snugly tuck this thing between your arm and chest and sense its power run through your whole body. Bring on a second set that extends past the disco era and involves the likes of Slave, Mass Production, Brides of Funkenstein, and Dinosaur.

Year of Release: 2006
Label: Rhino/Wea
Genre: Funk/Soul
Bitrate: 128kbps
File Format: .m4a



20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this! This is an amazing set.

Do you happen to have Disc 4 available also?

Thanks much

Paul said...

Many thanks for sharing. This looks excellent and worth investing in.

Zer0_II said...

Disc 4 is up now.. Enjoy

Anonymous said...

You got the best blog out there..thanks for putting in the effort. I hope this has the main samples from Paul's Boutique I have on tape from radio but don't know who dunnit.

Anonymous said...

only disc 2 works. please sir repost the others?

Zer0_II said...

That's odd that only the download for disc 2 was working. I reuploaded discs 1, 3 and 4 for you all. I'll go ahead and reupload disc 2 to mediafire for the hell of it in a couple of days.

J-Unit 1 said...

Great share Zer0. Loving it.

Anonymous said...

Nice set, thanks very much. Having problems with disc 4 #15 though. DLed a couple of times, but this one still is corrupt. Any chance of a re-up of the disc or just this song?
Cheers.

Anonymous said...

what a great collection of excellent and obscure funkness - excellent , thanks a lot

Viv said...

Thanks for posting this! Looks like a fantastic set. I got 1,3 &4, but 2 goes to an iFile page with instructions on how to download. I've tried it multiple times. Any chance of getting a mediafire link?

Anonymous said...

Same problem here (Disc 4-Track 15)...
metawirt

Zer0_II said...

I'll see what I can do about fixing the corrupt track on disc 4 and I will reupload disc 2 when I get home tonight

Zer0_II said...

I have reuploaded discs 2 and 4 for those who were having trouble. I also tested track 15 on disc 4 before adding it to the archive and uploading it, and it was working just fine. Please let me know if any of you encounter further problems. Enjoy!

zafar said...

Excellent work. Please post the others. Thanks in advance..

Anonymous said...

Still getting the D4/T15 error msg. & Dr. John is a personal favorite, but cheers & thanx anyway for your effort & devotion.

Zer0_II said...

I just checked the url for Disc 4. Apparently I didn't save the post whenever I added the new url for Disc 4. I have verified that track 15 is working, and I have posted the new url and ensure that the post is saved. If any of you download this, can you please report back to me and let me know if you had any problems?

Darjeeling said...

Zero -- DIsc 4 is fine now; no more Dr John problems.

Thanks for the post!

--Darjeeling

Anonymous said...

Disc 4 works just fine now. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

this set is killer, thanks for this man

willy wanka and the fudge packin factory said...

this blog and your unreleased horror movie soundtrack collection blog are insane, cant get enough of those tunes, thanks for your contribution