Album Review: Country Funk: 1969-1975 by Various Artists
Exceptionally Good, Based on 4 Critics
Rolling Stone - 100 Based on rating 5/5
This post-hippie country sampler features Nashville stars (Mac Davis, Bobbie Gentry), 1950s holdovers, and self-released space cadets working out humid hybrids of California singer-songwriting, Memphis soul and Cajun gumbo. Per Dennis the Fox in "Piledriver," it's "a high-steppin', side-steppin' life outside you ain't never seen." .
"I wanna dedicate this song to the three cities that I had the pleasure of recording this tune in. Give a listen and you'll hear 'em." That's Dale Hawkins introducing "L.A. Memphis Tyler Texas," the heraldic lead-off track on Light in the Attic's new compilation, Country Funk 19691-1975. Those cities are an awfully long way from each other, but Hawkins' song makes up the miles with its feisty Bluff City horns, gritty Texas guitars, and glitzy Hollywood groove.
Intrepid record label Light in the Attic offers us another theme-based compilation we didn't know we needed until they did it. Previous examples, Listen Whitey! The Sounds of Black Power 1967-1974, the two volumes of Thai Funk, and Our Lives Are Shaped by What We Love: Motown's MoWest Story 1971-73 to name a few, were standard bearers; they highlighted essential sounds few but collectors owned. Country Funk: 1969-1975 brings together 16 sides from the catalogs of artists well-known and marginal, whose works all share mercurial qualities: their Southern rural roots actively engage emergent funk.
Country Funk wasn’t ever a thing, not really anyway. It’s not some long-forgotten part of music history, or a subgenre that’s been buried by time. The term “country funk” wasn’t really on anybody’s lips as we transitioned from the ‘60s into the ‘70s. And yet, here we’re presented with Country Funk 1969-1975, a new compilation from Light in the Attic, a label that knows quite a bit about reissuing classic material and putting together compelling compilations.