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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Pulp Fusion Series [Volumes 1 - 10]

Volume 1: Funky Jazz Classics & Original Breaks From The Tough Side
Despite the cash-in title, Pulp Fusion is an intriguing compilation of mostly obscure jazz tracks that have been sampled by hip-hop and dance musicians over the years. Besides the delight inherent in spotting the sample, the songs work excellently by themselves, including Herbie Hancock's "Hang Up Your Hang Ups," Reuben Wilson's version of "Inner City Blues," Lonnie Smith on "Afrodesia" and the Pointer Sisters' "Don't It Drive You Crazy."
1. Shifting Gears - Johnny Hammond
2. Chitterlings Con Carne - Pucho & His Latin Soul Brothers
3. Don't It Drive You Crazy - The Pointer Sisters
4. Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) - Reuben Wilson
5. First Come, First Serve - Ramon Morris
6. Melting Pot - Booker T. & The MG's
7. Every Time He Comes Around - Minnie Riperton
8. Burning Spear - S.O.U.L.9. Bump - George Freeman
10. Crab Apple - Idris Muhammad
11. Hang Up Your Hang Ups - Herbie Hancock
12. Afrodesia - Lonnie Smith

Volume 2: Return To the Tough Side
The Harmless label's Pulp Fusion series continues with a volume subtitled "Return to the Tough Side." It's much like the first volume in scope and selection, cherry-picking tracks that have often been sampled throughout the years by hip-hop buccaneers. That makes it an instant draw for crate-digging types, and it should also be attractive to those who want to reach further than the Shaft and Superfly soundtracks for their fix of funky '70s music. Bob James' "Nautilus," featuring one of the most frequently sampled breaks of all time, is included here, along with more adventurous cuts like Gary Bartz's "Celestial Blues," Herbie Hancock's "Wiggle Waggle," the Ramsey Lewis Trio's version of "Slippin' into Darkness," and Mandrill's "Fat City Strut." This is one of the best discs in the series.
1. Wiggle Waggle - Herbie Hancock
2. Dorado - Blue Mitchell
3. Knucklehead - Grover Washington, Jr.
4. Celestial Blues - Gary NTU Troop Bartz
5. Blow Your Whistle - Soul Searchers
6. Getaway - The Salsoul Orchestra
7. Slippin' into Darkness - Ramsey Lewis Trio
8. Bad Bad Simba - Levy O'Donel
9. Fat City Strut - Mandrill
10. Nautilus - Bob James
11. Right On - Clarence Wheeler & the Enforcers

Volume 3: Revenge Of The Ghetto Grooves
The third volume of Harmless' Pulp Fusion series (subtitled "Revenge of the Ghetto Grooves") isn't as exceptional as the first two volumes, containing more curiosities than outright classics. It's another mix of gritty soul, jazz-funk, and soul-jazz, with a couple selections taken from soundtracks (Dennis Coffey's "Theme From 'Black Belt Jones'"). The remainder could've been placed in Blaxploitation films with just as much ease. Highlights include Patrice Rushen's pre-crossover "Haw Right Now," Sonny Stitt's "Slick Eddie," Ike & Tina Turner's "Bold Soul Sister," Joe Thomas' version of Sly & the Family Stone's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)," and the Lafayette Afro Rock Band's "Darkest Light."
1. Joyous - Pleasure
2. Theme From "Black Belt Jones" - Dennis Coffey
3. Bold Soul Sister - Ike & Tina Turner
4. Slick Eddie - Sonny Stitt
5. Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin) - Joe Thomas
6. Africana - The Propositions
7. Haw-Right Now - Patrice Rushen
8. Like A Thief In The Night - Michael Longo
9. Dear Limmertz - Azymuth
11. Darkest Light - Lafayette Afro Rock Band
12. Magnetic Feel - Jack McDuff

Volume 4: Fully Loaded ******************************************************************************
For a compilation with this kind of scope, some of the expected characters -- Kool & the Gang, the Blackbyrds, Lonnie Liston Smith, Candido -- are on board, but not with the expected contributions. As always, the Pulp Fusion series digs deep, but not so deep that you end up regretting the purchase after a cursory listen. The series continues to have serious collectors of '70s jazz, funk, and soul in mind, but even those whose familiarity begins and ends with the Superfly soundtrack will be sufficiently pleased. Johnny Hammond's "Star Borne," Pleasure's "Bouncy Lady," Sound Experience's "Boogie Woogie," and most of the cuts from the above-mentioned artists are worth owning and loving.
1. Broasted or Fried - Willie Bobo and The Bo Gents
2. Gangster Boogie - Chicago Gangsters
3. Your Mama Wants Ya Back - Betty Davis
4. Afro Strut - The Nite-Liters
5. Hunk O'Funk - Jack McDuff
6. Matrix - Dizzy Gillespie
7. Easin' In - Edwin Starr
8. Sport - Lightin' Rod
9. I'm Not So Sure - Milt Jackson
10. Cloudburst - Frank Strazzeri
11. Miss Funky Fox - Exit 9
12. Love's So Far away - Donald Byrd

Volume 5: Evolution ******************************************************************************
The hippest set in the Pulp Fusion series -- and very aptly titled, because the cool selection of tracks really shows how much the funky jazz sample scene has shifted in the past few years! As with the others, the focus is on rare funky tracks that have shown up on hip hop records over the years -- and the cuts on here are some of the best of the genre, featuring funky numbers from the 70s that either haven't been widely reissued, or which are still pretty darn elusive in any format! Skye compiled the set, and it's just as hip as his fab volume to The Breaks -- with a total of 12 excellent cuts that include "Getting Uptown" by United 8, "Runaway" by The Blackbyrds, "Stepping Stones" by Johnny Harris, "Bouncy Lady" by Pleasure, "Star Borne" by Johnny Hammond, "Boogie Woogie" by Sound Experience, "Malcolm X" by Hal Singer, "Candido's Funk" by Candido, and "Dujii" by Kool & The Gang.
1. The Runaway - The Blackbyrds
2. Dujii - Kool & the Gang
3. Stepping Stones - Johnny Harris
4. Bouncy Lady - Pleasure
5. What Can You Bring Me? - Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
6. Getting Uptown (To Get Down) - United 8
7. Malcolm X - Hal "Cornbread" Singer
8. Boogie Woogie - Sound Experience
9. Candido's Funk - Candido
10. Fire Eater - Rusty Bryant
11.Cosmic Funk - Lonnie Liston Smith, The Cosmic Echoes
12. Star Borne - Johnny Hammond

Volume 6: Magnum ******************************************************************************
Any disc with Pam Grier on the cover is worth owning, such as the sixth volume of Harmless' Pulp Fusion series. Compared to the five compilations that preceded it, this volume falls somewhere in the middle of the pack, with some by-now regular contributors -- namely Pleasure and Mandrill -- surrounded by groups that chip in with tracks that deserve to be heard more often. (If anything, Pulp Fusion is not your average rare soul/jazz/funk series.) Standouts here include Wood Brass & Steel's "Theme Song," Freddie Hubbard's "Povo," the Fatback Band's "Goin' to See My Baby," and Johnny Griffith Inc.'s "Grand Central Shuttle." Again, this series has neither beginners nor dabblers in mind.
1. Evolution - Magnum
2. Fensewak - Mandrill
3. Scrossword Puzzle - Sly Stone
4. Goin' To See My Baby - The Fatback Band
5. Theme Song - Wood, Brass & Steel
6. The Worm - Jimmy McGriff
7. Turn Off The Lights - Larry Young's Fuel
8. Let's Dance - Pleasure
9. Pick Up The Pieces - A.A.B.B
10. Grand Central Shuttle - Jonny Griffith, Inc
11. VJC - Clifford Coulter
12. Povo - Freddie Hubard

Volume 7: The Harder They Come ******************************************************************************
With six volumes now in its wake, the Pulp Fusion series continues with little drop in quality, evidenced by another round of obscure and thoughtful pickings from the soul, jazz, and funk of the '70s. Kool & the Gang's "Electric Frog," Gordon Staples & the Motown Strings' "Strung Out," Harlem Underground's "Smokin' Cheeba Cheeba," Grant Green's "In the Middle," and the Beginning of the End's "When She Made Me Promise" are featured. As always, oft-sampled breaks are in effect, along with a number of notable cuts that you rarely see on compilations that only skim the top off this territory.
1. Straussmania - Salinas
2. Electric Frog (Part 1) - Kool & The Gang
3. In The Middle - Grant Green
4. A Joyful Process - Funkadelic
5. Smokin Cheeba Cheeba - Harlem Underground Band
6. The Fuzz And Da Boog - Fuzzy Haskins
7. Corey Died On The Battlefield - The Wild Magnolias
8. Dirty Red - The Fabulous Counts
9. Dance - George Benson
10. The Watts Breakaway - Johnny Otis
11. When She Made Me Promise - The Beginning Of The End
12. Strung Out - Gordon Staples

Volume 8: Revival Boogie Down ******************************************************************************
Through its seventh volume, Harmless' Pulp Fusion series was the domain of mostly '70s soul, funk, and any form of jazz incorporating soul or funk. Technically, the eighth volume of the series but not indicated as such, this set -- subtitled Revival Boogie Down -- shifts to the late '70s and early '80s, when synthesizers and drum programming began to play increased roles in black club music. This volume is also different from its predecessors in that it offers a mix on one disc (by DJ Pogo) and most of the tracks from the mix in unmixed form on a second disc. Most of the tracks picked have made appearances on several other compilations, such as Thump's Old School and a handful of discs put together by major DJs (such as Azuli's excellent Choice: A Collection of Classics series), but the set is attractive enough to make the possible overlap a small issue (unless, of course, you have most of the tracks on it). Pogo doesn't always go the obvious route with the groups he features -- Loose Ends contributes "Gonna Make You Mine" instead of the more popular "Hangin' On a String (Contemplating)," and Roy Ayers' "Love Will Bring Us Back Together" instead of "Running Away." Whether you're a novice or a hardcore collector of this era, the whole thing is plenty enjoyable. The only difference in the track selection between the two discs: Players Association's "Turn the Music Up" appears on the unmixed disc but not on the mix, while Lyn Collins' "Think (About It)" appears on the mix but not on the unmixed disc.
CD 1
1. Wish & Fonda Rae - Tuch Me
2. Unlimited Touch - I Hear Music in the Streets
3. Herbie Hancock - You Bet Your Love
4. Lyn Collins - Think (About It)
5. Vaughan Mason and Crew - Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll
6. Jimmy "Bo" Horne - Dance Across the Floor
7. Cameo - Candy
8. Marva Whitney - It's My Thing
9. Loose Ends - Gonna Make You Mine
10. One Way - Mr. Groove
11. David Joseph - You Can't Hide (Your Love from Me)
12. Roy Ayers - Love Will Bring Us Back Together
13. Parliament - Flashlight

CD 2
1. Parliament - Flashlight
2. Cameo - Candy
3. Unlimited Touch - I Hear Music in the Streets
4. Vaughan Mason and Crew - Bounch, Rock, Skate, Roll
5. David Joseph - You Can't Hide (Your Love from Me)
6. Loose Ends - Gonna Make You Mine
7. Wish & Fonda Rae - Tuch Me
8. Herbie Hancock - You Bet Your Love
9. Raw Silk - Do It to the Music
10. Roy Ayers - Love Will Bring Us Back Together
11. The Players Association - Turn the Music Up
12. Jimmy "Bo" Horne - Dance Across the Floor
14. Marva Whitney - It's My Thing

Volume 9: Bustin Loose ******************************************************************************
One of the hippest sets ever in the Pulp Fusion series -- an amazing collection of rare funky tracks that goes past the obvious 70s classics on other volumes! This double-length volume is the work of Monk-One -- who's clearly willing to dig a bit deeper than most, and come up with fresh tunes that really re-ignite the series, and show us why it's been one of the most trusted funky collections around for years. There's loads of rare nuggets here -- and cuts include "Shack Up" by Banbarra, "Keep On Dancing" by Alvin Cash, "Up Above The Rock" by Ray Bryant, "El Jardia" by Johnny Pate, "Hercules" by Aaron Neville, "Inner City Blues" by Sarah Vaughan, "Take Me With You" by Lyn Christopher, "Keep It Up" by Milton Wright, "Gengis" by Chico Hamilton, "Fried Chicken" by Rufus Thomas, "Submission" by Tyrone Washington, "Through It All There's You" by Robert Palmer, "Senga" by Manu Dibango, "Black Water Gold" by African Music Machine, "Reach Out" by Lee Moses, and "Happy Man" by Latin Blues Band.
CD 1
1. Ray Bryant - Up Above The Rock
2. Bobby’s Franklin’s Insanity - Bring it on Down
3. Memphis Black - Why Don’t You Play That Organ, Man
4. African Music Machine - Black Water Gold
5. The Latin Blues Band feat. Luis Aviles - (I’ll Be a) Happy Man
6. Lee Moses - Reach Out
7. Alvin Cash - Keep on Dancing
8. Fred Wesley - Blow You Head
9. Banbarra - Shak Up
10. James Brown - Papa Don’t Take No Mess

CD 2
1. Johnny Pate - El Jardia
2. Sarah Vaughan - Inner City Blues
3. Aaron Neville - Hercules
4. Milton Wright - Keep It Up
5. Lyn Christopher - Take Me With You
6. Chico Hamilton - Gengis
7. Manu Dibango - Senga
8. Rufus Thomas - Fried Chicken
9. Tyrone Washington - Submission
10. Robert Palmer - Throught It All There’s You

Volume 10: Africa Funk ******************************************************************************
One of the heaviest volumes ever of the legendary Pulp Fusion series -- a double-length set that has them copping a lot of grooves from the Africa Funk collections! The 2CD package is overflowing with great Afro Funk bits from the 70s onwards -- not just key numbers from the African scene, but also titles recorded farther afield -- in the US, UK, and beyond, as sounds and styles really started to open up a lot more! Most of these numbers are heavy on percussion and bass, and feature a good bit of heavy horns as well -- and the 2CD set features 20 tracks that include "Time Will Tell" by Ice, "Ajo" by Pete King, "African Rhythms" by Oneness Of Juju, "Malik" by Lafayette Afro Rock Band, "Fire" by Osibisa, "Bla" by Massak, "African Boogie" by Manu Dibango, "El Safari" by Javi P3Z Orchestra, "Ole" by The Funkees, "Precious Mother" by Bukkky Leo, "Karam Bani" by Buari, "Uprising Uprising (parts 1 & 2)" by Antibalas, "Road Cose (dance dub)" by Tony Allen, "Africa" by Steele Beautah, "Na Waya" by Ghetto Blaster, and "I Feel Funky" by Matata.
CD 1
1. Oneness Of JuJu - African Rhythms
2. Pete King - Ajo
3. Lafayette Afro-Rock Band - Malik
4. Lafayette Afro-Rock Band - Racubah
5. Mulatu of Ethiopia - Yegelle Tezeta
6. Osibisa - Fire
7. Massak - B.L.A.
8. Manu Dibango - African Boogie
9. Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra - Uprising Uprising (Parts 1 & 2)
10. Tony Allen - Road Close

CD 2
1. Steele Beautah - Africa
2. Manu Dibango - African Carnival
3. Ghetto Blaster - Na Waya
4. Mombasa - Nairobi
5. Buari - Karam Bani
6. Matata - I Feel Funky
7. The Funkees - Ole
8. Javi P3Z Orquesta - El Safari
9. Ice - Time Will Tell


All reviews are from:
Dusty Groove America
All Music Guide