Or, fast grooves in the key of P--as in party.
Kurtis Blow's selection of early funk and disco classics begins with James Brown's Sex Machine-era revamp of "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" and keeps moving with both the sublime (the Isley Brothers' near-rock "Get into Something," Baby Huey's "Listen to Me") and the irresistibly cheesy (Rhythm Heritage's "Theme from S.W.A.T."--who knew?) before ending with the first rap record, 1979's "King Tim III (Personality Jock)" by Fatback.
Learning is fun: dig it. (Amazon)
The first volume of the three-part Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap is subtitled The Genesis, which means that it covers a period of time when rap was strictly a live art form and rarely made it to record.
That means, of course, that the disc is filled with funk records -- specifically ones with extended rhythm breaks and grooves that provided ideal instrumental backdrops for rappers. The Genesis leans toward the obscure, where even the most familiar names (James Brown, the Isley Brothers, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, the Jackson 5) are represented with unfamiliar songs, and the remainder of the compilation is filled with cult artists (Baby Huey, Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band, Black Heat, Rhythm Heritage). While many of these songs may be unfamiliar, there are beats and samples that have been popularized through sampling, which makes listening to the disc fascinating.
Unfortunately, it never becomes truly intoxicating, since it's a historical recording that's designed for education, not entertainment, but anyone interested in the birth of hip-hop will find it necessary listening. (AMG)
01. James Brown - Give It Up Or Turnit A Loose (In The Jungle Groove remix)
02. The Isley Brothers - Get Into Something
03. Booker T. & The M.G.'s - Melting Pot
04. Baby Huey - Listen To Me
05. Dennis Coffey & The Detroit Guitar Band – Scorpio
06. The Jimmy Castor Bunch - It's Just Begun
07. Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band – Apache
08. The Jackson 5ive - Hum Along And Dance
09. Black Heat - Love The Life You Live
10. Rhythm Heritage - Theme From S.W.A.T. (extended 7' version)
11. Herman Kelly & Life - Dance To The Drummer's Beat
12. Fatback - King Tim III (Personality Jock)