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Southern Groove – Hotlanta, Aware & Clintone Funk & Soul

Reviewed by Heikki Suosalo

Rating: 7/ 10

(BGP, CDBGPD 3104; 22 tracks, 74 min.)

  Southern Groove – Hotlanta, Aware & Clintone Funk & Soul (BGP, CDBGPD 310; track listing at; 74 min.; notes by Dean Rudland) presents mostly funky tracks from the catalogues of General Recording Corporation (GRC) and its affiliated labels in the first half of the 1970s.  Only seven of the 22 tracks on display were released at the time.  Michael Thevis (1932-2013), the “scarface of porn”, ran the operations in Atlanta, Georgia, but they came to an end in the mid-1970s, when this former king of peep-shows was arrested and finally convicted of murders.

  When listening to these tracks, my first observation was that – notwithstanding other merits in the business – all those gifted figures were not good singers – e.g. David Camon, Floyd Smith – or they just had a bad or slack day.  On the other hand, a surprisingly big number of great vocalists was mousetrapped.  There were the dynamic Loletta Holloway (Only a Fool, The World Don’t Owe You Nothin’), the sometimes mischievous Jimmy Lewis (When I Build My World), the bluesoulful C.L. Blast (Husband-In-Law) and, above all, the remarkable John Edwards (Time) – not forgetting of course Joe Hinton or Bill Brandon, who covers here Claim Jumpin’, which he co-wrote together with Sam Dees, who also cut this steaming song, as well as John Edwards.

  Getting back to basics, this compilation features mainly funk and dance acts, and I’m sure that all the followers of this genre appreciate hard-hitting and down-to-earth tracks by Maggabrain, Family Plann, Ripple and – personal favourite – a fast and innovative, jazzy instrumental called Checkmate by the Ebony Godfather.

© Heikki Suosalo

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