Ten years in the compiling by
the savvy archivists at Now-Again, Soul Cal collects fifteen ultra-rare
tracks recorded between 1971 and 1982 that shows vintage soul and funk’s
progression towards disco, sometimes splitting the difference between the two.
It’s packaged with a 5 ½” x 8″ 80-page book that details all the acts and has a
wealth of classic photos and flyers.
These acts are all, for the
most part, largely unknown outside of collector/DJ/soul-funk fanatic circles,
and all the tracks were all released on tiny, local and regional labels.
Eventually the well of worthy soul obscurities will run dry, but for now it’s
still flowing strong, as evidenced by the quality of material here.
Standout tracks like the
deliciously funky “Wake Up” by Pure Essence, the highly-sought after “You Can
Be a Star” by Luther Davis and the rough-but-smooth “It’s a Bad Feeling” by
Mixed Sugar will have soul fans in knots. Stanton Davis’ Ghetto Mysticism
flirts with prog funk on “Things Cannot Stop Forever,” disco is clearly just
around the corner via the metronomic bass line on “What It Takes To Live” by
Key & Cleary, and the C. Henry Woods Troupe folds some jazzy elements
into their long disco vamp “The Stranger.” “Keep Running Away” from Clifford
Nyren could easily have come from Kudu Records, the jazz-funk offshoot of CTI
Records. Several tracks evidence a sunny, positivist point of view, with titles
like “Put a Smile on Time” (Rhythm Machine), “Don’t Get Discouraged” (UPC All
Stars), “Love Is” (Leon Mitchison & The Eastex Freeway Band), “Free Your
Mind” (Record Player) and the ultra happy “Ecology” by Anubis and equally
up-beat “Sha-La-La” by Mixed Feelings. Soul Cal ends on the synth and
horn driven disco funk of “Get Down” by Freedom Express.
Taking a spin through Soul Cal is like a trip to another dimension where a jukebox full of great rarities
awaits the lucky traveler.
DOWNLOAD: “You Can Be a
Star,” “Wake Up,” “It’s a Bad Feeling,” “Keep Running Away,” “I’m Gonna Miss
You, Girl,” “Sha-La La.”