Soul Power ~ Funky Kingston 2
Trojan Records
August 14, 2005

Track list
  1. Soul Power - Nicky Thomas
  2. Make It Reggae - Shark Wilson & The Basement Heater
  3. Time Passage - Ken Boothe & The Cimarons
  4. (I Can't Get Enough Of That) Reggae Stuff - Matumbi
  5. Sticky Fingers - Jamaica Jam
  6. All Things Change - King Sporty
  7. Keep Stepping - The Cimarons
  8. The Change - Greyhound
  9. Kinky Fly - Bunny Scott & Lee Perry
  10. Freak - Tapper Zukie
  11. Slow Rock - Laurel Aitken
  12. Penguin Funk - Mike Dorane & The Cimarons
  13. Funky Buttercup - The Chosen Few
  14. Get Up Stand Up - The Chequers
  15. Uppity Up Y'All - Bruce Ruffin
  16. The Message - Tinga Stewart
  17. You're The One - Greyhound
  18. The Ghetto - Mike Dorane
  19. We're Not The Same - The Cimarons
  20. Give Me Some More - The Studio Sound
  21. Don't Let Me Down - King Sporty
  22. Spinning Wheel - Horace Faith
  23. Why Can't We Live - The Chosen Few
  24. Meditation - Annetta Jackson
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 5
If you are into Hamilton Bohannon music, with hard, flexing conscious funk tunes like the raw percussive spaciousness of "Bohannon's Beat", this album is going to move you -- If Brother Soul's existential funk of "Life Is Like A Maze" and the loneliness of Sir Joe's "So Much Trouble In My Mind" meant anything to you, you'll love this new Trojan release. If the Motion album "Out On A Funky Trip: Soul and Reggae from Randy's 1970 to 1975" was a major album for you last year with its rare groove styles, then you'll enjoy this album too.

If you grew up with tunes like the JB's "Cross The Tracks", Fred Wesley's "Blow Your Head" -- as well as hardcore Shaka white labels and Coxsonne tunes -- you'll understand the vibe of this album.

This is where the sound of this new Trojan release is coming from: it's a strong combination of aggressive and focussed conscious funk with a Kingston take on the drum and the bass.

Some people back in the early 80's referred to these vibes as "Shaka funk" -- It's obvious why.

A stand out track here is the cover version of The Watts 103rd Street Band, "Express Yourself", with its sheer optimism and joyful lust for life.

The Nicky Thomas tune here, "Soul Power" is not a cut to the famous JB's/Fred Wesley tune, but rather what sounds like an early Bunny Lee style -- Think Johnny Clarke’s "Enter Into His Gates" meets Maceo Parker and Hank Ballard : it's a tough funk groove with a flying cymbal and a tight, light snare touch.

Bunny Scott & Lee Perry's "Kinky Fly" is characteristically eccentric. The Studio Band's "Give Me Some More" is a cut to the classic Fred Wesley and the JB’s tune, and retains all the original's confident and assertive physical power, fusing it with a Tommy Mcook style horns meditation -- The vibes are very similar in the horns section on Upsetter's "Cloak And Dagger" though, obviously with a more up tempo funk groove.

Another cover version of "Get Up Stand Up" would seem an utterly pointless exercise-- but this version doesn’t slavishly copy the original, but rather comes across in a meditative style, sounding similar to Hamilton Bohannon's percussive 45, "South African Man."

If you are heavily into focussed tight and hard funk -- albeit with a JA vibe -- this is an album to check out.