Funk Classics: The 80's

By the early '80s, R&B acts had to embrace more polished productions and synth-based grooves or face extinction. Without looking too hard for rare gems, Funk Classics: The 80's offers 12 of the better-known tracks from 1980-1988. What's here is really no big surprise: Rick James' "Super Freak," George Clinton's "Atomic Dog," and the Gap Band's "You Dropped a Bomb" all make an appearance. Their strength as a good flow makes up for their ubiquitous presence on sets of this nature. The Bar-Kays' "Freakshow on the Dancefloor," Skyy's "Call Me," and the always-fun "So Fine" from Howard Johnson work even better due to their lower profile. As the '80s were not a monolithic decade for R&B style-wise, neither is this set. The graceful post-disco of the Brothers Johnson's "Stomp!" just doesn't mesh with late-'80s tracks like E.U.'s "Da Butt" and Salt-n-Pepa's "Push It"; it doesn't really have to. Funk Classics: The 80's isn't meant to be an essential or comprehensive CD. This set does indeed deliver the hits, but there are not enough of them and the sequencing diminishes what little is here. ~ Jason Elias

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