Jamaicans did funk – despite Toots’ little heard assertion on Funky Kingston that he “ain’t got none”. Few seemed to notice the delights of funk as played by reggae musicians in the early 70s when the bulk of this collection was made but, over the past decade or so, DJs such as the compilers here have explored its groove, which is frequently more laidback than funk laid down elsewhere.
The selection is effective if, inevitably, quite diverse in style. Some of the better known tracks are barely funk at all, such as Count Machuki’s Pepper Pot, a cut of The Maytals’ Don’t Trouble Trouble, and Tony Scott’s Liquidator, What Am I To Do – both of which sound suspiciously like the skinhead classics they have always been; funky fo’ sho, but not funk. In the mysterious and rootsy department, there’s Family Man’s Soul Constitution, originally a 45 on Pee (you couldn’t make it up, but you don’t have to) and Hortense Ellis’ fierce reading of Woman Of The Ghetto, Byron Lee, used to playing for dancing tourists, offers two killers; a makeover of Express Yourself and Hot Reggae, which borrows from James Brown’s Make It Funky. Alt funk; not mainstream, but worth experiencing.