Two LPs from the beginning of the 70s assembled on an almost 20 years old reprint, which are still available.
Funk Inc was an interesting band with one foot planted in the soul-inspired organ jazz and the other in the 70 African-American funk music. The quintet consisted of 5 members: Bobby Watley on organ, Jimmy Munford on drums, Steve Weakley on guitar, Gene Barr on tenor sax and Cecil Hunt on congas. There is no bass - just like the 60s many organ jazz groups.
The first lp "Hangin 'Out" (from 1972) recorded by none other than Rudy Van Gelder and the group is on selected tracks extended with Gordon Edwards on bass. This is the case on the opening number "Smokin At Tiffany's", which in the 90s was a kind of hit in acid jazz circles. It is followed by "Give Me Your Love" from Curtis Mayfield "Superfly", where guitarist Steve Weakley indulges in extended acid-soul solos. Later he is also featured as soloist on an instrumental version of "I Can See Clearly Now" where he plays completely different with improvisations in the style of, for example, Kenny Burrell.
There are also a few vocal numbers sung by Watley and Mumford.
Their soulful vocals is more used on the next album, "Super Funk" (from 1973), produced by David Axelrod. Although not shown in the linernotes there is some studio musicians on this album, including Johnny "Guitar" Watson, who plays bass. It is a more organic record than "Hangin 'Out" and at the same time a little dark and mysterious. There is also a mixture of original songs and copy versions. But as true jazz improvisers their interpretations are rather unique.
It is a mystery why this album has not achieved cult status like "Shaft," "Superfly" or "What's Going On." This album is unique and timeless and it seems to me that Funk Inc has been a kind of pioneers for whom the word underrated is just an useless cliché.