8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2009
This was the eleventh release under the original Mastercuts legend and like many of the original releases in this series this really does represent a collection against which other similarly themed collections should be judged - and that remains the case over 15 years later.
The strength of the original Mastercuts collections lay in the fact that they very often managed to appear to feature records which had not been previously released or made widely available, and they were often compiled by individuals with a real understanding and appreciation of a particular genre. For 'Classic Rare Groove' the compiler was Dez Parkes, responsible for the earlier 'Rare' compilations which really sought to introduce 'Rare Groove' to a wider audience - and Dez Parkes is a man with a credible and proven love and interest in the music he plays. He also happens to be a very good DJ with an exceptionally large record collection (over 50,000 titles apparently) which reflects his continuing involvement with music.
In the accompanying liner notes Parkes provides a brief explanation as to what he understands the term 'Rare Groove' to mean: "something valued for its excellence or rarity...(a)...record unique...and totally incomparable to the norm".
And, broadly, that is the case with his choices. The irony is that nowmany of these records are better known and more widely available, but at the time of writing this wasn't the case. It opens with The Eighties Ladies' 'Turned on to You' (1981) before progressing to Faze-O's 'Riding High' (1977), an absolute classic slab of mellow funk. Leon Ware, an exceptionally talented artist involved in music since the mid-1960's (and remembered most widely for his involvement with Marvin Gaye's 'I Want You' project). 'Movin' in the Right Direction' by Steve Parks (1981) receives its first UK release here, and it is a record that just improves in stature as the years pass by. A particular highlight of this collection is the Keith Sweat produced track 'All I Want is My Baby' (1985) featuring the vocal talent of Roberta Gilliam. What really strikes the listener is the fact that this was issued prior to Sweat's bestselling 1987 debut album 'Make It Last Forever', and the production style is markedly different from the approach heard there, but it does point to the production style that he would adopt subsequently.
So. Do you buy?
If there is a weakness in the album it is the undoubtedly uneven nature of the material, which ranges in musical style - remember the common appellation is the word 'rare' - whilst other Mastercuts titles were issued around genres with a particular style of production which often made for a (generally) coherent listening experience. As such this might well be a title that is best suited to occasional sampling, rather than extended, 'single session' listening.
But even now, over 15 years later, this a collection worthy of the original 'Mastercuts' name, and is a worthwhile addition to any music collection.
In common with other titles in the series this was originally issued as a double vinyl pack, cd and music cassette. Despite being currently deleted it can still be found and purchased quite easily.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 4 October 2001
Funk fans & hip hop fans alike should enjoy this
album. Although the choice of tracks may be a
little obvious the quality can't be questioned!
Even if you've only got a passing interest in
funk you can't fail to enjoy such classics as
the Blackbyrds "Do it fluid" or Kool and the
Gang's dirty "Funky Stuff".
I'd almost say this album is worth buying for
one track alone - "Express Yourself" A J.B's
style peice of funk genius sampled by NWA for
their track of the same name.
In short the perfect starting place for novice
funkateers - all killers, no fillers