A budget-priced collection of relatively obscure, late 20th century funk, soul, jazz, R&B and soul tunes from the States. Funk Soul Brothers ploughs the same furrow as Music Club's fairly well-liked compilation of 1998: Stone Cold Funk. Standout tracks are: Aaron Neville's 'Hercules'; Curtis Mayfield's 'Freddie's Dead'; S.O.U.L.'s 'Soul Part 1 & 2'; Jimmy McGriff's 'The Bird', and Bobby Womack with 'You're Welcome, Stop On By'. But it doesn't quite manage to maintain that quintet's quality consistently over its 67 minutes. Upbeat efforts from Ripple, Moody Scott and Sir Joe Quarterman & Free Soul provide only passable imitations of the trailblazing efforts of James Brown, The JBs, and Sly & The Family Stone; and whilst a pair of laidback early 1980s tracks from label-mates Roy Ayers and Sylvia Striplin are undoubtedly impressive, their smooth synth sounds feel distinctly out of synch on a compilation dominated by earthy numbers from the early 1970s.
Despite that spottiness, it is difficult to deny the influence these 16 (rare) grooves have had on pop culture. As Ian McCann points out in his brief, but informative sleeve note this stuff has been sampled - or "borrowed" to use his cute phrase - to give a killer beat to a large number of artists' works, including: Mary J. Blige; Special Ed; Blackalicious; 3rd Bass; UTFO; Naughty By Nature; Backstreet Boys; Soul II Soul; Big Daddy Kane; Cypress Hill; Organised Konfusion; DJ Shadow; A Tribe Called Quest; Del Tha Funkee Homosapien; Gang Starr, and Redman.