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Funk's last gasp.....
on May 24, 2002
Troutman and Zapp, along with Lakeside, the SOS Band, the Gap Band, Cameo, Rick James and a few others.....represent the last funk bands to really make an impact on the R&B charts. Between 1980 and 1983, these bands were going strong.....until r&b began to change in 1984 (for the worse, in my opinion), and soul music has never really been the same since. But just prior to those terrible trend changes in the mid-80s, Roger Troutman was making some incredibly creative funk music which ruled the r&b radio stations of the early 80s.
I remember back in high school that I was one of the few white kids who even knew who Zapp was, but if you were an avid r&b listener like I was and attended high school in the early 80s, you couldn't miss Zapp's original approach. Troutman's synthesized voice (which, as I found out when I saw Troutman and Zapp live, was created by a tube-like device he sang through.....it was attached to a keyboard) was unlike anything ever heard before.
While it's true that Zapp represents some of the annoying aspects of funk's trend to become "digitized" in the 80s, overall they are an incredibly unique group, and the tunes on this disc represent their best. On several tracks, they prove that they had legitimate talent, and did not just depend on electronic gimmicks for effect. There is some terrific singing and amazing guitar in many of these tunes (check out "Do It Roger" and "Doo Waa Ditty".....too bad we're missing "Playin' Kinda Ruff"). Any collector of funk should at the very least own a copy of this compilation......the sampler is complete enough that it may be all you need. You can always go for the original albums later, but I'd recommended starting with this disc and see if it's enough for you.
And like the other reviewers, I think the re-mixes are unnecessary, but it doesn't take away from the disc overall.