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  • What It Is!  Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977)
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What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977)

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Audio CD, October 3, 2006
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What It Is!  Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977) + Cold Heat: Heavy Funk Rarities 1: 1968-1974
Price for both: $57.84

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Funk emerged in the 1960s, a scorching sound that amped up the legacy of R&B and doo-wop in spirit and sonic intensity, and became the precursor of hip-hop which in fact revived funk for a new generation via sampling. While major artists topped the charts with funk hits throughout the '60 s & '70s, there were, hundreds of smaller songs, notes music journalist Oliver Wang in his liners, for whom 'airplay' rarely got better than hissing out of a rusted jukebox or crackling through the static on AM radio.WHAT IT IS! celebrates this heady, groove-heavy strain of gut bucket funk that remains a major force in American music. A 4-disccompendium that would take incalculable hours to collect in dusty bins at disappearing record shops, this box is culled mostly from the treasure-filled vaults of Atlantic, Atco, and Warner Bros. Records. It's an unprecedented shadow history of funk, pulling together rare sides from well-known artists and definitive funk grooves from lesser-known but supremely gifted masters of the art form alike.

Too many reissue compilations are content to merely slice 'n' dice familiar catalog choices in not particularly original ways. But this four-disc, 91-track trove of obscure '70s R&B and funk from Warner-distributed labels great and small argues there's still treasure to be gleaned from studio vaults--a five-hour groove-fest that's as interested in shaking booty as in opening ears. Even the genre's groundbreaking usual suspects (Wilson Pickett, the Bar-Kays, Curtis Mayfield, Earth, Wind & Fire, et al) are represented by selections that aren't immediately familiar, while Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin serves up a radically different, previously unreleased take of "Rock Steady." Still other stars contribute their sonic touches to some of the lesser-known cuts, as witnessed by the patent trippiness of Sly Stone alter-egos 6ix and Stanga on "I'm Just Like You" and "Little Sister," respectively; the stark, party-not-so-hearty contrast of the Mayfield-written-and-produced "Hard Times" by Baby Huey & Baby Sisters; and the Meters' version of "Tampin'," released under the moniker of the Rhine Oaks.

Sequenced in rough chronological order, it's a savvy window into a musical evolution as well, with the rhythmic guitars, organ swells, and horn flourishes of traditional '60s R&B giving way to sinewy synths and increasingly chunky bass lines as the decade grooves on. While savvy hip-hoppers will note that many of the rarities here have already been repurposed by shrewd mixers, it's a revelation to hear them in their original form. A compelling deconstruction of an often clichéd and too-narrowly-defined genre, this is an anthology that showcases music that has influenced such contemporary artists as Tupac, the Beastie Boys, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West, annotated by many of the original musicians who set the dance floor in motion. --Jerry McCulley

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Spreadin' Honey (2006 Remastered Version)The Watts 103rd. Street Rhythm Band 2:24$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Soul Finger (2006 Remastered Version)The Bar-Kays 2:21$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. The Shadow Of Your Smile (2006 Remastered Version)Jack McDuff 3:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Gangster Of Love [Parts I & II]Jimmy Norman 4:09Album Only
listen  5. The Memphis Train (Single/LP Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Rufus Thomas 2:33$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Get Out Of My Life Woman (2006 Remastered Version)Grassella Oliphant Quartet 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Live Right Now (7" Edit Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Eddie Harris 2:49$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Pig Snoots, Part I (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Natural Bridge Bunch 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Soul Sound System (2006 Remastered Version)The Freedom Sounds Featuring Wayne Henderson 5:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Snatching It Back (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Clarence Carter 2:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Stoned Soul (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Artie Christopher 1:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Getting The Corners (2006 Remastered Version)The T.S.U. Toronadoes 2:27Album Only
listen13. Sexy Coffee Pot (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Tony Alvon & The Belairs 2:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Don't Come Around Here Anymore (2006 Remastered Version)Mark Putney 2:42Album Only
listen15. Keep On Dancing (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)The Commodores 2:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Right On Brother Part 1 (2006 Remastered Version)Southshore Commission 2:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Pop, Popcorn Children (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Eldridge Holmes 2:53$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen18. It's Your Thing (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Cold Grits 2:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen19. It's All In Your Mind (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Soul Angels 2:48Album Only
listen20. Funky John (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Johnny Cameron & The Camerons 2:46$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen21. Help Me Make Up My Mind (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Joyce Jones 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen22. Rock Me Baby (2006 Remastered Version)Lou Johnson 2:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen23. Sing A Simple Song (Single/LP Version) (2006 Remastered Version)The Noble Knights 2:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen24. Do You Dig It (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Titus Turner 2:11Album Only
listen25. Funky Canyon (2006 Remastered Version)Phil Moore, Jr. 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen26. Jan Jan (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)The Fabulous Counts 2:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen27. Tampin (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)The Rhine Oaks 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen28. Gossip (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Cyril Neville 2:36Album Only
listen29. Somebody In The World For You (2006 Remastered Version)The Mighty Hannibal 2:54$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen30. Stanga (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Little Sister 3:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen31. Jumpin' Jack Flash (2006 Remastered Version)Ananda Shankar 3:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen32. The Deacon (2006 Remastered Version)Brute Force 4:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen33. Sookie, Sookie (2006 Remastered Version)Don Covay 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen34. Right OnClarence Wheeler and the Enforcers 4:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen35. (Don't Worry) If There Is A Hell Below, We're All Going To Go (Single Edit) (2006 Remastered Version)Curtis Mayfield 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen36. Stepping Stones (From the Columbia Film 'Fragment Of Fear') (2006 Remastered Version)Johnny Harris 5:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen37. I'm Just Like You (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)6ix 3:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen38. Funky Thing-Part I (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)The Unemployed 3:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen39. Messie Bessie (2006 Remastered Version)Shirley Scott 4:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen40. Fairchild (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Willie West 3:20Album Only
listen41. Cold Bear (2006 Remastered Version)The Gaturs 2:55Album Only
listen42. I Can't Get Next To You (2006 Remastered Version)Mongo Santamaria 2:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen43. Feelin' Alright (2006 Remastered Version)Lulu 3:00$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen44. Soul Bowl (2006 Remastered Version)The Memphis Horns 3:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen45. Tuane (2006 Remastered Version)Hammer 3:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen46. Take It Off - Part II (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Johnny Tolbert & De Thangs 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen47. Seeds Of Life (2006 Remastered Version)Harlem River Drive feat. Eddie Palmieri & Jimmy Norman 5:09Album Only
listen48. Engine Number 9 (Single Edit) (2006 Remastered Version)Wilson Pickett 2:50$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen49. Hard Times (2006 Remastered Version)Baby Huey & The Baby Sitters 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen50. What So Never The Dance - Pt. 1 & 2 (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Houseguests 3:59$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen51. Headless Heroes (2006 Remastered Version)Eugene McDaniels 3:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen52. Spinning Wheel (2006 Remastered Version)Wade Marcus 3:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen53. Bad Tune (2006 Remastered Version)Earth Wind & Fire 4:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen54. Mr. Cool (2006 Remastered Version)Rasputin's Stash 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen55. Don't Cha Hear Me Callin' To Ya (2006 Remastered Version)Junior Mance 5:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen56. Hang On In There (2006 Remastered Single Version)The Stovall Sisters 3:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen57. Funky Nassau, Part 2 (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)The Beginning Of The End 1:58$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen58. Whatever's Fair (2006 Remastered Version)Mark Holder & The Positives 2:35$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen59. Face It (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Ed Robinson 2:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen60. Wah Wah Man (2006 Remastered Version)Young-Holt Unlimited 3:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen61. Rock Steady (Alternate Mix)Aretha Franklin 4:30$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen62. Won't Nobody Listen (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Black Haze Express 4:15Album Only
listen63. Goin' Down (2006 Remastered Version)Allen Toussaint 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen64. Suavecito (Single Edit Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Malo 3:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen65. You Gotta Know Whatcha Doin' (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Charles Wright 3:58$0.69  Buy MP3 
listen66. Mojo Hannah (2006 Remastered Version)Tami Lynn 3:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen67. Ridin' Thumb (2006 Remastered Version)King Curtis 3:10$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen68. Almendra (2006 Remastered Version)MacOndo 3:45$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen69. Nuki Suki (2006 Remastered Single Version)Little Richard 5:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen70. Getting Uptown To Get Down (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)United 8 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen71. 8 Days On The Road (2006 Remastered Version)Howard Tate 2:40$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen72. Moon Shadow (Edit) (2006 Remastered Version)LaBelle 4:25$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen73. Let It Crawl (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Society's Bag 2:37$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen74. Wanaoh (2006 Remastered Version)Black Heat 3:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen75. It Was Good Enough For Daddy (2006 Remastered Version)Clarence Reid 3:02$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen76. Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (2006 Remastered Version)Claudia Lennear 3:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen77. Cosmic Sea (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Mystic Moods 2:37Album Only
listen78. Kissing My Love (2006 Remastered Version)Cold Blood 6:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen79. Flute Thing (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Seatrain 3:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen80. Chug Chug Chug-A-Lug (Push 'N Shove) Part II (2006 Remastered Single Version)The Meters 3:29$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen81. Funky To The Bone (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Freddi Henchi & Soul Setters 2:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen82. Try It Again (Single Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Bobby Byrd 3:36Album Only
listen83. Teasin'Cornell Dupree 3:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen84. (Everybody Wanna Get Rich) Rite Away (2006 Remastered Version)Dr. John 2:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen85. Chicken Heads (2006 Remastered Version)Oscar Brown, Jr. 2:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen86. Rien Ne Va Plus (2006 Remastered Version)Funk Factory - Michael Urbaniak 5:13$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen87. Cajun Moon (Single Edit) (2006 Remastered Version)Herbie Mann feat. Cissy Housten 3:08$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen88. Improve (2006 Remastered Version)Darrow Fletcher 2:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen89. Riding HighFaze-O 5:19$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen90. Four Play (D.J. Promo 45 Edit Version) (2006 Remastered Version)Fred Wesley & The Horny Horns Featuring Maceo Parker 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen91. California Dreamin' (Single Edit) (2006 Remastered Version)Eddie Hazel 4:04$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 3, 2006)
  • Original Release Date: 2006
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Label: Rhino
  • ASIN: B000GIWS4W
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,575 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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66 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Moses Gunn on January 2, 2007
Format: Audio CD
So, I was pretty excited about this box set, but I must admit, I'm a little disappointed, mainly with some horrible edits. I guess you run this risk with most box sets, but some of the edits just broke my heart. The worst of them all was the chop job they did with Curtis' "Don't Worry...". I don't really consider this song a "rare groove," considering it's the lead song on his greatest hits cd, which is very easy to find. The edit of Eddie Hazel's "California Dreamin'" was pretty bad too; "Games, Dames and Guitar Thangs" has been rereleased, pick it up. Please. Also, "Funky Nassau, pt. 2"? Why? It's not even 2 minutes long, and pales in comparison to Part 1. Not a good representation of Beginning of the End's work.

All right, enough of my griping. I just love long, drawn-out jams, and absolutely loathe edits. But this box set does have some really awesome stuff going for it. Faze-O's "Riding High" is superb, as is "Stepping Stones" by Johnny Harris. "Cosmic Sea" by the Mystic Moods is really great too. I'll admit that I've never heard of 90% of this stuff, and most of it is reall good. I just have to skip over those edits...

But in my own opinion, if you want more bang for your buck, go with the Superfly Soul series. You can get all 3 2-cd sets for less than you'll pay for this 4-cd set, and I think the music choice is superior. And they actually have some rare, unedited Curtis, like "Billy Jack" and "Big Mac."
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Frierson on February 9, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This set right here could very well be the holy grail of rare and hard to find grooves. This box set is funkier than a high school locker room! Every track on here is certified stank(aka funky). The most amazing thing about these tracks is that they capture the spirit of the times better than a lot of their more popular comtemporaries(at least in my opinion). "What it is" feels like an audio documentary of underdogs making the funkiest music and having a great time doing it. If you listen to how these tracks are sequenced, you'll feel like a story is being told - rather than just listening to another compliamation of vintage r&b music.

I'm only 25 years old. Every time I play this set, I feel like I'm at a 70's block party, chillin' in a long black cadillac fleetwood and scoping out some foxy mamas with hot pants and thigh high leather boots
(that's how good the music sounds). With 20 plus tracks each per disc, you can't help but be amazed with the consistent quality of the music.

All I gotta say is buy this set and let the funk be your guide to love, happiness, and your rites of passage to throw it on down and dance your
a-- off!!! If you ain't diggin on this, you're diggin a hole for yourself!

Long live the funk baby!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Katherine McCarthy on December 22, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I counted - I had heard 5 of these songs previously. A couple, "Keep On Dancing" and "Sookie, Sookie" I'd heard as covers by garage bands. Many of the performers catalog I thought I knew. WRONG! This collection bubbles and percolates and keeps on keepin' on for the duration. If you love funky soul music, or music period, this is a very worthy collection. I fully intend on having the Curtis Mayfield song about seeing you in Hell played at my funeral. I know all my friends will be joining me there. Great job, Rhino, super songs. They're out there somewhere but they were nearly all missed by me.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Eddie Landsberg VINE VOICE on September 17, 2009
Format: Audio CD
First of all, quick warning: Do NOT download it... get the boxed set with the trimmings.
Its a RHINO BOXED SET and the packaging is half the fun.
Second: I have mixed opinions on this...
Its a 91 track compilation of the rare funk from the Atlantic, Atco, and Warner Bros archives...
Some groups you've never heard of, some tracks you've definitely heard before...
Though the tracks in themselves are definitely deep and cover the gamut from "soul Jazz" to "R&B" and
"heavy funk", the distribution of the tracks sometimes makes the album sound monotonous and draggy... it isn't, but when you don't distribute your playlist for a variety in tempos, theme, mood and dynamics, that's what you get... As a result, I think it diminishes the greatness of the tracks... almost to the point that I'd actually have been much more satisfied with individual CDs, but the material spread out non-chronologically for variety (Is this just me?) This said... if you're a hard core funkateer, its hard not to really appreciate this, however, this wouldn't be my first choice
if you're just getting into rare funk 45's... (See some of my other reviews for suggestions... say Florida Funk: 1968-1975, Carolina Funk: First In Funk, Texas Thunder Soul 1968-1974 and stuff like that.)

Another strange thing about this CD is the ULTRA RARE is mixed with the... well, not so ULTRA RARE, which is a bit strange... (This adds even more to the set's disjointed quality.
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What It Is!  Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977)
This item: What It Is! Funky Soul And Rare Grooves (1967-1977)
Price: $44.25
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