Light In The Attic’s Country Funk Volume 1 cemented the place of this long overlooked musical cul-de-sac. Featuring cult favourites Jim Ford, Bobbie Gentry and Tony Joe White as well as unknowns such as Cherokee, Gritz and Dennis The Fox, it was a critical success and has been a permanent resident on my turntable for the past couple of years. Newly released Volume II has some choice selections too; Bob Darin's Me and Mr Hohner and Thomas Jefferson's Collection Box being especially revelatory. I can’t help feeling LITA played it safe of their latest collection though. This is no critique of quality (Saint Townes, Gene Clark, peace be upon him,) it’s just that anyone with a passing interest in this music would no doubt already be hip these (see also: JJ Cale, Kenny Rogers & The First Edition, not to mention Willie and Dolly…)
This collection is my attempt to dig a little deeper and look beyond the usual suspects. I cast my net wider, taking in everything from Claudia Lennear’s Planet Caravan-esque Sister Angela to Blac Dog's Nobody Like You, a full tilt, southern boogie party starter, via Tobias Wood Henderson's Colour Blind Man, which would slip seamlessly into either of the official Country Funk comps. Forgive the patchy audio quality; most tracks are scratchy vinyl rips and all are totally unlicensed.
From the stereo guitar riff to Lee’s dumpy mumbles, “Sweet Thang” is a true country funk masterpiece. Forget the haters, Lee and Ann’s 1969 collab “The Cowboy and the Lady” is hyphy. “Weeeellll, has anybody here seen Sweet Thing?!” Elvis once filled her hotel room with flowers.
“Country Funk suggests second acts for these American singers, be they black or white. So gritty gospel singer Johnny Adams can get low with pedal steel on “Georgia Morning Dew”; ’50s crooner Bobby Darin can drop out and back in with the slinky protest stomp of “Light Blue”; former Naw’leans R&B bullfrogger Bobby Charles can grow his beard and hair long and jam with the Band on ‘Street People.’” Country Funk 1969-1975