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Soul - Released June 22, 2010 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released April 6, 2010 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Soul - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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This British import contains much of her best work, including "Trapped By a Thing Called Love," "Now Run and Tell That," and "A Man Sized Job." © John Lowe /TiVo

Funk - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Soul - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Funk - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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After leaving the Ohio Players -- upon signing to Mercury -- and prior to joining Funkadelic for One Nation Under a Groove, Junie Morrison recorded a trilogy of albums for Westbound, Funkadelic's original label. A talented arranger, songwriter, singer, and keyboard player, Junie handled everything but the horn and string arrangements on his records -- those were done under the supervision of Johnny Trudell and David Van De Pitte (with help from the Detroit Symphony Orchestra string section). This set is compiled from the When We Do, Freeze, and Suzie Super Groupie albums, and also includes the added unreleased track "Junie's Ultimate Departure." In encountering the tunes after so many years, it is amazing to hear the similarities between Junie and Sly Stone -- the musicality and tight arrangements, the underlying backbeat funk underlying the in-your-face rhythms, and the place of texture in the melodic construction of any tune. Just check out "Walt's Third Trip" or "Johnny Carson Samba" for examples. His psychedelic chops were plentiful too, as evidenced by the title track of When We Do. Lenny Kravitz ripped off this cat's bag wholesale on his album. "Cookies Will Get You" is something Frank Zappa might have written had he any concept of the funk. In all, with the exception of a couple of stinker ballads here that are included only to show Junie's "diversity" (and he couldn't write a ballad for sh*t), this is a stellar comp. Fans of P-Funk and Sly as well as Rick James' punk funk will be right at home here in the court of the sophisticated but nasty funk. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Soul - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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This two-fer assembles a pair of rare Bob Porter-produced LPs issued in 1973 by the short-lived Eastbound label. Best known for his supporting work on Rusty Bryant's Prestige dates Fire-Eater and Wildfire, Bill Mason proves himself a formidable leader with his lone solo session, the aptly titled jazz-funk outing Gettin' Off. Recorded with the estimable talents of drummer Idris Muhammad and tenor Hubert Laws, the album's physicality is astounding. Mason is a superbly soulful Hammond organist, conjuring spiraling, spellbinding grooves that seem to grow deeper and more relentless with each successive track. He's also a fine composer. Originals like "Mister Jay" and the scorching title cut stand tall alongside covers highlighted by Al Green's immortal "Let's Stay Together." After catching Porter's attention via Charles Earland dates including Living Black!, trumpeter Gary Chandler finally earned his shot as leader with Outlook, and don't let the absence of subsequent efforts fool you -- this is one of the true lost classics of jazz-funk, a Molotov cocktail lit with a burning joint. Cut with an all-star supporting cast including guitarist Cornell Dupree, organist Ceasar Frazier, tenorist Harold Ousley and drummer Idris Muhammad, the record is less a collection of songs than one long, steamroller groove -- crate diggers and DJs have coveted "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)" for years, but in truth damn near every second of Outlook demands consideration as a sample. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo

Funk - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Disco - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Funk - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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This two-fer consists of the Fantastic Four's best album and its spirited but flawed follow-up, Night People. Alvin Stone (The Birth and Death of a Gangster) is the Fantastic Four's What's Going On, their Songs in the Key of Life, their Abbey Road; its six songs include the bombastic title track and the melodramatic love songs "My Love Won't Stop at Nothing" and "Let This Moment Last," which are reasons enough to buy this CD. Night People tries to replicate Alvin Stone's artistry with melodies from "Night People" and "Lies Divided By Jive." The other tunes are OK but nothing special, with the most memorable being "If I Lost My Job" and "(Meet Me at The) Hideaway," a plodding disco tune highlighted by a throaty vocal from Sweet James Epps. Albert Hamilton either wrote or co-wrote every song on the CD, with some exceptions (i.e., "By the River Under the Tree," written by Epps and Ted White). © Andrew Hamilton /TiVo

Funk - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Disco - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Soul - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Funk - Released September 22, 2009 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Evoking Westbound labelmate and fellow Detroiter Dennis Coffey sans the myriad layers of shag-carpet fuzz, Donald Austin's Crazy Legs is a collection of psychedelic funk instrumentals every bit as physical and wild as its title portends. Austin leans more to the heavier end of the guitar-god spectrum -- more Hendrix than Hazel, if you will -- and the muscular grooves that galvanize all 13 of the album's brief but memorable tracks are relatively unique within the Westbound catalog. Still, for all its mass and density, Crazy Legs remains light on its feet, the grooves are relentless, and the playing is top-notch. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo

Funk - Released August 10, 2006 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Hip-Hop/Rap - Released July 6, 2005 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Funk - Released June 7, 2005 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Funk - Released May 24, 2005 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Funkadelic's commercial peak occurred during the late '70s, when George Clinton and company issued several hit albums for the Warner Brothers label. And it's that era that serves as the basis for countless Funkadelic compilations, while the group's earlier, more hard rocking releases (for Westbound) receive not nearly the same attention. This is a shame, as this period is just as good (and arguably, even better) than Funkadelic's latter, more renowned work, as evidenced by the 16-track compilation Finest. It wasn't until a year or two after the death of legendary funk-rock trailblazer Jimi Hendrix that Funkadelic truly came into their own -- and deservingly, inherited Jimi's vacated funk-rock throne. Covering a five-year period (1970's Funkadelic through 1975's Let's Take It to the Stage), Finest may be the best-assembled Funkadelic collection from this period yet, as both renowned band standards share space with several oft-overlooked tracks, which make their debut on any compilation. The early tracks "I Got a Thing" and "I Wanna Know if It's Good to You" show the bandmembers still honing their eventual rich 'n' funky sound, before they hit their stride with selections from the classic Maggot Brain album. As a result, you get a healthy sampling of some of the best funk the '70s had to offer, including "Hit It and Quit It," "You and Your Folks, Me and My Folks," "Loose Booty," "Cosmic Slop," "Red Hot Mama," and "Get Off Your Ass and Jam." The only disappointment is that a truncated version of the guitar showcase "Maggot Brain" is included, rather than the ten-plus-minute original version. Regardless, Finest is an exceptional sampler for those discovering the wild and wacky universe of Funkadelic. © Greg Prato /TiVo

Funk - Released May 14, 2002 | Westbound Records Inc.

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Toys features about 50 minutes of previously unreleased Funkadelic tracks from the early '70s, about evenly divided between proper songs and jams. The availability of such a large chunk of recordings in excellent sound quality from their prime might seem like a huge blessing for their devoted fans, but while in general it is of considerable interest for Funkadelic fanatics, more casual funk listeners should be wary of this on several accounts. First, much of this material sounds on the unfinished side, even on some of the cuts with vocals. One track, "Wars of Armageddon" [Karaoke Version], is a little on the marginal side even for major P-Funk fans, as it's a "previously unissued under-dub." Overall, it's a little like getting a very high-quality bootleg of works in progress, though it can be fairly pointed out that even some actual Funkadelic albums had songs that sometimes sounded like works in progress. But if you are the sort of fan who likes to peek into the hidden underbelly of a major band's foundation, the CD has its merits. Chief among these are the significantly different versions of "You Can't Miss What You Can't Measure" (here titled "Heart Trouble") and "The Goose" (here under its original title, "The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg"), though the aforementioned "Wars of Armageddon" differs from its official release only in the absence of sound effects. Otherwise, the tracks tend toward drifting jams that are more notable for the funk-psychedelic playing than the songs themselves. Even one of the cuts with vocals, "Talk About Jesus," has few lyrics other than a few female singers intoning the title over and over; another, the brief "2 Dollars & 2 Dimes," has nothing in the way of a vocal other than George Clinton uttering a few typically wacky proclamations. Also on the CD is a 1973 video clip (playable on PC or Mac computers) of the band, in typically odd and flamboyant costume, romping around New York to "Cosmic Slop." © Richie Unterberger /TiVo

Hip-Hop/Rap - Released September 1, 2001 | Westbound Records Inc.

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