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Various - Running the Voodoo Down 2: Explorations in Psychrockfunksouljazz 1965-77

  by Keith How

published: 14 / 1 / 2019

Various - Running the Voodoo Down 2: Explorations in Psychrockfunksouljazz 1965-77
Label: Tad
Format: CD


Appealing and diverse compilation of tracks from the mid 60s to 70s which capture the political confusion and changes of those years

Subtitled 'Explorations in Psychrockfunksouljazz 1965/77', this is a compilation of tracks assembled from the turbulent period of history where politics and music in America found themselves as strange bedfellows in time of seismic change. The compilers (Dean Rutland and Tony Harlow) neatly sidestep the sugary pop and flower power of the 1960‘s and the prog musings of the 1970s to gather fifteen tracks that provide a snapshot of a part of history often overlooked. The fifteen tracks are bookended by the towering figure of John Coltrane. 'A Love Supreme pt.1', Coltrane‘s magnum opus, sets the scene. This well known offering, part of Coltrane‘s cosmic revitalisation of jazz, is the cornerstone of this album. The album ends with the more obscure 'Lament for John Coltrane' from the not so well known Bob Thiele Emergency. The compilers must have had a massive task choosing music to work together on this compilation and certainly the emergence of African-American music heavily influences the tracklisting. Roger McGuinn‘s 12 string Rickenbacker driving 'Eight Miles High' is the poppiest piece here and clearly is influenced by Coltrane‘s modal style of playing, while the MC5‘s 'Starship',a wild freak out from 1969 that includes a Sun Ra poem, clearly reflects the confusion of the times that were a changing. From here on in the trip seems to naturally expand into psychedelic funk and soul territory. Joe Zawinui reworks Miles Davis‘ 'In a Silent Way' to great effect, while lesser known names are represented to give a wider horizon. Melvin Van Peebles offers a slice of sweet soul music with 'Sweetheart‘s Theme' and, while sympathising with the sentiment, I could live without Sonny Sharrock‘s rather heartrending 'Black Woman'. Elsewhere more familiar names such as Dr John and Isaac Hayes add real class to proceedings. The Chairman of the Board and the Temptations both contribute some classic psychedelic soul. The latter's 'Unite the World' is possibly the standout track of the collection although Jimi Macon‘s Hendrix influenced 'Guitar Rap' runs it close with guitar work of the highest order. A word about the accompanying booklet that is an excellent read that puts this whole collection into context. For the uninitiated this will be a revelation for others it will be a superb time capsule and a great listen.

Track Listing:-
1 A Love Supreme, Pt. 1 - Acknowledgement
2 8 Miles High
3 Starship
4 In Silent Way
5 Aht Uh Mi Head
6 Sweetback Theme
7 Black Woman
8 Life & Death In The G&A Suite
9 Ungena Za Ulimwenga (Unite The World)
10 Zu Zu Mamou
11 Jimi's Guitar Raps
12 To The Establishment
13 Do Your Thing
14 Equinox
15 Lament For John Coltrane

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