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Funk Inc. released their eponymous debut album in 1971. The short record has them showing what exactly they're about with a fly, Jazz-Funk sound which was popular at the time when Funk was much more Soul-directed than what it had become by the end of that decade. The Indiana act features the likes of Bobby Watley, Eugene Barr, Steve Weakley and others.
1. "Kool Is Back"
The album starts in a big way as we're brought into the mix of the album with some smooth and soulful material that's bound to draw in the masses and get the interested in what exactly they've got to offer. They go down a similar route to the J.B.s in terms of the Funk here, and ensure that they have all the Hard Bop elements in check to please those more in the Jazz end. It's a classic from them and is well-sampled in the Hip Hop world.
This is a powerful display from the act and one that has them showing just how strong they can go with the music without losing the apparent rigidity that they appear to have amongst themselves. This is a raw track from them and one which is driven by the horn section to please those who are much more into the grooves than the melodies (in order to reflect the subject matter of this instrumental piece).
3. "Sister Janie"
What's given here is a fly tune and one which sounds to be much more open and free than what was heard on the last one. This one has a playful feel about it and one which is able to draw in the masses with the freshness that it gives off. There's a lot to like about this one and I can't really see too many going bored whilst listening to the lively way in which the perform this funky composition.
4. "The Thrill Is Gone"
This one has the act changing the direction of the music somewhat. We find that with this one they go down a much more soulful, Blues direction with it and I felt that it was a great turn in the record. I felt that it was something that would get over with fans of contemporary brass section-led Jazz of the time more so than those looking for the sort of Funk that Parliament-Funkadelic was delivering at the time (as that was more Psychedelic Rock).
5. "The Whipper"
We find that the album comes to an early end as we move into this final track. I found that it was a suitable way to bring the album to the close and one which would leave the listeners hanging as if they need to hear more of them to see what else they are capable of after putting up such a great display throughout the whole of this debut album without any clear flaws through its entire duration.
Although I wouldn't say that this album is an essential listen for those into Jazz-Funk, Soul-Jazz, Hard-Bop and the like, it's a strong album without anything really holding it back and so if those styles appeal to you then I'd have to recommend this album as it offers a lot in spite of its short five-track length.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Kool Is Back
3 Sister Jane
4 Thrill Is Gone