Put together by soul and funk aficionados Tobias Kirmayer and Daniel Wanders at Tramp Records, this is the third compilation in the Feeling Nice series, dedicated to rare and lesser-known tracks from black musicians in the ’60s and ’70s.
When dealing with records that have been forgotten or were originally released in very few numbers (sometimes only as promos for radio stations), it would be fair to question why they didn’t gain popularity the first time around. For the most part however, the songs on Feeling Nice Vol. 3 sidestep any worries about quality, with music from the likes of Jesse Morgan, William Cummings, and Clarence Reid (whose profane and often sexually explicit parodies as Blowfly were arguably more well-known) proving themselves worthy of attention in the 21st century.
Soul-funk is present here in all its stereotypes – vocal whoops and hollers, hi-energy percussion, groovy brass, driving bass, busy fingers on the Hammond organ, etc. – and there’s no denying the infectious nature of many of these remastered 45s, with Reid’s “I Get My Kicks” and Saint John’s “Stand Up (Baby)” delivering wonderfully on all your expectations. But that’s also part of the problem on a compilation like this: the 17 tracks are, by their very nature, lacking in variety, and therefore it may only be the completists and soul-obsessives out there who will understand its true value and take the plunge.
And in many ways that is a shame, because this album acts as a showcase for musicians and songs that may have been deserving of a little more focus the first time around. Billy Bailey’s “You Better Stop” is fantastically danceable, and Jay Floyd’s “Push Push” with its energetic staccatos and exhausting drumming may be brief but should be heard by even casual fans of the style. There is a scattering of mediocrity that’s somewhat inevitable on a compilation of this size (Ellen Jackson’s “Getto Boogie” [sic] and Oladepo Ogomodede’s cover of The Isley’s “It’s Your Thing” are the unfortunate perpetrators by being a little lacklustre in performance), but enthusiasts may soak them up all the same.
Meticulously researched, carefully remastered, and with a generous number of tracks, Feeling Nice Vol. 3 is a treasury that faithfully serves the genre and provides something new to the devotees, but doesn’t quite cut it as an introduction for newcomers.
Feeling Nice Vol. 3 is released on 2nd October 2015 from Tramp Records.