Good funk is good, great funk even better, and we all know that funk is its own reward. But occasionally there is a bit of mystery in the funk, especially when you’re not sure why it was made. Case in point, The Memphis Sounds.
There are a lot of soul and funk bands from around the world, showing their love of the music from the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s. Isaac Hayes is a legend, so it seems only fitting that the man is honored with what is essentially at tribute album. The Memphis Sounds are not from Memphis, but rather is a collection of musicians who normally find themselves in The Dap Kings, Antibalas, and El Michels Affair. It’s a mystery because the album cover looks like one of those cheapy cash-in covers Laff Records were known for, and nowhere on the cover does it indicate it’s an all-star album. In other words, you have to really dig deep to find out who The Memphis Sounds are.
Now that you know who the musicians are, perhaps it makes sense why some of these renditions would have fit perfectly on an Antibalas, El Michels Affair, or Dap-Tone LP, especially when things move into Afrobeat form. Some of Hayes’ best songs were merely renditions of other people’s songs, so what you are hearing here are new versions of Hayes’ own revisions. Sounds odd, but it works.
Sample junkies will find this album worthy, for there are enough funky moments that would be perfect for any new songs. It would be cool of someone released this album as a box set of 45’s, because it’s that cool. It’s the music of Isaac Hayes in rustic funk mode, and yes it is a bad mother.