Brothers on the Slide in UK Funk

By David Bennun
The Mail On Sunday

It's a familiar scenario: an R&B scene, dominated by the commercial and creative clout of America, in which British acts struggle to find a place and a distinctive voice. Brothers On The Slide: The Story Of UK Funk (Sanctuary)*** harks back thirty years, and the parallels are unmissable. There are those who, at least briefly, match the Americans at their own game (Cymande, The Equals); those whose mimicry reveals their limitations (Jabba, Kokoma); and yet others who by accident or design come up with something identifiably their own (Carol Grimes, Linda Lewis).

Compiler Jean Paul “Bluey” Maunick, of Nineties rare groove revivalists Incognito, has perhaps cheated a little by including British based as well as British-bred acts. His selection veers towards the sweatier, jam-based tracks that influenced his own band and its Talkin' Loud/Acid jazz peers. But he's unearthed some real treasure - the title track, tight enough to bounce coins off; Doris Troy's sleek 60s Detroit/70s Philly crossover pastiche Stretchin' Out; Uphill Piece Of Mind, Grimes's gritty belter; and the silky malevolence of Labi Siffre's The Vulture.