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Wear your Sunday best for Now Again's 'California Funk' party

April 30, 2010 |  5:10 pm
California-funk So we’re one month from summer. You’re debating if this will be the year you finally give up and cut some jeans off into shorts. You’re beginning the delicate dance of buttering up all your long-lost friends with backyard pools. The Coachella drugs have finally abated, and you’re ready to eat food again, perhaps even the kind cooked outside over fire.

This all means one thing. It’s time for you to update the funk section in your life. It’s a rite of L.A. seasonal passage, darnit.

To those ends, may we humbly suggest “California Funk: Rare Funk 45s From the Golden State,” a new compilation from the consistently amazing Stones Throw imprint Now Again (who, in a belated 2010 resolution, I need to write about far more often.)

True to the label’s mission, the compilation is rife with long-forgotten singles airlifted from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s heyday of local funk. As a document of an era, it’s almost startling to hear the volatility and thrill in this music – it took the swing and soul of R&B and made into something sharper, driven by sex and politics in equal measure. These are the seeds that would grow into Dr. Dre and E-40 and that took James Brown’s explosive prowess and gave it fangs.

But at the same time, it’s some of the most unimpeachable party music you’ll ever go broke crate-digging for. L.A. Bare Faxx’s “Super Cool Brother” is lacerating in its organ stabs and its lyrical takedown of fakers, and the 4th Coming’s dazed, slinky “Cruising Down Sunset” practically leaves a window tan on your forearm.

Now Again impresario DJ Egon is throwing a preview party at, of all places, the very delicious Palate Food & Wine in Glendale on Sunday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. We never thought funk and charcuterie would go together, but we don't know a lot of things.  

-August Brown