Agony Shorthand

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
V/A : “BUTTSHAKERS, VOLUME 3” LP….To my own chagrin, I really don’t plunk down for vinyl very often any more – but I’m always willing to make a big exception when one of these comes out. The “Buttshakers” series is a winning 3 for 3 with this new one, a solid smattering of hard-up late 60s and 1970s funk and soul, with horns and screams a-plenty. It also has softcore 1970s pornographic cover art reminiscent of the old Siltbreeze magazine, but that’s just window dressing for the killer honking within. A total of 16 tracks, none of which I can refer to right now since I don’t have the track listing handy – but don’t be alarmed by the lack of groove in the first two tracks on side A; right when you’re thinking that this comp is going to be doing a little barrel-scraping, the wild-ass soul workouts begin. And they are massive – the name of the game here is the kind of supremely uptempo, sweating and grunting rawness that you’d find on a fake-label Crypt comp like “DOWNTOWN SOULVILLE” or “POW CITY!”. Many also have a dastardly sense of humor and/or wacky lyrics, or are heat-seeking organ- or sax-led instrumentals.

There’s a rumor that some of these numbers are actually recent (i.e. last 4-5 years) knock-offs by genre aficionados, given the label’s (Mr. Luckee) complete lack of information, label credits etc. I can’t confirm or deny, but when one hears something as “authentic”-sounding as the recent funk recordings from SHARON JONES AND THE DAP KINGS, it’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility. She proves it can be done. Plus the Mr. Luckee folks are either totally inept in making their needs known to the pressing plant (14 tracks are listed; 16 appear) or are deliberately going for a “ghetto”, value-stoking marketing strategy a la CHAINS AND BLACK EXHAUST. But we need to remember that the music is completely worthy whether it was recorded in 1969 Memphis or last week in King of Prussia, PA – because it’s all about the music, right kids?