V/A: What It Is - The Singles Collection 25x7" Box Set

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V/A What It Is - The Singles Collection 25x7" Box Set

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LAB REVIEW

As Lab customers, you know that when major label compilations advertise themselves as "rare grooves," it's not always true. That is most definitely not the case here. I don't even know where to start with this one. Here's the story: Rhino recently released a 4CD box set with an insane number of rare soul and funk tracks from the vaults of the Atlantic, Atco, Josie & Warner labels. What we have here is the companion set: a super limited edition (5,000 copies worldwide!) custom boxed set featuring 25 of the rarest tracks from the compilation, remastered and pressed in their original 7" formats, complete with their original B-sides. This thing is done proper, with reproduction sleeves and stickers just like the originals, but without the ridiculous price tags. At record shows or on eBay, you could expect to pay anywhere from $10 to $100 for mint copies of these 45s (with the majority here landing in the $20-$40 range), so while the price tag may look intimidating at first, it's actually a true bargain. Not to mention the music itself! Though you may know some of the names here already (The Commodores, Wilson Pickett, Little Richard, The Meters), the tracks selected for the big name artists are certainly not the most obvious or popular in their catalogs. This ain't no best-of. To dissect this thing further would take a very, very long time, but some of the highlights include: Funkadelic axeman Eddie Hazel with a stunning cover of The Mamas & The Papas' "California Dreamin'," The Gaturs' sunny "Cold Bear," Tony Alvon & The Belairs' blaxploitation soundtrack joint "Sexy Coffee Pot," Titus Turner's "His Funeral, My Trial" and The Beginning of the End's classic "Funky Nassau," parts 1 and 2. Comes in a custom-made 45 box with a handle and locking metal hinge. 

  • music label: Rhino / 2006
reviewed by Chris Lemon-Red 11/2006



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