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Various Artists Wheedle's Groove

From the city that begat Quincy Jones, Jimi Hendrix and Ray Charles comes a collection of funk and soul sure to put Oyster Shoals on the map. The ghost of Brother Ray can be felt in the themes of "Brighter Tomorrow," as can the crafted funk of Kool and the Gang in Broham's "Nothing In Common" and the dirty soul of Stax with Cookin' Bag's "This Is Me." The intensity of the performances, with ultra-heavy drumming and often percussive piano, compliments the subtlety and strength of the songwriting and lyrics of hope and optimism. The choice of covers is not surprising ("Hey Jude," "Cissy Strut"), but the versions are anything but ordinary. Funkier than Johnny Damon's swing.

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