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Country Funk

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Album Review

The sole album from Country Funk's original incarnation, released in 1970, has confused a certain number of latter-day listeners since it's not especially funky (at least not in the James Brown or George Clinton sense of the word), and while there's a noticeable country-rock undertow in this music, there's just as much semi-psychedelic fuzz guitar, hard rock attitude, and sunny folk rock vibe to be found. "Not This Time" and "A Way to Settle Down" put the band's country influences up front, and the tight guitar work from Adam Taylor and Hal Paris rings out clean and fresh when they embrace a down-home vibe (bassist Jim Lanham also adds the occasional pedal steel overdub), but Country Funk shine nearly as bright when they put some soul behind the blue-eyed R&B of "When I'm Without You," and the opening cut, which segues from upbeat acoustic guitars to heavy electric thunder at the 1:10 mark before shifting to acoustics back for a coda, sums up the group's eclecticism admirably well. Country Funk weren't content to do just one thing, and they sound capable and confident on the various styles they embrace; Taylor and Paris were solid songwriters and contributed fine harmonies, while Lanham and drummer Verne Johnson were a rhythm section with enough force to push the melodies forward but the good sense not to overpower the guitars. (Alternate drummer Joe Pfeifer sounds equally capable on his four tunes.) At their best, Country Funk suggests a more streamlined variation on what Moby Grape was doing on their third and fourth albums, and though they weren't as good as that masterful band, there's enough worth hearing on this album to wish Country Funk had stuck around long enough to record more than these twelve songs.


Formed: 1968 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '10s

Though Country Funk's short lifetime came during the first flowering of country-rock, the band's music reflected psychedelia, hard rock, and blue-eyed R&B as much as rootsy Nashville sounds. While often cited as part of the Boston rock scene of the late '60s, Country Funk first came together in Los Angeles, CA, where songwriters and longtime friends Adam Taylor (who played lead guitar) and Hal Paris (rhythm guitar and piano) met up with the rhythm section of Jeff Lockwood (bass) and Joe Pfeifer (drums)...
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Country Funk, Country Funk
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