When Ady Croasdell released the first Kent Records Dave Hamilton compilation in the late 90s it was thought the archive might throw up just two CDs but between the Kent and BGP labels we have found sufficient material for several more, including a whole CD featuring Dave’s own instrumentals. He wasn’t the most methodical of archivists and he recorded constantly, so as we’ve gone through the tapes more and more gems have been found, along with a ton of stuff that was very ordinary. Since we issued “Dave Hamilton’s Detroit Funk” I felt a need to revisit Dave’s funk archive and my research was worth the effort. Some of these recordings collected on “The Detroit Funk Vaults” are previously unreleased, others have turned up in various forms on Kent albums – sometimes in different takes – whilst others are incredibly rare funk records whose reissue is long overdue.
One example is ‘You Fool, You Fool’ by Prophet & The Disciples. A masterpiece of ghetto funk, it is a cautionary tale against drug addiction, it is so rare that we haven’t been able to turn up a copy in good enough condition to release it at an earlier date. We’ve also chosen the currently in-demand O.C. Tolbert cut, ‘Hard Times’, and both sides of the Barrino Brothers 45 from Dave’s TCB label.
At heart a jazz musician, Dave made great instrumental records and we’ve unearthed several more for this CD, including a new cut by the Deacons ‘A Drop In The Bucket’ and Dave’s own Quincy Jones-sounding ‘Ghetto Stride’, and we’ve included a wonderful version of ‘What’s Going On’. As promised in our earlier volume we have included Dave’s instrumental of ‘Party Time’ and the instrumental of Billy Garner’s ‘Brand New Girl’.
Of the unreleased masters the most exciting is probably the proto-funk frenzy of ‘Clap Your Hands’ which we are pretty sure is an unreleased cut by the Tokays. But we also have some compelling stuff from Chico & Buddy and the Future Kind whose ‘Simon Says’ sounds very influenced by Funkadelic. I’m also fond of the delicate – to the point of falling apart really – ‘Mister Superstar’ by Dave’s daughter Charmaine.
Overall another excellent overview of work from the Dave Hamilton archive. The last one? You’d think so, but as someone once told Sean Connery ‘Never say never’.
By Dean Rudland