Dear old Ace Records have just unleashed the latest tranche of albums in their wonderful ‘Jazz And Funk Classics’ series. This new batch comprises five very strong albums all originating from the legendary Stax label.

Maybe of most interest to soul collectors is MEL AND TIM’S 1974 eponymous album .The set was their second for Stax and features a plethora of great PHILLIP MITCHELL songs. Maybe a bit more intriguing is a self-titled ten tracker from JOHN GARY WILLIAMS. WILLIAMS had been a member of the underrated MAD LADS and this his only solo album and features the in-demand ‘The Whole Damn World Is Going Crazy’.

The third reissue comes from ROY LEE JOHNSON and the VILLAGERS. JOHNSON had written the iconic ‘Mr Moonlight’ (covered by every 60s beat groups including THE BEATLES) but by 1970 he was heavily into funk and his band’s (again) eponymous set is quite uncompromising in its attack. ERNIE HINES’ ‘Electrified’ is maybe a little more restrained offering a subtler blend of soul and funk. Listen up to his take on ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’.

The fifth album comes courtesy of THE SONS OF TRUTH. Their ‘A Message From The Ghetto’ was originally released on Stax’s Gospel Truth imprint but their mix of funk and harmony soul is a mighty way away from traditional gospel.   Watch out for full reviews on SJF in the New Year.