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Wednesday, March 8, 2000

This time a great notion

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2000 at 12:00 AM

Label compilation-as-aesthetic manifesto can be tricky business. If you half-ass the track selection, sequencing, packaging or remastering, it’s probably just as well to have never unleashed the product. But far worse still is the label that never had a vibe, a feel, a vision of its own and makes that all too clear to the public with a "best of" outing.

All of this pessimism is merely precursor to the following comment: Small Stone Records has avoided each and every one of the above-mentioned traps in assembling here. The Detroit-based indie has released records from groups as diverse as boogie-blues-plus-danger badmen Five Horse Johnson and eclectic-by-nature A2 outfit Morsel. But here. outlines just how interested SS honcho Scott Hamilton is in the groove. (C’mon now, "groove" isn’t always a bad word!) Hamilton’s track selection is worthy of the DJ booth, as the set he’s constructed is, well, a really great friggin’ mix tape. From Morsel’s "Less is More" as remixed by Persona – a dream interrupted by bouts of caffeine psychosis – to Roundhead’s conjuring of Joy Division in the American Midwest, to Soul Clique’s pre-dawn excursions up and down Gratiot, there’s a little sumpin’-sumpin’ holding this shindig together at the seams. And that, my friends, makes for a an hour well spent!

(Plus, among the record’s three hidden tracks is a version of "Funky Dollar Bill" by the Thornetta Davis Band and the late, lamented Mog Stunt Team working over Depeche Mode’s "Policy of Truth.")

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