There aren’t enough superlatives in the world to throw at Strut Records, the legendary Brit record label famed for its excavations of seminal and often little heard dance, world and hip-hop music. After its initial run from 1999-2003, the label dropped out of sight only to re-emerge in 2008, seemingly better than ever. Indeed, this year alone, Strut’s dropped the outstanding Funky Nassau: The Compass Point Story (1980-1986), Nigeria 70: Lagos Jump, and now, Calypsoul 70, an excellent effort dedicated to digging up forgotten Caribbean funk, Calypso, soul, reggae, Afro-Cuban and disco from 1969-1979.
The liner notes and stories behind the performers can be found here. Not every song on the collection is great, but the worst remains good. In the almost tropical heat of Los Angeles Labor Day weekend, this album never left my car, the steel drums and sunny brass horns as vital as sunblock on these scorching, languid days.