BBE need little introduction. The London based label have been churning out gold for the past two decades, however more recently, their focus has been on compilation LPs. Artists, producers and DJs like Al Kent, Joey Negro, Kenny Dope and DJ Premier have all contributed to their infamous Various Artist disco, funk and hip-hop LPs, so you know you’re in for a treat when you peel the cellophane back, put the needle on and press play.
Rasputin’s Stash is comprised of Bruce Butler, Frank Donaldson, Martin Dumas Jr., Paul Coleman and Vince Willis, all individual talents in their own right contributing to various soul and funk collectives across Chicago. Although their self titled debut album had slightly more rocky influences, Devil Made Me Do It is plucked straight from the funk-soul golden age.
This album is a funk heavy, soulful and jazzy melting pot that most certainly fell beyond the scope of my musical radar. This was until BBE introduced me Martin Dumas Jr with their re-issue of Attitude, Belief, and Determination last September, most likely the catalyst for reissuing this LP. For someone born nearly 20 years after its heyday, BBE reissues have opened the door to hundreds of incredible artists from an era so rich with hidden gems David Cameron would let it avoid taxes if George gave him the green light.
Reminiscent of Issac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield, each track is tight, well structured and lathered with funk rifts, vocal harmonies and soaring strings. The way these three aspects come together culminates in an album full of dancefloor grooves, sprinkled with mellow soul.
The first two track ease you in with broken beats and smooth harmonies whilst the title track picks up the funk with choppy guitar rifts and a grunt as good as James Brown himself. ‘Hit and Pass’ is a much more open and free tack whereas ‘Middle Man’ really shows how tight they are as a group were. Each track, is seems, to come from a different focus point, while all have those three elements that seem to tie the whole album together. The album’s closer, ‘Given Way My Love’ is another standout, which brings you back down after all those funk-filled ballads and signs the album off with a classic funk/soul breakdown and fading crescendo full of dueling vocals and cymbals.
If your looking for an album to stick on whilst cooking up a storm for your better half for next week’s annual celebration of love, then look no further. Unlike the real Rasputin, this band knows how to spread love and peace in all the right ways.