Where would you rather be – 2002 or the funky heyday of 1966? This is the musical question poised by the funk collective, Poets of Rhythm. The group inspires a cultish following from rare groove fanatics with their dusty, groovy and nostalgic rhythms that hark back to a time before samplers and drum machines. The German collective put out their first US full-length album Discern/Define
in 2001 on Quannum that solidified their previously elusive existence. To cement it further is What Goes 'Round
, a retrospective of tracks from the early '90s pulled from their Practice What You Preach
and Original Raw Soul Vol.1
albums. Those whose introduction to the Poets was through Discern/Define
may find the collection a little too rigid about sticking to the "rules" of funk, for it certainly displays a more conventional take on funk and rare groove than the more exploratory Discern
album. However, even back in the early '90s they were still summoning up snapping drum tracks, wicked guitar licks and sinuous basslines. The more moody tracks like "Upper Class" and "It Came Over Me" are the best, invoking the soulful social politics of the likes of Curtis Mayfield and Marvin Gaye. What Goes 'Round
is definitely a useful tool for putting the Poets in context, and appreciating their modern day rare grooves.