Various Artists: Twin Cities Funk & Soul: Lost R&B Grooves from Minneapolis/St. Paul 1964-1979 (Secret Stash) 

Like seemingly every American city of any significant size, the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul had a thriving soul and funk scene in the 1960s and '70s. In their case it would be P.P.: pre-Prince. In fact, one of these acts, The Lewis Connection, at one point featured a very young Prince Rogers Nelson.

Minneapolis' own Secret Stash Records is plugging a big hole in the historical narrative with Twin Cities Funk & Soul, which presents 21 tracks by 13 acts, spread over two LPs or a CD. The beautiful packaging includes a large-format, detailed newsprint insert with the vinyl version; presumably the CD has the same.

So, whether you've heard of any of them or not, here are hot soul burners, gritty funk workouts, a funk sax instrumental and a discoey number by the likes of local heroes Wee Willie Walker, Wanda Davis, the Valdons, Jackie Harris & the Champions, Morris Wilson, the Lewis Connection, Prophets of Peace and a few more. The cool cats at Secret Stash waded through a wealth of material to mine the gold, and it shows; the quality control is set on high, there's no filler and the remastering is excellent. So, cue up "I Ain't Gonna Cheat on You No More" by Wee Willie Walker, "Take Care" by Wanda Davis, "All Day Long" by the Valdons or "The Maxx" by Prophets of Peace and be transported back to the funky side of the Twin Cities, circa 1964-1979—and be prepared to seriously get your groove on.

More by Carl Hanni


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