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Music Review: Various Artists – Funky Frauleins Volume Two

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Hold on to your lederhosen, the Funky Frauleins are back – and these German hotties mean business! Funky Frauleins Volume Two is a 17 song collection subtitled “Female beat, groove, disco, funk in Germany 1968-1981.” Most of Volume Two hails from the ’70s, and unlike Volume One, contains no disco – just solid funk of many stripes. Funky Frauleins indeed; these babes bring the noise.

The sexy intentions of these Teutonic women are front and center right off the bat. The first track, “Sunny Honey” by Uschi Moser, is from a German film titled Atemlos Ver Liebe, which translates into Yearning For Love. The liner notes describe it as a “raunchy flick,” and it is one I would like to see. The horny horn-driven tune is pure ear candy.

Sweet Philly soul meets the funk in the very next cut, “He, Wir Fahr’n Mit Dem Zug,” by Veronika Fischer. Look, I have no idea what these words actually mean, and it could matter less. It’s a great song in a style I have always loved.

There a fair number of covers included in the collection. The version of “I Dig Rock And Roll Music” is a freaking gas! The song was originally recorded by Peter, Paul And Mary, and name checks the Mamas And The Papas, Donovan, and The Beatles. Caterina Valente’s ridiculously straight reading of the words (in heavily accented English), coupled with a near martial beat is not to be missed. Definitely one of those, “You gotta hear it to believe it” kind of situations.

The other side of the coin comes from the beautifully named vocalist Inga Rumpf, with her take on Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” I know this sounds unbelievable, but it is actually a heavier slab o’ funk than the original. First of all, her voice is deeper than any man’s I have ever heard, and her band is incredibly tight. Guys like me would get down on their knees for Mistress Rumpf.

Another out of this world interpretation comes from Lill Lindfors, working with James Last on a beat-driven version of the country classic “Harper Valley PTA.” Use your imagination, then multiply the weirdness factor by 10, and you still will not have scratched the surface of this wonderful oddity.

Additional highlights include “Der Superman” by Heidelinde Weis, which sounds like the blueprint for Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman.” Then we get “Funky Bone,” from Li Monty, who sounds as if she just stepped out of Parliament’s Mothership. There is also “Fingernails” by Anne Haigis, which utilizes a bit of late period fusion jazz-funk to great effect.

Closing out the set is a very early Donna Summer track, done by Donna Gaines and titled “Can’t Understand.” The groove in this cut is pure Isaac Hayes, in particular that of his classic version of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” off Hot Buttered Soul.

Funky Frauleins Volume Two is fun, sexy, funky, and strange – all at once. Who knew? Certainly not me, but I’ll be Google-ing the likes of Inga Rumpf, Heidelinde Weis, and their fraulein friends from here on out. They make the “outrageousness” of Lady Gaga look positively embarrassing. Open up your ears to the truly wild, and check out Funky Frauleins Volume Two. This is world music like you have never heard before.

 

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