Persian Funk: Various Artists
Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Secret Stash Records is an independent record label focused on scowering the globe for music from the rare, long-forgotten funk, jazz and soul genres.
Their latest offering, Persian Funk, concerns itself with the amazing breath of funk and soul coming out of Iran in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. This period spans the country’s history of the Western-instilled Shah and the Iranian Revolution.
During those decades, the government of Iran created state-run music labels as an outgrowth of the Ministry of Culture. The cultural influence of the West flourished in the country, causing a bevy of top-notch funk and soul acts to be born.
Celebrating that scene, Persian Funk will inspire the get down get down in any who listens to it. Instrumentals, songs with Farsi and English language lyrics, and songs with familiar funk styles combining a distinctly cultural arrangement make for an enjoyable album that is both familiar and yet so fresh. Eleven tracks clocking in at just over a half hour, this album feels like a sample platter urging the listener on to their own exploration into this rich artistic scene. I encourage you to listen to that feeling.
Stand-out tracks are tough to pull out because they are all so dang engaging, no doubt the reason they were chosen for the album. One can really get the sense that Secret Stash Records created this compilation with a lot of love. Still, I have to recommend the stand outs; Shohreh’s “Cheshm Be Rah,” Mehrpouy’s “Soul Raga,” and a trio of really stellar covers; Stevie Wonder’s “Past Time Paradise” by Martik, Graham Nash’s “Prison Song” by Shahram Shabpareh and the especially mind-blowing Googoosh’s cover of Otis Redding’s “Respect” (later immortalized by Aretha, of course).
Seriously, check this ish out.