Funky Funky Houston
If you were of the first to latch on to Archie Bell and the Drells’ “Tighten Up” back in 1968, you probably bought the 45 on the tiny Ovide label. When the single took off, Atlantic Records stepped in, and thanks in no small part to the sale of Archie Bell’s contract, Ovide had a good run until 1972. Helmed by Houston deejay Skipper Lee Frazier, the label featured tight horn-and-organ-driven funk arrangements kept lean by even tighter budgets, and the seventeen tracks collected on FUNKY FUNKY HOUSTON (Funky Delicacies; tuffcity.com) are all rare gems. The house band was the TSU Tornados, the same (uncredited) group that backed Bell on “Tighten Up,” and numerous other funk groups rounded out the roster. Frazier never sought national distribution for the label, which eventually did him in, but, man, was it fun while it lasted.