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Artist Various Artists
Album Homeschooled: the ABC's of Kid Soul
Label Numero Group
Year 2007

     The art of putting together a compilation can be a very troublesome task: the digging, the pain staking research, and the decision of which track makes the cut. The pay off, however, is introducing eardrums to a song that may not have been released under normal circumstances. Well, the gentlemen at Numero Group are no regular group of diggers and their latest release, Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul, is no regular album. It may seem that, based off of the cover, this is a compilation of funky kid songs, but what this 17 track goldmine reveals are Funk songs performed by legitimate musicians with conscious lyrics to match.

     The first track, “Trust your Child Pt.1” by Patrizia & Jimmy, sets the tone for this incredibly funky compilation. The opening drum break is clean and crisp, and just as the organ makes its entrance, Jimmy explodes with vocals which remind parents that, “even though you don’t think so, you can really trust your child.” This poignant line is only the beginning of this two-and-a-half minute spoken word track, but with phrases like, “We may be chips off the old block, but be mindful that from the producer comes the style,” it’ll breeze by faster than recess.

     The follow up track, “I’m Not Ready For Love” by Promise, continues the theme of not-so-child-like topics. It’s an incredibly upbeat song with a Jackson 5-esque chorus that screams “I’m not Ready for love!” The theme is: as a young lady, one should be conscious of the troubles hasty relationships could bring. It’s a wonderfully composed song worth every second of the listener’s time.

     After the first two songs it becomes abundantly clear that this album is more than just a novelty compilation. Each track is engaging and it is easy to forget that you’re listening to children’s performances. It isn’t until “Sweet Pea”, by Altyrone Deno Brown, that reality sets back in; the lead singer sounds like an eight year old. Other songs, like “Yellow Ribbon” and “If You’re Looking For Love” keeps things post-adolescent with their more mature sound and vocal arrangements. The stand out, however, comes in at #14 with “2009 Cherry Soul Sound” performed by Jr. & His Soulettes. This three minute instrumental solidifies this album as a fascinating portrayal of the endless amounts of energy and talent via the inspired youth.

     This is easily the most fun album Numero has released to date, and it holds its own as one of the funkiest. It’s both entertaining and informative. It would be naïve to think that a Jackson 5 comparison wouldn’t be made, but with the detailed liner notes it becomes clear that the artist’s backgrounds are incredibly different. This is a solid pick up for any funk enthusiast. Big ups Numero, you’ve done it again.

- Jeff Min

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