A Break From the Norm
Norman Cook / Various Artists
This album works quite well, on many levels. First of all, it’s a great collection of music, most of it somewhat dated but all of it full of a loose funky vibe. Which brings up the second point, in that this is all music used by Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, in the concoction of his songs. So now, after familiarizing myself with countless songbites, I get to hear the context from whence they came, and it’s a bit of a strange feeling — musical deja vu.
Starting with Camille Yarbrough’s “Take Yo’ Praise,” a gentle soul number, Cook pulls gem after gem from his collection, some from somewhat familiar artists (Lulu, Yvonne Elliman, Andre Williams, James Gang), the unknowns seem to be just as interesting. Ellen McIlwaine provides a soulful rendition of “Higher Ground,” accompanied by a lone phased bottleneck guitar. The Dust Junkys kick it back old school, beatboxing vocals through “Beatbox Wash.” There’s the stringbeat waddle of Keith Mansfield’s “Young Scene” • and a lot of other surprises here and there. Very very cool.