Over seven years after the last volume, Light in the Attic has announced a third entry in the label’s Country Funk series. Country Funk Volume III (1975-1982) continues the story begun on the first two volumes which collectively covered the period of 1967-1975. Compiled by Bay Area DJ Jason Morgan and producer Patrick McCarthy, this volume welcomes Conway Twitty, Brian Hyland, Ronnie Milsap, Eddie Rabbitt, and Jerry Reed to a line-up featuring returning artists such as Dolly Parton, J.J. Cale, Billy Swan, and Tony Joe White. A number of tracks are making their debut on CD. To coincide with this release on August 6, LITA will also re-press the original Volume I on orange swirl vinyl.
As per usual for the series, the tracks showcase the variety found on the country racks during the days of disco, hard rock, and punk. Dolly Parton’s “Sure Thing” is plucked from her 1978 crossover success Heartbreaker, its tough guitars and swaggering horns bringing the funk to the superstar’s sound. Ronnie Milsap and Eddie Rabbitt were also blurring the lines between country and pop. The former’s “Get It Up,” from 1979’s Images, flirted with lavish disco strings and a driving beat; the latter’s smooth “One and Only One” from Lovelines the same year, is pitched somewhere between disco and yacht rock. Even the venerable Conway Twitty was adapting with the times. His deep, resonant tone is still present on “Night Fires” from his first album of the 1980s, Heart and Soul, but the sound is tight, funky, and rocking.
One of the more surprising artists here is Brian Hyland, best-known for the 1960 chart-topper “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and subsequent hits such as “Sealed with a Kiss” and “The Joker Went Wild.” The bubblegum pop king is heard on the Allen Toussaint-produced “Hale to the Man” from his underrated 1977 swamp-soul LP In a State of Bayou. Dennis Linde, the writer of Elvis Presley’s “Burning Love,” gets a moment in the spotlight with 1978’s “Down to the Station,” and another Elvis associate, singer-guitarist-actor extraordinaire Jerry Reed, is represented by 1981’s “Rhythm and Blues.” All of these tracks show how these artists maintained their artistic integrity while incorporating contemporary flourishes in country, funk, and beyond. Another lost treasure is producer-songwriter Jerry Fuller’s “Gonna Let You Have It” performed by Gary (Raffanelli) and Sandy (Selby) from their 1977 LP That Makes Two of Us.
Country Funk Volume III (1975-1982) features new artwork by J. William Myers (whose credits include Robert Altman’s film Nashville and Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson’s Waylon and Willie album). It will be available on 1CD, 2LP (standard black and clear-with-red-and-blue-swirl vinyl), and 4-song digital formats. The digital sampler has the Brian Hyland track as well as Tony Joe White’s previously unreleased “Alone at Last” and tracks by Gary & Sandy and Steven Soles. All versions boast newly remastered audio.
For those looking for more of Myers’ artwork, LITA has also opened a Country Funk mini-shop with a woven throw blanket based on his cover and other merchandise. Country Funk Volume III (1975-1982) is due from Light in the Attic on August 6 in all formats. You’ll find pre-order links as well as the track listing with discographical annotation below. You can pre-order the new pressing of the first volume on orange swirl vinyl here!
Various Artists, Country Funk Volume III (1975-1982) (Light in the Attic, 2021)
- Steven Soles – Shake The Dust (from The Promise, Maranatha Music LP MM0072, 1980) (*)
- J. Cale – Nobody But You (from Grasshopper, Mercury LP SRM1-4038, 1982)
- Conway Twitty – Night Fires (from Heart and Soul, MCA LP 3210, 1980)
- Eddie Rabbitt – One And Only One (from Loveline, Elektra LP ET-8181, 1979)
- Jerry Reed – Rhythm And Blues (from Dixie Dreams, RCA LP AHL1-4021, 1981)
- Dolly Parton – Sure Thing (from Heartbreaker, RCA LP AFL1-2797, 1978)
- Billy Swan – Oliver Swan (from Four, Monument LP PZ 34473, 1977)
- Rob Galbraith – I Got The Fever (RCA single 10324, 1975)
- Travis Wammack – Do Me (Warner Bros. single 8314, 1977)
- Larry Jon Wilson – I Betcha Heaven’s On A Dirt Road (from Loose Change, Monument LP MG 7615, 1977)
- Gary & Sandy – Gonna Let You Have It (from That Makes Two of Us, Top Ten LP TTR-1001, 1977) (*)
- Brian Hyland – Hale To The Man (from In a State of Bayou, Private Stock LP PS 7003, 1977) (*)
- Tony Joe White – Alone At Last (previously unreleased) (*)
- Ronnie Milsap – Get It Up (from Images, RCA LP AHL1-3346, 1979)
- Delbert McClinton – Shot From The Saddle (from Keeper of the Flame, Capricorn LP CPN-0223, 1979)
- Terri Gibbs – Rich Man (from Somebody’s Knockin’, MCA LP 5173, 1981)
- Dennis Linde – Down To The Station (from Under the Eye, Monument LP MG 7608, 1978)
(*) also available on digital release
- Steven Soles – Shake The Dust
- J. Cale – Nobody But You
- Conway Twitty – Night Fires
- Eddie Rabbitt – One And Only One
- Jerry Reed – Rhythm And Blues
- Dolly Parton – Sure Thing
- Billy Swan – Oliver Swan
- Rob Galbraith – I Got The Fever
- Travis Wammack – Do Me
- Larry Jon Wilson – I Betcha Heaven’s On A Dirt Road
- Gary & Sandy – Gonna Let You Have It
- Brian Hyland – Hale To The Man
- Tony Joe White – Alone At Last*
- Ronnie Milsap – Get It Up
- Delbert McClinton – Shot From The Saddle
- Terri Gibbs – Rich Man
- Dennis Linde – Down To The Station