Various Artists

Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul (Numero Group)

Home Schooled: The ABCs of Kid Soul kiddie soul The Jacksons
Back in the late '60s and early '70s, the Jacksons weren't the only clan of pint-size dynamos carrying the soul-music banner. It's just taken nearly 40 years for the "kiddie soul" genre to earn its own compilation. Now -- in a swirl of wah-wah guitars, combo organs, funky drums, and right-on choruses -- it's finally here. And not surprisingly, Chicago's Numero Group is the label responsible.

A musical detective agency that doesn't reissue so much as reinvent, Numero's recent Good God! A Gospel Funk Hymnal combed lost albums and rare 45s, emerging with a heretofore unnamed genre. The same masterful assembly went into Home Schooled, which opens with Patrizia and Jimmy's "Trust Your Child Pt. 1," a song so good it's worth the price of admission alone. "We're only chips off the old block," raps Patrizia. "So when you down us, just be mindful that from the producer comes the stock."

But the disc's finest moment has got to be Jr. and His Soulettes' "2009 Cherry Soul Sound," an irresistible garage-funk instrumental laid down by a band whose oldest member was 10. Amazing.

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