Record Label: Music From Memory
Repressed. The subject of Music From Memory's fifth compilation is the elusive and mysterious Philadelphian musician Napoleon Cherry (aka Cool Waters). Oddball funk biz! In the late '80s and early '90s Cherry privately released two LPs and an EP, which form the basis of this retrospective, alongside a previously unreleased cut, "When You Had the Chance," which was released as a 12" in 2015 by US label Peoples Potential Unlimited.
Recorded with a very DIY aesthetic and a strong presence of gospel and RnB, Cherry's unique take on soul and funk music reflects a rawness that stands in contrast to the slick, over-produced soul of that era. With appearances by jazz musicians including the late celebrated saxophonist Byard Lancaster, who coincidentally also played with MFM's previous compilation subject Vito Ricci, Cherry's music seems to defy any clear categorization. From cocktail jazz funk to intergalactic synth workouts to melancholy bedroom soul, his use of synths and drum computers, though perhaps unknowingly, also seems to strongly echo elements of early house music.