Sort of a legal, mega-version of a bootleg breaks mix-tape, What It Is!: Funky Soul And Rare Grooves From The Vaults Of Atlantic, Atco & Warner Bros. Records (Rhino), compiles four discs of old funk made extra-desirable by the sample-crazed crate-digging set. It's pretty essential even for those who've never cut a sample in their life. Oliver Wang opens his liner notes with a thumbnail sketch of funk history, from its doo-wop origins to its P-Funk ascendancy. This is the secret history, from the apocalyptic grooves of Eugene McDaniels to forgotten Little Richard 45s. Sure, it isn't as fun as finding this stuff on your own, but it sure beats paying eBay prices… A

The Scottish band Josef K has put out more posthumous compilations than albums, but those have been tricky to track down in America until now. But they've been worth the effort. Combining the isolation of Joy Division (and, of course, Franz Kafka) with a jangle all its own, the group only lasted a couple of years at the turn of the '80s. But like its labelmates in Orange Juice, it managed to exert a powerful influence. Entomology (Domino) sums the career up nicely, spanning early singles to late-period radio sessions. It sounds like an unfinished story, but one worth hearing anyway… B+

Jerry Lee Lewis isn't kidding when he calls his latest album Last Man Standing (Artists First): The first thing listeners see when they open the booklet is a picture of the famous "Million Dollar Quartet." But you won't see Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, or Carl Perkins still roving the earth. Only Lewis, who on this collection duets with everyone from Neil Young to Toby Keith (they presumably never got together to discuss American foreign policy) sounds vital and engaged—though decidedly older—behind the keys and on vocals. The duet with Don Henley doesn't rank up there with his classic material, but this is much better than a testimonial dinner album. Highlights include a Keith Richards guest spot on the rogues' reflection "That Kind Of Fool," and a raucous George Jones duet, "Don't Be Ashamed Of Your Age." Alternately wise, mournful, and rowdy, it's very much a Lewis album, regardless of who stops by to join him. Who knows? He might yet outlive them all. A-

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