Various artists, ‘Country Funk 1969-1975’

If the melding of country and funk seems incongruous, you’ve never heard Bobbie Gentry at her finest. The sultry singer, who had a hit with “Ode to Billie Joe,” is part of this essential new Light in the Attic compilation that explores a fringe strain of country music. Similar to how the genre absorbed rock and soul influences around the same time in the ’60s, country found its swampy groove through singers like Tony Joe White and Jim Ford, both of whom are included here. Suddenly, bluesy electric guitars and thick bass lines replaced fiddles and banjos. The real draw of “Country Funk 1969-1975” is its curatorial spotlight on long-lost curios (John Randolph Marr, Gray Fox) and unsung heroes (Larry Jon Wilson.) The collection also resurrects lesser-known country phases of rockers like Link Wray and Dale Hawkins. A long way from “Mack the Knife,” Bobby Darin’s “Light Blue” reinvented the crooner as a trippy troubadour. And Bobby Charles’s “Street People” sounds like something you’d hear at this weekend’s Newport Folk Festival. (Out Tuesday)


ESSENTIAL “Hello LA, Bye-Bye Birmingham,” John Randolph Marr