Category Archives: Funk

Parliament – Flash Light (1977)

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In 1977, the Parliament ‎entourage released a long player called Funkentelechy Vs. The Placebo Syndrome. Yes, that’s right. Written by George Clinton, Bernie Worrell and Bootsy Collins, the simply named ‘Flash Light’ closes the album on a momentous high; all channelled through Worrell’s killer synth-bassline and Clinton’s otherwordly vocals.

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John Mayer – Moving On And Getting Over (2017)

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Singer John Mayer’s eleventh album The Search for Everything was released in January. It’s a break-up album and the funky opener ‘Moving on and Getting Over’ puts it simply. It’s a return to his a more blue-eyed soulful side after his dalliance with sounds of Laurel Canyon.

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Mtume – Juicy Fruit (1983)

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Back to 1983, before I forget to say…”I’ll be your lollipop/You can lick me everywhere.” James Mtume was part of Miles Davis’s band, full of avant-garde, obscure fusion jazz. But the ’80s came along and he and his band started creating a far more commercial soul sound. I stumbled across ‘Juicy Fruit’ years after its release, via one of the Classic Mastercuts compilations that I came to love in the early ’90s. Then, when it was famously sampled by Biggie Smalls for his debut single, the song evolved from a certified slow jam groove into something far more juicaaay. Have a relaxing Easter break.

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Jackie Stoudemire – Dancing (1983)

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In 1983, 17-year-old Harlem singer Jackie Stoudemire released ‘Dancing’ on label TAP Records. It’s an obscure late disco track beloved by crate-diggers. However, indie-pop merchant Jens Lekman heard it and used its insatiable groove on ‘#29’ of his Postcards undertaking. Throughout 2015, Lekman wrote and released a new song (“Postcard”) every week. And I thought a song a day was tough…

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Al Jarreau – Moonlighting (1987)

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It’s a buttery start to the week for I’ve just learned that Al Jarreau died yesterday. His canon of work that so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B, is largely lost on me; mainly because it so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B. However, after much of his most celebrated recordings has passed, he wrote and recorded this Nile Rodgers-produced tune for a TV series that left an indelible feelgood mark on my memory. R.I.P.

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William Onyeabor – Atomic Bomb (1978)

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This week, the mythic William Onyeabor died at home, in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, aged 70. Onyeabor was a pioneering electronic-funk musician who extraordinarily self-released 9 ground-breaking albums between 1977-1985. He composed, recorded, pressed and printed the work at Wilfilms Limited—his personal pressing plant in Enugu. As David Byrne said this week, wherever he’s gone, it’s sure to be a place with a lot of heart and some killer grooves. RIP William. Have a great weekend.

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Anderson. Paak feat. ScHoolboy Q – Am I Wrong (2016)

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No better way to end 2016 than to post a key cut off one of the best albums of the year. ‘Am I Wrong’ features on Anderson. Paak’s long player Malibu, and like much of the album it’s a collaboration. In this case, it’s the turn of ScHoolboy Q to break Paak’s smooth delivery on what can only be described as a deep funk groove that should make André 3000 and Big Boi blush. Have a fantastic New Year’s Eve!

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Cymande – Brothers On The Slide (1974)

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Good morning everyone. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and London’s Cymande were obviously thinking of Chicago’s funk soul brother number one Curtis Mayfield when they dreamt up ‘Brothers On The Slide’. This “rare groove” featured on their 1974 album Promised Heights. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2003

My favourite songs of 2003 and in no particular order:

Broken Social Scene – Stars And Sons

Kings Of Leon – Red Morning Light

Outkast – Hey Ya

Richmond Fontaine – Barely Losing

My Morning Jacket – One Big Holiday

Mew – Comforting Sounds

Radiohead – A Wolf At The Door

The White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

Broken Social Scene – Lovers Spit

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Honourable mentions also go to: Sun Kil Moon for ‘Carry Me Ohio‘; U.N.P.O.C. for ‘Amsterdam‘; The Postal Service for ‘Such Great Heights‘; Junior Senior for ‘Move Your Feet‘; The Weakerthans for ‘Plea From A Cat Named Virtute‘; and The Killers for ‘Mr. Brightside‘.

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Soft Hair – Lying Has To Stop (2016)

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Soft Hair

Bringing together two artists that have featured on this blog before, Soft Hair is the combined inspiration of Connan Mockasin and Sam Dust (aka LA PRIEST). They may be singular as solo artists, but as a duo they fit. I’m mean, hey, look at that snake! The sound of ‘Lying Has To Stop’, the lead single off their self-titled debut, is funky pop, but reassuringly kooky.

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Outkast – Hey Ya! (2003)

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André 3000

When ‘Hey Ya’ broke, everyone appreciated the song. The confidence. The talent. The pop hook. The sense of humour. The purpose of pop. “Shake it like a Polaroid picture.”

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Outkast – Ms. Jackson (2000)

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Outkast 2000

Some tracks, the very rarest of tracks, grab you in their opening sounds. Ms. Jackson is one of those, with its reversing of a Brothers Johnson cover, the smart use of Wagner’s wedding march. André 3000 was in his dandy element in 2000. He was dating Erykah Badu and the song’s an apology to her mother. It was the second single from their fourth studio album Stankonia.

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Marvin Gaye – I Want You (1976)

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In 1976, some sweeping strings, jazzy congas and choppy guitar riffs were mixed up to make something rather magical. ‘I Want You’ not only pulls on jazz, funk and disco, but also allows for an electric guitar solo by none other than Ray Parker, Jr.’s and, of course, Marvin Gaye’s peerless harmonies. The song was written by Leon Ware and featured as the title track off Gaye’s fourteenth studio album. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – funk tracks of all time

It’s unclear if this is something anyone’s been wondering about, but this is the perfect funk soundtrack to a bank holiday weekend…

A early example from the Big O (1968) …

Otis Redding – Hard To Handle

The first one from the Prime Minister (1971) …

Funkadelic – Can You Get To That

Funked-up and southern (1971) …

Ann Sexton – You’ve Been Gone Too Long

The Prince Of Soul on drums (1972) …

Marvin Gaye – “T” Plays It Cool

The first one from the Godfather (1972) …

Lyn Collins – Think About It

The one that Prince, Morris Day and Jellybean had in mind (1973) …

Sly And The Family Stone – If You Want Me To Stay

The one with the lover’s groove (1973) …

Ohio Players – Ecstasy

A controversial selection from the main man (1974) …

James Brown – Funky President (People It’s Bad)

The second one from Clinton’s insane mind (1975) …

Parliament – Night Of The Thumpasorus People

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Honourable mentions also go to: Jimi Hendrix for ‘Crosstown Traffic‘ (1968); Marlena Shaw for ‘California Soul‘ (1969); James Brown for ‘Give It Up Or Turn It Loose‘ (1969); Bobby Byrd for ‘I Know You Got Soul‘ (1971); Cymnade for ‘Bra‘ (1972); Bobby Womack for ‘Across 110th Street‘ (1972); Kool & The Gang for ‘Jungle Boogie‘ (1973); The Lafayette Afro Rock Band for ‘Darkest Light‘ (1974). And there you have it – a set of tough, cold decisions …

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