Category Archives: Funk

Prince – Raspberry Beret (1985)

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Good morning. In 1985, Prince released his psychedelic LP Around The World In A Day. It features ‘Raspberry Beret’ which was originally recorded in 1982. It stands as one of the finest examples of his Minneapolis sound, blending his groove with some unconventional arrangements incl. finger-cymbals, a string section and a harmonica. Who can ever get tired of that chorus?

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Khruangbin – So We Won’t Forget (2020)

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Texas trio Khruangbin have featured pretty regularly on this blog. I like the mix of Funk, Jazz, Psychedelic and Disco. The band have shared a new song called ‘So We Won’t Forget’ from their upcoming album Mordechai, out on the Dead Oceans label on 26th June. Warm, sunny and nostalgic. “Ooh, one to remember/ Writing it down now/ So we won’t forget.”

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Labi Siffre – I Got The (1975)

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I recently heard this track on the Netflix series Better Call Saul. Before Labi Siffre became forever branded with his 1987 single ‘Something Inside So Strong’, he had left London as a young man to settle in Cannes and hang with musicians in the sun and play guitar. When he returned to the UK in the late ’60s, he set about a recording career. In 1975, he released his fifth studio album Remember My Song, his first for EMI. Generations to come would recall the break from the LP’s opening track ‘I Got The’. The song opens like some sort of jazz funk workaday song, but then, after 2 mins the song drops and completely changes direction. Eminem took and used that drop for the hook in his breakthrough song ‘My Name Is’.

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Yves Tumor – Gospel For A New Century (2020)

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Good morning folks. When ‘Gospel For A New Century’ kicks off, one has no idea about what is about to follow. On first listening, I presumed Wu-Tang influenced hip hop with those drums, horns and stabs. But no… what follows is more like Prince doing a straightforward electronic rock track. Straightforward! Yves Tumor is the solo moniker of Sean Bowie, a multi-instrumentalist and producer who hails from Miami, Florida, but is based in Turin, Italy. This song is off his his forthcoming album, Heaven to a Tortured Mind.

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Little Steven and The Interstellar Jazz Renegades – City Lights (2019)

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Last year, five years after its final episode aired, the soundtrack to Lilyhammer was released. It was scored by Steven Van Zandt, the star of show. He had pulled together the Interstellar Jazz Renegades, a group he had founded with the help of E Street Band bandmate Max Weinberg. With that band, he decided to have some fun. ‘City Lights’ is exactly that. Have a great weekend.

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Orgone – Do Your Thing (2007)

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The title of the 2007 long player The Killion Floor is derived from the apartment/studio facility where Orgone recorded the album for Ubiquity Records. While the record’s cover of ‘Funky Nassau’ might be more favoured in funk DJ circles, the LA-based band’s reputation was cemented with their rendition of Isaac Hayes ‘Do Your Thing’. Lead singer Fanny Franklin rings in the apocalypse.

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Sly & The Family Stone – Runnin’ Away (1972)

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Sly and the Family Stone’s fifth studio album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On, is dark, lo-fi funk masterpiece. It was the statement of a man finding his place in the world as he begins a slow descent into addiction. The drugs hadn’t affected the quality, but Sly Stone’s outlook had altered considerably. ‘Runnin’ Away’ maybe a must-listen for lovers of soul jazz, but it’s also about how, at a certain time, everybody runs away from something. Have a great week.

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David Axelrod – The Human Abstract (1969)

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Before DJ Shadow and Lil Wayne successfully sampled the sounds of David Axelrod, listening to his music may have been unnecessarily limited to the cool kids of jazz. The slow, ascending piano of ‘The Human Abstract’ presents the listener with a journey into a sea of strings. It’s a timely dose of midweek jazz junk.

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Questlove ‎- Goodbye Isaac (2008)

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Good morning. After an action-packed weekend in the Alps, it’s a slow start today and time for a calm beat. Questlove’s track ‘Goodbye Isaac’ was created by Ahmir Thompson (aka Questlove), Randy Watson and James Poyser in tribute to Isaac Hayes. The beat was respectfully laid down the day the Black Moses passed away. Like Hayes, Thompson is an artist, a producer, an actor and author, but best known as the drummer and joint frontman for The Roots. Have a great week.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2019

Samuelsounds says no to a festive hiatus. Today, I leave you with my favourite sounds of 2019. Tomorrow, the 2010s. The sounds are in no particular order and as ever limited by what I’ve heard…

Sharon Van Etten ‎- Seventeen

Weyes Blood – Everyday

Aldous Harding – The Barrel

Foals – Exits

Big Thief – Not

Michael Kiwanuka – Final Days

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Honourable mentions also go to: Lizzo for ‘Juice‘; Kasper Marott for his Forever mix of ‘Drømmen om Ø’; Bill Callahan for ‘The Ballad of the Hulk‘; Cage The Elephant for ‘Ready To Let Go‘; Toro Y Moi for ‘Ordinary Pleasure‘; Tame Impala for ‘It Might Be Time‘; Andy Shauf for ‘Things I Do‘; Caribou for ‘Home‘; Whitney for ‘Giving Up‘; W. H. Lung for ‘Second Death Of My Face‘; and Devendra Banhart for ‘Kantori Ongaku‘.

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Lizzo ‎- Good As Hell (2016)

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We finish the week with one of the best pop songs of the last decade. Melissa Viviane Jefferson is professionally known as Lizzo, the Detroit-born rapper, singer-songwriter and actor. After founding indie hip hop group The Chalice, Jefferson released a couple of solo albums. But it wasn’t until she teamed up with producer Ricky Reed, worked on her vocals and signed with Atlantic Records that things went stratospheric. Soon after, she released the EP Coconut Oil; it featured the anthem ‘Good As Hell’ and its collective “hair toss”. Have a great weekend.

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Chaka Khan – Like Sugar (2018)

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Last year, Chaka Khan teamed up with the Major Lazer producer Switch and his partner Sarah Ruba. The immediate result was the hi-energy single ‘Like Sugar’, Khan’s first recording in a decade. The choice of sample – a mix of The Fatback Band’s ‘(Are You Ready) Do The Bus Stop’ from 1982 – is a fitting shout out from the queen of funk, now in her late 60s.

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The Fatback Band ‎- Yum Yum (Gimme Some) (1975)

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I recently heard this track in a pretty cool clothes shop in Richmond (London). I didn’t buy any threads, but I do pass on the sound of The Fatback Band. The opening, title track from their 1975 long player is also standout for being much better than the rest of the album. The band was in transition (for quite a few years) but these misfits still knew how to partay! I give you ‘Yum Yum’ and its hungry groove.

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Stevie Wonder ‎- Superwoman (Where Were You When I Needed You?) (1972)

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Good morning all. A couple of weeks ago, I featured Cody ChesnuTT’s work as a one-man band. Last week, it was the turn of Todd Rundgren. Todd was not the only man with the prowess to be both the singer-songwriter and the band in 1972. With a new contract from Motown in his hands, Stevie Wonder released the long player Music of My Mind. On the album is the standout sound of ‘Superwoman’ with its harmonies, ladles of metaphors and clever use of synthesisers. Have a great week.

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The Stone Roses ‎- Fools Gold (1989)

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I started the week with The Rolling Stones; I end it with The Stone Roses. 30 years old this week, ‘Fools Gold’ is as iconic as the ‘Funky Drummer’ break that it is looped around. The band’s guitarist John Squire was in Eastern Bloc Records in Manchester when he heard the potential in Clyde Stubblefield’s drum work for James Brown. The title and vocals of the track were inspired by the Humphrey Bogart movie The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre. The production was heavily influenced by the Dust Brothers-produced Young MC track ‘Know How’. Whereas the bongo-fuelled madness is pure Madchester. The single was originally released by Silvertone Records as a double A-side with ‘What the World Is Waiting For’, but there was only one ‘Fools Gold’. Have a great weekend.

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