Category Archives: Funk

Prince – I Wanna Be Your Lover (1979)

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Good morning folks. Completing a run of posts from the late 1970s, like so many times before, my attention is drawn to Prince. In 1979, disco was eating itself, funk was in transition and drum machines were about to conquer all. Enter, stage right, Prince Rogers Nelson from Minneapolis. His breakout single ‘I Wanna Be Your Lover’ would tear up the dance floor jam and leave the world of pop music better. It would feature on his self-titled sophomore album. Have a great week.

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Ian Dury & The Blockheads – What A Waste (1978)

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A year after Iggy was striking out again, another remarkable performer was also playing his own tune. “I could be the driver an articulated lorry/I could be a poet I wouldn’t need to worry/I could be a teacher in a classroom full of scholars/I could be the sergeant in a squadron full of wallahs.” ‘What a Waste’ was originally released on Stiff Records as a single. Essentially a song about being in a job that makes you happy; for Ian Dury and his Blockheads, this included mixing Two-tone with glam and jazz funk.

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Boz Scaggs – Lowdown (1976)

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It may not be cool, but it’s Boz Scaggs. Having first made his mark as a member of the Steve Miller Band playing guitar plus writing and singing a few songs on the band’s first two albums, Boz set out on his own path. He’s probably best known for the slick R&B hit ‘Lowdown’ from his breakthrough 1976 album Silk Degrees. Blue-eyed soul.

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Karen O & Danger Mouse – Turn The Light (2019)

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Now for a different take on the sound that is funk. Karen O might be an unlikely source, but then she has teamed up with Danger Mouse. The production on ‘Turn the Light’ includes a glorious bass line and steady groove. It features on their collaboration LP Lux Prima.

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Lizzo – Juice (2019)

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Before I forget some holiday detail (and my usual morning slot), I need to post an earworm in the hope that I will revisit it one day as the throwback banger that it is – and not as the pervasive sound of my summer travels. ‘Juice’ was released at the start of the year as the lead single from Lizzo’s third album, Cuz I Love You. It was made for the dance floor, but not my cochlea. Have a great week.

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Payfone – I Was In New York (2019)

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Together, Phil Passera and Chieka Ononye are Payfone, the new-wave-funk-disco duo from East London. Their electronic sound has created a seriously funky bassline in the track ‘I Was In New York’. It’s a 10-minute burn…. stay with it.

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Anderson .Paak – King James (2019)

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Anderson .Paak was busy in the studio earlier this year pleasing crowds with a return to the grooves that proved so infectious on 2016’s Malibu. “If they build a wall, let’s jump the fence, I’m over this”. Never has a protest song sounded so breezy. ‘King James’ features on his fourth album Ventura, released in April this year.

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Mariya Takeuchi – Plastic Love (1984)

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I started the week with a track from Haruomi Hosono… I end with another influential figure in the world of city pop. Outside of Japan, Mariya Takeuchi is best known for marrying her collaborator Tatsuro Yamashitathe and releasing the classic 1984 song ‘Plastic Love’, with its dancefloor-filling final chorus. The Japanese genre is an unexpected mix of 1970s/1980s smooth AOR and jazz funk. This very American sound is strange through the filter of a Japanese scene. Have a great weekend.

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Little Dragon – Lover Chanting (2018)

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Little Dragon consists of Swedish-Japanese singer Yukimi Nagano (vocals, percussion) and her close high-school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrik Källgren Wallin (bass), and Håkan Wirenstrand (keyboards). Their electronic output has never quite eclipsed the success of their guest turn on Gorillaz’s Plastic Beach. The title track off 2018’s Lover Chanting EP got close tho’.

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The Go! Team – We Just Won’t Be Defeated (2005)

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A year after The Go! Team released Thunder Lightning Strike, they produced a remixed version of the album due to sample approvals/clearance etc. It was a masterstroke by the Brighton band, particularly because ‘We Just Won’t Be Defeated’ appeared on the disc. Have a great weekend.

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Toro Y Moi – Fading (2019)

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Like Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand, I’ve featured Chaz Bear quite a bit since I started this blog 7+ years ago. And this is no time to stop; for Toro Y Moi keeps getting better. ‘Fading’ is the opening track of his most recent album Outer Peace.

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Solange – Way To The Show (2019)

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There’s something exceptional about Solange Knowles’s sound and group of producer pals. Her genre is not one I fully appreciate, but I make exception for songs like ‘Way To The Show’. This glossy soul funk comes her latest album When I Get Home. Have a great week.

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Melvin Bliss – Synthetic Substitution (1973)

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In 1973, Melvin McClellan aka Melvin Bliss thought he had struck gold with the Herb Rooney-penned track ‘Reward’. Released on Sunburst records, the single saw some chart action… and importantly enough interest to get the pressing into the right hands. A decade later, it was its jazz-funk-tinged B-side that was making all the news. The opening drum break on ‘Synthetic Substitution’ would quickly become a hip-hop staple. Have a great week.

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Toro y Moi – Ordinary Pleasure (2019)

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Chaz Bear is coolio. Last month, the artist professionally known as Toro y Moi released a new album Outer Peace. ‘Ordinary Pleasure’ is one of a number of funky tracks on an album that makes me want to hang with him and his friends. The sound of my kind of house party.

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9 of the best – sounds of 2018

Samuelsounds begins a short hiatus for the festive season. As is my way, I leave you with my favourite sounds of 2018. They are in no particular order. Merry Christmas, have a great holiday and see you in the New Year, when I will whittle 12 to 9. (Done!)

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Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever – Talking Straight

Father John Misty – Just Dumb Enough to Try

Natalie Prass – Lost

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land

Stephen Malkmus – Solid Silk

Vasser – Valerians

Let’s Eat Grandma – Donnie Darko

Oscar L – Monster Tube

Kokoroko – Abusey Junction

Honourable mentions also go to: Childish Gambino for ‘This Is America‘; Phum Viphurit for ‘Lover Boy‘; Fake Shark for ‘Wake Up‘; Phosphorescent for ‘New Birth in New England‘; Bodega for ‘Jack In Titanic‘; MorMor for ‘Heaven’s Only Wishful‘; Kanye West & Kid Cudi for ‘Reborn‘; Christine and the Queens for ‘Damn, dis-moi‘; Lana Del Rey for ‘Mariners Apartment Complex‘; The Voidz for ‘Leave It In My Dreams‘; Nilüfer Yanya for ‘Thanks 4 Nothing‘ and DJ Koze for ‘Pick Up‘.

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