Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lost in the Funk

My ipod and pandora box is filled with the funk. When i say funk i mean: stanky, fantabulous, jump and down with cheerios funk, that gets your soul to shout Wooooo wOooOO. Too much of what tries to pass as funk mixed in with hip hop these days just comes across as Bubb Rubb style. I am tired of it and want to let the lost soul funk classics back in the door. A lot of what I drop into my ipod are tracks that I've heard from breakwars, bboy battles, and the like. As much as Afrika Bambataa and electro music is seen in the mainstream as breakdancing music, true bboy hits are based from the "breaks" in between vocals on songs. Most of this stemming from the long breaks in great 10 minute songs that were released by James Brown and Curtis Mayfield back in their hey days. This created the derivative name break dancers. As I was watching 1979 movie The Warriors last night I started to hear the transition from that bass beat funk into the new wave rush in the soundtrack. It reminded me of the group that really did it all for me in terms of the funky guitar with egg in the background at breakwars. First lost funky soul artist is Babe Ruth.

Babe Ruth hails from England and covered songs by Curtis Mayfield and Frank Zappa. Their album First Base had what I feel was the best track they ever released, The Mexican which you can sample here. Oddly titled song since they're all hippy UK blokes. For years I just assumed that the vocals belted out were from some Freddie Mercury wannabe but they're actually from a female named Jenny Haan who rocks out with nearly the same ferocity as the galactic Mercury. The thing that I love the most is you can really get lost in the beat with this song when you're down in your basement crashing on that stank couch you've had for years.

The next artist that I've come to cherish while jamming down the Metro 120 into downtown is The Jimmy Castor Bunch. Where Babe Ruth may entice you, Jimmy Castor breaks down the bass and knocks your head up and down. In particular the track that definitely gets you to move is the hands down jam track It's Just Begun which intros on the above Jimmy link. Its one of the few songs where I actually don't mind the saxophone solo, maybe because you get so hyped by the song lyrics of

Watch me now
Fill the room
Into something
Gonna make you move

Here we come
On the run
Don't know what
We're runnin' from


For some reason Jimmy Castor calls himself the Everything Man, maybe its because he can sing, write, dance, and play several instruments. His epic track of "Its Just Begun" is best described from a fan site: "It's Just Begun is Castor's masterpiece, the most fully realized example of his vision and his most successful album to boot. In addition to tapping into his doo-wop and Latin soul roots, The Jimmy Castor Bunch had developed a relentlessly funky groove, with full-bodied churning bass, ultradistorted fuzz-tone guitar, and layered percussion."

My next big jammer from time gone by is Lyn Collins The Female Preacher. This powerhouse singer was discovered by James Brown along with her infamous relative Bootsy Collins. She was tagged with the nickname of the female preacher because of her intense vocal ability, her talent was so good that she began recording tracks at the age of 14. In 1972 she released her first solo album after doing backup for james titled Think. Unfortunately, she passed away last year at age 56. This was not before she gained mainstream prominence through compilations and sampling from Raw Bass in the 1988 hit It Takes Two. Her tracks have been sampled over 100 times since then making her the most sampled female vocalist in hip hop. You can sample her fine tracks of Think and Ain't No Sunshine here.

My final tribute goes to Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. Again, she shares a distant relationship with James Brown coming from the same hometown of Augusta, Georgia. The relation ends there but the intense flavor does not. For years she fronted in various funk bands and currently she is titled by soul purists as The Queen of Funk. Her big jam is I Got A Think On My Mind and comes out fast with the horns complimenting power voice. Its a complete throwback to the late 60's and early 70's yet i'm shocked to know that her album Dap-Dippin was released in 2002. Even though Sharon Jones was not technically part of the mainstream, her underground efforts have honed her skills for today. She's continued on with a recent 2005 release of a new album titled Naturally. 2.0's company can gladly supply the above albums and samples to the funk. Fortunately, there are people still left from the era of good soul that are still touring around and not mixing themselves up with cross genre ridiculousness that hip-hop sometimes retards.

Some of these albums are really difficult to purchase, in particular Lyn Collins. Just find your happy torrent site or whatever "legal" method of download you use and get these artist's songs.


Blogger joe. said...

I saw Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings when I was bouncing at Chop Suey -- very good show and excellent band. The live funk is better than funk albums, in my opinion.

Thu May 04, 11:16:00 AM PDT  
Blogger theDUKE said...

Next time you know a good funk concert going down you let me know. We can make it an Outkast night or a Lodge night.

Thu May 04, 12:06:00 PM PDT  
Blogger theDUKE said...

Oh wait, They are going to be at Bumbershoot:

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006 4:00 PM

along with:
Kanye West • AFI • A Tribe Called Quest • Yellowcard • Atmosphere • Hawthorne Heights • Feist • Shooter Jennings • Mates of State • Of Montreal • Matt Costa • The Blood Brothers • Bettye LaVette • the subdudes • Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk • Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings • Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey • Yerba Buena • The English Beat • Gossip • 3 Inches of Blood • Deerhoof • Laura Veirs • Nouvelle Vague • Breakestra • Jamie Lidell • Vashti Bunyan • Dengue Fever • Metric

Thu May 04, 12:10:00 PM PDT  
Blogger joe. said...

WHAT!?! A Tribe Called Quest!?! Holy sh!t. I'm there. My favorite Hip-hop artist of all-time.

Thu May 04, 12:14:00 PM PDT  
Blogger joe. said...

I know Jimbo has a soft spot for PE, but Tribe is it for the Joe.

Thu May 04, 12:15:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Jimbo said...

comparing PE and Tribe is like comparing MJ and the Dr...both brings the truth, one silky smooth, one like death from above...

Thu May 04, 01:29:00 PM PDT  

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