Tag: Funk

Music

Cosmic Slop (1973) by Funkadelic

The first time I heard this one I can’t say it endeared itself to me. Though I don’t know enough about it, it sure struck me as a Parliament record, or closer to one, than I would have preferred. (Again, I don’t really know what I’m talking about.) But with time, I’ve come to hear …

1993, Music

Symphony or Damn (1993) by Terence Trent D’Arby

Somehow I managed to grown up when D’Arby was releasing music and completely avoid him. We listened to an Oldies station primarily, so we didn’t hear him there. And I swear I never saw any of his videos. (If I did, I didn’t see them enough to remember them.) So all I knew was the …

1973, Music

Fresh (1973) by Sly and the Family Stone

I don’t know enough about the history of Sly and the Family Stone to know whether or not There’s a Riot Goin’ On was something sustainable on an emotional level – I suspect it wasn’t – or a commercial level. But this record feels like a major step… not back, exactly, but to the side, …

1988, Music

Lovesexy (1988) by Prince

To the extent that I know Prince, I know him as the dynamic performer who effortlessly combines aspects of R&B (funk, soul, etc.) with elements of rock (psychedelia, art rock, hard rock) and pop. Well, he’s dialed down the ambition at this point in his career and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

1968, Music

Dance to the Music (1968) by Sly and the Family Stone

It’s easy to understand why this band captured everyone’s attention; though the music is undeniably funky for the era, and soulful, there’s also enough of other elements that it’s accessible to people who would not have listened to James Brown or Stax or what have you.It’s significantly less psychedelic than I assumed it was, but …

1973, Music

In the Right Place (1973) by Dr. John

Really listening to the (sort of) title track for the first time (instead of just being aware of it playing on the radio), it’s clear to me why it’s Dr. John’s biggest hit – the song has much more immediacy to it than anything else of his I’ve ever heard.

1978, Music

Bootsy Player of the Year (1978) by Booty’s Rubber Band

If you’re like me, you sometimes find yourself reading the liner notes for a Parliament or Frunkadelic release and wondering “What exactly is it that George Clinton actually does?” He’s credited as a co-writer on all or most tracks, but he’s usually only one of numerous singers and is rarely credited with playing an instrument. …

1977, Music

The Belle Album (1977) by Al Green

Though not an Al Green fan, I have been spending a little bit of time with him over the past few years on account of my podcast. At this point, it’s enough to almost think of myself of an Al Green aficionado, if not an actual fan. (Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great singer, …

1982, Music

Thriller (1982) by Michael Jackson

Much like Bad, so many of the songs from Thriller were hits when I was a little kid that I know more of this record than I could have ever imagined. That knowledge once again puts me in a weird position, having the memory of what some of these songs sounded like to me as …

1977, Music

Funkentelechy vs. the Placebo Syndrome (1977) by Parliament

So i didn’t love Clones of Doctor Funkenstein at all. In the interim, I don’t know if I’ve changed (I think I am more accepting of the general zaniness of P-Funk now than I was) or maybe this is just a lot better.

1982, Music

Midnight Love (1982) by Marvin Gaye

I don’t know Marvin Gaye at all, beyond his most famous singles. I guess his Motown stuff is just too slick for me, so I never bothered. I still mean to listen to What’s Going On at some point but I just haven’t gotten there. I don’t know much about his personal life, either, beyond …

1972, Music

Talking Book (1972) by Stevie Wonder

Of all R&B artists, I have been familiar with Stevie Wonder about as long as any, because Wonder was acceptable to the Oldies station I grew up with to a much greater extent than most of his contemporaries. (There was Motown of course – just the hits! – and a few Ray Charles hits, but …

1987, Music

Bad (1987) by Michael Jackson

I grew up with “Fat” and have a hard time separating the real song, the title track of this record, from its parody. But I haven’t listened to “Fat” in so long. Listening to Bad for the first time (and to the remaster, no less), I can’t help but wonder, “does “Fat” sound this terrible …

1972, Music

Superfly Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (1972) by Curtis Mayfield

I understand that this record is considered a landmark in the “socially conscious” soul and funk of the early ’70s – it has completely outlasted the film it was ostensibly created for and (I believe) is often held up as Mayfield’s greatest achievement.

1972, Music

All Directions (1972) by The Temptations

I don’t know what to do with vocal groups. Most of my music-listening life I have been more impressed with the ability to play an instrument well than sing well. So when I listen to a record where the vocalists are all credited but the players aren’t really, I already get muddled, regardless of the …

1987, Music

Sign O the Times (1987) by Prince

Someone described this record as Prince’s White Album. This is only the second Prince album I’ve ever heard (I know, I know) but I still think that’s pretty apt. There’s a range of music here that is kind of incredible, especially given how much of the record he made himself.

1971, Music

There’s a Riot Goin On (1971) by Sly and the Family Stone

I was only familiar with this band from listening to Oldies Radio too much when I was a kid, and from borrowing a Greatest Hits compilation from my dad some time in the last 15 years. Neither of those things could have prepared me for this record.

1981, Music

God (1981) by Rip Rig and Panic

It’s no secret the influence American funk had on post punk. But Rip Rig + Panic take that influence to extremes not seen in the rest of the movement.And the influence isn’t limited to funk, but extends to many different forms of African American music, including jazz, which should come as no surprise given that …

1976, Music

The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein (1976) by Parliament

I think I missed my chance with Funkadelic. I generally like the music but I generally hate the lyrics. Had I discovered Funkadelic between the ages of 17 and 23 I would have absolutely loved that band. Unfortunately, many of the musical things I like Funkadelic’s music significantly more than Parliament’s but there are still …

1971, Music

Maggot Brain (1971) by Funkadelic

My first exposure to Funkadelic didn’t exactly endear me to them and I generally want to like this record more. It opens with what I am assuming is the definitive Eddie Hazel guitar solo – that’s all it is, really, though it is pretty great – but the rest of the record is a far …

1971, Music

Where I’m Coming From (1971) by Stevie Wonder

I’m glad that Wonder was breaking away from the creative constraints of his label and his handlers. And maybe, if I’d heard those earlier albums, I’d see more daring in this record, in his freeing himself creatively. I’d like to hear that, but without listening to those earlier records, I can’t. Instead, I hear a …

2015, Music

Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaires Live at Nathan Phillip’s Square, July 21, 2015

I came to James Brown – and soul, funk and so forth – rather late in life, compared to most other genres I have an interest in. And, regardless, I would have never been able to see the Godfather in his prime, had I even wanted to. But I think Charles Bradley probably gave me …

1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1979, 1988, 2003, Music

The 50th Anniversary Collection by James Brown (Polydor 2003)

James Brown’s importance can not be understated. He is on The List of the most important musical figures of the twentieth century (along with Louis Armstrong, the Beatles, Miles Davis, Dylan, Duke Ellington, Schoenberg,¬†Stockhausen, Frank Zappa and maybe a few others). This compilation of his hit singles gives a very good idea of his progression …