Tag: Funk

1969, Music

Stand! (1969) by Sly and the Family Stone

I think my biggest problem with all the early Family Stone albums I’ve heard is a lack of consistent material. Because, otherwise, they’re a truly great band with a unique sound fusion and sound, full of truly capable musicians. But on the previous records, nearly all the songs outside of the singles felt lazy (or …

1969, Music

It’s Our Thing (1969) by Isley Brothers

If you are sick to death of “It’s Your Thing” from all those TV ads masquerading as female self-empowerment messages you could be forgiven for never wanting to listen to this record, ever. I mean, that’s sort of where my mind was at when I saw the title. That song is one of the most …

1993, Music

Plantation Lullabies (1993) by Me’Shell NdegéOcello

It’s hard not be impressed by the ambition of this debut; NdegéOcello seems to want to do everything within the R&B spectrum and, at times, it feels like she might succeed. She’s like a female Terence Trend D’Arby with more of a jazz and hip hop influence and a better sense of rhythm but with …

1998, Music

Aquemini (1998) by OutKast

When I was in first year university Stankonia was everywhere. I would walk down the hall and hear it. It was blaring so loud in my neighbour’s room that first semester I couldn’t escape it. Worse, it wasn’t really Stankonia, it was just the hits: “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Ms. Jackson” and “B.O.B.” just playing …

1973, Music

Wild and Peaceful (1973) by Kool and the Gang

I knew of Kool & the King, of course. I’ve heard “Jungle Boogie,” I know “Celebration,” maybe a few others. But I’d never thought much of them. I never took them seriously as a funk band perhaps because of the seeming novelty nature of their biggest hits.

1973, Music

3+3 (1973) by The Isley Brothers

I know the Isley Brothers more by reputation than by their music. I know their most famous song, and I know the most famous song from this record, but that’s about it. (Also, I may have forgotten that “Shout” and “That Lady” were by the same band until I listened to this record.) This record …

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 …

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 …