331. funky stuff + more

Kool + the Gang are one of those bands that sadly had to change because of the Disco eruptions of the mid-1970s, which sucks. Because they had a great thing going (as Funky Stuff clearly indicates) before all dance music suddenly had to be 4-4, boomp-boomp-boomp with cheesy strings on top. Even James Brown was afraid of them, or so I’ve heard.” (Philip Random)

kool+theGang-1973

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406. What is Hip?

“I actually turned down a free ticket to see Tower of Power at a small club. It would’ve been about 1978. They probably would’ve played this song. And yeah, it would’ve blown me the f*** away. The towering power of it, and the tightness. What a band! But I was an idiot. I said no. Because I didn’t get funk in those days, or jazz, and how the two could brilliantly fuse. I had it all confused with disco. And I had all kinds of issues with disco. What can I say? I was young and foolish, not remotely hip.” (Philip Random)

TowerOfPower-1973

519. who says a funk band can’t play rock?!

“The title says it all, and the lyrics back it up with a solid vice versa, speaking as they do to the stupid notion that genres are in fact competing nations which, at best, should just avoid each other. F*** that sh**! Though it is worth noting, not every band is, was or shall ever be on the level of Funkadelic circa 1978. My point being, nobody says you can’t do whatever you want musically speaking (at least nobody from my end of things) but that doesn’t mean you get to just slap your bass guitar, dress like a pimp and call yourself funky. Not if you’re older than twelve. You’ve got to earn that.” (Philip Random)

Funkadelic-1978-george

588. memory serves

“Title track from Material‘s first proper album, which was before main man Bill Laswell had played with EVERYONE on planet earth, become a household name (assuming you lived in a cool household). As a friend put it once, it’s jazz without the annoying indulgence, funk without the sleazy silliness. Not that I really felt that way about funk. But I could agree about the jazz. Always nice to hear the egos reigned in, everyone serving the groove … in a chaotic sort of way. And who better to work all that than a bass player.” (Philip Random)

BillLawell-fingers

630. that’s how I feel

They were the Jazz Crusaders until 1971 at which point they became merely the Crusaders, and less of a straight up jazz outfit, more of a funk driven item. But one thing that didn’t change (and never would) was the rich and prodigious power of the music. That’s How I Feel showed up on their second album as the Crusaders, the perhaps confusingly titled double shot called 1. Nothing confusing at all about how it made things move.

Crusaders-1973

668. spirit of the boogie

“It would’ve been the late 1970s sometime when I first heard Kool and the Gang, and I didn’t like them at all.  Too easy and smooth – the wrong kind of radio friendly. But jump ahead fifteen years or so and I was moving backward, getting archaeological as I dug through the stacks upon stacks of old vinyl that everybody was dumping at the time. Which inevitably got me to their better, cooler, funkier early stuff, starting with 1975’s Spirit of the Boogie. Apparently, even James Brown was afraid of them at time. Too dangerous to have on while he was driving, he said.” (Philip Random)

Kool+theGANG

687. drop the bomb

“A friend of mine caught Trouble Funk live around this time (1986) while on business in their hometown of Washington, DC (on a Saturday night, of course). I remember him trying to describe the show to me. Like rap, except not at all really because they weren’t rapping, and there was a full-on band. And Holy F***ing Sh** did did people go wild for it! Drop The Bomb indeed.” (Philip Random)

TroubleFUNK

733. sing a simple song

In which Sly + the Family Stone remind us that there was once a time in which all of life’s travails could be reconciled by the singing of a simple song. That’s what the mid-late 1960s were like apparently, particularly if you were in San Francisco, hanging with all the beautiful people, doing all the beautiful drugs, and you had the funk.

Sly+FamilyStone-1968