Friday, 12 February 2021

Soul/Funk miscellaneous (part one)

These are a few soul-funk artists who work I only have on compilation, as opposed to via individual albums:-

The Best Of The The Brothers Johnson

They were underrated late seventies funkers, The Brothers Johnson. This is probably the best compilation of their work. I’ll Be Good To You is a lovely, slow-burning piece of seductive soul-funk. Free And Single is typical grinding late seventies funk fare while the spacey, jazzy Land Of Ladies mines that old cheesy "ladies man" seam from the same era.


Get The Funk Outa My Face is a marvellous (if a little short) piece of pure Parliament-Funkadelic funk and one of their two best-known tracks is the quirky vaguely psychedelic funk of Strawberry Letter 23, the other, of course, is the dare I say stomping pop funk of Stomp, with its truly infectious chorus. 

Tomorrow and Q are gentle, easy jazzy instrumentals (the latter is funkier) while Runnin' For Your Lovin' is a laid-back, appealing serving of late night soul-funk.

Right On Time bubbles over with Parliament-style funk too, as is Blam. Ain't We Funkin' Now's title gives the game away doesn't it?

This compilation is a nice mixture of upbeat funk and slower, romantic soul-funk.

The Best Of Kool & the Gang

Although they ended up as a chart-soul group, early on in their surprisingly long career Kool And The Gang produced some great cookin' funkers in the Earth, Wind & Fire-influenced disco funk of Open Sesame, the very early brassy cut of Hollywood Swinging and the urban Blaxploitaton funk of Jungle Boogie before progressing to nice mid-pace funky disco-oriented soul like the beautifully bassy, saxophone-enhanced Too Hot and, of course the big, obviously disco hit material of the irresistible Ladies Night, Get Down On It and the impossibly infectious Celebration

Cherish was a killer soul ballad while Fresh was a commercial but enjoyable song too, as was the gloriously poppy Let's Go Dancin' (Ooh, La, La, La). They briefly hit on just the right formula with their run of successful singles - an appealing mix of disco, funk and soul. 

Take My Heart (You Can Have It If You Want It) is an excellent mid-pace soul-soft funk number too and check out the soft rock, Hall & Oates-ish merge with soul of the surprisingly brooding Misled, complete with Michael Jackson-inspired vocal whoops.

A good way of checking out the funkier side of Kool & The Gang is via the excellent compilation, The 12" Collection And More, which combines their early singles with great extended versions of the big hits and early Parliament-inspired funk stuff like Mighty, Mighty High and the excellent groove of Love & Understanding.

The Best Of Rose Royce

Rose Royce had some great hits too, featuring the underrated voice of Gwen Dickey - notably two outstanding soul slowies in the haunting Love Don't Live Here Anymore, with its famous synth-drum "boing-boing" bit and the equally effective Wishing On A Star. They could also cut it up on the dance floor too with the infectious disco groove of Car Wash and the rousing Is It Love You're After?

Car Wash (1976)

Car Wash/6 O'Clock DJ (Let's Rock)/I Wanna Get Next To You/Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is/Zig Zag/You're On My Mind/Mid Day DJ Theme/Born To Love You/Daddy Rich/Dialogue/You Gotta Believe/I'm Going Down/Yo-Yo/Sunrise/Righteous Rhythm/Water/Crying/Doin' What Comes Naturally/Keep On Keepin' On

My own personal favourite is the emotional soul of I Wanna Get Next To You - also taken from the Car Wash soundtrack album, which contained some fine funky stuff, like Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, Zig Zag and Born To Love You. While, by 1976, this sort of Shaft-Superfly soundtrack seemed a bit like yesterday's thing, it is still highly listenable. Get a load of the fabulously funky Daddy Rich, Yo-Yo and You Gotta Believe, featuring The Pointer Sisters on vocals.  

The big ballad I'm Going Down is great too as is Norman Whitfield's blaxploitation-esque Keep On Keepin' On. The film was rubbish though.

1 comment:

  1. I deleted the previous "soul miscellaneous" post to replace it with this slightly-changed one, therefore comments were lost. Sorry! I agreed with them anyway!