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What's Funky Music?

A short personal explanation       

An analysis of the Funk styles and the most important representatives (artists) of those styles

 


 

 

Preface

 

This short introduction does not cover all aspects of Funky Music. I have analysed, structured and commented on its evolution from the viewpoint of a Funk music collector and I gave priority to the music compared with other aspects such as cultural background of Funky Music. Therefore the most of the information is focused on the music itself, that means, on the musicians, the music tracks, the records year of release and so on. As such this particular history of Funk is not definitive, because there is a considerable amount of information about the socio-political environment out of which Funk was growing off that is missing . Therefore, where it is of significance, I refer to various information sources (books, websites …) where further information can be looked up in more detail.

 

The basis for this analysis about Funk, was the database containing over 15'000 LPs, 45s, 12"s and CDs. Where artists and/or tracks are listed explicitly it's there to understand as a representative excerpt and is not a claim on completeness.

 

 

What's "Funk" ?

 

First of all, we should be able to define what "Funky Music" is or at least, what it seems to be. But that's not easy. There is not a single, global definition that would make it clear to everyone when talking about "Funk" as a music style. I asked a lot of collectors "what is Funk" and found that I received more funny replies than really helpful explanations. If you ask for a serious definition you will usually get "silence". Besides the more common aspects when analysing Funk as music (see below) Funk seems to be a personal thing to some extent. That's also the reason why some people hear the Funk in tracks where others don't. But there is one thing (my opinion) that all Funk music should have in common:

 

"Funk is that bumpy & groovy sound

that hits your belly,

sends out waves through the whole body ,

making you move your feet, nod your head and feeling alright."

 

As mentioned above I try to give light to some aspects that might help you to form your own definition of where Funk begins and ends.

 

 

Funk: "A Time-Period"

 

Funk evolved between 1960-1965 from the already established music styles of "Soul, Gospel, Blues, Jazz, R & B". It's not possible to completely define which style has mostly contributed to the formation of Funk. Funk seems rather to be a product of a parallel, music-style crossover evolution where the first mixed forms of Funky Music developed from the already existing music styles (Soul-Funk, Blues-Funk, Soul-Jazz and so on).

 

If the period could be defined as a space of time within which the style was still evolving, then the period reaches from 1963 until today (2005), thus some 40+ years. That over 40 year period can be structured according the significance that the years had on the life-cycle of Funk as follows (see also in appendix 1 "Charted and Non-Charted Records", the column "Scale of Importance":

 

 

Periods

Phases

Explanations

 

1963 – 1966

 

Beginning

 

The Funk style developed, groups were founded (whereas they did not consider themselves as Funk groups.

 

 

 

 

1967 – 1977

 

Full Bloom

 

The full bloom of Funk – 70% of all "good" Funk recordings were released on vinyl or styrene.

 

1978 – 1982

 

Displacement

 

Disco/Pop/Rap and ice-cold Synthesizer-Funk were displacing the earthy Old-School-Funk style.

 

1983 – 1987

 

Stagnation

 

Funk disappeared almost completely. It's the saddest period in the history of Funk. With the lack of new Funk releases Funk lovers had to look to the past.

 

1988 – 1991

 

New Adjustment

 

Retro-Reflection but also working on a new focus of the Old-School-Funk – Reunion of old and the founding of new Funk groups (partially Funk got back a rougher tone again)

 

1992 – 1996

 

Revival

 

-    The "New Old-School-Funk" developed using new technology but now rediscovered an earthy tone (CDs partially replaced vinyl records)

 

-    The "Authentic Old-School-Funk" was revived using 1:1 those old instruments and technology as it was made between 1967 – 1972, including new releases on the 7" format. The big merit for this belongs without a doubt to à  "Poets of Rhythm" ...

 

        POR 1POR 2

        "The Poets of Rhythm" live at Funkhouse (Switzerland) in 1994/95

 

1997 – 2010

 

Scene Culture

 

Funk remains an "insider- respectively scene-style" (measured from airplay) and shares therefore the destiny of many music styles. Nevertheless Funk has its fixed place in the world of music.

 

-    With new recordings and extensive reissuing, mainly on CD format, young people could be reached with Funk and herewith preventing Funk from falling into oblivion again. In addition more and more Hip-Hop collectors were interested in the roots of their music and hence Funk regained more importance.

 

-    Very delightful the improving activities that pushed back the "Authentic Old-School-Funk" into limelight. A growing number of groups were founded to follow the path that Poets of Rhythm had paved (mainly in London and New York but by far not only), for example "Soul Providers" (USA), "Calypso King & The Soul Investigators" (FIN), "Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings" (USA), "Soul Destroyers" (UK), "New Mastersounds" (UK), "Brand New Rhythm" (CH), Bamboo's (AUS) and more. The original Funk sound got back on stage and almost unbelievably, the 45s vinyl format returned as preferable media for the group's music releases. At about the same time the reissuing of Funk 45s saw an upswing, making those rare and super-rare items available for the common collectors.

 

 

Funk: "Is Here & Now"

 

Since we now know that there is a lively scene culture going on, Funk is not only a past oriented thing, it's here and now, with reappearing old Funk stars but also with new band formations, consisting of fresh young musicians who play in the old spirit but contribute their own spice to it. It's important to mention that the new formations are not only average-quality revival bands but rather they are groups that able to give us Funk of a quality that compares to the Funk that was made when the music was in full bloom - both recorded and when performed live. One example besides many other new formed bands (with a mix of international musicians) giving us that funky sweaty jams, we can see here live on stage …

 

BNR Live

"The Brand New Rhythm" live at the Schüür (Switzerland) in 2002                                                                                 Courtesy of Bobesch Dill

 

 

"Here & Now" … and  almost "Everywhere"!

 

Funk originally evolved in the USA and as collectors know Funk is no longer a mainly US centred thing. Collecting is an internationally spread phenomenon with people loving the sounds all over the world. There is also a growing number of new, high quality Funk bands coming from many places from all over the world.

 

 

Funk:  "An Attitude, a Life-Style, a Mean of Expression"

 

Funk grew out of a particular political and social environment in which "war and freedom" (Vietnam), "the claim for racial equality" (Martin Luther King) beside others, were important matters. On one hand this environment had it's influence on the evolution of Funk music (as it had on Rock), on the other hand Funk became a mean of expression for young black people (as witnessed most readily today in Rap and Hip-Hop) for their issues. Maybe the same could be addressed to Soul, but here we can see differences in the attitude and the means of expression.

 

Funk

à directed outwards, a loud, more actively expressed claim for their interests

 

Soul

 

à directed inwards, a low, more passively expressed desire for their interests

 

 

 

… or say "Soul Music" asks for acceptance, "Funk Music" claims for acceptance!

 

Funk as a carrier/messenger for a critical attitude or even a positively expressed rebellion, by still holding onto a preservation of the joy of living, can be somewhat compared to blues. This is one impression that you have especially if your mother language is not English, because you first hear the instrumental aspect of the track. You might then listen carefully to its lyrics and may realize a serious or even sad content. But the overall impression remains, an even serious message was passed on in a positive way.

 

Life-style, attitudes and so on were also expressed by other means than the music itself. For example by the outfits of the musicians, from the dress-code haunted groups like James Brown's band, to groups with their colourful hippie- or carnival-like dresses like Parliament and Funkadelic, to groups where everybody was obviously free to dress in his on style, like …

 

Fabulous Mark III

 "The Fabulous Mark III"                                                                                                                              Courtesy of Gerald "Jazzman" Short

 

I don't mention the Fabulous Mark III purely for their outfits! Far from that, as a group who released one of the best and rarest up-tempo Funk tracks "Psycho", they stand for what is Funk all about.

 

More information about the history of Funk, about life-style and it's socio-cultural environment can be looked up in Ricky Vincent's book ""FUNK:  The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One" " (S.F. USA 1996).

 

 

Funk:  "A live Party"

 

Funk stands also for "a great amount of people in party mood". That party mood, as well as defining the nature of Funk music, was emphasized by a great number of musicians in those Funk groups (usually 6 – 12 musicians).

 

James Polk   Cross Bronx Express

"James Polk & The Brothers"               Courtesy of Gerald Short

      "Cross Bronx Expressway"        Courtesy of Rainer Windisch 

 

Including guest musicians there could be up to 20 musicians on stage (as you might know from concerts by Parliament, Funkadelic or the legendary Quincy Jones Concert in Japan 1974). By that means the groups created the mentioned party feeling accompanied and supported by an impressive, powerful presence of  the Funk music.

 

 

Funk: "A Music-Style"

 

Generally there is the question of whether Funk is a music style of it's own or just spice which is added to other music styles? Funk as a raw, rhythmic version of Soul, Jazz, Blues, Afro, Latin, … and therefore rather a variation of a music style than a style on it's own?

 

Funk …

as a mixed cocktail of Soul, Blues, Jazz based on R&R and R&B with a little Gospel, Afro, Latin, Acid-Jazz or even Hip-Hop added from time to time?

 

Funk ...

as a message board where words or often just the groove expresses the message?

 

Funk ....

as a literally dirty/dusty transposition of a broad use of blue tonality, involving backbeat, groove synco-pation, with sometimes impulsive and literally over-heated vocals and freaked-out solos?

 

Funk ...

as music where you will hear slapping bass, wah wah guitar, hammond B3 organ and fender rhodes, horn breaks and rhythmic emphasised solos, outstanding and driving drums & percussion (sometimes supplemented by tambourine and handclapping).

 

… or is Funk even the sum of all these and maybe more ingredients?

 

Additionally it has to be mentioned, that the rhythm group is very much in the foreground and also the loudness of the bass plays an important role. Funk is performed by the musician, as it's said "out of the belly" and should reach the audience also there, instigating that earthy feeling. Remarkable in addition is that also solos are strongly bound in a rhythmic context, in the extreme case  a solo becomes almost a rhythm solo (take as example the trombone solos by Fred Wesley).

 

Nevertheless, a hint, that Funk was and partially is still today not noticed as its own style, is the fact, that in many US record stores there were the sections 'Soul', 'Jazz' … but often there is no section for 'Funk'. Depending on where the group or artist is generally filed under, the record can be found. Because there is actually no 'Soft'-Funk (that's mostly just 'Soul') and because LPs and 45s often contain tracks of both music styles, they are filed for the track on which the most people are going for and for the broad range of people, Soul and Jazz is of more importance and logically filed under these sections.

 

 

More Peculiarities of Funk

 

Funk is performed in a slow, up to fast version, but the most common Funk songs (vocal or instrumental) were recorded with beats between 90-125.

 

Often there is the question, "how do I recognize a Funk record"?. Naturally there is no real correct answer for that, but often (not always) Funk songs have a remarkable title. There is a certain experience needed to derive with certainty from it's title whether it is a Funk song or not (for example 'Doing their own thing', 'Get on down', 'Get on up and get into it', 'Fat bag',  'Shake that thing', 'Bump some booty', 'Do it, to it', 'Catch a groove', 'Come on down', 'Chicken bump', 'Itch and scratch',....). Often, such titles in connection with the label (record company), attributes of the LP cover (design, liner-notes …) respectively the label design of 45s (… and additional information) are very helpful in discovering an otherwise little known Funk song.

 

 

Did you miss the "Big Names" so far ?

 

Maybe you've noticed that almost everything about Funk was explained so far without reference to the Big Names like James Brown, Meters and all the others in the examples herein, and also the pictures show groups which represent more the underground scene. That was the whole intention! There are enough books that refer to the same super stars of Funk and completely ignore the less known groups. Sure, the famous ones deserve the attention, but the same do all those artists and groups who gave us super sounds but unfortunately never made it to big public attention for whatever reason. We should not forget that many members of later famous Funk groups  made their first appearances in such groups, and took with them some ideas which were developed in those groups and brought it into the famous ones. That was the base and source for the evolution of Funk, so some remarkable less known groups were put in front in this chapter.

 

 

The different Funk-Styles

 

So far I have attempted to describe "Funk" in general. To speak of "Funk", there should be mention of the particular  characteristics more or less.  But Funk, as I said before, exists in different variations. Funk was mixed with previous existing music styles, was derived from them.

 

Funk Styles

 

Again, it's important to mention that the following definitions are far from being a universal, all encompassing and fully 'agreed' description of Funk styles. But nevertheless it's an attempt at giving the different variations a name (respectively a hold on names already established) with the purpose that you could express more clearly of what kind of Funk you are talking about. Therefore the below listed sample songs act as a reference. In case someone doesn't know what you mean when talking about "Soul-Funk" you could refer to the listed tracks to express more clearly what you mean.

 

Note 

For this educational purpose, all sound-samples duration is limited to 2:30min and it's quality is limited to 128kbits sound-quality. To enjoy full length and full quality of these sounds, you are encouraged to buy the official releases on vinyl records, on CDs or other formats. The most of them are today available on reissues or compilations, therefore please support the musicians and buy these recordings on your favorised media.

 

 

FUNK

 

1966 – 1972

 

Songs with a hard rhythm, often only instrumental Funk

 

Highlighters Band – The funky 16 corners … 1969 (45)
Richard Marks – I'm the man for you … 1969/1970 (45)
Maceo & All The Kingsmen – Better half … 1970 (LP)
Jimmy Bo Horne – Hey there Jim … 1970 (45)

It is not possible, to draw a exact line between "vocal"-Funk and Soul-Funk (James Brown and similar artists songs could often be filed under Funk or Soul-Funk)

James Brown – Cold sweat … 1967 (LP/45) often mentioned as 1. Funk-song

 

STRUT

~1968 - 1972, Archaic instrumental Funk, lively syncopated rhythm, out of New Orleans. Meters on Josie-Label, later also Wild Magnolias.

Meters – Cissy strut … 1969 (LP/45)
Wild Magnolias - Hand a wanda ... 1974 (LP) with a tribal style influence
Transatlantics - Big chief ... 2008 (45)

 

1973 – today

Hard and virtuoso rhythm, but giving a heavy weight impression. Mostly songs with vocals (indeed only a few with female singers)

 

Mandrill – Positive thing … 1974 (LP/45)
Betty Davis – Git in there … 1974 (45)
Undisputed Truth - Poontang ... 1975 (LP/45)
Commodores - Brick house ... 1977 (LP/45)
Bar-Kays - Holy ghost ... 1978 (LP/12"/45)
Osiris - War on the bull shit ... 1982 (12")

After the ‘70s only a few artists continued to play the different funk styles the way they did in the ‘60s and ‘70s, instead some disappeared from the music scene and a lot moved towards the more electronic sounding Disco-Boogie Funk and Pop music. The singing became less hard and more in disco-soul-style, often accompanied by simple electronic hand-clapping and/or a drum-machine, but still with a funky slapping bass. Some like Zapp started to use a talk-box others used a vocoder.

Forrrce - Keep on dancin' ... 1985 (12")
Osiris - Total devastation ... 1986 (12")
Foster McElroy - Gotta be a better way ... 1989 (12")

 

REVIVAL OF THE "OLD SCHOOL" FUNK STYLES

But around 1988 onwards, along-side the development of Acid-Jazz and Nu-Funk, there was a revival of the ‘60s and ‘70s sounding funky music. Some, like the Poets of Rhythm, did it in a very “authentic” manner, others used modern instruments, amplifier and recording technologies resulting in a cleaner but still tough hard funky sound.

Poets of Rhythm - Funky train ... 1992 (45)
Clyde Stubblefield - Party's in the kitchen ... 1997 (CD)
Maceo Parker - Uptown up ... 2007 (CD)
Bo-Keys - Work that skirt ... 2009 (45)

SOUL-FUNK / GOSPEL-FUNK

 

1965 – 1972

 

Strong expression, partially even loud shouting vocals (female/male vocalists 50:50). Instrumentals are not Soul-Funk, they are Soul-Jazz, Jazz-Funk or Funk.

James Brown – Get up I feel like being a sex machine … 1970 (LP/45)
Aretha Franklin – Rock steady … 1971 (LP/45)
Bobby Byrd - I know you got soul ... 1971 (45)

Some 'Soul-Funk' songs could also be filed under Blues-Funk, because it's musically often based on the blues pattern. For example "Erma Franklin: Big boss man ... 1967" (45) and "Joe Kennedy: Funky time ... 1972" (45)

 

GOSPEL-FUNK

Bases mainly on spiritually text content and impulsive choral singing.

Violinaires – Grooving with Jesus … 1970 (LP)
Zion Jubilees - Ezekiel saw the wheel ... 1976 (45)
Lady Margaret & The Stovall Sisters - If it is let it be ... 1979 (45)

 

1973 – today

Meanwhile Soul-Funk and "Vocal"-Funk can hardly be distinguished. (except that the vocals of pure Funk sound harder, more aggressive and the songs mostly don't follow the blues pattern, see "Betty Davis")

 

Charlie Whitehead – Let's do it again … 1973 (45)
Esther Phillips – Fever … 1975 (45/LP)
Etta James - Mean mother ... 1980 (LP)
Lynne Kieran - Supernatural thing ... 1995 (12")
Nick Pride & The Pimptones - Deeper pimp ... 2009 (45)

BLUES-FUNK

 

1967 – today

 

Blues-Funk has a more syncopated bass- and drums-rhythm compared with pure Blues, the blues-pattern is less present. The musician's solos are not only laid over the blues sound base in a melodic way but instead they partially pick up the rhythm, including it into the solos.

 

Lowell Fulsom – I'm a drifter … 1967 (45/LP)
Luther Allison – That's what love will make you do … 1976 (LP)
James Cotton - Ying yang ... 1984 (LP)
Little Milton - That's what love'll make you do ... 1989 (LP)

Some 'Soul-Funk' songs could also be filed under Blues-Funk, because Soul-Funk has often the blues pattern as a sound base. Powerful female vocals along with Blues are not necessarily Blues-Funk. For example "Rock me baby" by Hodges, James & Smith, 1973 (LP) is a super Soul-Blues song, but definitively not Funk!

SOUL-JAZZ (FUNKY-JAZZ)

 

1963 – today

 

Songs with a hard rhythm, often only instrumental Funk. Hard and virtuoso rhythm, but giving a heavy weight impression. Some musicians switched between Soul-Jazz und Jazz-Funk, for example: Eddie Harris

 

Earl Van Dyke – The flick … 1965 (45)
Johnny "Hammond" Smith – Soul talk … 1969 (LP/45)
Eddie Harris – Get on down … 1975 (LP/45)
Lionel Hampton & Friends - Psychedelic sally ... 1980 (LP)
Paul Weller Movement - That spiritual feeling ... 1991 (12")
Sugarman Three - So long donkey ... 2000 (LP)
Perceptions - Loopy doopy ... 2009 (45)

 

 

ACID-JAZZ

It developed in the UK around 1988. Acid-Jazz is a musical genre that combines elements of Jazz, Funk and Hip-Hop, particularly looped beats. Focused on the dance-floor, partially reworked Soul-Jazz from the 70s. Notable Acid-Jazz bands of the 1990s included Brand New Heavies, Incognito, James Taylor Quartet as well as a lot of less known artists.

Vibraphonic – I see you … 1991 (LP "Totally Wired 6")
Two Darn Hot – Retro-active … 1991 (LP "Totally Wired 6")
Brand New Heavies - O-fa-fu ... 1992 (12")

 

JAZZ-FUNK / JAZZ-ROCK

 

1970 – today

 

Songs with a hard syncopated rhythm from both bass and drums, often only instrumental Funk

 

Herbie Hancock – Chameleon ... 1974 (LP/45)
Jimmy Smith - Free ride ... 1980 (LP)
Nils Landgren Funk Unit - Cannonball ... 1996 (CD)

 

JAZZ-ROCK

Similar to Jazz-Funk but mostly with a dominant rocky guitar for rhythm and long improvised solos.

Joe Farrell – Upon this rock … 1974 (LP)
Idris Muhammad – Power of soul … 1974 (45/LP)
FUSION (JAZZ-FUNK)

In the late '70s some musicians and groups like Dave Grusin, David Sanborn or Native Son develeped a clinically cool Jazz-Funk. High-end recordings, very often produced in Japan, with a sound far away from the roots.

Native Son – Evolution of the nights … 1984 (LP)

 

CLASSIC INFLUENCED JAZZ-FUNK

Some songs from classic music were interpreted in a funky way. For example "Also sprach Zarathustra' by Richard Strauss was recorded by "Deodato" as a Jazz-Funk version and known to the most as soundtrack to the movie "Odyssey 2001". This song was recorded in different versions by a couple of groups, like by the "Spacemen" 1973 (on Dash), by the "Galactic Light Orchestra" aka Peter Herbolzheimer (on Polydor), by the "Prophetic Band" (on AZ), all from 1973 and super funky version.

Deodato – Also Sprach Zarathustra … 1972 (LP)

LATIN-FUNK (-JAZZ)

 

1966 – today

 

Latin-Funk/-Jazz has adjusted the rhythm of percussion, congas and bongos towards the Funk rhythm, with a more syncopated drummer, while the sound as a whole keeps it's Latin touch. Often there is a trumpet instead of a sax present as solo instrument.

 

Jamo Thomas – Jamo's soul … 1966 (45)
Mongo Santamaria – Cold sweat … 1968 (LP/45)
Ray Barretto - Together ... 1972 (LP/45)
Setenta - Tcha soul ... 2009 (45)

AFRO-FUNK (-JAZZ)

 

1968 – today

 

In Afro-Funk/-Jazz, the fast African percussion is supplemented with funky bass, often accompanied by horns and outstanding solos. The lyrics are partially in African language. Most Afro-Funk of the '70s came from musicians and groups out of Nigeria, Ghana and Ivery Coast.

 

Manu Dibango – Soul makossa … 1973 (LP/45)
Kelenkye Band - Brotherhood of man … 197? (LP)
Marijata – Mother africa … 1976 (LP)
Shunters - Nwankpi is a cow … 1982 (LP)
Kokolo - The way up … 2007 (45)

P-FUNK

 

1970 – today

 

The P-Funk Family consists of all musicians around George Clinton. Beside that there are only a few groups who also practice that Funk style (for example "Trama")

In the early days of the 70s, many of these songs could also be filed under Funk-Rock.

 

Funkadelic – Hit it and quit it … 1971 (LP/45)
Parliament – Red hot momma … 1971 (45)

From the mid 70s on, P-Funk tended towards futuristic space sound, with partially dissonant Funk elements and often strange intermezzos, horn parts and choral-singing.

Parliament – Big footin' … 1974 (LP)
Bernie Worrell – Insurance man for the Funk … 1979 (45)
Bootsy's Rubber Band - Disciples of funk … 1990 (CD)
O.G.Funk - Funkadelic groupie … 1993 (CD)

FUNK-ROCK

 

1967 – today

 

Rock, adjusted by Funk-bass and –drums, often enriched with outstanding Fender-Rhodes-Piano parts, as well as with percussion. Some tracks of the so-called Southern-Rock groups, like "Little Feet" sound alike.

 

Ballin' Jack - Never let 'em say … 1970 (LP)
Bob Seger – Bo Diddley … 1972 (LP)
Lenny Kravitz - Tunnel vision … 1995 (10")
Deep Street Soul feat. Tia Hunter - Kick out the jams … 2009 (45)

DISCO-FUNK

 

1974 – 1988

 

Mostly songs with vocals, commercialised, softened Dance-Funk. The break through came with the movies "Saturday Night Fever" + "Car wash".

 

Rose Royce – Car wash ... 1976 (LP/45)
Watt Elektrik Funk Band - Welcome to the party ... 1977 (45)
Jimmy "Bo" Horne – Dance across the floor ... 1978 (LP/45)… maybe most typical Disco track
Brummels - Disco roll ... 1980 (45)

FUNKY RAP & HIP-HOP

 

1968– 1978

 

Forerunners of Rap …

1968 there was Pigmeat Markham's "Here comes the judge", a comedy style funk song. Indeed the recitative vocals were heavily pronounced by the accompanying drums with similar rhythm patterns. The drummer played funky, the singer was rapping. (# 4 in the R&B charts). Rudy Ray Moore and Blowfly can be considered to be forefathers of rap as well. Then in 1977 came out the Last Poets "Blessed are those who struggle", that was already very similar to the later Rap style, the drummer was already more in the background.

 

1979– 1986

Rap / Hip-Hop music developed around disc jockeys who created rhythmic beats by looping breaks (small portions of songs emphasizing a percussive pattern) on two turntables, which is now more commonly referred to as sampling. This was later accompanied by "rapping", a rhythmic style of chanting. In a way, there is a fluent transition between Rap and Hip Hop. The main differences of later Hip-Hop sub-styles based mainly on the different flow of rhyme style. For our view on funky Hip-Hop, these differences are not of importance, and therefore will not be described in more detail here.

There is some controversy of which is the first hip hop recording:
Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight or Fatback Band: King Tim III (Personality Jock) both released 1979.

A good example for fast rapping with funky bass and drums is the following …
Spoonie Gee & The Treacherous Three: The new rap language … 1980 (12”)

Following sample shows Rap/Hip-Hop with heavy electronic bass and percussion in Go-Go style …
Grandmaster Melle Mel: Pump me up … 1985 (12”)

 

 

GO-GO FUNK

Between 1980 – 1988, Go-Go Funk developed in the music scene around Chuck Brown (Washington D.C.), as something between Funk, Rap and Hip Hop, with a lot of percussion, where the essential beat is strongly syncopated and accompanied by call-and-response vocals with the crowd in concert.

Trouble Funk: Hey fellas … 1982 (LP).
Chuck Brown: I need some money … 1984 (12”)


 

1987– today

From 1987 until the mid ‘90s more Rap / Hip-Hop artists were going to play partially harder hitting Hip-Hop Funk. Heavy bass und funk drums, using loops based on old Funk songs taken from 45s and LPs of records from 1965-1975 or doing a full Hip-Hop version of an original funk song of the past.

Rework of original by…

Cookie Crew – Females get on up … 1987 (12”) … (original by James Brown)
Eric B. & Rakim - I know you got soul … 1987 (12”) … (original by Bobby Byrd)
Public Enemy - Fight the power … 1989 (12”)
Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. – Don’t mess … 1990 (LP) … (original by Mandrill)
Salt-n-Pepa - Whatta man … 1991 (12”) … 1st female Rap-Group(original by Linda Lyndell)
Young Black Teenagers - Korner groove … 1991 (LP) … (original by Eddie Harris)
Maxi Jazz – Don’t stop now honey … 1992 (12”) … (original by Meters)
JC-001 & D-Zire - Ride the break … 1993 (CD)
CPS - The phonkey man … 1995 (12”)
Public Enemy -Revolverlution … 2002 (CD)
Superlover Cee & Casanova Rud – Super-casanova … 2008 (45)


NU-FUNK/RE-MIXED FUNK

 

1988– today

 

Nu-Funk developed parallel to Acid-Jazz, which itself based on Soul-Jazz, where on the other hand Nu-Funk is a partially re-worked contemporary form of the 1970s funk. The re-work focused mainly on getting a mid- to up-tempo funky dance-groove. During the 90s, the sound was enriched with more electronical effects as well as some re-mixing.

 

Diana Brown & Barrie K. Sharpe – The masterplan … 1990 (12”)
Children of Judah – Sayin‘ nothin ... 1994 (12”)
Metropolis – Metropolis raw dub … 1994 (12”)
Alex Gopher - Deux megatones ... 1996 (12“)
Liquid Soul - Cabbage roll … 1998 (CD)
Big Boss Man – Sea groove … 2000 (45)
Malente – Funk the rich … 2002 (45)
Random Heroes – Roll call … 2006 (45)
Ill Boogs – King conga … 2007 (45)

Re-Mixed Nu-Funk:

Urban Soul feat. Roland Clark - Brown James … 2002 (12”)
Tim Wood - Taste of honey (Lack of afro remix) … 2006 (45)
Jazzinvaders - Up & out (Tim Wood remix) … 2006 (45) … with a Latin-funk touch
Cadillac Jones - B’nai brown (Ed Royal remix) … 2007 (12”)
Kokolo – Soul power (lack of afro mix) … 2008 (45) … with a Latin-/Afro-funk touch

Note:The for-mentioned new “authentic old-school” Funk, which came up with “Poets of Rhythm” in 1992, is not Nu-Funk. Instead it should be filed under Funk, because the year of recording is the almost only difference (some call it ”Retro-Funk”, because the main focus is to play and record a funk sound which sounds as similar to the late ‘60s and ‘70s as possible).

 

... And what's DEEP-FUNK?

 

The term "Deep-Funk" is partially misunderstood as it's own music style. But Deep-Funk has another background than being it's own music style or defining a variation of a Funk style. I would like to include here an extract of what Jason Stirland has written in his article "How deep is your Funk?" as an attempt to explain what's all about.  

Summarized quote in the form of an abstract (from the article by Jason Stirland):

 


The term "Deep-Funk" undoubtedly came into being via Keb Darge, a long term 'inmate' of the Northern Soul scene and renowned rare Funk 45 jock. There were of course many other people who had looked for and enjoyed similar sounds – even before the legendary out-spoken Scotsman took up the torch – but ...

 

The first definition of "Deep Funk" came in 1995/96 when Keb Darge, joined by all round good guy Mark Cotgrove (aka DJ Snowboy), ran their rare Funk nights in Central London.

 

... to conclude that only the records that are played at the club called 'Deep-Funk' define the term "Deep Funk", would be misleading. If the term "Deep Funk" could be neatly defined, then a lot of people would point to the sounds on the three 'Keb Darge's Legendary Deep Funk' compilations which document the sounds featured in his sets over a six year period. What makes this problematic is, that those albums contain tracks that don't fit into a supposed magical period of '68-73', furthermore the compilations featured even Modern Soul. To conclude that only the records that are played at the club called 'Deep-Funk' define the term "Deep Funk", would be misleading. If the term "Deep Funk" could be neatly defined, then a lot of people would point to the sounds on the three 'Keb Darge's Legendary Deep Funk' compilations which document the sounds featured in his sets over a six year period. What makes this problematic is, that those albums contain tracks that don't fit into a supposed magical period of '68-73', furthermore the compilations featured even Modern Soul.

"Deep Funk" is a label that distances itself from the more widely understood manifestations of the word "Funk". The creation of the "Deep Funk" scene was based on finding and introducing what some would describe as 'advanced dance floor records'. It's a pointless and near impossible task to attempt to attribute a rule to what makes one rare Funk sound "Deep" and the other not. Maybe the distinction should be drawn between the locally produced Funk records and the nation-wide distributed offerings. These distinctions may then go some way to explaining the difference in the feel , sound and spirit of the music.

"Deep Funk" followers have often been accused of subscribing to the scene purely for the rarity and exclusivity of it's music.

 

Own comment to the topic:

 

Analysing the so-called "Deep Funk" tracks, you can make out a few frequently common attributes:

  • obscure releases (hardly known artists, small independent labels, local productions)
  • often uptempo and instrumentals only
  • mostly available on 45s only
  • rare (and therefore in many cases expensive)


    Keb Darge's 1st Legendary Deep Funk Sampler, released 1997 >>>


All so-called "Deep Funk" tracks can be related to one and/or the other previously described variations of Funk, like "Funk, Soul-Funk, Soul-Jazz, ….". One important point shows us that it would be wrong to define "Deep Funk", as a variation of "Funk" like "Soul-Funk". As Keb Darge was focused as DJ onto 45s only, 99% of the so-called Deep-Funk tracks were obviously 45s releases. Consequently what ever a definition could be, it would have to be extended by "… on 45s only", because if it's available on LP only, no matter how 'deep' it is, it's consequently neglected by the scene, as if "Deep Funk" depends on the released 45s format. As an example, "Joe Lee & His Combo: Bottom of the bag" was 're-discovered' on 45 and declared as "Deep-Funk". Later it turned out that this track was originally issued on LP too. The track is still a must have Deep-Funk track for the collectors. Alternatively the "Invaders: Spacing out" album on the Duane label was never listed as a must have for Deep Funk collectors even the sound fits perfect to the other Deep Funk tracks.

 

 Funky & Groovy Musik Records Lexikon - Funky and Groovy Music Records Lexicon - Funky Music Lexicon - Funk Musik Lexikon
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WEITERE EVENTS
News concerning May/Jun 2017 coming soon

 

Funky & Groovy Music Records Lexikon 
Most extensive Reference-Guide
of Funky & Groovy Music Records
Since 1st edition in 1988 it's still the worldwide unique reference-guide in it's field.
 
THE FUNKY & GROOVY MUSIC RECORDS LEXICON
BLACK & WHITE EDITION 2005
Lexikon 2005

Copyright © 1988-2017
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or reused in any form or by any means, electronical, optical or mechanical.

Information is an important (if not the most important) key ressource for a successfull colleting, especially if you have a limited budget.Digging through the crates you should know how your most wanted records look like, to not oversee them. You should know
the details about label-number and more, not to buy bootlegs or reprints by accident for the price of an original. You should know whether it is a very rare/valuable record or not, if you intend to buy a record you've probably never heard from, at an appropriate price.

CONTENT: 460 pages (Format A4 = 210x297mm) including information about over 13'500 RECORDS + showing over 3000 pictures of covers & labels.

SoldOut

 

What about a forthcoming Print Edition
(Statement of 10th April 2017)  
 

Since 2005 i've continued to improve the lexicon content database a lot, so I will be able to release a new print edition in the near future if there is any demand for a print-edition.

The amount of information will result in 2 lexicon books, each of it with about 450 pages (format A4). One book including "LPs / CDs / 12"s, and one book including "45s only". Each of both books will list ~12'500 records and show 2400-2800 pictures of covers/labels.

No decision is made whether it will be an expensive super limited color-edition as in 2003 (price ~300$) or a regular black/white-edition as in 2005 (price ~ 65$).

Is there still enough demand for a print-edition in this digital online decade? Discogs, Popsike or States-related sites might do it for most collectors. That's why I will soon set up a poll on this website to find out about interested collectors in a print-edition (and in what kind of edition). 

Estimated release date for the books is:

LPs-Book ~ spring 2018 / 45s-Book ~ end of 2018

CONTRIBUTORS INFORMATION

Wanted LP cover Scans (List)

Wanted LP cover Scans to Replace existing (List)

How to Scan LP covers (Manual)

Wanted 45s Label Scans (List)

How to Scan 45s labels (Manual)

Contact for Contributors

 
 

Special thanks to all Content Contributors

Aki Abe (2017) - Bob Abrahamian (2008) - John Aldridge (2013) - Aaron Anderson (2010) - Angelo Angione (2009) - Paolo Annicchiarico (2006/2008/2010) - Kristian Auth (2009) - Chris Ball (2004) - Vincent Barbron (2009) - David Bauer (2008) - Jake Behnan (1995) - Betto Bill (2008/2009) - Armin Boller (1995) - Giulio Bombardieri (1988) - Jamie Buckingham (2004) - Lars Bulnheim (2006/2008/2009) - Dale Burback (2009) - Aaron Bushman (2012) - Garry J. Cape (1998-2001) - Dante Carfagna (2001-2004/2006) - John Caruso (2006) - Sergio Casucci (1988-1998/2003/2007/2014) - Malcolm Catto (1996-1998/2000-2002) - Marco Cavenaghi (2010) - Misha Chak (2010) - Pete Chavasse (1995) - Christophe Clauet (2010) - Nicolas Colin (2009/2010) - Nick Cope (2008) - Miles Costin (2008) - Scott Craig (2002/2003/2009) - Doug Crane (2006) - Steve Cura (1995) - Mike Curry (2004) - Joey D (2012/2013) - David Daem (2010) - Keb Darge (1996/1999/2002) - Sami Dariush (2008/2009/2012) - Bobesch Dill (2009) - John P. Dixon (2010) - Brian Engel (2002) - Malayka Erpen (2010) - Callum Flack (2008/2009) - Sebastian Fonzeus (2004/2006/2008/2010) - Euan Fryer (2003) - Takayuki Fujikawa (2007/2009/2010) - Peter Gibson (2009) - Stefano Giusto (2009) - Frank "VoodooFunk" Gossner (2009) - David Griffiths (2004/2006) - Larry Grogan (2012) - Rico Gugolz (1991-1999) - Charles Gurley (2008) - Andreas Hagen (2006/2009) - Tsuyoshi Harada (2004) - Scott Harlow (2006/2008) - Samuel Hill (2004) - Kris Holmes (2008/2009) - GianLuca Honari (2000/ 2002/2003) - Richard Hosey (2006) - Brent Hosier (2009) - Jonathan Houska (2012) - David Huber (2007) - Troy Hurt (2009) - Ken Inoue (2002) - Hermann Jahn (2001-2008) - Haim Kenig (2002-2010) - Marty Key (2008) - Tobias Kirmayer (2001-2004/2008/2012) - Christian Klingebiel (2014-2017) - Daisuke Kuroda (2000-2008) - Vincent Larroche (2008) - Valerio Latini (2006) - Greg Lawson (2010) - Adam Leaver (2002) - Phillip Lehman (1995-1999) - Jeff Lemlich (2002) - Richard Lewis (2006/2008-2010) - Peter Longwith (2003) - José Lopez (2009) - Gerald Lösch (1998-2014) - Ang Eng Lu (2004) - Luis Soulful Torino (2008) - Stefan Möckli / DJ Pesa (2017) - Daryle Maciocha (2009) - Andy MacIntyre (2002) - George Mahood (2008)- Maximilian Matt 2006/2008) - Leonardo Moran (2009) - Andy Noble (2006) - Yusuke Ogawa (2000-2004/2007/2011) - Ricardo Orelli (1988) - Stephen Palencar (2000) - Jason Perlmutter (2004/2006/2008/2009/2013/2014) - Andy Pfister (1988) - Brian Poust (2004/2006/2008) - Yves Ramseier (1995/2000/2002) - Craig Reece (2008) - David Richardson (2006/2008) - Sebastiano Ricupero (199?/2010) - Jari Rikkinen (2008) - Michael Robinson (2009) - Jeff Ross (2006) - Dean Rudland (2004) - Massimo Santini (2000-2001/2003) - Cesare Saronni (1995/1999) - Koichi Sato (2004) - Kiyosi Satou (2004) - Alex Seal (2011) - Mitchell Seale (2010) - Gerald "Jazzman" Short (1995-2010/2012) - Craig Smith (2008/2009) - Vincent Soulery aka Pal (2008) - Tommy Sovik (2008) - Tim Spiller (2006) - Spruzzi (1995) - Rory Stephen (2006) - Jason Stirland (2002/2009) - Hiroshi Sugane (2008) - Andrew Symington (2002/2010) - Hitoshi Takasawa (2002) - Mark Taylor (2002) - Justin Torres (2004) - Andy Uhr (1988-1993 RIP 30.4.2005) - Daniel Ulrich (1995-1999) - Gabe Vaughn (2008) - Martin Vinzenz (1988) - Noel Waggener (2010) - Philip Wainwright (2008) - Andy Walko (2008) - Daniel Wanders (2008) - John Warren (2008/2010) - Craig Watson (2010) - WaxPoetics (2004) - Klaus Wedekind (2009) - Matt Weingarden (2003/2006/2008/2009) - Jan Weissenfeldt (1995) - Peter Wermelinger (1988-2015) - Daniel Williams (2000) - Rainer Windisch (2000-2002/2004/2007-2008/2011) - Brian Witzig (2002) - Ed Worcester (2011) - Ian Wright (1995-1998/2001-2003/2011) - Satoshi Yamada (2004) - Yass (2008) - Jason Yoder (2002/2008) - Hanspeter Zeller (1993) and many more (1988-2009)

Liner Notes (2005)

"Over 20 years in the making, the Funky & Groovy Music Records Lexicon is an essential reference guide to all people interested in funk in all its various forms. With every printed character and every label scan and picture created from pure, original research, nobody on the planet has worked longer or harder to document the 1000s of rare and obscure records that have been overlooked by the mainstream (and underground) music press for so long. This book is an incredible achievement."
Gerald "Jazzman" Short Funk45 Records
 
"The lexicon is an indispensable guide to the world of rare funk."
Adrian Gibson Jazz-Café London
 
"Discographies are always helpful. At a certain point, discography becomes justification for serious collecting. As the 60s approached the world of music, more and more records were made by independents, making the task of the discographer inseparable from the pursuit of the colector. Information is nothing if not scant for collectors of late 60s and 70s Black Funk music, and the Lexicon is a needed resource for both the collector and the discographer. This is only the beginning in an attempt to solidify Funk music as an American music form in line with the Jazz, Blues and Gospel musics occuring before it."
Dante Carfagna
 
"Truly one of it's kind - the Funky & Groovy Music Records Lexicon is THE source for information about funk 45's and LP's from the common to the super rare. It's been a 'bible' for funk lovers for years and stands alone as an example that won't be beaten. Indispensable."
Jason "Witchsbrew" Stirland