If you’re like me, and randomly find yourself in the mood for some late 70s freaky funk, might I suggest you bust out of L Seven with James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. (aka Rick James) on this, the man’s 2nd studio album, Bustin’ out of L Seven. I mean, the weekend is almost here, so why not let the funk get’cha a head start?
The Budos Band debut is something of dark jazz magic. Neatly cut, proportional cubes of underground R&B nestled tightly against salt roasted soul, lovingly pierced onto a rotating skewer, marinating over a raging, violent flame of furious funk. Yeah, that about sums it up. Arguably my new favorite band, and one receiving HEAVY spins as of late. Start with TBB (their first), and bloody knuckle your way up their discography ladder. You’re welcome.
Casablanca Records is now owned by the greedy, hiney pinchers over at Universal Music Group, and mainly focuses the bulk of its attention on electro-dance releases instead of the classic 70s goofy-glam rock (Kiss) and spaced-out funk (Parliament) it was once renowned for. From what I can gather, a Neil Bogart founded the label under the Warner Bros. umbrella, and in doing so paid homage to his favorite film, whose main actor old Neil shares a surname with. That’s about it. Mondays are a bore.
And it was at this point in his wayward life where he got electrofunked and dove, head over high heels into the indubious stratosphere of funk. Parliament has been on heavy rotation at the office, and has since sparked feverish interest by yours truly. Whatever you do this fine, Friday evening, be sure to give up the funk!
Mothership connection, getting girls’ affection
If your life needs correction, don’t follow my direction
(I was listening to the Beasties today, so I had to tie that in somehow…) Parliament, and their 1975 masterpiece, Mothership Connection need no introduction. The 4th album for the band featured the mighty George Clinton as Producer, Writer, and frontman vocalist, but again, this is all but painfully obvious for lovers of the Funk.
Make your Tuesday evening an untamed mass of street-talkin’, booty-rockin’ Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication (track 1, side 2).
Is it taboo to listen to one band while writing about another? Do the streams get crossed in sort of a 2/4, 4/4 sense? I think the big, cloud-like question looming above this otherwise sunny Tuesday morning is, why must man put restrictions on himself when creating something even as trivial and nonsensical as this? Philosophers and offspring to those much smarter than The Prudent Groove have pondered these elusive questions for decades, so I’ll leave the answers to those best suited for the job. Instead, let’s talk about Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach while listening to James Gang, shall we?
Let me first say this about James Gang Rides Again. Back in the early 90s when CD’s were the jam, my father acquired this album at a Sam Goody from the East Town Mall in Madison, Wisconsin. I remember, even at that age being underwhelmed by the simplistic yet strikingly bold cover. The only song I remember from that CD, while riding, then eventually driving in the 1989 Ford Ranger, was the opening track, Funk #49. I’ve spent the bulk of my nervous days scouring the earth for Funk #1 – Funk #48 but have yet to yield any sort of fruitful result. But hey, the search for the elusively extinct survives whether or not the desire is fueled, am I right? No, well, ok then. Now for something completely different…
On second thought, diving off Glass Beach without my big boy swimmies is a bit too overwhelming at the moment, so let’s save that for another time. Ok? Ok. (Raises coffee mug) Here’s hoping your Tuesday does or does not include someone named James, a gang, Einstein and / or a beach.
Cuts so deep, they hit the bone! Robert “Kool” Bell and his groove-Gang deliver brass-happy, (b)ass-slappin’, tummy-rubbin’, good-time-Saturday-night, Funk & Blues (F&B) music. There must have been a sizable influx of babies born 9-months after the release of this album.
Kool and the Gang effortlessly transition from dance floor front-runners to dusty, sun-filled, carefree, early evening comfort music. Because, you know, you need to get-down-on-it just as often as you need that lazy stroll through the park with your hands in your pockets. Kool was hip to this, and it’s apparent throughout Open Sesame.
A very, very upbeat album, Open Sesame’s main focus is, without a doubt, the single most popular theme throughout all pop music: Love. With titles like, Gift of Love, L-O-V-E, and the 3-minute lyrical chant of “Whisper you love me” on the Side 2 opener, Whisper Softly, Kool and the Gang make no effort to hide the untimely power that drives their feel-good approach to making excellent groove music.
The highlight to this album would have to be Super Band. With lyrics like, “Super-cali-FUNK-a-listic-expi-ali-docious, the Super Band,” how could you not fall in love with this band? I mean, they’re super! They say so themselves!
1976 must have been a 365-day party. It’s no wonder the masses were hung-over for 1977 and the early beginnings of arguably the most important genre in the history of music: Punk.