HARD... RAW... DEEP... FUNK: April 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bootsy's Rubber Band - Live In Louisville (1978)

                                  "If Bootsy Collins is correct in his contention that faking the funk will cause one's nose to grow, he and his bandmates need not worry: This is one seriously funky live album. In fact, fans of Collins who know him only through his studio recordings will find this set revelatory. There is a ferocity here that is only hinted at on his solo efforts and his work with Parliament and Funkadelic. Collins' vocals throughout this 1978 concert recording are frighteningly powerful, and his always amazing slap bass playing is almost dizzying at points. The rest of the group aren't slouches either. Of course, this is no second-tier road band: All of the key members of the Rubber Band are on board as are most of the Horny Horns (with the obvious exception of trombonist Fred Wesley). Collins and company cover all of the obvious hits and crowd favorites, and in every instance they improve on the already impressive studio versions. Gary "Mudbone" Cooper's vocals shine throughout as do those of Robert "P Nut" Johnson. Collins' brother, guitarist Phelps "Catfish" Collins is strong as always, particularly on incendiary versions of "Very Yes" and "I'd Rather Be With You." The horns -- always among the highlights on the Rubber Band's studio recordings -- are particularly effective here. Check out Maceo Parker's solo spot on "Can't Stay Away" for definitive evidence of his genius. This European release may not be the easiest item in Collins' discography to locate, but it may well be the best. Well worth seeking out."



1. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Intro Maceo (0:20)
2. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Bootsy ? (What's The Name Of This Town) (3:12)
3. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Rubber Duckie (0:53)
4. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Psychoticbumpschool (3:14)
5. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Pinnochio Theory (6:26)
6. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Hollywood Square (5:39)
7. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Roto-Rooter (3:44)
8. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Very Yes (5:28)
9. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Can't Stay Away (6:07)
10. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Stretchin' Out (In A Rubber Band) (11:23)
11. Bootsy's Rubber Band - I'd Rather Be WIth You (10:18)
12. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Aah The Name Is Bootsy, Baby (4:25)
13. Bootsy's Rubber Band - Bootzilla (6:22)

Bootsy's Rubber Band - Psychoticbumpschool

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Ohio Players - Jam (1977)

 "With their slinky, horn-powered grooves, impeccable musicianship, and eye-popping album covers, the Ohio Players were among the top funk bands of the mid-'70s. Emerging from the musical hotbed of Dayton in 1959, the group was originally dubbed the Ohio Untouchables, and initially comprised singer/guitarist Robert Ward, bassist Marshall "Rock" Jones, saxophonist/guitarist Clarence "Satch" Satchell, drummer Cornelius Johnson, and trumpeter/trombonist Ralph "Pee Wee" Middlebrooks. In late 1961, a relative of Ward's founded the Detroit-based Lupine Records, and the group traveled north to the Motor City to back the Falcons on their hit "I Found a Love"; the Ohio Untouchables soon made their headlining debut with "Love Is Amazing," but when Ward subsequently exited for a solo career, the group essentially disbanded.

At Mercury, the Ohio Players enjoyed their greatest success; not only did their sound coalesce, but they became notorious for their sexually provocative LP covers, a tradition begun during their Westbound tenure. Their 1974 Mercury debut, Skin Tight, was their first unequivocal classic, launching the hit title track as well as "Jive Turkey." Its follow-up, Fire, remains the Players' masterpiece, topping the pop charts on the strength of its bone-rattling title cut, itself a number one hit; "I Want to Be Free," one of the band's few attempts at social commentary, was also highly successful. 1975's Honey -- which featured perhaps the Players' most controversial and erotic cover to date -- was another monster, generating the chart-topping masterpiece "Love Rollercoaster" in addition to the hits "Sweet Sticky Thing" and "Fopp."



1. Ohio Players - Merry Go Round (4:52)
2. Ohio Players - Love Rollercoaster (5:57)
3. Ohio Players - Alone (8:02)
4. Ohio Players - Skin Tight (4:34)
5. Ohio Players - Fopp (4:28)
6. Ohio Players - Magic Trick (3:53)
7. Ohio Players - Good Luck Charm (7:43)
8. Ohio Players - Fire (11:00)
9. Ohio Players - O-H-I-O (3:49)
10. Ohio Players - Sugar's Blues (2:49)
11. Ohio Players - O-H-I-O (Reprise) (1:25)

Ohio Players -  O-H-I-O

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

O'Donel Levy - Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (1973)

"Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky, O'Donel Levy's follow-up to his excellent Simba, is something of a letdown in comparison. Simba featured a bunch of solid tunes, written and dynamically arranged by Manny Albam. Although both albums were produced by label head Sonny Lester, without Albam's input these sessions seem somewhat lost. The title cut is not a direct ripoff of the Allen Toussaint tune, but it is fairly derivative. The second tune is a direct ripoff. "Marbles," credited to Levy, is actually a John McLaughlin tune, from his album Devotion, and it's downhill from there. Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round in Circles" is taken at breakneck speed, and let's just say Levy is better off sticking with instrumentals. "Livin' for the City" gets a heavy wah-wah makeover, but is one of the better tracks on the album. The rest is just unremarkable. "Sideshow" shows the ballad side of Levy's playing, and the standard "Willow Weep for Me" is treated as a pretty straight blues. None of this is awful; it just lacks the great tunes and arrangements of its predecessor. Unless you simply can't get enough O'Donel Levy, skip Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky and stick with Simba."



1. O'Donel Levy - Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (3:23)
2. O'Donel Levy - Marbles (6:29)
3. O'Donel Levy - Will It Got Round In Circles (3:23)
4. O'Donel Levy - Living For The City (5:03)
5. O'Donel Levy - Side Show (4:47)
6. O'Donel Levy - Willow Weep For Me (6:18)
7. O'Donel Levy - Hey, Love! (3:19)
8. O'Donel Levy - Are You Foolin' Me (3:10)

O'Donel Levy - Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky