Sunday, September 16, 2012

Learning funk music one crate of records at a time - Part 1

This weekend I purchased some records from a private collection. As soon as I started flipping through the vinyl I became completely lost for what they were. Usually I can pass through hundreds of LP’s quickly as I already have the titles in my collection or they are titles that I am not interested in. These crates of records were not familiar to me at all and this excited me. I love discovering new music and what a great opportunity to do so. This is my introduction to the fun rhythm filled world of funk music.

My knowledge of funk music on a scale of 1 to 10 starting off would be a 2 at it’s highest. It is not a genre I am familiar with but one that I have always had an interest in learning about. I constantly read about other funk music collectors online and knew someday I would join them. I just never knew where to start. Fast forward to this weekend and I now have an opportunity to learn about funk the best way I know how. Throw on a random record and see what comes out.

This post is the beginning of a series I will do on funk music. So please join me on my journey to learn funk music one crate of records at a time. (damn that was corny… I love it!!)

First up!
Band: Shotgun

Album: III

Shotgun III was one of the first LP’s from the crate that I cleaned and threw on the turntable. For no other reason than I had to start somewhere and I am going into this with no prior funk knowledge less a few Sly Stone and Barry White LP’s.

A very brief quick background. Shotgun was a Detroit based funk band that was active in the 70’s and 80’s.  This band has a typical funk lineup for instruments. Guitars, Bass, Drums, keyboards, horns etc..

I haven’t found a whole lot written up on this band so all I can really discuss is my personal taste on this album more so than the history of the band.

I enjoyed this LP. Once I put it on I was pleased with the rhythm section. The lead bass rhythm and drum beats were what I was yearning for getting into funk music.

As I listened to this and danced around with my daughter every song continued to be fun and catchy. Afterwards I hit the net and checked out the allmusic review of this band and LP. It was definitely not excelling in the review ratings. There was constant mentioning of how Shotgun could never get the hit they were hoping for and always had mediocre safe releases.

Now I take music reviews with a grain of salt. I like to come to my own decisions when it comes to bands and albums but I am always curious of what conclusions others came to.

If this review is accurate than I am in for a lot of enjoyment with funk music. If this is a safe and standard band it means there is even better yet to come. This is great as I already basically found what I was looking for with this LP.

What a great start!
Band: Parliament

Album: The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein

Next up we had a Parliament LP. Parliament was a band I was familiar with having a dominating reputation In the funk genre but no knowledge of them or their music.

This album seems to be well known by funk fans as having horn arrangement from James Brown’s ex band member Fred Wesley.

Having a 5 star rating from Rolling Stone and a 4.5 star rating from allmusic I had very high expectations for this LP. I was not disappointed.

It is very obvious of why George Clinton’s bands Parliament and Funkadelic dominated this genre. The musicianship and signwriting is in a whole different league than anything I have yet to hear (which I guess doesn’t say much as I am new to this genre..). I can see Parliament being the bar of funk music that I will be comparing other bands too.

I still love the Shotgun III LP but I now have a better understanding of where they could have been..

So far this crate of vinyl is off to a great start.

More posts to come on my “Learning funk music one crate of records at a time”. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.

Comments and other funk band suggestions are encouraged!




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