Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning funk music one crate of records at a time - Part 3

Artist: Bootsy Collins
Album: Ultra Wave
This album has been dominating my turntable for the past week. I have listened to many more of the funk albums in the crate but always go back to this album as a safety net.
There is nothing I don’t like about it. The songs are well written with more changes incurring throughout than the average funk album.
The singing is so unique it could be classified as a funk instrument by itself.
Bootsy playing bass is.. Well the best bass I’ve heard really.
Bootsy was the bass player in “Funkadelic” and “Parliament” and really held a critical role in the band. His bass playing is as important to these bands as Flea is to the “Red Hot Chilli Peppers”.
(One of flea’s main inspirations as a bass player? Bootsy Collins!)
Even prior to his “funkadelic” and “Parliament” days, Bootsy had started a band called “The Pacemakers” that ended up joining James Brown after Brown’s almost entire band had quit over a pay dispute. This was short lived, being Brown’s backup band, but during this time James Brown released some of his most recognized funk singles.
This solo album by Bootsy was produced by none other than George Clinton (the mastermind behind funkadelic and parliament). The sound and mix is beautifully done. Even the song order appeals to me on this album. This is usually a part that I don’t even typically notice, but the flow in this album keeps you moving the entire time.

Artist: Rick James

Album: Reflections


What would a crate of funk records be without Rick James.

At first I was a little uneasy to listen to a Rick James album as all I ever really knew about him was negative press and his criminal history.


At first I was thinking, “why would I listen to someone that was accused of hurting another person?” But then I sat down and really thought about it.

Does the fact that he did something wrong take away any talent that he had?

Do I have any right to judge him? I’ve done PLENTY wrong in my life so far.

If I’m not going to listen to him because of these reasons than I guess I’d be a hypocrite if I listened to any of the following:

-          Sex Pistols – Sid may have killed Nancy

-          Motley Crue – Vince Neil killed Hanoi Rocks drummer Razzle by driving drunk; Tommy supposedly hit Pam.

-          Guns ‘n’ Roses – Axl will pretty much punch anybody in the face

-          Leadbelly – killed one guy by shooting him, knifed another few

-          Etc.. etc.. etc..

Bottom line.. Their personally life is really irrelevant to their artistic capabilities.

Put all this aside and Rick James was an amazing funk musician.

This is his earliest “greatest hits” compilation album. It was a little slow to start but I really started to like this album by the time I was into side B.

Rick could right some great songs and had a deserving successful career. You could play this album from beginning to end at a dance and nobody would take a seat. It’s fun.

I am usually not much of a compilations album listener as I like albums as a whole. The sequence of the songs and the art work all play an integral part. On a great album you can really get a sense of where the artist is in their life and how they are feeling. Compilations are bits and pieces and usually don’t jive as well as a studio album.

However this was a great introduction to Rick James’ music.



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