Let the Beat Build #30: May 2015
1. “Tranquility” - Sam Rivers
KW: Unexpect the funky. I mean unexpected funk. I’ve been listening to a lot of seventies NYC free jazz, like Sam Rivers, Anthony Braxton, Rashied Ali. Movin’, groovin’, doin’ it, you know, like a sex machine.
2. "Big B-Plus" - David Axelrod
JW: I went to Holy Thursday because I expected the funky. When I went looking for alternates, I found a lot of weird, trippy shizz. Not all of it was good to me. I think I'm going to find a lot of songs on this Playlist that I knew nothing about. Names I've heard, sounds I didn't know.
3. “Shakedown Street” - The Grateful Dead
KW: I’d drop this if I could. It’s how I got into this fucking jam from the Dead. I had no idea they did funky shit like this. But I guess we all got a little weird in the seventies.
4. “Who Is He (And What Is He To You)?” - Bill Withers
JW: My fair lady just put this song on a list for me. I can’t stop listening to it. The opening lyrics are sharp and strong. I completely get the whole image. Bill Withers is a lovely guy. His hits warm your hugs. But this is funkier than foot fungus.
5. “Lowdown” - Boz Scaggs
KW: How’s this sound so fresh to me? There was a time when I’d have hit skip like five seconds into a song like this. I’d never heard this (or any Boz Scaggs, for that matter) until I Spotify-stalked a friend’s birthday playlist. It reminds me of “Night Time In The Switching Yard” by Warren Zevon.
6. "Flute Loop" Beastie Boys
JW: Flutes can be funky. I remember hearing this song and being confused about whether to get hyped or be lulled. I've since adjusted my unfair bias against woodwinds.
7. “Spoon” - Cibo Matto
KW: There was a time when Cibo Matto and the Beastie Boys owned New York, at least for me. My roommate used to loop the piano break at 2:30 - 2:39. Can’t say I blame him, shit gets funky.
8. “If You Want Me To Stay” - The Red Hot Chili Peppers
JW: This band rocks. This band sucks. It depends on the day. But Flea is funky. Ask Thom Yorke.
9. “The King of Parking” - Sprawl
KW: Houston’s favorite completely insane stage full of funk.
10. “Hit It And Quit It” - Funkadelic
JW: Everyone’s favorite completely insane stage full of funk.
11. “The Spirit’s In It” - Patti LaBelle
KW: Just heard this on a David Mancuso mix. I always thought Patti LaBelle was some boring soft R&B shit. But this is a jam. I like when you hear disco that reminds you that disco came out of the R&B world. I think.
12. "Let The Music Take Your Mind" - Kool and the Gang
JW: I love that disco also came from this. I didn't even know Kool and the Gang was around in 1969. It's all worth it for minute 1:14. Slowly filling in the gaps on my sampling reference knowledge, this is one of my favorite parts of B-Boy Bouillabaisse. How did Beastie Boys get back in here?
13. “Rien Ne Va Plus” - Funk Factory
KW: Like “Car Thief,” which was so perfectly illuminated by DJ Food in “Caught in the Middle of a 3 Way Mix.” I wrote about that elsewhere.
14. “I Want’a Do Something Freaky To You” - Leon Haywood
JW: I’ve been tailspinning listening to the Paul’s Boutique Samples Playlist you found. The only thing that could get me out of it was to open up the G-Funk vault. This one makes me feel a few things. Some good, some less so. But it’s funky. I bet Leon Haywood never knew he’d be contributing to Hip Hop canon.
15. “Willie the Pimp” - Frank Zappa
KW: Maybe thanks to Beefheart, Zappa is laying back, getting funky, not trying to be too smart, ripping on that guitar in the best late 60s psych rock way.
16. “Ahh...The Name Is Bootsy, Baby” - Bootsy Collins
JW: “Bootsy’s from outer space.” - Beavis KW: I can almost get behind this, but in the end I just don’t get where they’re going. Space I guess.
17. “Night Time In The Switching Yard” - Warren Zevon
KW: James Murphy described this as a rock band trying to play disco. The video evidence backs up this assertion.
18. “Heart Of Glass” - Blondie
JW: We once opened up a high school improv troupe show with a fashion catwalk. Beth Fredrickson wore the banana costume her mom had made for her. I wore a full body wetsuit. There was strutting.
19. “Love Tempo” - Quando Quango
KW: I just read this rad interview with Mark Kamins. I have so many new directions to investigate from the great clash of civilizations that was Danceteria, like this--what is this? Pop? Proto-house? 80s R&B? Cheyne’s “Call Me Mr. Telephone” almost won out with its Blondie/Kurtis Blow/Melle Mel-inspired rap, but then Jon couldn’t handle how goddamn DEEP it is.
20. “Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley” - Robert Palmer
JW: What an odyssey! I had so much trouble finding something to follow Mr. Telephone, that by the time I got Quando Quango, I had too much LL Cool J on the brain. Here’s how I got here: Boingo> Dolby> Romeo Void> Wang Chung> Kajagoogoo> Adam Ant> The Power Station> Robert Palmer!! I probably should have played “I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On”, but this song reminds me of Clapton and Plant in a way that still seems connected to the funk we’ve been working through this month. Phew! KW: This totally reminded me of Derek and the Dominoes era Clapton. I had no idea Palmer did anything worth listening to. How about that. JW: I know! Also, to be fair, if THIS had been on Spotify, I would’ve entered it 3 days ago.
21. “Feelin’ Alright” - Joe Cocker
KW: I went Fillmore East to get this one. Leon Russell can play a mean piano, put together a hot funky arrangement, and lead a band. Joe Cocker’s no slouch either. This song has the breaks.
22. “Pass The Wine (Sophia Loren)” - The Rolling Stones
JW: In my mind, the Stones had more funkier funk songs. The blues rock is strong, but not a lot of them have the funk swagger. The piano, the bass, the horns and of course Charlie Watts swinging. I feel like this song never makes it onto playlists, so here it is. I’ve also been holding these songs to a PFunk spectrum. If they have a non-zero resemblance George Clinton, then they make it in.
23. “Tightrope” - Janelle Monae with Big Boi
KW: This is one of my favorite Big Boi collaborations. It’s not funk, per se, but neither is Exile on Main Street. That’s not to say that Exile isn’t funky, because it is, it’s more interesting when a track doesn’t fit exactly into a genre yet. Like “Room Full of Mirrors” or “Rocks Off.” Or this.
24. “Bring The Pain (feat. Method Man)” - Missy Elliott
JW: Missy’s got the Clinton funk. You can tell by the way her feet move. She came came to bang bang the boogie. She sees you’re looking to bang out her nookie… But “We can go half on a baby?” What’s that all about?
25. “Use Me Up” - UGK
KW: Back in like 1997 my friend Chris told me he thought that “hot potato pie” was a euphemism for sex. I don’t think it is. Is it? UGK had an ear for funk. I hope they weren’t putting their dicks in pies. Wait, UGK had videos back in the day? Not an inspired video. But holy shit, this Bill Withers video is the best.
26. “Hands On Experience Pt. II” - The High and Mighty (feat. Kool Keith, What? What? and Bobbito)
JW: Please direct all sexual health and human development questions to Dr. Keith Thornton.
27. “Anti Love Song” - Betty Davis
KW: Randomly got here via Shuggie Otis. This is funky as hell. Reminds me of Royal Trux in a completely unlike Royal Trux way. Mostly.