Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Richard Pryor's Killer Funk

Happy New Year!

ABC made the mistake of giving Richard Pryor his own show in 1977. The Richard Pryor show lasted four episodes before they figured out that America wasn't ready for what Mr. Pryor had to say.

Pryor is inherently funky, but this clip is interesting because it features his take on what a Black "Death Metal" band might sound like. But as someone in the youtube comments section pointed out, this ain't no Death Metal--it's way too funky. The jam is funky, but what you really want to see is the ending where Pryor shows us why the band is called Black Death. Interesting, especially when you think of the tenuous relationship he had with his White audience (think: Chappelle.) And look close, you might see Sandra Bernhardt acting a fool.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I wrote a song about it. Wannahereithereitgo.

It's a shame that Calhoun Tubbs' contribution to the development of American music has long gone unrecognized.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Catwoman

Sadly, Eartha Kitt just passed. I remember her playing Catwoman on Batman back in the day. She growled and purred and clawed and even looked like a cat. Although she fit right in with the campiness of the show, it was clear that she owned that role long before she ever put on the costume.

Unfortunately, I didn't know much more about her than when she starred with Eddie Murphy as his oversexed boss in Boomerang.

"Maaaaaaaaaaaaarcus." I can still hear that voice in my nightmares.

But last year my wife bought Rhino Records' Hipster' Holiday record (which is an awesome album--especially considering the fact that I can't stand most holiday music) that features Eartha Kitt's "Santa Baby."

I loved the song (people who heard it already are like "uh duh") and it made me appreciate how talented Ms. Kitt was. I've heard a couple other people sing it, but it's the same thing as Catwoman: she owns that performance.

Her voice and demeanor are similar to Nina Simone, except more playful, less angry(!) and melancholy. But they both could mesmerize an audience with an almost otherworldly presence.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Charlize Theron Funk Connection

I don't know if y'all have seen the J'Adore commercial with Charlize Theron, but it's one of the funkiest I've seen in a while, and not just because ole' girl strips down to her draws (!). Playing in the background is one of my favorite songs, "A Funky Space Reincarnation," from one of my favorite albums of all time, Marvin Gaye's Here My Dear.

Here My Dear
is one of those albums you got to know just because the story behind it is so good. Marvin was married to Anna Gordy, sister of Motown founder Berry Gordy. They got married when Marvin was young, although Anna was seventeen (!) years his senior. Things were okay for awhile, but in the late seventies, after years of drug abuse and infidelity, Anna called it quits and asked for a divorce. When it came time to divide up the assets, it turned out that Marvin owed a bunch of back taxes and he was effectively broke. So the judge decreed that Marvin would make an album and give part of the proceeds to Anna (why does that sound like a dumb Seinfeld episode?).

Marvin said at first that he was going to be spiteful and put together some trash, but his genius (and probably pride) wouldn't allow it. He put together one of the funkiest, most personal recordings you'd ever be blessed to hear: Here My Dear.

It's nothing like What's Going On, with it's clarity of purpose and beauty. It ain't smooth babymakinmusic like I Want You or Let's Get It On. No, this is a unique picture into the soul of a man tormented by his own pain, need, and immaturity.

Besides the three versions of "When Did You Stop Loving Me, When Did I Stop Loving You," the title track is followed by a song titled, "I Met A Little Girl," which is for real cold because it's all about the seventeen year old girl, Janis Hunter, who he later ended up marrying. But besides all of the emotional rawness of the album, there are some cuts on there, like "Time to Get It Together," and "Anger," that are worth listening to just because they are funky and brilliant.

And I'm not sure what Marvin was smoking at the time, but on "A Funky Space Reincarnation" he entices a paramour by telling her to try some smoke he got from Venus and how magnets will help his "love rise." It's about the strangest song you'll ever hear on a Motown label--and one of the funkiest. Peep:

Marvin Gaye - Funky Space Reincarnation [FUNK]
Uploaded by DjLordFunk. - Explore more music videos.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

See what had happened was...

1. My internet, that I was technically (actually) not paying for, got disconnected.
2. I got about the worse cough I ever had in my life.
3. People's children keep showing up at my job, wanting to be taught things.
4. I've been saving up money to buy that brand new senate seat I saw on eBay.

But I'ma be back. Soon. Funky as ever.