Get Up With the Get Down - The Shadow History of Funk

How the funky chicken ended up hitching a ride on the mothership connection.

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"The popular story about the history of funk music goes something like this: You talk about James Brown and the Ohio Players. You talk about how struggling doo wop and R&B singers of the 1950s heated up their sound by discovering funk in the 1960s, the brought one nation under their groove in the 1970s. You talk about how the Civil Rights Movement moved into Black Power, how Apollo shows turned into coliseum jams, how the funky chicken ended up hitching a ride on the mothership connection.

On the surface, there's nothing wrong with this story - it's a great story, in fact, a celebratory tale about how small-town groups became big-time stars, about how a music that other musicians snubbed and ridiculed became one of the biggest phenomenons of its era. However, this is the story of the winners, the ones with their names in marquee lights. There is another story however - a shadow history of funk.

I'm not talking about artists or groups who lacked talent or were undeserving of success. But the reality was that for every "Sex Machine" or "Flashlight" blowing up the record charts, you had hundreds of smaller songs for whom "airplay" rarely got better than hissing out of a rusted jukebox in some backwater dive bar or crackling through the static on AM radio."

- Oliver Wang

If you have any suggestions, bitches, gripes, complaints or praise, email the Duke right here:

The funk:
Spreadin' Honey - The Watts 103rd St. Rhythm Band
Mr. Cool - Rasputin Stash
Pig Snoots Pt. 1 - Natural Bridge Bunch
Sookie Sookie - Don Covay & The Jefferson Lemon Blues Band
Somebody in the World for You - Mighty Hannibal
Sexy Coffee Pot - Tony Alvon & The Belairs
Snatching it Back - Clarence Carter
Take It Off Pt. 2 - Johnny Tolbert & De Thangs
Whatever's Fair - Mark Holder & The Positives
Face It - Ed Robinson
Wah Wah Man - Young-Hold Express
Won't Nobody Listen - Black Haze Express
Getting Uptown (To Get Down) - The Mystic Moods
Gangster of Love Pts. 1 & 2 - Jimmy Norman

Publications and blogs:
Wax Poetics
Scratch Magazine


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