Original Format: CD
The first part of this started with mostly standard funk and gradually spread out toward the fringes. This part starts there, at the edge, and moves back toward the center. It ends with Parliament, which is always a good place to end.
Get Them Out Ya Way Pa Wu-Tang Clan
I see that the Wu-Tang is doing multiple shows in Vegas this weekend, though they will not be providing halftime entertainment at the Super Bowl. That will be Usher. Too bad.
Kung Fu Curtis Mayfield
“Curtis Mayfield, in an attempt to remain topical, responded to the 1970s martial arts craze with this brilliant dose of funk from his 1974 album, Sweet Exorcist. Here, Mayfield opts to temper the intricate orchestration that dominated much of his earlier solo work in favor of a more direct approach, effectively using a pulsing organ riff to hang the song’s hook on. He relates a strange tale of a boy from the ghetto saddled with the name ‘Kung Fu….’ Mayfield’s vague funk-soul take on Johnny Cash’s Shel Silverstein-penned classic folk song ‘A Boy Named Sue’ did make it onto the pop charts, reaching number 40 and was a bona fide hit on the R&B charts going all the way to number three.” —Tom Maginnis, Allmusic.com
Hold Them Kung Fu The Mighty Upsetter
The original artwork for this album, Kung Fu Meets the Dragon, is a true masterpiece:
Theme from Shaft The Chosen Few
“Shaft, which was released in 1971, was among the first of the so-called blaxploitation movies, and it made [Richard] Roundtree a star at 29. The character John Shaft is his own man, a private detective who jaywalks confidently through moving Times Square traffic in a handsome brown leather coat with the collar turned up; sports a robust, dark mustache somewhere between walrus-style and a downturned handlebar; and keeps a pearl-handled revolver in the fridge in his Greenwich Village duplex apartment. As Mr. Roundtree observed in a 1972 article in The New York Times, he is ‘a Black man who is for once a winner.’” —Richard Roundtree obituary, New York Times, 10/24/2023
Good Love Isaac Hayes
The online lyric sites say “bonified” rather than “bona fide.” Possibly that’s a typo, but I like it.
Sixty Minute Man Rufus Thomas
The original “Sixty Minute Man” was a 1951 R&B hit by the Dominoes:
According to Rob Bowman’s liner notes for the CD reissue of Funky Chicken,
Rufus’s version of “Sixty Minute Man” is singularly unique among his recorded legacy. Bearing little relation to the Dominoes’ recording, Thomas slows the tempo down to a crawl and then turns the song inside out and back to front. The intro is an additive structure beginning with bass, followed by bass drum and hi-hat, tambourine, guitar, tom-toms, and finally Thomas’s vocal. After seven bars of scat singing, Thomas begins to chant, “I feel my body.” “It was Africa where I got that from,” smiles the singer. “That came from a Tarzan or Harry Carey movie. It sounded to me like they said, ‘I found my bonnie.’ It was a chant, an African chant. Just a whole tribe when they decided they were gonna kill some of the white folks, put them on the stake — this is the way they were sounding. I just took it from there.”
Hey Jerome Bo Diddley
“Jerome” is Bo’s right-hand man, Jerome Green. Says Wikipedia, “Green grew up in Chicago, and was a neighbor of Ellas McDaniel, later known as Bo Diddley, who was older by a few years. According to some sources, Green played tuba, but, when Bo Diddley performed on street corners and outside theaters from about 1950, he used Green to collect money from bystanders. Needing to add percussion to boost his sound, but not wanting to have to carry a drum kit between venues, he recruited Green to play maracas, which he made out of toilet floats filled with black-eyed peas.”
Funkin’ for Fun Parliament
“This is a song about a young man (or perhaps a Clone of Dr. Funkenstein) who feels an urge to leave his home to go find ‘the funk.’ He feels sad that he has to leave his mother, but he also knows that he needs to carve out his own way in life. For this young man, playing funk music is that way in life. He wants us, if we see her, to tell his mother that he’s alright.” —Genius.com commenter “TornAsunder”