Pearl Diving: Great Funk Tracks

When lists of this type are created for the funk category, they rightly include the great, well-known tracks we’ve happily relied on for decades. The familiar selections include:

Superfly Curtis Mayfield
Thank You Sly and the Family Stone
Flashlight Parliament
Cissy Strut Meters
Superstition Stevie Wonder
Chameleon Herbie Hancock
Pick Up The Pieces AWB
Dazz Brick
Pass The Peas Maceo Parker or the earlier JBs version
Right Place, Wrong Time Dr. John
Soul Finger Bar-Kays
Serpentine Fire Earth, Wind and Fire

Of course, the Parliament and James Brown catalogs are fixed and have their own special listing in any such list. All the laudable Ohio bands (where so much American funk had it’s genesis) are inferred as well: Ohio Players, Lakeside, Zapp, Slave, Heatwave, Dazz, Sun, etc.

Here are some lesser known tracks that ought to float into the canon for variety and energy:

Fopp Ohio Players
Lovely Jane or Sweet Little Lass Dag
Cold Beverage G Love and Special Sauce
Dynomite Tony Camillo’s Bazuka
Watch It or Crabby Ali Orgone
Get Down Raydio
Stimulation Loop Praxis  * wait for it … the grease comes at :34
You’re A Winner Rose Royce
Jungle Waterfall or Sofistifunk could find their way into a hybrid list, from the venerable Return to Forever
Earthquake Graham Central Station
Much Higher Gary Wright
Go For Your Guns Isley Brothers
Pickpockets/Oceans Eleven David Holmes
Chase Me Con Funk Shun
Road Rage Big Organ Trio

… and to really take things lo-fi and old school, we suggest:

Soul Loco Suite Deep Street Soul
Super Bad Kashmere Stage Band
Party Abraham and the Metronomes
Honky Tonk Popcorn Pacific Rhythm
The Chase James William Guercio
Ghet-To Funk Duralcha
The Hanged Man Alan Tew
Pulsion or Hip Hop Definition Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra
Space Funk Eugene Blacknell
What About It? Eddie Hazel
Runnin’ or Mighty Mighty Baby Huey and the Babysitters
Wah Wah Goo Goo Wah Wah Watson

 

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