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Soul and Funk

This tune from Soul2Soul in 1989 was massive. Totally addictive drumbeat that was immediately copied by everyone, it is recognisable in many songs that followed through to 1992. I'd even suggest that this song influenced the R'n'B sound in the Pop charts from early on in this century. In the late Eighties this sound was new, a realy Funky dance tune on a swing-beat rythm, a sound that wouldn't mushroom for more than 10years making this song being around way before it's time.

Pete Waterman made an interesting observation at the time though, the tune is based on the classic from Deep Purple, Smoke On The Water.

The 'Soul' sound grew from a church background with influence from the jazz scene. Singers from church choirs and other vocalists influenced by this music (mainly black Americans) progressed from this sound (Aretha Franklin and James Brown to name two well-known participants), and came up with the music we know as Soul. Funk progressed from this; in the sixties when Soul was charting the 'Godfather of Soul', 'The Hardest working man in Showbiz’ yes James Brown was putting a Jazz bassline on the sound he'd played a major part in the growth of, Soul, and Funk was born.

Funk is not a sound that features in the pop charts, although Jamiroqui is one very sucsessful band that's put it there! Hard core Funk is closely related to Jazz, a sound more appreciated by the 'trained ear'. Funk music is very much bassline music, a Funk track is defined largely by the bassline. The description of Funk came from The Daily Mail letters page.

QUESTION: In what sense are certain types of music 'funky'?

'FUNK' existed as a word meaning strong-smelling or stinking as far back as 1623. One of the first recorded uses of 'funky' was to describe cheese in 1784.

By the 1920s U.S. slang used 'funky' to mean earthy and basic, like the smell of armpits or the hot, sweaty music of Jazz and Blues.

In 1959, Jazz Scene used the word in something like its modern sense of raw, down-to-earth or uncomplicated: 'Critics are on the search for something a little more like the old, original, passion-laden Blues: the tradename which has been suggested for it is ''funky'', literally ''smelly'', symbolising physical reality.'

The great hard bop jazz pianist Horace Silver called one of his albums Opus de Funk.

He told Melody Maker in 1960: 'When you put a lot of little Blues inflections in the solos, people would say you were realy funky, by which they just mean Bluesy, and that is how I came up with the title. So the critics started to talk about me as funky'.

It took a while for the concept of funkiness to catch on in Britain, but in 1975 The Goodies had a Top Ten hit with Funky Gibbon, as did Jasper Carrot with Funky Moped -- both records having a distinct whiff of armpits.

One band who by the end of the 1960's became a Jazz/Funk settup were The Winstons, a record they recorded in 1969 called Amen Brother was to spark the whole Drum'n'Bass scene two decades on. A six second drum solo from this track was fed into samplers when they surfaced in the 1980's and was immediatley immortalised. Inrerestingly it is not disimilar to the Funky Drummer breakbeat....

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