Classic Funk A Lost Art
Of course, this is my funk section. Anything from James Brown to George Clinton, to Ohio Players! This was how Black folk grooved back in the day.
Song: Do Your Thing
Album: Together (1968)
Ok, I’m really taking it back now! A guy by the name of Charles Wright had an awesome band called “The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band!” What a hell of a long name right? The bulk of their music has been mostly funk, and perhaps a little bit of R&B. I liked a lot of their music growing up. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding Billboard information on their music. However, I remember two of their major hits that were burning up the radio stations. The first was a song called “Do Your Thing (1968).” This song was the bomb back in the day. It was hilarious to see adults get down to this song. I mean to watch my elders dance to the point they were down on the floor was a sight to see. This was a song that pretty much allowed you to dance in anyway you like, and not feel awkward or out of place. Simple and steady beats allowed everyone from any age to dance to its music. The second song was called “Express Yourself (1970).” Again, I’m having trouble finding chart information, but from what I remember as a child, it seems that “Do Your Thing” was the biggest hit of their career. Ah, the good ol’ days.
Song: Pick Up The Pieces
Artist: Average White Band
Album: Average White Band (1975)
Let me tell you…. This was no ordinary Average White Band 🤣 😜. These guys had more funk and soulful feeling in their music, than any other blue-eyed soul band I can think of at the moment. I mean, when I was a kid, I thought they were all Black when I was listening to their music. Actually, I dare to say they’re probably more diverse as a group than “Heatwave.” They really made some good music back in the day. Having said that, once again, I am blown away about the low ranking for their (arguably the most popular) songs “Pick Up The Pieces.” When it came to groove music, this hit the spot. This became another “must have” in many barbecue gatherings when I was growing up. Yet it only reached #45 in Adult Contemporary. WTF??? 😠 BTW, I couldn’t resist in thinking, if this band would have came out today, the politically extreme left would have crucified the band for their chosen name.AU: Shop Women’s Fashion at Bally!
Artist: B.T. Express
I can say with absolute certainty, that this song was of the biggest and most popular songs of the seventies! “Do It ‘Till You’re Satisfied,” was #1 on the R&B Charts, #2 on the Top 100 Charts, and the album itself became #1 by February 1974. It’s mind blowing how a group that was as massively popular as they were, has been completely removed from the memories of most. Another massive hit from the same album, was a song called “Express.” “Express” was more of a instrumental disco infused funk piece. It had a very catchy tune, and it was almost immediately recognizable the minute we heard it.”Express” also hit #1 on the R&B Charts, and was #4 on the Top 100 Charts. Little by little members broke off to start their own ventures. Eventually the group officially disbanded around the very late 1980s.
Not sure if many of my blog fans remember an old group called “The New Birth?” (Not to be confused with “New Birth Brass Band”) They were a funk & R&B band from Detroit. This was a gigantic band back in the day. They probably were about the same size (in numbers) if not larger than Earth Wind & Fire. Ha! Those days of big bands and BoysIIMen performers are gone. Your group would have to be pretty spectacular for any label to sign a group of equal size.
I have to say that although I was not turned on by most of their music, that’s not to say that they weren’t a talented group. I wouldn’t hold them under the same candle as Earth, Wind, & Fire, but they were good! They’ve made more than several albums throughout their career, and managed to produce 3 top 10 hits. Their first song to hit #1 was a song called “Dream Merchant (1975).” #4th position was “I Can Understand It (1975).” Their 3rd top 10 hit was ok “It’s Been A Long Time (1974),” which peaked at #9. Unfortunately, I wasn’t particularly drawn to those songs despite being huge hits.
However, that changed when I heard a cover they did of one of my absolute favorite songs by Perry Como, “It’s Impossible.” It’s Impossible only reached #12 on the Hot R&B Charts in 1971. You know, even if you didn’t like that kind of music, the lyrics to this song is absolutely the sweetest I’ve ever heard. Also check out their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Never Can Say Goodbye (1971).” Lastly, listen to their cover of Hamilton, Joe Frank, & Reynolds’s classic “Fallin’ In Love (1976).” I guess it appears that all the songs I love from them, were all covers.Save up to 30%. See what’s on sale!
You know, usually, we can make a reasonable assumption that just about anything we think of can be found on the net. However, this is one of those rare cases were virtually no biographical text appears to be available anywhere on cyberspace on this group. I don’t mean to beat a dead horse….. But…. We’re loosing our history! It’s pretty frustrating when I can’t fulfill my responsibilities as a classic blogger, because I am unable to find proper resources. The Family’s Do The Robot, should have been on The Billboards at least. Anyway……
Many Aliases Of MFSB
The best information, or should I say clue about the group called “The Family,” as that the name was one of many aliases of MFSB (Mother, Father, Sister, Brother). I’m guessing that the names must have changed, as the group members changed. As I remember it, the band wasn’t really a “group,” but a project. So, it’s entirely possible that “The Family,” (not to be confused with “Sly and The Family Stone”) did not do well on the charts overall, and decided to change the name of their group project, to reflect the change in music.
During The Dance Craze
Unfortunately Spotify doesn’t have this song, but I still wanted to share it with you guys because it was one of my memories growing up. Although I didn’t see any Billboard information, I remembered this to be very popular, and it was released during the dance craze years. Just to clarify to my younger readers, when I say “Dance Craze,” I don’t mean we never really danced before. The meaning of “dance craze,” for me is when an artist/band creates their own dance, gives it a name, and associates a song to that new dance. That’s the difference between a “dance craze,” and “dance music.” Check out Do The Robot On YouTube!
Wow! When I tell you this band was HUGE! I do mean HUGE! Another forgotten band that is worthy of remembering, especially if you’re a fan of funk music. In fact, in my opinion they were the kings of funk; their music was similar to Parliament. Although the Ohio Players had many more hits. In addition to probably being most remembered for their risque album covers; they’re also remembered for one of their biggest hits of their career. The song is called “Fire,” released in 1975. “Fire” hit #1 and stayed there for one week. I saw a lot of my family’s friends had this very album in their collection!
Another huge Ohio Players hit was “Love Rollercoaster,” this song also hit #1 and stayed there for an entire week, and it too was released in 1975. This became one of those barbecue/cook out songs back in the day. Oh, I can’t forget about “Skin Tight,” released in 1974, and reached #13th on the charts. There’s one last song I want you guys to listen to, the song is called “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow” from their “Observation In Time” album, released in 1969. I really loved this song, and I was quite surprised not to see it in the charts. Interesting that this was more of a soul album, and it appeared when they changed to their iconic funk sound, their career exploded.
Marva Whitney was a funk legend back in the day. She was a protege of the late James Brown. Actually James Brown had many proteges, however, vocally speaking, she was the best female performer he ever took under his wing (in my opinion). Her voice was truly a force to be recon with. Not to say that other female performers such as Lyn Collins did not kick-ass; but let’s put it this way, when you hear Marva perform she’s almost like an alpha female on stage! She means business when she sings, and she expects you to listen with urgency 😁 He biggest hit “It’s My Thing,” released in 1969 was so popular, I was stunned to learn it only reached #82 on the Top 100 Charts. Actually, more than stunned. Marva was so fierce, they used to call her “Soul Sister Number One.” Many artists like DJ Kool used to sample her music. Unfortunately, Marva died in 2012 as a result of complications with pneumonia.