Funk: It's the only musical genre ever to have transformed the nation into a throbbing army of bell-bottomed, hoop-earringed, rainbow-Afro'd warriors on the dance floor. Its rhythms and lyrics turned bleak urban realties inside out with distinctive, danceable, downright irresistable music.
Funk hasn't received the critical attention that rock, jazz, and the blues have-until now. Colorful, intelligent, and in-you-face, Rickey Vincent's Funk celebrates the songs, the musicians, the philosophy, and the meaning of funk. The book spans from the early work of James Brown (the Godfather of Funk) through today, covering funky soul (Stevie Wonder, the Temptations), so-called "black rock" (Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, the Isely Brothers), jazz-funk (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock), monster funk (Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band), naked funk (Rick James, Gap Band), disco-funk (Chic, K.C. and the Sunshine Band), funky pop (Kook & the Gang, Chaka Khan), P-Funk Hip Hop (Digital Underground, De La Soul), funk-sampling rap (Ice Cube, Dr. Dre), funk rock (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus), and more.
Funk tells a vital, vibrant history-the history of a uniquely American music born out of tradition and community, filled with energy, attitude, anger, hope, and an irrepressible spirit.
In his introduction, Clinton, the force behind Parliament/Funkadelic, defines the importance of "The Funk," as well as Vincent's written history, as political assertions: "[The] story told herein chronicles the predicament the [music] industry faces in trying to monopolize their profiteering of Black Music." By examining the Black jazz and blues roots of funk, Vincent depicts a people more often than not robbed of their music. Funk has remained considerably free from industry greed and gentrification due, argues Vincent, to its illicit power. In the next breath, he contends that James Brown, Sly Stone and Clinton owe as much to the Beatles for their successes-particularly the 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which would influence Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland and Clinton's own Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow. Vincent's funk is broad, encompassing Hendrix; Miles Davis; Earth, Wind, and Fire; and Dr. Dre. It's true rap's sampling of funk classics brought new interest in sloppy, sexy jams. When rappers refused at first to pay their dues, by way of recording royalties, they only helped to draw attention to such forgotten bands as The Ohio Players and The Meters. Funk is an untidy quarrel of history, musicology and hearsay that certifies the cultural heritage of a Hip Hop nation. (May)