It was the summer the pavements melted. It was the summer I was intoxicated by love. 2003. Lying lazily in the parks of London, I was wrapped in a humid cloak of happiness. Despite the heat I danced. A lot.
It was, thanks to him, a summer of music; music I didn’t know existed before he gifted it to me, music I still love today.
Prime among the grooves were a band from Leeds called ‘The New Mastersounds’. Already a fan of funk, I was amazed to hear that I had been missing out on these low down, dirty bass lines and virtuoso guitar riffs for a whole two years.
It was our third date, a gig at The Jazz Café. Sandwiched in between him and his friend, my hips moved with the groove involuntarily while they did the boyfunknod (as instructed by Will Smith here and adopted by the majority of white men at funk gigs).
I went to see NMS last week and, inspired by the memories of the heady summer of ’03, there’s a big ‘thank you’ going out from me today for all the music you gave me. You know who you are and I wish you well.
There should be an image from Getty of Eddie Roberts (NMS) here…Embed from Getty Images
Keb Darge Presents….The New Mastersounds (the original album, with horns)
Be Yourself, featuring the divine voice of Corinne Bailey Rae on ‘Your love is mine’, a perfect summer track.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, think James Brown in fiery female form. Still the best soul and funk singer around today.
Lalo Shifrin’s soundtrack for the classic film, Bullitt and pretty much everything Shifrin, as I’d not heard of him before.
A version of ‘Compared to What’ by someone called Jadell – it’s not a patch on Roberta Flack’s but has a raw edge that I really enjoyed at the time. This doesn’t really belong in this list, as it doesn’t have quite the legacy of others but it meant a lot at the time.
Roy Ayers’ ‘He’s a Superstar’ – I love ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and it was a revelation to be introduced to this piece of musical genius. And by the way, given that Roy Ayers released this in 1971 and the musical wasn’t til 1973, has Lloyd Webber ever given Ayers royalties for nicking his melody or was it all done above board at the time?
And one more joyous revelation… The Meters. ‘Just kissed my baby’ brought me fully into the world of classic funk and it’s a world I am happy to belong to.
In return, I gave my love a good dose of harlem boogaloo and beats in the form of Broasted or Fried and Freak Off.
So I leave you with this thought…wherever you are, have a funky Sunday. Get up and dance like you have the best boogie moves in the world and screw those who think you don’t! To massacre a quote from Eddie Roberts last week, ‘if the whole world got funk, there would be no war.
Please tell me your fave funk in the comments box. I’m always keen to make new discoveries.