Special thanks to my man Rickey "Uhuru Maggot" Vincent for supplying the Amoeblog with his enlightening Top Ten Funk Sessions of 2010 list that includes the likes of Bernie Worrell's SociaLybrium, Nick Rosen, and Punk Funk Mob. In addition to his Top Ten, Vincent has included some "also digging" additional picks.
Rickey Vincent, who was interviewed about his favorite topic here last year, literally wrote the book on funk music.
Vincent's acclaimed music history book Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of The One (St. Martin's Press), which won the ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, is the ultimate guide to funk music and its rich history.
Rickey Vincent, who many know from his long-running, popular KPFA 94.1FM radio show The History of Funk (10pm-midnight Fridays) knows more about funk than anyone I know. Not surprisingly, as well as being an author & journalist, he is also an educator on the subject and has taught classes at both City College of San Francisco and SF State University.
Vincent's 2010 Top Ten follows:
Rickey Vincent's Top Ten Funk Sessions of 2010
Another year and another wide ranging collection of funky discs have come my way, and I’m going to share my favorite ones from the year. The best criteria I can give is that these discs have been playing in my iPod nonstop since they came out. Simple as that.
1) Orgone Cali Fever
I saw these guys in 2009 open for Gil Scott Heron and wasn’t tripping off ‘em. Then Cali Fever was sent my way & it blew my socks off! Such a magnificent groove, such tickley & tangy rhythm guitar work, tight vocals and nonstop thump. Clearly the jam function of the year.
2) Fatback Band Bill Curtis and Friends, vol. 1 and 2
Bill Curtis is a dog dirty funk genius, and he’s been hitting hot dancefloor music for forty years! His latest set is on itunes but the nonstop licks on “Gooshy Sushi” and “Open House Partay” are just too much, too much funk from an O.G.
3) Jesse Johnson Verbal Penetration
The most serious session from a Minneapolis legend in a long time. Jesse has some spectacular chops and a helluva lot to say this time. Songs like “Propaganda” and “Slave to Our Freedom” aren’t the kind of topics you’d expect from a loverman like Jesse Johnson, but he has matured in his vision – channeling some Curtis Mayfield -- and he’s never been tighter musically. Disc 1 stands alone as a masterpiece. Get into disc 2 at your own risk. [Note: technically a 2009 release but came out in late 2009, so a 2010 contender.]
4) SociaLybrium For You For Us For All
Oh, what a solid crunchy bounce Bernie does for us here; with Blackbird on guitar, Melvin Gibbs on bass and J.T. Lewis on drums, this deep, trippy, drippy session is the best of the funk rock instrumental madness of the year. Most of this kind of stuff gets you bugged, then you forget it. Not this one. I play SociaLybrium every day.
5) Nick Rosen Into the Sky
Hypnotic jazz from a bass player produced by members of the Build an Ark camp. Don’t sleep, to me this is some of the best serene but substantial jazz since Lonnie Liston Smith was recording on Flying Dutchman. Listen all the way through this and if you don’t feel better about life, you get your money back. It is that good.
6) John Legend and the Roots Wake Up
Finally a great contemporary black act takes on the great soul legends and delivers a completely satisfying album, one that treats the original material with respect, and still speaks to the times we’re in today. Finally the classic soul sound has been honored. Now it is time to take it beyond the masters. This disc has raised expectations.
7) Punk Funk Mob Revolution
Still can’t wrap my head around the transformation the sweet soul singer Femi undertakes when she throws down as lead singer of this musical monstrosity of a band. Bandleader Quincy Ramone puts down a cross between Erykah Badu & the Bad Brains, so be warned, this ain’t no lightweight groove, it’s the heavy sh*t.
The Naked Funk feat. Lige Curry "Funk Drunk" (2010)
8) Lige Curry The Naked Funk
P-Funk bassist Lige Curry is at it again with this understated swamp funk masterpiece. Gurgling funk undertow keeps a sinister grind going all the way through this jazzy effort. Lige creates his own category of music with this one.
9) Dr. Illenstein Listen While I Tell You of the Clones
PTFI (Phil The Funky Instrumentalst) put this madness together that brings a range of talents to put Marlon “Dr. Illenstein” Kemp on the musical map. The beats are nutz and the funk is on overload in this lunatic fringe funk session.
10) L*A*W The Planet 12 Syndrome
This NYC youngster comes from heavy funk stock and blasts some hot and heavy funked up party favors. Check out “Thick Girly Girls” and “With Your Heels On” and you’ll see that this multi-instrumentalist funkateer came to serve it up.
Also digging on:
* Street Sweeper Social Club Ghetto Blaster EP
Boots Riley and Tom Moreno packed a monster punch in this 7 song b*tch slap of a session. The remake of The Coup's "Everythang" is worth the price of admission.
* Wayman Tisdale The Fonk Record
Yes, Wayman Tisdale, the NBA star turned smooth jazz bassist came with a thunderous p-funkadelic funkblast for his last recording. Some of the sharpest jazzy funk this side of George Duke, and totally maxxing on the funk vibe here.
I’m also into Browmark’s SYX Mil BREACH and Blackbird McKnight’s Bout Funkin’ Time for ripping jams. Gil Scott Heron’s incredible I’m New Here is as deep as it gets, so don’t sleep on that, either, and I can't stop playing Steve Arrington's Pure Thang. I’m waiting for Ronkat to get his new CD Change Generation out there to back up his magnificent single “The One.”
Let's see if 2011 will be as 'on the one for the funk' as 2010... and there is just over two more weeks of this year to go. Who gots tha funk?
------For more on Rickey Vincent visit his website and/or tune into his next radio show on KPFA this Friday, December 17th at 10PM (PST). Better still check out the archive of his December 10th KPFA show when he played the music mentioned in this top ten.