Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Various Artists - Millennium Funk Party (1998)


Drop a funk bomb. A CD with 20 classic funk tracks from the years 1972-1983 that rates about the highest groove-per-dollar ratio you could ask for. Once of the best party discs ever made. Judge for yourself.

Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #124

Tracks:
  • Brick House - Commodores: The best song Lionel Richie ever had a part in. Of course, in '77 I had no idea what Walter "Clyde" Orange was singing about.
  • Love Rollercoaster - Ohio Players: Simple step-wise bass line, but the drums, guitar and horns make this a classic. You've heard the urban legend that a high-pitched scream around 2:25 is the voice of an individual being murdered live while the tape was rolling, haven't you?
  • Dazz - Brick: Dazz is supposedly a combination of disco and jazz. I'm not sure that's what it is, cause it fits in just fine in this funk compilation.
  • Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk)- Parliament: George Clinton is the only person worthy of appearing twice on this disc as a performer. While the groove is unforgettable, the interplay between the musicians is what sets this song apart. We're gonna turn this mother out.
  • Jungle Boogie - Kool & The Gang: My favorite K&TG song by far and possibly my favorite song on this disc. I don't know what I like better: the bass line, the horn line, or the scratchy guitar part.
  • Tell Me Something Good - Rufus: written by Stevie Wonder, sung by Chaka Khan. 'Nuff said.
  • Serpentine Fire - Earth, Wind & Fire: Not one of their bigger hits, but it's groove fits perfect on this disc. Wicked horn parts. Maurice White is a musical genius. Even though the band didn't put it on their 1978 "Best Of" album, music critic Dave Marsh ranked this song at #307 in his 1989 list of The 1001 Greatest Singles Ever Made.
  • Pick Up The Pieces - Average White Band: A Scottish funk band, go figure. This ubiquitous piece appears in the most unlikely places. I just watched the 1996 movie Swingers and this plays prominently in that. While all the parts are important, it's the drums that make this song funkier than it should be.
  • Play That Funky Music - Wild Cherry: A huge funk hit in 1976. Huge. Deservedly so. Everything about this song grooves and the pleading lyrics are delivered perfectly.
  • I'll Take You There - The Staple Singers: While I often write about Memphis soul or Motown soul, I don't think I've ever mentioned Muscle Shoals soul. That discussion begins and ends with soul/gospel family band The Staple Singers. I think this 1972 tune turned out funkier than they intended. This song, written with only two chords (C & F), features lead singer Mavis Staples inviting her listeners to seek heaven.
  • Do It ('Til You're Satisfied) - B. T. Express: I don't think Billy Nichols is inviting listeners to seek heaven. Now that's some interesting sequencing. This is one of the less interesting tracks on the disc. The boring bass line and disco strings make it less funky than what's come before.
  • Superfly - Curtis Mayfield: This 1972 soundtrack single is more soul than funk, but it packs a punch and served as a bridge for Mayfield's transition to a grittier, funkier sound.
  • What Is Hip? - Tower Of Power: Straight out of Oakland, ToP was (and still is) one of the best large funk ensembles around. Always known for their horn section. The group really brings it on this one, featuring staccato horns, syncopated drumming, and smooth bass playing.
  • Best Of My Love - The Emotions: This sounds like an Earth, Wind & Fire song sung by females. Maybe because that's what it is, written and produced by musical genius Maurice White. The bass line is awesome in its simplicity. Great groove throughout.
  • Atomic Dog - George Clinton: I didn't love this as much in 1983 as I should have. Now a classic, being widely sampled in hip-hop music for the last 30 years. Bow wow wow yippee yo yippee yay!
  • Slide - Slave: Probably my least favorite song on the disc. I have to assess a penalty for excessive vibra-slap.
  • Fantastic Voyage - Lakeside: If you're going to be a one hit wonder, this isn't a bad song to have for your one hit.
  • More Bounce To the Ounce Part 1 - Zapp: With a little help from Bootsy Collins, this vocoder-rich piece sounds like a P-Funk tune. That's a good thing.
  • You Dropped A Bomb On Me - The Gap Band: An electro-funk classic from the early '80s. After it hit, there were many imitators, particularly copying the synth bass line.
  • Rapper's Delight - Sugarhill Gang: Loved this song in 8th grade. Still know all the lyrics. The 5 minute version is included here, although the original was 15. Legend has it that the entire 15 minute version was recorded in one take. If any rap song deserves a legend, it's this one.
Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I bought this disc around 2000, near the time when I switched jobs. I spent a lot of time with my friend/co-worker Chris and this got much playtime.

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