=Sunday, January 17, 2010

Heatrocks for Haiti

I realize I've been absent from posting new material here for a bit, but didn't want this to fall by the wayside. In an attempt to collect funds for those currently in need in Haiti, two different collector message boards have started a series of rare record auctions in which all money is to be donated to the charity of the sellers choice.

For those in the funk/soul/hip hop vein, check here:

For those in assorted other veins, check here:

For what it's worth, I am responsible for the New Life Trio - Visions from the Third Eye auction listed here: http://www.soulstrut.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=0&Number=1399103&an=0&page=0#Post1399103 so if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email at trunk.of.funk@gmail.com

Otherwise, bid with confidence

=Saturday, August 15, 2009

Our nation's capital

Hey regular readers and new visitors, I don't have any new musical goodies today (I promise to put up something new by the end of the coming week), but instead wanted to send out a request. I'm in D.C. until Wednesday for work and don't have much of anything to do outside of normal work hours. I'm heading over to Som Records in a few minutes, but am looking for other suggestions of things to do (outside of the obvious visitor stuff like the monuments and the Smithsonian museums). Digging advice is always much appreciated, but I'm also interested in any other happenings (is anyone worth checking out playing records in the next few days?) as well as good places to grab food and lesser known places to check out as a visitor. You can either hit me up in the comments or shoot me an e-mail at trunk.of.funk@gmail.com. Thanks in advance, GA.

=Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Funky Whistlers

Well... I promised a new mix about a week ago and it is finally ready to go. In the past I've whipped together mixes with a particular theme (take Windy City Workout and Baby Do Right By Me as fine examples), but have yet to put one together that focuses entirely on a single instrument. The idea of pooling together funky tracks that highlight the importance of a single instrument is by no means a new one. For instance, our dear friend Vincent the Soul Chef whipped together a funky guitar mix for Jemsite a few months back, while Mr. Funky 16 Corners has provided a number of smoking hot organ mixes in the past. With the solid staple of previous mixes highlighting key funk band instruments in tow, I decided to take the opposite route and throw together a mix focusing entirely on a rather 'un-funky' instrument, the flute. To keep things interesting, this mix highlights the flute playing a variety of roles. For example, in cases like Herbie Mann's Memphis Two-step, the flute plays a prominent role throughout the entire song, vamping along in a funky mode that really sets the tone for the entire track. In other cases, like Lonnie Liston Smith's Expansions, the flute remains hidden in the background while the other instruments really get things cooking, only to emerge for a brief time to treat the listener's ears to a killer funky solo. Regardless of the specific role played in each track, one thing is for certain, this mix demonstrates that in the hands of the right player even an instrument as unfunky as the flute can be mighty soulful.

The Funky Whistlers - Trunk of F.U.N.K. vol. 017

Artist – Song title - Flautist

Yusef Lateef – Nubian Lady – Yusef Lateef
Michael Howell – In The Silence – Bennie Maupin
Bobbi Humphrey – Chicago, Damn – Bobbi Humphrey
Mongo Santamaria – The Whistler – Grant Reed or Roger Glenn
Lonnie Liston Smith & The Cosmic Echoes – Expansions – Donald Smith
Hank Crawford – Funky Rooster – Jeremy Steig
Herbie Mann – Memphis Two-step – Herbie Mann
Ron Carter – Uptown Conversation – Hubert Laws
Harold Johnson Sextet + - Delores – David Crawford
Cymande – Changes – Mike Rose

=Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rocking Chair - Brothers of the Ghetto

After a VERY long hiatus, I've finally found some free time to resume providing funky nuggets for your listening pleasure. In the time since I've been withdrawn from the blogosphere this site passed the one-year anniversary mark, an event that unfortunately passed by without any commemoration by yours truly (it's not that I didn't want to do something. This site has always been a "labor of love" that sometimes needs to take the back-burner to real-life responsibilities).
Hopefully, now that I've got a better handle on the whole being a dad thing, I'll be able to get back to a level of output similar to what was common in the "early" days of Trunk of F.U.N.K.

With the extended break from mixes and singles running through my mind, I thought I'd mark my return with a blistering funk 45 from a group out of the southside of Chicago.

Rocking Chair - Brothers of the Ghetto - Ghetto

The bits of information that I have on this band are few and far between. The Brothers of the Ghetto marked the first instance of recording, arranging, and performing original music for bass player Sam Cockrell. As far as I'm aware, this 45, on the Ghetto label, is the only recording by the group known as the Brothers of the Ghetto. This is recording is not, however, the only recording by the core group of musicians. Sometime after recording this 45, the group changed their name to Majik and recorded three 45s with Willie Mitchell for the Hi label (including the highly sought dancer "Back into your Heart"). After this time, I have no idea what happened to most of the musicians in the group. What I do know is that Cockrell later went on the record a minor national hit, "Gotta Get Up" with Kevin Bell of Kool and the Gang fame. Since that time, Cockrell has remained musically active, recording and performing with his group The Groove.

Today's single, "Rocking Chair", blasts out of the gate with a short, choppy drum break that's guaranteed to get beat nerd ears ringing. Luckily, the short break isn't what makes this track, but rather the full band joining in at a similar raucous pace after only a few bars of open drums to really get things moving. When everything gets going full speed ahead, it's clear that this 45 packs the kind of energy that is guaranteed to get people out of their chairs and onto the dance floor. Clearly, that must have been what the band had in mind, as the vocals serve little purpose beyond describing in detail how to make your body do the "Rocking Chair" (if you listen closely, unlike a lot of other 'dance craze 45s', I think the vocals herein allow for a pretty great mental image of what the guy on stage doing the "Rocking Chair" must have looked like). All in all, this 45 encompasses everything that funk 45 fans look for: a great party single, a killer break, and the relished, yet rarely found energy that truly defines the funk 45.

Enjoy, and I'll be back in the next few days with an all-new mix dedicated entirely to an oft-overlooked instrument, the funky flute.

=Sunday, May 10, 2009

GA's Groove

I've been promising a new mix for sometime and have finally had the opportunity to whip something together. Luckily for the listeners here, my wife actually told me that I should take some time out of this evening to put something together (I secretly think she wanted some Mother's Day alone time with Isabel, which is definitely OK by me), so I gladly present to you...

Trunk of F.U.N.K. vol 016 - GA's Groove

Due to the limited amount of time available tonight, I'm not going to go into details on the individual tracks provided in this mix. Suffice it to say that this mix is a collection of some of my all-time faves on the 45 format, many of which are old hat to seasoned diggers, but great nonetheless.


Title - Artist - Label

House of the Rising Funk - Chubukos - Mainstream
Synthetic Substitution - Melvin Bliss - Contempo
Marvins Groove - B.W. Souls - Round
Expo 83 - Backyard Heavies - Scepter
Ghetto Man - Tony Clarke - Chicory
Let A Woman Be A Woman, Let A Man Be A Man - Dyke & the Blazers - Original Sound
Compin' & Smokin' - Calypso King & the Soul Investigators - Soul Fire
Hot Grits - Elijah & the Ebonies - Capsoul
Shootin' the Grease - Jesse Gresham + 3 - Head
Wasted - The Gaturs - Gatur
Get Down People - Fabulous Counts - Moira

P.S. Thanks to everyone who has sent e-mails as of late, feedback is always appreciated.

=Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Far Out - The Hip Sound

After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back again with a little something different for your listening pleasure...

Far Out - The Hip Sound - Limelight

This 45 is another recent addition to my collection, having been acquired during the same bit of Chicago digging as the Stanley Keeble & Voices of Triumph 45 posted a few weeks ago. While working my way through a stack of mostly trash, I came across a white label promo that begged to be placed upon the portable for further inspection*. Within seconds of dropping the needle on the record I heard a rather strange, electronic sound that I was sure I'd heard before. At the time I couldn't place exactly where I had heard this song before, but a quick perusal of the label helped push my further inquisition in the right direction. This particular track is credited to two individuals: musique concrete pioneer Pierre Henry and French composer Michel Colombier, who, as far as I was aware, had only worked together on one project, Maurice Bejart's ballet masterpiece, Messe Pour Le Temps Present**. I know what you're all thinking at this point, "how in the hell does a track off of a 'ballet masterpiece' fit into the Trunk of F.U.N.K.?", well luckily for you, this particular track takes some interesting off-kilter electronics typical of musique concrete pieces and applies them over some fairly standard 'freak-beat' fare, resulting in a great, dance floor-friendly 45.

Now back to my quest to figure out where I'd heard this record before. With the bit of insight that Henry and Colombier had only worked together on one occasion fresh in my mind, an important series of events needed to be worked through upon arriving home: get the family settled, grab something to eat, and check out the tracklist from Messe Pour Le Temps Present as soon as possible to determine if "Far Out" is included on the record. After a quick once over of the tracklist, it appeared as though today's selection may have been a similar sounding one-off recorded by Henry and Colombier that hadn't made it onto the record. However, a quick listen of Messe Pour Le Temps Present finally answered my questions once and for all. Today's selection does appear on that LP, although on the LP it is titled "Teen Tonic" and is at a slightly lower BPM. I'm still not sure why this track was re-named "Far Out" for this 45, or why Henry and Colombier chose to work under the moniker of The Hip Sound for this particular record only, so if anyone out there has any additional information, passing it along would be greatly appreciated.

Enjoy, and I'll try to be back with a new mix for your listening pleasure in the not too distant future.

* Those that occupy their free time, however fleeting it may be, huddled over boxes in the dingy confines of a used record store can appreciate the sense of curiousity evoked by a 45 titled "Far Out" recorded by a group called The Hip Sound.

** Fans of Futurama will recognize the opening track off of this record, Psyche Rock, as this song was adapted for the opening credits of the show.

** For those curious, Michel Colombier is pictured first and Pierre Henry is pictured second

=Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Masterpiece - Grover Washington, Jr.

I'm going to keep it short and sweet this week, as the job, the lecture I still need to prepare for tomorrow, family affairs, and upcoming travels this weekend are keeping me pretty busy.

Rarely does a song with a title as boastful as 'Masterpiece' live up to the hype. However, when that song happens to be a Norman Whitfield classic that has been 'jazzed up' by a Bob James arrangement, and includes killer players (e.g. Airto, Ron Carter, Richard Tee, and Idris Muhammad), the likelihood of living up to the hype increases significantly. Instead of simply taking my word for it though, why don't you go ahead and judge for yourself...

Masterpiece - Grover Washingon, Jr. - Kudu

Ultimately, Grover Washington, Jr. is credited alongside artists like George Benson, John Klemmer, and Herb Alpert as being responsible for developing the smooth jazz genre. Prior to helping move jazz to a more radio friendly format though, Washington recorded a handful of records with a much stronger soul-jazz vibe, as exemplified by today's selection. His break into the recording business was an extremely lucky one, resulting from Hank Crawford missing a Kudu records recording session in the early 1970s. Despite only playing in back-up roles prior to this point, Crawford's absence opened a door for Washington in a lead role. The result of the opportunity was Washington's first LP, Inner City Blues, released in 1971 on the Kudu label. Between 1971 and 1976, Washington recorded and released a total of 6 LPs for the Kudu label, with his most significant early commercial success resulting from the release of the album Mister Magic in 1974. After his time recording for Kudu records, Washington's recording career continued at a rather steady pace through the release of his final album, Aria in 2000.

Enjoy, and I'll try to be back in a few days with something new for your listening pleasure.