The rhythm of the one
November 4, 2016 4:13 PM   Subscribe

The Story of Funk - One Nation Under A Groove is a 2014 BBC documentary about the birth and evolution of funk music. [SLYT]
posted by Room 641-A (31 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
I always thought people were born with the funk but one very late night I realized that some people are born with access to the funk. The funk is like oil, but only some people can get to it.
posted by chaz at 4:21 PM on November 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

Possibly. I know I didn't get into funk, it got into me.
posted by Thella at 4:39 PM on November 4, 2016 [9 favorites]

Wait. What about this story? NSFW.
posted by Splunge at 4:45 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Looking forward to watching the documentary when I have a free hour—thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 5:32 PM on November 4, 2016

And than there was Bohannon
posted by robbyrobs at 6:19 PM on November 4, 2016 [3 favorites]

Oh, indeed. Indeed.
posted by Splunge at 6:28 PM on November 4, 2016

Thanks for this!
posted by freakazoid at 6:45 PM on November 4, 2016

access to the funk

I have been enjoying The Funk Show, which streams on WNCU. It's eclectic - I have heard everything from the more slick/pop/R&B side to just backbreaking psychedelic funk deep cuts there.
posted by thelonius at 7:14 PM on November 4, 2016 [6 favorites]

What I know about funk is that no matter how shitty I'm feeling, if I put some funk on (like, I always carry some Parliament somewhere on my person), I will feel way less shit in about two bars. Maybe I will just listen to funk for the next four days!
posted by rtha at 7:39 PM on November 4, 2016 [11 favorites]

wow amazing. thanks!
posted by bluesky43 at 7:39 PM on November 4, 2016

posted by jbenben at 7:50 PM on November 4, 2016

Like a hamhock in your corn flakes.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 8:23 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

So much good music, and then: disco. Sigh. Prince gets about 59 minutes less than he deserves out of this hour doc.
posted by alex_skazat at 9:12 PM on November 4, 2016

That was cool, cheers.

I have been getting into P-Funk lately, with a strong emphasis on the weirdness of Funkadelic. I was surprised to hear that back in the 70's the p-funk concerts were of no interest to a white audience. I mean, I'm a white boy from Australia and p-funk really gets in touch with the bits of me that like early Pink Floyd, guitar driven rock music (Eddie Hazel, good lord he was a player) and a lot of other things that whites like me traditionally like. Those concerts sound amazing.
posted by deadwax at 9:42 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

That was, uhh, great. Thanks for sharing. (Please fill in all the !! on the "TH's" there.)
posted by notyou at 10:50 PM on November 4, 2016

Less than an hour ago, I got home after a 13-hour drive that followed an intensely stressful week (closing is Monday on mom's house 800 miles away.) The last hour or two of driving my shitbox 4 - Runner, packed tight with household effluvia and my 76-year-old mom snoozing in the passenger seat, down I-81 to I-40 and then home, I listened to an awful lot of P-funk. Because when you think you can't, George Clinton thinks you can.

I wants to get funked up.
posted by workerant at 11:08 PM on November 4, 2016 [12 favorites]

Just finished watching this, which was the perfect thing that I needed tonight. Thanks so much.
posted by chococat at 11:46 PM on November 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Tear the roof off the sucker!
posted by On the Corner at 3:28 AM on November 5, 2016

Back when I was in high school (in the early 70's), we had a juke box in the cafeteria. It was stocked with what the authorities felt was current pop music, split between music for the white kids and music for the black kids.

It was pretty obvious that the school administration had no clue about black music and was letting the juke box company stock that half of the records, while the admins carefully screened the white kids music. The result was that I, as a lily white kid, got a real education and new love for funk, as the "white" music was really, really bad (think:The Osmonds) while the "black" music ...OMG... James Brown, Joe Tex, Parliament/Funkadelic, etc, etc. How can you NOT get that groove on?

posted by Thorzdad at 3:56 AM on November 5, 2016 [6 favorites]

Those concerts sound amazing.

I'm sure they don't measure up to anything from back in the day, but I can confirm that George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars are fucking amazing live.
posted by Dysk at 3:58 AM on November 5, 2016

So much good music, and then: disco. Sigh.

Disco's an interesting case. It really did stomp its rhinestone-encrusted platform boot on the neck of not just funk, but rock as well, and generally did suck mightily. But, if you dig around and go deep, there's a lot of disco that remembers well its roots. The groove is in there. It's just a more smoove groove.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:26 AM on November 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

P-Funk Allstars were playing here in Dublin many years ago and after the gig went for a few drinks and then a kebab place on the way home. When we were walking home we met George Clinton on a deserted street and my friend, who's a massive, massive fan, said "George Clinton, I would be honoured if you took a bite out my kebab". He did indeed take a large bite, and later on my friend claimed he felt slightly trippy due to ingesting whatever titanic quantity of drugs was in what tiny amount of saliva Dr. Funkenstein left on the kebab in question.

A couple of years later the band came back and the same friend's band got booked to be the support, but they were pulled at the last minute as they were only a funk cover band, and the contract specified no cover bands. We were all still allowed to hang around the VIP area with the band and with George, who I could tell was as high as an astronaut. But we told him the kebab story and he remembered.
posted by kersplunk at 5:31 AM on November 5, 2016 [12 favorites]

Bassist Prakash John on his Funkadelic tenure:
You're traveling with these guys, as I discovered... me, a milk and cookies man from Toronto, coming from my first tour, taking off with three different station wagons out of Detroit, being one of the drivers - I was well-practiced at that from my days in Bush... this was on my second time with the Parliament. But taking off and thinking, "Oh, somebody's smoking a joint in the car. This is ridiculous," only to find out they all had their own bag of weed and they were all enveloped in this smoke with the window down all the way, on the way to some university gig.

We went down to some black university in Tuskegee, I believe. I remember driving through the night and everything, and we needed gas in some rural area of the south. I'm thinking to myself, "These guys are going to stop for gas at some outpost..." - these black men who are like totally avant-garde for the time. They looked like Sly Stone and those guys. They stopped at a place, and I thought, "OK, this is it. I'm gonna die, right here. We're gonna get shot. We're gonna be dead." We pulled in, it's just dawn, and immediately, all the lights at the pump shut off, like a movie. All we needed were a couple hound dogs sitting on the porch or something. I thought, "Oh no, we're stuck. This is it." These guys come stumbling out of the three station wagons. What a sight for a bunch of white rednecks to see these guys stumbling out... guys in these weird looking coats, George Clinton with his triangular hat on, fur around it, these platform boots - and he takes his hat off and it’s shaved other than a star on one side and a moon on the other - and all these other characters in the band. But George Clinton walks right up to those guys who have the doors locked, and the gun rack behind them, and talks for a little while. I'm just... I'm not getting out of the car, I'm from Toronto. The next thing you know, after about 15 minutes, just by being so nice, the pumps come on. The lights come on. We get gasoline, we drive off down the road. That taught me a big lesson how one should treat the situation as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have. Only this was George Clinton in this weird outfit, smiling, and never having a harsh word, even though people were saying nasty things to him. That's a life lesson: how to be kind to people. This guy's not a saint... but he had his own marching tempo and had his own ideas, which have stood the test of time. Even though people treated him poorly from time to time, he could smile and genuinely do it. That's how we left that gas station, tanks full and nobody shooting us.
posted by thelonius at 7:45 AM on November 5, 2016 [9 favorites]

So I watched this last night while restringing some instruments for a bluegrass gig I was playing later on. It took all my powers to stay off the one.

Great doc, thanks for posting it.

Thorzdad: The groove is in there.

Bootsy would later team up with others to posit a hypothesis concerning the true locus of the groove.


*gives self side eye*

*shows self out*
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:05 AM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

I'll see your geographically restricted Dee-Lite video with Limbomaniacs, includes Maceo Parker.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:48 AM on November 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I was first funked when I discovered "Family Affair" in my big sister's stack of 45s back in about 1971 or 1972.
posted by pracowity at 11:04 AM on November 5, 2016

Bootsy would later team up with others to posit a hypothesis concerning the true locus of the groove.

If there was any justice in the world, people would be dressing up as Lady Miss Kier in her harlequin outfit for Halloween instead of Harley Quinn.
posted by kersplunk at 12:38 PM on November 5, 2016 [3 favorites]

> I was surprised to hear that back in the 70's the p-funk concerts were of no interest to a white audience.

I regret to report that back in the 70's white people were listening to Jackson Browne, Carly Simon, James Taylor, and Peter Frampton, except of course for those who were listening to Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers. I can still torment my younger brother by reminding him of his fervent attachment to Frampton Comes Alive!

Also, let's not have a return of the Disco Sucks bullshit, please. The best disco was amazing and made you feel vibrantly alive, just in a different way from the funk. Remember what Duke Ellington said about the two kinds of music.
posted by languagehat at 1:04 PM on November 5, 2016 [2 favorites]

"One Nation Under a Groove" makes me immediately think of this classic Chicago house track, not the classic funk record, because I am a heathen.
posted by thedaniel at 2:28 PM on November 5, 2016

Just finished watching, that was great. Thanks for posting.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:19 PM on November 6, 2016

Finally got to watch it, and I heartily recommend it! What a terrific documentary -- as they were doing proper homage to James Brown, I was thinking "they'd better give Sly his due," and then BAM, lots of good footage of the Family (and modern-day Larry Graham looks amazing in his white suit, tie, and hat and green shirt). They had everything: "Superstition," AWB (James Brown liked them!), you name it. I agree with alex_skazat that Prince deserves more, but you can't have everything. Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 8:11 AM on November 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

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