Capturing that 70's sound
February 16, 2009 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Classic funk and funky 70's tracks.

I'm looking for a specific sound of classic 1970's music. Songs like

Stevie Wonder's "Master Blaster(jammin)"
Stevie Wonder's "Superstition"
Steely Dan's "Do it Again"
Steely Dan's "Reelin in the Years"
Al Green's "Love & Happiness."
Tom Brown's "Funkin for Jamaica"
Earth Wind & Fire's "Fantasy"
Stevie Wonder's "Living for the City"
The Doors - "Riders on the Storm."

The songs have that bounce and feel of the 1970's. Some use similar instruments and sounds (like the clavinet). I know a lot of 70's music by the sound, not by the name, so I have a hard time finding other songs that match these. Some of these hit around 1980, but still count.

If you were making a mixtape and adding more, similar songs - what would you add?
posted by cashman to Media & Arts (24 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You're spinning in a rather wide stream here, but the best advice I can give you is to look beyond Greatest Hits. Especially in the case of Stevie Wonder. The hits are legendary, but you will find some of the gold you seek among the rarer heard tracks from Music Of My Mind and Talking Book (any album he released during his Genius Period in the early 70s, really)

Some other tracks worth mixtaping with the 70s in mind ...

"Never Did I Ever" - Alice Clark
"I Got The" - Labi Siffre -- you might recognize this as the source sample from Eminem's "My Name Is"
"Star" - Stealer's Wheel
"(If You Don't Want My Love) Give It Back" - Bobby Womack
"I Love Every Little Thing About You" - Syreeta -- a Stevie Wonder cover featuring Stevie Wonder
"I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" - Ann Peebles
"Walk On By" - Isaac Hayes
"Let's Stay Together" - Al Green
"You Make Me Feel Brand New" - The Stylistics
"Everybody's Everything" - Santana
"People Make The World Go 'Round" - Milt Jackson -- a bit jazzy, but it works.
posted by grabbingsand at 9:39 AM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

confess that I'm not real up on 70's music, but..

Curtis Mayfield If there's a hell below we're all going to go

David Bowie Golden Years
posted by citron at 9:40 AM on February 16, 2009

So it's okay if the songs are from the end of the '60s or the beginning of the '80s?

Not really sure what you're going for, but I'll take a stab at it. From the '60s, I like Procol Harum's 'Whiter Shade of Pale' and 'Season of the Witch,' originally by Donovan, but I'd consider the Al Kooper or Vanilla Fudge versions. From the '70s, maybe William DeVaughn's 'Be Thankful for What You've Got,' or Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up.'
posted by box at 9:43 AM on February 16, 2009

Oh wow, this is a really broad question and a lot of what you're talking about is the instrumentation and the production which, by definition means that most of the music recorded at that time sounds similar. That having been said, on the funky side of things, you could do worse than looking into Blaxsploitation soundtracks. I know you've asked for specific tracks but, in the spirit of discovery, I'm not going to let you off that easily. So, "Superfly" by Curtis Mayfield, "Black Caesar" by James Brown, "Shaft" by Issac Hayes, and "Trouble Man" by Marvin Gaye all spring to mind. There are so many more and this is but one subsection of one genre of seventies music but it might keep you busy for a while.

Lastly, and as a bonus, if you like funk, which you seem to do, and you should check out "Fresh" by Sly and the Family Stone. A late album for them, but full of that seventies funk sound and less esoteric than "There's a Riot Goin' On". As I said, I know that you asked for tracks, but I'm not too sure what you're after and hopefully these suggestions might help.
posted by ob at 9:52 AM on February 16, 2009

Doobie Brothers - Long Train Running
Parliament/Funkadelic - Flashlight
posted by Maxwell_Smart at 9:53 AM on February 16, 2009

Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone (from 1968, but close enough I guess)
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:57 AM on February 16, 2009

Ooh, blaxploitation soundtracks. Charles Earland's 'Dynamite Brothers' OST, Melvin Van Peebles' 'Sweet Sweetback's Badass Song' and Bobby Womack and J.J. Johnson's 'Across 110th St.' are three of my favorites. Check out Isaac Hayes' work on 'Truck Turner' and 'Two Tough Guys,' too.
posted by box at 10:08 AM on February 16, 2009

J.J. Cale - Let Me Do It To You (Troubadour, 1976)
posted by ageispolis at 10:15 AM on February 16, 2009

Best answer: Funky16Corners is a sweet blog dedicated to just this (though they very likely have funk that isn't from the 70's.) I recommend downloading some of their podcasts that have track listings.
posted by schyler523 at 10:30 AM on February 16, 2009

Best answer: You've listed some of my favorite songs which take me back to the time when I'd rush home from school to watch The Scene, which was our Detroit version of Soul Train, to learn the latest dances. Here are some other songs of that ilk/era:
Tear the Roof off the Sucker - Parliament
Here I Am (Come and Take Me) - Al Green
I Love Music - The O'Jays
Love Rollercoaster - The Ohio Players
Every 1's a Winner - Hot Chocolate
I Gotcha - Joe Tex
posted by Oriole Adams at 10:30 AM on February 16, 2009

I've discovered most of my favorite funky soul music (that isn't on greatest hits albums) via blogs like Funky16Corners listed above. There is a fuckton of awesome soul/funk mp3 blogs out there--check out F16C's blog roll for more (hint! they usually have "funk" or "soul" in their title).
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 10:39 AM on February 16, 2009

Four Brothers Beats. I've gotten a ton of stuff of that site.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:57 AM on February 16, 2009

Best answer: What about Cameo's Shake Your Pants?
posted by routergirl at 11:28 AM on February 16, 2009

The Dead Presidents soundtrack is very good.
posted by brandman at 11:31 AM on February 16, 2009

Check out In Yo' Face: History Of Funk which is a several disk series with a lot of good stuff.
posted by Sailormom at 11:37 AM on February 16, 2009

Best answer: TS Monk - Bon Bon Vie
posted by samsm at 11:53 AM on February 16, 2009

Rags to Rufus featuring Chaka Kkan. You'll certainly remember Tell Me Something Good.
posted by nightwood at 1:41 PM on February 16, 2009

Best answer: shuggie otis
posted by ouke at 3:07 PM on February 16, 2009

Anything by Charles Watts & the 103rd St Rhythm Band, this double album in particular, is outstanding.
posted by 8dot3 at 3:53 PM on February 16, 2009

This is kind of obvious, but pretty much anything from Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall," especially Rock with You and Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough.

Browsing my mp3 player for sounds that squarely belong in the 70s, I'd pick out Blondie's Heart of Glass, Hall & Oates' Back Together Again, Van McCoy's The Hustle, and Meco's Star Wars Disco Theme.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 5:05 PM on February 16, 2009

I'm about to be your best friend:

Ultimate Beats and Breaks 1-25

Or search around elsewhere for it if you don't like torrents.

posted by empath at 5:13 PM on February 16, 2009

Response by poster: Bless your hearts. There is some great great stuff here and I especially am enjoying the Freez, Shuggie Otis and TS Monk (Bon Bon Vie). I must have sung Bon Bon Vie at least 100 times in my life over the years, but I never would have known what the name of that song was or who sung it. The Freez is fantastic and the Shuggie Otis is magnificently unique. And there are lots and lots of great songs in here. Please keep 'em coming, and bless you for what has been put up thus far.
posted by cashman at 6:25 PM on February 16, 2009

Keep checking out what songs DJs have sampled.
There are some informative videos on youtube that might help you out.

Here's one (look at the extra info posted).

In fact, this one user is helpful because he lists all the tracks on the info page.
posted by hpliferaft at 9:53 PM on February 16, 2009 [1 favorite]

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