Recommend me some funk albums!
February 11, 2011 7:20 AM   Subscribe

I've discovered that I really like funky music.

Recently I've fallen in love with a new band, The Heavy, and have also just learned how great old Ohio Players stuff is. I need more.

I generally prefer strong albums that I can put on and listen to the whole thing over singles from nondescript albums.
posted by jsturgill to Media & Arts (36 answers total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
James Brown
posted by fivesavagepalms at 7:30 AM on February 11, 2011

See: Parliament/Funkadelic/George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, The Commodores, Wild Cherry, the Average White Band, Tom Browne

You may also like: Hypnotic Brass Ensemble, Cee-lo Green, Macy Gray, Medusa, 4th Avenue Jones

Be well on your journey to funk, traveller! Make sure to get the mothership connection!
posted by yeloson at 7:43 AM on February 11, 2011

I don't have speakers at work, so I can't listen to what you mean by "funky," but here's what I like, for what it's worth...

Herbie Hancock's "Headhunters"
Galactic "Crazyhorse Mongoose" "Coolin' Off" or "Late for the Future"
Medeski Martin and Wood "Shack Man" "Friday Afternoon in the Universe"
Other bands worth checking out: Soulive, Dirty Dozen Brass Band

With vocals:
Lee Fields , James Brown, Parliament, Bootsy Collins (though I don't think solo Bootsy is as consistently good).
posted by reverend cuttle at 7:47 AM on February 11, 2011

There's an anthology from the JB Horns called Funky Good Time. Get it.
posted by piedmont at 7:48 AM on February 11, 2011

Senor Soul (which included a lot of the original WAR lineup)

The Bar-Kays

The Meters

The Tennors

Of course the best ever use of funk in a movie intro was in Superbad.
posted by subajestad at 7:54 AM on February 11, 2011

Mothership Connection
Funkentelechy vs. The Placebo Syndrome

Bootsy Collins:
Ahh... The Name Is Bootsy, Baby!
The One Giveth, The Count Taketh Away

Manzel: Midnight Theme
Herbie Hancock: Headhunters
posted by The Mouthchew at 7:55 AM on February 11, 2011

Eli "Paperboy" Reed, Marie Queenie Lyons, Sharon Jones...
posted by peagood at 8:02 AM on February 11, 2011

seconding The Meters. absurdly-funky
posted by tom_g at 8:04 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have you met Betty Davis? She will funk you up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:13 AM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

If you enjoy the funky music (and I love the funky music) I highly recommend a side trip to Africa to check out Fela Kuti, especially anything with Africa 70.

The James Brown influence is evident, and the long-form grooves will keep you shaking your booty, which I am assuming is the effect you seek.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:15 AM on February 11, 2011

The Dirtbombs!
posted by Zoyashka at 8:19 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

There's also We-Funk radio (tons of shows in the archives), which covers everything from the oldies to new stuff that was influenced by the genre.
posted by crapmatic at 8:24 AM on February 11, 2011

Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

When I went to see Prince last month, they opened up for him and they came on stage with him for a song.

Oh, yeah, Prince! D'uh.
posted by droplet at 8:28 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

When you get tired of just listening, you should watch Jackie Brown.
posted by phunniemee at 8:36 AM on February 11, 2011

The first couple of Commodores albums are amazing. Seriously.
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:46 AM on February 11, 2011

I listened to JB for a long time until I found this masterpiece, so I'm saving you some time. It's James Brown at the absolute height of his powers: Love Power Peace: Live in Paris

For my contribution I will suggest the currently touring Pimps of Joytime
posted by patrad at 8:50 AM on February 11, 2011

I'm just going to point out that the robot being rocked at about 2:30 in this video (more Ohio Players) is absolutely world class.
posted by norm at 9:30 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Brick, Slave,Wilson Pickett(proto funk), Midnight Star and Barbara Mason are just a few names off the top of my head that have some amazing discographies to their names. I am on mobile web on my phone at the moment however, so I will have to revisit when I get to a real computer. Welcome to funk!
posted by hecho de la basura at 9:39 AM on February 11, 2011

Was not Was!
posted by cosmac at 10:03 AM on February 11, 2011

Extreme. That is if you want your funk with a bunch of hard rock/metal.
posted by Gungho at 10:09 AM on February 11, 2011

Dyke and the Blazers, Tower of Power, Brand New Heavies
posted by nonmyopicdave at 10:09 AM on February 11, 2011

iTunes radio -> Soul/RnB -> "International Rare Groove"
posted by hermitosis at 10:16 AM on February 11, 2011

Let's not forget Sly & the Family Stone!
posted by Erroneous at 11:02 AM on February 11, 2011

posted by Hairy Lobster at 11:12 AM on February 11, 2011

Have a browse through the OriginalSamples YouTube channel. A little looking there pulled up Donald Byrd, Jimmy McGriff, Idris Muhammad and Caesar Frazier.
posted by Iridic at 11:58 AM on February 11, 2011

You asked for solid individual albums, so that's what I'm giving you, but in the case of funk, that's not necessarily the way to approach it.

Funk and its immediate antecedents were not at all "album oriented" genres. Funk is, first and foremost, dance music, and thus, the albums were usually constructed later as afterthoughts to the singles that would get a band played at dance halls and on the radio. With funk, there's really no shame in compilations - completistism is antithetical to the way the music was actually enjoyed.

But anyway, here are some of the best whole albums:

Stevie Wonder - Songs in the Key of Life

Sly & the Family Stone - Stand; There's a Riot Goin' On; Fresh

James Brown - Payback

Tower of Power - S/T

The Meters - S/T

Parliament - Mothership Connection; Funkentelechy Vs The Placebo Syndrome

Funkadelic - One Nation Under a Groove

Curtis Mayfield - Superfly

Islay Brothers - Heat Is On

Temptations - All Directions

Graham Central Station - S/T

Earth Wind & Fire - That's the Way of the World

Bootsy's Rubber Band - The Name Is Bootsy Baby

Bar Kays - Soul Finger

Express Yourself - Charles Wright and the 103rd St Band

Exit 9 - Straight Up

Black Nasty - Talking to the People
posted by patnasty at 12:46 PM on February 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Curtis Mayfield's "Superfly" -- holy GOD is it good. And of course nthing all the Parliament/Funkadelic/Bootsy recs. Unspeakably funky!
posted by scody at 5:30 PM on February 11, 2011

Right, Curtis Mayfield!
posted by fivesavagepalms at 7:24 AM on February 12, 2011

Let me recommend the Israeli funk phenomenon, Kutiman. Check out this project of his: Thru You (previously). The "Mother of all Funk Chords" track is on my forever playlist.
posted by stumbling at 9:39 AM on February 12, 2011

well, I see that someone mentioned Parliament's Mothership Connection, but nobody has mentioned Funkadelic's hugely influential, vastly important Maggot Brain?
I have tasted the maggots in the mind of the universe - I was not offended.
posted by namewithoutwords at 9:43 AM on February 12, 2011

Highly recommend anything by Rufus Thomas - not funky in a Parliament kinda way, but if you like James Brown you'll really like him.
posted by mostly vowels at 9:44 AM on February 13, 2011

Kool And The Gang's Wild and Peaceful

The aforementioned JB's have some great material without James Brown attached, that can be worth checking out. JB's Wiki.

This is a great compilation of rare and forgotten funk material I highly recommend. What It Is.

Certainly not full tilt by any menas, but a fun listen and watch is the Funk Brother's Standing In The Shadow of Motown.

(any idea why my "link" button is not where to be seen?)
posted by silsurf at 3:46 PM on February 14, 2011

Maceo Parker "Life on Planet Groove" is my favorite.
posted by gen at 4:31 PM on February 15, 2011

Some newer (mostly) instrumental stuff:
The New Mastersounds (102%)
Cookin' on 3 Burners
The Budos Band (Budos Band II)
Diplomats of Solid Sound
posted by Who_Am_I at 7:14 PM on February 15, 2011

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