Back in the 1700's, the word 'funk' was used to refer to the smell of body odor or sex. No surprise, then, that musicians picked it up and started to use it to describe the sweaty, danceable, aphrodisiacal music we know as funk today.
Like any genre, aspects of it can be applied to any other style of music, and we did our best to give a varied sampling of funk in the Vault:
-Songs like 'Hip Hug-Her' and 'Cold Sweat' (sung here by the Loading Zone and not James Brown) represent the auspicious beginnings of funk.
-Groups that popularized funk make a strong showing here with tracks from Earth, Wind and Fire; Sly and the Family Stone; The Ohio Players; George Duke; and Chaka Khan's Rufus.
-Cold Blood and the Tower of Power both hail from the SF-Bay Area and were signed early on to Bill Graham's record label (a huge Latin music fan, Graham looooooved to dance).
-There's some Southern instrumentation on the songs by David Bromberg and Papa John Creach.
-Little Feat, The Meters, Robert Palmer, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band bring a decidedly New Orleans flavor to the proceedings.
-Chicago and Blood, Sweat and Tears were the prototypical jazz-rock horn bands, but the tracks here are centered on fat grooves.
-The Headhunters (without Herbie Hancock) and Miles Davis let it rip with some free-form jazz improvisations over danceable beats.
-Jeff Beck is just a phenomenal classic rock guitarist that can play anything, and he also comes up with clever song titles to evoke the imagery of dancing.
-We jump at every chance we get to put a Lou Rawls song on a playlist, and 'Natural Man' is the funkiest one from his set on the site.
Have fun dancing!