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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Albert King - I Wanna Get Funky

Name: Albert King
Album: I Wanna Get Funky
Year: 1974
Style: Funky Blues
Similar Artists: B.B. King, Jimi Hendrix,
"One Word" Review: Sexy-Smokey-Smooth
Based Out Of: Forrest City, AR
Label: Stax
I Wanna Get Funky - Cover & Record
I Wanna Get Funky - Back & Record
I Wanna Get Funky (1974)
  1. I Wanna Get Funky 4:08
  2. Playing On Me 3:25
  3. Walk the Back Streets and Crying 6:28
  4. 'Til My Back Ain't got No Bone 7:32 /
  5. Flat Tire 4:43
  6. I Can't Hear Nothing but The Blues 4:16
  7. Travelin' Man 2:52
  8. Crosscut Saw 7:45
  9. That's What the Blues Is All About 3:56
Album Rating (1-10): 6.0

Members & Other Bands:
Albert King- Vox, Guitar
The Bar-Kays - Rhythm
The Movement - Rhythm
Amy Donald Kenzie - Rhythm, Guitar
Memphis Horns - Horns
Memphis Symphony Orchestra - Strings
Hot Buttered Soul - Backing Vox
Henry Bush - Backing Vox, Producer, Arranger, Engineer
Allen Jones - Producer, Arranger, Engineer
Lester Snell - Arranger
Dale Warren - Arranger
William Brown - Engineer
Robert Jackson - Engineer
Daryl Williams - Engineer
Davis Fried Krieger, INC - Art Direction
Larry Shaw - Creative Direction
Ron Gordon - Creative Direction
Maldwin Hamlin - Photography

Unknown-ness: I had never heard of him before. from the cover and obvious assumtion thanks to the title, I'm assuming this is gonna be something funky, akin to Isaac Hays. The smokey photo also give me the impression of something authentic, something that is relaxed and professional. Even if the back looks like a Barry White cover, I imagine it to be a little more complex.

Album Review: “I Wanna Get Funky” begins with an organ I associate with Tom Waits. And a sad electric guitar and a horn section are added to the front & background. Vocals begin that sound a bit like Hendrix, smooth, melodic and they carry a heavy burden of blues. Even as the song proclaims the desire to be funky, the style and sentiment in the song is a struggle that the singer is comfortable with. This is a nice, dark alley song to start off a blues-funk record.
“Playing on Me” is a bit more upbeat, with the same electric guitar that sings with distinct notes rather than playing a melody. The jazzy horns and funky bass bring a pleasant danceable groove.
“Walk the Back Streets and Crying” is another sorrowful head down, slack arms dragging, sad blues story-number. It is slow and calculated.
“Til My Back Ain't got No Bone” has a slow and quiet start, the only really audible thing is the steady 3rd count kick drum. Everything else: the vocals, bass and guitar, are hushed. The vocals are spoken when audible, and they sound to be one side of a phone conversation. Then about 3:45 singing commences, and the funky bass is paired up with a piano, and the pub style song really begins. The horns push along the melody, and become the main driving force along side the electric guitar.

“Flat Tire” features vocals that are somewhere between Barry White and Isaac Hayes. The song features wakka-wakka guitars, and a chorus of female vocals in the background. This is more soulful funky than anything else on the album, and the horns are treated like a disco hook. Again, half of the lyrics are spoken over the song rather than sung.
“I Can't Hear Nothing but The Blues” is really a positive outlook on misery. Where you’d think a title like this one’s would demand a sad, sorrowful song, this is brightly proud and bold. Its not fast or over enthusiastic, but it has a confidence, like in “I Wanna Get Funky” where the singer is content with his situation.
“Travelin' Man” has a fast flourish in the beginning before settling into a slinky groove full of upbeat horns and yes, funky bass and organ. This short number is a great dictionary definition of a bar room blues number.
“Crosscut Saw” is fun and upbeat. It takes time out from the blues verse to suspend vocals to let the guitar sing out the chorus. The bass groove is a continuous hook that could repeat forever. There is a break in the song to allow the singer to break verse and speak to the “audience” before transitioning back into the guitar and song, as if it were a live experience. The jamming continues on, bass never faltering, electric guitar never stopping, and the marching drum beat pounds on until fade out.
“That's What the Blues Is All About” starts with the horns, making the song feel like it will be a Motown classic. And this too is a very un-blues-like blues song with very funky and upbeat (but I guess that should be expected, via to the title). At the songs middle, the short instrumental section is highlighted with the electric guitar pumped up to a piercing volume in comparison to the rest of the instruments.

Stand Out Track: Playing on Me

Links:
Allmusic
Wiki

Cascade Blues Assoc.
Stax
Last FM
Rolling Stone Bio
Delta Boogie
About.com

3 comments:

  1. King also did a few earlier albums for Stax that featured Booker T and the MG's that are quite good. "Born Under A Bad Sign" is probably the best known.

    I gotta find the stores with the bargain bins you're mining 'cause you find a lot of good stuff!

    Larry

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  2. Thanks for the nice comments. I'll be the first to admit: I don't really know what i'm writing about. I get a lot of comments along the lines of idiot or know-nothing. But that's fine, because the journey is amazingly fun to find intersting records, research about them, and listen with what I can only offer as an interpretation through my musical taste. It is a cheap, but time consuming hobby (the best kinda hobby I can think of!) I do not have my own store, but I sort and organize records at a non-profit thrift store where all proceeds go toward AIDS foundations & research in Philadelphia, called Philly Aids Thrift (http://phillyaidsthrift.com/). A lot of my records come from sifting through flea market & record show dollar boxes. And like I said before, I pick up what looks interesting to me. So thanks for the support, and to give a better frame for reference and my musical knowledge, I'm 33.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I am just as musically obsessed, although I tend to buy CD's. I've been at it a few more years (I turn fifty this year) but still get the same rush when finding new music.

    I have a similar blog with short reviews, and I don't really know what I'm writing, either. I've never been good at going song by song, so I tend to try to give a comparison to other artists who may be better known and give my overall impressions.

    Larry

    ReplyDelete