Who Got De Funk?

“Who Got De Funk?” by Andrew White, 1973.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwNF52ix8po

 

Guest Pelanguero Kodiak Brinks, better known to the public as Adam Mansbach, will be one of the keynote speakers at POCIS Conference, along with playwright, poet, and novelist Ishmael Reed. All day Friday, March 18th, at the St. Ignatius Prepatory School (2001 37th Avenue, San Francisco, CA.) More info can be found here.

 

Re: the eternal question Who got the Funk, Brinks has answers:

 

This is an incredible song for two reasons. Firstly, and obviously, the shit is incredibly funky: stripped-down, drum-driven, the patterns tight, the vibe loose, the wah-wah guitar doing just enough, the off-the-cuff vocals paying tribute to – wait for it – the funkiness of the track. Some songs have a break, and some songs are a break. Of those that are a break, some are eight minutes long. This is one of them. Word. I paid twenty bucks for this last week in Philly, and I pride myself on never shelling out that kind of dough for records. I barely shell out that kind of dough for major medical procedures.

 

The second reason this song is incredible, though, is that the other side of this record is absolutely unlistenable. It features Jocelyne White – who I have to think is Andrew’s wife, or else a sister he owes a lot of money – reciting some of the worst poetry of the 1970s, and I do not say that lightly. Joceylne is apparently French, with a very low, very unsexy voice. Poetically, let’s just say she’s no Sonia Sanchez – hell, she’s no Freddie Sanchez.  She comes on, and you’re like, “Okay, whatever, this sucks, but fine, a lotta dudes made this mistake in 1973, she’ll do her little verse and be out, then back to the funk, ’cause these are some funky motherfuckers.”  Um… nope. She’s on the whole second side, with Andrew & Co. playing plink-plink-screech type shit behind her for twenty straight minutes, like they’re afraid she might jump out of the vocal booth and eat them if they bust into a groove. Remember the Eddi Murphy movie Boomerang, with Grace Jones as Strangé?  That’s who Jocelyne reminds me of. Poor Andrew. What do you think his friends said about this record?  “Uh, yeah, man… your, uh, your wife… she really, um, adds a certain, uh… yeah, listen, brother, I gotta go.”  But, again, the A-side is a classic, so whatever. 

 

– Brinks

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