Fabled guitar-funk album. The sleeve portrays what this album will do to your mind; melt your brain from the inside out with a mash of funk, soul and rock, until it’s a steaming cranium in the dirt. Probably most famous for the opening track “Maggot Brain” which is a ten-minute long, life changing solo. Created when Parliament/Funkadelic figure heads George Clinton and Eddie Hazel took acid just before they entered the studio. Clinton then asked Hazel to imagine that he had been told his mother had died, then revealed it was lie. The reaction is fucking insane. Hazel is nuts on guitar. It gives us a small insight into how these guys work, and a notion of their sagacity.
Regardless, one of the best albums I’ve ever heard. Up there with the most epic of 40-minute long expressions you’ll hear. I don’t care what musical preference you have, you need this. It’s mythical status grows year by year…
I’m not one to flaunt the adoration of a greatest hits, nor am I one to claim to have infinite knowledge of Funk music, but it would take a thoughtless buffoon, yes a fucking clown, to deny Sly, and his Family, some serious fucking kudos for this magnum opus. It’s a mix of everything the band, a collective of 21 artists, and the first “integrated, multi-gender lineup”, created; a funky, dancy psychedelia powerhouse of hip-shaking goodness. There are a few cracking tracks that didn’t make the cut, but Sly knew what he was doing, and nothing quite sums up their prolific 60’s period where the re-energised black music like this does. There’s a quote that can sum all of this up quite simply; “there are two types of black music: black music before Sly Stone, and black music after Sly Stone”. Word.
This guy has been everywhere in all senses. First he was all over the blogs with CMYK and then he came second in BBC Sound of 2011 poll now he’s released an album that is many people’s best of the year so far. All this while keeping his music as abstract and interesting as he was in the beginning. Pretty much James Blake is one of the brightest artists music has seen for a while and he is rightly getting praised for it.
Seasonal salutations. Here at Auld Speak we pride ourselves with our goodwill to all men, I even bought a Big Issue from one of those foreign folks, so with that in mind here is our Christmas present to you.
Christmas is a time where you can indulge in your guilty pleasures in the safety of your own home, or a Heathrow terminal, whatever takes your fancy and not even music is safe from this tinsel and turkey terror. Wham! and Mariah Carey are wheeled out every year to soundtrack your christmas dinner and then you get the treat of dancing awkwardly with your eldest relative to Shakin’ Stevens and Elton John trying desperately not to accidently break them.
Spare a thought though for the Godfather of Soul. James Brown died 4 years ago on Christmas Day, throughout his career he released a number of Christmas songs that were brought together in this compilation ‘Funky Christmas’. It is a horrendously overlooked album during Christmas time and has some real festive funk going on in it. ‘Santa Claus Go Straight To The Ghetto’ is also one of the best titles for a Christmas song that I’ve ever heard.
Some people dream of a White Christmas and others worry about a Blue Christmas, but there is nothing quite like a Brown Christmas. So add some funk to your festivities and some soul to your holiday season with the undisputed King of soul music.
Move the fuck over George Michael, this is James Brown’s time to shine.