Funk: The Music, the People, and the Rhythm of the One

Overview

Funk: It's the only musical genre ever to have transformed the nation into a throbbing army of bell-bottomed, hoop-earringed, rainbow-Afro'd warriors on the dance floor. Its rhythms and lyrics turned bleak urban realties inside out with distinctive, danceable, downright irresistable music.

Funk hasn't received the critical attention that rock, jazz, and the blues have-until now. Colorful, intelligent, and in-you-face, Rickey Vincent's Funk celebrates the songs, the musicians, ...

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Overview

Funk: It's the only musical genre ever to have transformed the nation into a throbbing army of bell-bottomed, hoop-earringed, rainbow-Afro'd warriors on the dance floor. Its rhythms and lyrics turned bleak urban realties inside out with distinctive, danceable, downright irresistable music.

Funk hasn't received the critical attention that rock, jazz, and the blues have-until now. Colorful, intelligent, and in-you-face, Rickey Vincent's Funk celebrates the songs, the musicians, the philosophy, and the meaning of funk. The book spans from the early work of James Brown (the Godfather of Funk) through today, covering funky soul (Stevie Wonder, the Temptations), so-called "black rock" (Jimi Hendrix, Sly and the Family Stone, the Isely Brothers), jazz-funk (Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock), monster funk (Parliament, Funkadelic, Bootsy's Rubber Band), naked funk (Rick James, Gap Band), disco-funk (Chic, K.C. and the Sunshine Band), funky pop (Kook & the Gang, Chaka Khan), P-Funk Hip Hop (Digital Underground, De La Soul), funk-sampling rap (Ice Cube, Dr. Dre), funk rock (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Primus), and more.

Funk tells a vital, vibrant history-the history of a uniquely American music born out of tradition and community, filled with energy, attitude, anger, hope, and an irrepressible spirit.

Finally, the definitive guide for fans of funk--inside details and expert insights on the music of James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, George Clinton's Parliament Funkadelic, Kool and the Gang, and more. Colorful, intelligent and in-your-face, Rickey Vincent's Funk celebrates the songs, the musicians, the philosophy and the meaning of The Funk. 16 pp b&w photos.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This book gives it up! A scholarly , entertaining treatise on an exceedingly worthwhile subject." Paul Shaffer
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his introduction, Clinton, the force behind Parliament/Funkadelic, defines the importance of "The Funk," as well as Vincent's written history, as political assertions: "[The] story told herein chronicles the predicament the [music] industry faces in trying to monopolize their profiteering of Black Music." By examining the Black jazz and blues roots of funk, Vincent depicts a people more often than not robbed of their music. Funk has remained considerably free from industry greed and gentrification due, argues Vincent, to its illicit power. In the next breath, he contends that James Brown, Sly Stone and Clinton owe as much to the Beatles for their successes-particularly the 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which would influence Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland and Clinton's own Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow. Vincent's funk is broad, encompassing Hendrix; Miles Davis; Earth, Wind, and Fire; and Dr. Dre. It's true rap's sampling of funk classics brought new interest in sloppy, sexy jams. When rappers refused at first to pay their dues, by way of recording royalties, they only helped to draw attention to such forgotten bands as The Ohio Players and The Meters. Funk is an untidy quarrel of history, musicology and hearsay that certifies the cultural heritage of a Hip Hop nation. May
Library Journal
While it's usually easy to distinguish music that is funky from music that is not, it's much more difficult to say what funk actually is. In this book, Vincent, who has an all-funk show on KALX in California, attempts to arrive at such a definition and to provide a historical overview of "The Funk" as he calls it from its emergence as a recognizable element of black music in the 1960s to its varied manifestations in today's popular culture. He does a good job of demonstrating how funkiness celebrates various aspects of African American culture, many of which have historically not been valued by white society, and makes clear the broad impact of various funk styles on American music. Unfortunately, Vincent's encyclopedic knowledge of funk is not matched by a broad understanding of the larger musical context in which he wishes to place it; his stabs at music theory are weak and ill informed, and by the time he refers to the Rolling Stones as James Brown imitators and to Ronald Shannon Jackson as a guitarist, the reader has come to the uncomfortable conclusion that the author has bitten off far more than he can chew. Worst of all, Vincent's writing style borders on unreadable: the sentence "It would be a measure of any hip black act in the seventies to come with a funk bomb to get respect" is, unfortunately, typical. The book ends with a fine annotated discography, but it's not enough to justify purchase. Not recommended.-Rick Anderson, Contoocook, N.H.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312134990
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/15/1996
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 517,830
  • Product dimensions: 5.55 (w) x 8.11 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

Rickey Vincent has written about music for Vibe, Mondo 2000, and elsewhere. An instructor at San Francisco State University, he is known among Bay Area funkateers as the Uhuru Maggot, thanks to his all-funk radio show on KPFA. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and son.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2006

    The Foundation of your Funk Education

    This is where any student of music, music theory, or the world in general will find a paradigm to apply to all instances when one can't quite articulate a sensation. Understanding that funk is an essence that almost all people can relate to, makes for an optimistic approach to understanding the whole human race. Ricky is a sweet, soft-spoken man whose subtlety in manner complements his style of plain speaking on the page. The discography is essential (and I probably got a little carried away there...)really the book is the most complete volume one can have if you're interested at all in this genre.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2002

    Finally, an expert speaks

    I met Ricky Vincent, in 1977, through a mutual friend, when he had every groove of every Funkadelic and Parliament album memorized. He would use those records to make tapes that cut between grooves and told stories. Hanging out in the same place was Jimmy Drake who went on to found Digital Underground. This is the one man I truly trust to give musical comment, advise or education in an industry inundated by late-school wanna-be's. If you read it here, you best believe he knows it. I think it should be required reading in school.It is real knowledge for anyone remotely interested in the 'Sociology' of Funk.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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