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Old 10-25-2019, 08:09 AM
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Surprising funk from non-funky bands


Let's put together a playlist of songs that are surprisingly funky from bands that are not really known for their funk skills. I'm not looking for funky covers (Superstition by Stevie Ray Vaughn, or Love Rollercoaster from RHCP) since those were already funky songs. Anything by Red Hot Chili Peppers wouldn't count anyway, since they're already pretty funky. Nothing by James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Rufus, Prince, etc.

I'll start:

Funk #49 by The James Gang
Looking for Clues by Robert Palmer

Iffy:
Shakey Ground by the Temptations -- super funky, but should the Temptations be disallowed? I'd include it -- My Girl, etc., aren't really funk, but Shakey Ground is one of the funkiest songs ever.

If you're going to link to a YouTube video, please also mention the name and artist, since YouTube is blocked for me during the day.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:23 AM
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Solidify - Sheryl Crow

70s style disco/funk from a woman who doesn't really do that.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:50 AM
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I saw a youtube reaction video where the reviewer was big time surprised with the bass line from Megadeth's Peace Sells But Who's Buying. Getting right down, she was.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:56 AM
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I saw a youtube reaction video where the reviewer was big time surprised with the bass line from Megadeth's Peace Sells But Who's Buying. Getting right down, she was.
That bassline was used as the music for MTV News throughout the 80s and 90s.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:01 AM
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Yeah, she was young enough to have missed that. There are, as it turns out, a lot of people who have heard Megadeth and don't know they have.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:02 AM
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I assume most people who aren't too into the Grateful Dead think of them as a "hippie band" and probably don't associate them with funk...Shakedown Street was always pretty funky, and (slightly breaking the rules here), their live versions of "Dancing in the Streets" in the late 70s could get incredibly funky.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:03 AM
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Noted jazz band leader and vibraphone player Lionel Hampton released Funky Chicken which has a fairly unique sound among funk tracks.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:11 AM
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The Crunge - Led Zeppelin

James Brown-style funk. Was the B-side to D'yer Mak'er, their reggae/doo-wop experiment.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
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The Crunge - Led Zeppelin

James Brown-style funk. Was the B-side to D'yer Mak'er, their reggae/doo-wop experiment.
The Crunge is basically a parody of a James Brown song ("I can't find the bridge!"), but can something in 5/4 time (or 9/8?) really be funk? But, it is pretty funky anyway.

Something I found out only recently is D'yer Mak'er is basically pronounce "Jamaica" -- get it? And it's reggae.
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RitterSport
Something I found out only recently is D'yer Mak'er is basically pronounce "Jamaica" -- get it? And it's reggae.
If anyone really doesn't know this, it's very old English "joke"...

Set up: My wife's gone to the West Indies

Stooge: Jamaica?

SPOILER:
No, she went of her own accord!


Meanwhile, if you have the technology (LP turntable) and a copy of Pink Floyd's Echoes, try playing the middle instrumental* section at 45 rpm, report back with findings.

* not the whale-song bit.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:29 AM
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Glam Rockers The Sweet put out Funk It Up in 1977.
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Old 10-25-2019, 11:55 AM
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Fool's Gold, by The Stone Roses
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:16 PM
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Jimi Hendrix did some pretty funky stuff now and then. Hey Baby (Land of the New Rising Sun), for example.
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:16 PM
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The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” is kinda funky in a slow-burning, R&B way.

I don’t think many people would consider the band Talking Heads to be funky, but James Brown was a big influence. I remember when their (IMO) underrated album “Naked” was released, a DJ with a new music program on a local NPR station played snippets from “Naked” side-by-side with snippets from James Brown songs to very convincingly demonstrate that influence.
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Toxylon View Post
Glam Rockers The Sweet put out Funk It Up in 1977.
The Sweet is some band. Every song I know by them sounds like a different band. This song (yes, funky!) sounds as different from Love Is Like Oxygen as that song is as different from Ballroom Blitz. Amazing!

For some reason, this song reminded me that the solo in the middle of Fascist Groove Thang by Heaven 17 is pretty funky.

How about Fame by Bowie?
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:24 PM
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The last track from Sacred Reich's The American Way (1990) came as a huge surprise to this metalhead.

It ended up being my favourite song on the album.
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:38 PM
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Shakey Ground by the Temptations -- super funky, but should the Temptations be disallowed? I'd include it -- My Girl, etc., aren't really funk, but Shakey Ground is one of the funkiest songs ever.
Also, "Can't Get Next To You".
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:48 PM
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In a nod to an SDMB meme:

“Rio” by Duran Duran?

Bass is undeniably funky and inspired by James Jamerson and others. But Duran Duran were new wave dance pop, so perhaps not best described as a “non-funky” band. Depends on what your definition of that is.
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Old 10-25-2019, 03:33 PM
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"New Sensation" by INXS leans to the funk.

Hurricane Season, Trombone Shorty. Shorty is a NOLA jazzman, but he can definitely funk in up.
  #20  
Old 10-25-2019, 06:18 PM
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Oh my god, I know thousands of examples, but at the moment nothing gets to mind except:

Rolling Stones - Miss You

Rolling Stones - Sex Drive

Though the Stones have always been kinda funky....

Got one more:

David Bowie (with John Lennon) - Fame
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Old 10-25-2019, 06:25 PM
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Ian Dury And The Blockheads - Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick

The Clash - Overpowered By Funk
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:43 PM
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I've always thought that ZZ Top's Cheap Sunglasses had a funky vibe.
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Old 10-25-2019, 08:53 PM
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Ok, I know this is kinda far-fetched, because Van Morrison sure is a funky guy, but his only full-fledged funk song I can think of:

I've Been Working
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:02 PM
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And now for something completely different:

Fehlfarben - Ein Jahr (Es geht voran)

A German post-punk band with a rare funky-new wave hybrid scoring a big mainstream hit.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:05 PM
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Rod Stewart - You're Insane
Van Halen - Push Comes to Shove
David Coverdale - Keep On Giving Me Love
Nazareth - Waiting for the Man
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:20 PM
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Big Bottom by Spinal Tap!

Hijinx by Heart


Quote:
Originally Posted by EinsteinsHund View Post
Oh my god, I know thousands of examples, but at the moment nothing gets to mind except:

Rolling Stones - Miss You

Rolling Stones - Sex Drive
Emotional Rescue has the best groove of any Stones song, in my humble opinion.
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Old 10-25-2019, 10:29 PM
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Emotional Rescue has the best groove of any Stones song, in my humble opinion.
Yeah, forgot about that, it's one of the great lost Stones song in a way. Everybody hated it back then.
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Old 10-26-2019, 05:08 AM
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Big Bottom by Spinal Tap!
Emotional Rescue has the best groove of any Stones song, in my humble opinion.
Actually, my favorite from that album is even funkier: “Dance, Pt. 1.”
I also like their funky number “Fingerprint File,” from 1974.

Last edited by JKellyMap; 10-26-2019 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 10-26-2019, 06:04 AM
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Iffy:
Shakey Ground by the Temptations -- super funky, but should the Temptations be disallowed? I'd include it -- My Girl, etc., aren't really funk, but Shakey Ground is one of the funkiest songs ever.
To me, the Temptations are first and foremost the band who did "Papa Was a Rolling Stone", which is unarguably funk. Definitely disallowed.
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Old 10-26-2019, 08:58 AM
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OK, I added all these to a playlist called Surprising Funk in Spotify. My name over there is Bozobrain. Based on advice from Alessan, I didn't include any Temptations. I've left in the Rolling Stones for now, but based on the number of recommendations, I may conclude that they are actually a funk band.

I didn't include the cover from The Grateful Dead, but I did include the other one.

I couldn't find Funky Chicken by Lionel Hampton on Spotify.

I couldn't find Waiting for the Man by Nazareth on Spotify.

I didn't include anything from the Talking Heads "Naked" album, but I'll happily include the funkiest song if someone wants to choose.

Small Clanger, I don't have the technology or the album, but why don't you record the middle instrumental section at that speed and post it on YouTube?

As I listen to the playlist, I may decide some songs aren't funky enough and take them off. I'll add more if you all have more recommendations, or if I come across other examples on my own.
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:19 AM
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I'll throw in Love Is The Drug by Roxy Music. Actually, Both Ends Burning is (to my mind, at least) better and funkier (live), but the interest in Love Is The Drug is that it's the origin of that bassline:

Quote:
The bassline by John Gustafson became influential. In the DVD, More Than This: The Story of Roxy Music, Nile Rodgers of Chic states that the song was a big influence as the bass timing is almost identical to the one in Chic's song, "Good Times".
And from Good Times it begat......plenty.

j
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Old 10-26-2019, 09:25 AM
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Queen - Another One Bites the Dust
This came about because bassist John Deacon had been spending a lot of time with disco group Chic. Michael Jackson himself suggested to Freddie Mercury that the song be released as a single.
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Old 10-26-2019, 10:09 AM
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CAKE - "Short Skirt Long Jacket"
https://youtu.be/u7aDstrDMf0
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pulykamell View Post
In a nod to an SDMB meme:

“Rio” by Duran Duran?

Bass is undeniably funky and inspired by James Jamerson and others. But Duran Duran were new wave dance pop, so perhaps not best described as a “non-funky” band. Depends on what your definition of that is.
Duran Duran didn't always dig down into funk, but bassist John Taylor was well-capable of bringing it. Hear also "Girls on Film".

In a similar vein, while Peter Gabriel's earnest delivery works against the groove a little ... bassist Tony Levin bangs out plenty of funk on "Big Time".

...

Other songs for the OP to consider:

"I Wanted to Tell Her", Ministry
"Hot Hot Hot!", The Cure
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Old 10-26-2019, 11:44 AM
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Though it's unremarkable today, the Bee Gees "Jive Talking" was such a change for them that the record was released to DJs with a plain white cover and they didn't know who had recorded it until they played it.
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:24 AM
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OK, the playlist is updated with the new suggestions (except for the Ministry song -- that song is good, but not funky. I think Jesus Built My Hot Rod is funkier by far. Can you believe those are the same artist?).
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Old 10-27-2019, 10:44 AM
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Duran Duran didn't always dig down into funk, but bassist John Taylor was well-capable of bringing it. Hear also "Girls on Film".
Yeah, that's why I wasn't sure it was quite "surprising funk from non-funky bands." I couldn't help shoehorning ' "Rio" by Duran Duran ' somewhat seriously as an answer to an SDMB question. I feel like almost all dance/disco-oriented pop music has a foothold in funk, so it'd be kind of hard to justify Duran Duran as "non-funky," even though they may have not done the dirty kind of funk a la Sly & the Family Stone, P-Funk, James Brown, etc. It's definitely through an 80s New Wave perspective. But Duran Duran did have the funk about them.

Last edited by pulykamell; 10-27-2019 at 10:45 AM.
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Old 10-27-2019, 11:56 AM
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Yeah, that's why I wasn't sure it was quite "surprising funk from non-funky bands." I couldn't help shoehorning ' "Rio" by Duran Duran ' somewhat seriously as an answer to an SDMB question. I feel like almost all dance/disco-oriented pop music has a foothold in funk, so it'd be kind of hard to justify Duran Duran as "non-funky," even though they may have not done the dirty kind of funk a la Sly & the Family Stone, P-Funk, James Brown, etc. It's definitely through an 80s New Wave perspective. But Duran Duran did have the funk about them.
Agreed on this point, and I almost didn't allow it -- that guy was a great bass player. Similarly, any disco band like the Bee Gees will have lots of funk influence. But that song was part of one of my favorite Beavis and Butthead moments:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBZAXGN_eNE
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Old 10-27-2019, 01:55 PM
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The Beatles’ “Don’t Let Me Down” is kinda funky in a slow-burning, R&B way.

I don’t think many people would consider the band Talking Heads to be funky, but James Brown was a big influence. I remember when their (IMO) underrated album “Naked” was released, a DJ with a new music program on a local NPR station played snippets from “Naked” side-by-side with snippets from James Brown songs to very convincingly demonstrate that influence.
Go well before "Naked", and listen to "Fear of Music," and "Remain In Light.". Songs like I Zimbra, Born Under Punches, Crosseyed and Painless: all have that funk rhythm I think the OP is looking for. This is key though with the Heads: listen to the live stuff. IMHO, for a lot of their studio tracks, they were way too tight and rigid. Their live music was much more free flowing. There's an Italian broadcast of one of their concerts, floating around YouTube. Before the Stop Making Sense tour. Great versions of the above songs in that concert.
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Old 10-28-2019, 12:28 PM
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Iggy Pop's Sister Midnight is pretty funky
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Old 10-28-2019, 12:42 PM
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I've added the Iggy Pop song.

Here's the story so far:

Sheryl Crow song: Excellent. Perfect for the playlist.
Megadeth: Good song, not funky, not really for this playlist
Grateful Dead: Terrible song, "funky" in that it sounds like a band that can't play funk trying to play something funky.
The Sweet: Excellent. Perfect for the playlist.
Led Zeppelin: Great song of course, funky except for the time signature. I'll allow it.

That's as far as I've gotten.
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Old 10-28-2019, 02:25 PM
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Chameleon - Herbie Hancock

The Stroke - Billy Squier Yeah, I know, but it's definitely funk.

Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo - Rick Derringer and Edgar Winter

I'll also suggest Let's Dance, by Bowie.

Last edited by Chefguy; 10-28-2019 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 10-28-2019, 02:39 PM
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My marshmallows thrown into the fire...

The Clash - Rock the Casbah

Alice Cooper - I'm the Coolest
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Old 10-28-2019, 02:45 PM
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Chefguy, I'll add the Billy Squier and Rock and Roll Hootchie Koo. Herbie Hancock is one of the funkiest guys around (jazz funk fusion?) and is obviously disqualified from this playlist. That song is great, that whole Headhunters album is so funky (Vein Melter? Jeez). But, he's also giving funk lessons in the song Doin' It, and lots of other stuff, too.

GargoyleWB, I don't know that Alice Cooper song, so I'll add it. Not sure about the Clash -- they did a lot of pretty funky stuff. Should they be allowed on?
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Old 10-28-2019, 03:23 PM
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R.E.M., "Drive," live versions circa 1995. That arrangement is called the "funk" version, but that might just be self-effacing humor. Spotify links below, except as noted.

The R.E.M. at the BBC version has about one minute less banter at the beginning than the version on the 25th Anniversary edition of Automatic for the People; the latter was originally on Greenpeace's Alternative NRG compilation and got minor airplay, or at least it did on the Memphis alt-rock stations. It can be found here on YouTube. Later versions, as on R.E.M. Live or Live at the Olympia, are in the style of the studio recording.
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Old 10-28-2019, 04:55 PM
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OK, I've added the REM song, but I'll be shocked if they've done something actually funky.

The Jimi Hendrix song is good, but not particularly funky. Why that one?

Don't Let Me Down by the Beatles was a great suggestions. I played (still play ) Beatles Rock Band and I love playing that drum part.

The Sacred Reich song was a great find! Never heard of them, so I'll take your word for it that the rest of their catalog isn't funk.

I'm not sure about New Sensation -- I guess the guitar part has a Nile Rodgers feel?

That's as far as I've gotten.
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Old 10-28-2019, 05:30 PM
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Another Led Zeppelin song that is pretty funky to my ears is Trampled Under Foot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftknR1gf9qw
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Old 10-28-2019, 05:45 PM
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If we consider German Krautrock bands, I nominate Can's "Vitamin C." The drummer Jaki Liebezeit could have been the drummer for any funk band if he was so inclined.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSBWYWFmyGQ

Last edited by AnalogSignal; 10-28-2019 at 05:46 PM. Reason: link added
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Old 10-28-2019, 07:37 PM
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AnalogSignal -- OK, added

zimaane -- Agreed. I'm adding that and removing The Crunge. You can't have a 9/8 funk song.

EinsteinsHund -- The version that Spotify has of Felhfarben seems to be spoken word, something about getting a big hit (my German is very, very rusty). Did you mean some other song?

journeyman_southpaw -- Great calls on the Rod Stewart, Van Halen, and Whitesnake songs! That's exactly, precisely what I'm looking for.

Good call with HiJinx by Heart as well. That's where I am so far.

What do you folks think of:

Climax Blues Band: Couldn't Get It Right

Spandau Ballet: Chant #1
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Old 10-28-2019, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
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EinsteinsHund -- The version that Spotify has of Felhfarben seems to be spoken word, something about getting a big hit (my German is very, very rusty). Did you mean some other song?
The only version I know and mean is the one I linked to on youtube, or here at spotify. It's not really sung, more of a chant or even rap, but not spoken word, and has nothing to do with getting a hit. And it sure is funky.
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