Tag Archives: funk

Vicennial Hot 8

Yes, it’s that time again. I’m going to post about Hot 8 Brass Band. They’re touring right now, supporting their Vicennial album and 20 years of great music. You can listen to 30 second snippets of their new album, which has remastered favourites like Sexual Healing and some good new tunes, here.

Or if you’re really lucky, you can catch them¬†tomorrow night in Cambridge, supported by the effervescent, lively and irrepressible Brass Funkeys, who I heard for the first time earlier this year at a brass band bash at Shoreditch Blues Kitchen.

So much good music.

So much work the next morning. ūüė¶

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Funky Does It

Every so often, I make a decision that makes me feel very grownup. In this case, it’s to purchase an LP player. And start my own vinyl collection. My dad had one, and perhaps there’s a weird nostalgia fuelling this – but the music I grew up listening to and that I love just sounds different on records. A little more raw and immediate.

I am always on the hunt for a good music podcast (like Breaking Bread, which I go on about ad nauseum) and have now belatedly alighted upon the Craig Charles Funk and Soul Show on 6 Music. (glad we saved it).

Thanks to the show and the latest offering from Breaking Bread, my list of songs that need to be played out loud and old-school keeps growing:

  1. Little Richard – Get Down With It

2. Monica – I don’t know Nothing Else to Tell You but I Love You

3. Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band – PIMP



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Brass Funkeys

I had the unexpected pleasure of attending the Brassroots Brass Bands Bash  in Shoreditch on 4 May, the Bank Holiday.

Unexpected, because I didn’t realise it was an annual thing. Or a thing.

And a pleasure because there is nothing like a good brass band with attitude. My favourites were the Brass Funkeys, the youngest band of the night among the more established acts, with a disruptive spirit and joyfulness that was irresistible. They played a lot of their own music, which was really cool; some of the more established bands stuck mostly to covers. Their song #1 and their cover of the Jungle Book classic “I Wanna Be Like You”¬†are my favourite songs this year so far.

Another highlight was Mr Wilson’s Second Liners, who led a conga line from Shoreditch Church into The Blues Kitchen for the festival proper. It was such a delicious pleasure to have them cover No Limit, my favourite song off my first cassette. Now there’s a word I haven’t typed in a long time. There’s no video of that, but here’s them covering Ace of Bace’s All That She Wants, my favourite song off the….er…second cassette I ever bought.

Feeling old. But it was such a great night. Definitely going back next year!

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If there’s anything to get you through the post-Bank Holiday back-to-work- slump it’s some songs you love (and some great covers of them)

I originally starting thinking of this post when I stumbled upon a Norah Jones/Bonnie Rait cover of Tennessee Walz. I love Sam Cooke’s version¬†which you can’t help but dance to, but Norah and Bonnie brought a sweet longing to it, country-style:

And since we’re doing this, much as I love the dark reggae of Ghost Town by the Specials, Hot 8 Brass Band (yes, them again) brought some flair and joy to the proceedings:

Finally, I think we can safely say that Marvin Gaye’s Heard it Through the Grapevine is timeless (James Jamerson’s bass is a big reason for that) but I love the sass, rhythm and funk of Gladys Knight and the Pips’ version:

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Soul for Friday

To cheer myself up, I thought I’d post some of the songs I have on repeat. Common theme: distinctive female vocals and songs that need a full listen to be appreciated.

One¬†Paloma Faith, dubbed “London’s favourite glamourpuss goofball” by Time Out London. I love her retro/artistic/dramatic style, and I love her voice. Her first album was dramatic and yearning, and her new one¬†Perfect Contradiction¬†has a funky, soul vibe – a homage to a bygone era. Her backing singers are quite frankly amazing – but then I’ve always thought that backing singers often out-sing and out-dance the main act. Also: they’re wearing all plaid and singing in a kitchen. That saucepan riff is quite frankly one of my favourite bits.

Two¬†Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (yes, again. Be prepared to see them, Hot 8 and Sam Cooke constantly reappearing). Just…well… listen.

Three¬†Barbara Dane – the woman who counted Louis Armstrong among her fans. I’ve moved right back through time for this one.

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