Beware of the Icy Grip of the Dark (Discovery Park, Pt. 1 )


Two weekends ago, my friend Elliot and I went out to Discovery Park on a glorious, gorgeous fall afternoon.  We met up with some of his friends at one of the climbing trees and proceeded to run down the dunes to the shore where we met some fellow chill comrades.  Visibility was excellent.  Mount Rainier and the mountains to the west were out in full effect.  Kicking on the beach was mad enjoyable until the sun really started to fall.  Cloud cover does provide warmer nights.  The water of the Sound was icy cold.  I took a decent amount of photos, so this post will be a three part epic.   Additionally, I have included some $hit bomb funknastiness, Instant Funk’s Witchdoctor (1979).


I have no idea what that is, except some form of life.  If I had to guess I would say it is fungus.  I know fungus grows right on bodies of water.  Anyway, it looks alien.


Someone was nice enough to attach a rope swing to a tree right on the coast.  All one had to do was try the awkward mounting technique that could result in a splashdown into frigid water.




Instant Funk was part of the Philly brandname, which rivaled Motown and Stax.  Formed in 1968 in Trenton, NJ, Instant Funk mixed some harder funk into the Philly disco/soul sound.   Their biggest hit, “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It) was from the first release of 1979, Instant Funk, reaching #1 on the R&B charts and #20 on the pop charts.  1979, which saw the release of  Instant Funk and Witchdoctor, was an exceptional year for Instant Funk.  Two tracks, “Witchdoctor” and “Bodyshine,” off Witchdoctor broke into the top 50 of the R&B charts.  “Bodyshine” reached #103 in the pop charts.

Considering the controversy surrounding the album, these feats seem particularly impressive.  The band sported full ritualistic attire for the album artwork, while the title track is an electronic ju ju ceremony.  Bunny Sigler, the band’s producer and mentor, stated that “one guy told me he couldn’t listen to the record because it was against his religion.”  Instant Funk also worked as an in-house band at the famous Philly label Salsoul, which issued all but their debut release.


Superstition is your mind’s condition

Witchdoctor leads off with “Slap, Slap, Lickedy Lap,” an infectious, and barely hidden, ode to oral sex.  This song brought them to the attention of Ronald Isley, who hired Instant Funk to support the Isley Brothers’ on their next tour.  When James Carmichael asks if she wants it, the slap answers a resounding yes.  Take it around the world!  His phallus is obviously more potent than an ordinary man’s.

As potent as the phallus may be, it cannot compete with the conscious blowing, order shattering Jes Grew.  Channeling the Ju Ju man, “Witchdoctor” grabs hold and never lets go. I love the eeriness of the beginning.  Shake those funky bones!  Once the head shattering bass drops it’s over.  Headless zombie bodies cover the ground and brains are sprayed everywhere. Your soul has been ensnared by the Witchdoctor.  All kinds of interesting melodies are weave in and out in the underneath.  Love the keyboard tickling that sporadically appears.  Excellent guitars are provided by George Bell and Kim Miller.

If you are listening to this in “real America” better wear headphones because funk this nasty is illegal.  As funky as I may be,  I bow before you Witchdoctor.  Just say no to the Wallflower Order!  Also, do your brain a favor and read Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed.

Following up the viral grooves and content of “Slap, Slap, Lickedy Lap” and “Witchdoctor” is a ballad, “I Had a Dream.”  A jarring transition to be sure, but while smooth “I Had a Dream” is excellent.

Instant Funk rightfully follow the ballad with an uptempo dance number, “Bodyshine.”  Monstrous bass line on this one which contrasts nicely to the high-end drum.  Excellent horn work helps drive the song and keep it the 7 minute length seem shorter.  You can tell at the get go it is going to be hard to get this song to come to an end.  Wear your sunglasses, the shine might just blind.  Just too damn funky!


“It’s Your Love on my Mind” is a very enjoyable upbeat love song.  Great drum rhythm at the end.

The tempo slows again on “I Want Your Love.”  There is a strain to the tempo that twists the traditional love song wanting to burst out into levity.  The  I enjoyed the harpsichord sounding synthesizer.

Thankfully, Instant Funk  realizes how to stack an album and ends on another upbeat number, albeit a shorter one.  It always sucks when a band blows their load on the first few longer dance numbers but ends an album with another extremely long dance number, which often suffer from repetitiveness.  Sometimes those songs are better than first impression, but the ears too worn down to notice.  Other times it is just the case of only having so much creative juice.  You can’t force the funk.  Don’t even think about trying it.  Funk fugazi’s get found out lickety split.  Slap, Slap, Backhand Wap!








Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: