Archive for May, 2009

Tear the Roof Off the Sucker (Funk After Death)

Posted in Funk, Music, P-Funk on May 11, 2009 by trapperKeeper


Happy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday! I have a fine P-Funk performance today, a live show from the famous P-Funk Earth Tour.  Recorded in 1976 on Halloween, the show was filmed for  video release.  Thus, the recording quality of the audio is superb.

Opening with “Cosmic Slop,” the P uses the Space People intro.  A tale about a mother, forced into being a prostitute to support her kids, pleading with god to forgive her actions, “Cosmic Slop” is about acknowledging the guilt caused by our ability to do unscrupulous things in order to survive.

GC comes out for the rhythm guitar propelled intro of “Do that Stuff” before the main groove is reached.  The Horny Horns make their presence known, as does Bernie on what could be a clavinet, but the rhythm guitar riff is still the star.  Segueing into “Gamin’ On Ya,” Dr. Funkenstein is first mentioned.  The chorus from the old Parliament song “Come In Out of the Rain” is thrown into the mix.

Unstoppable ferocity is unleashed on “Standing On the Verge.”  P-Funk could rock harder than most.  They did come up playing with MC5 and other rock groups in Detroit.  Fuzzy Haskins gets busy whipping the crowd into a frenzy with with pelvic gyrations and a wild vocal performance.  The thumping bottom and rhythm guitar riff are excellent.  Quickly, the groove changes into a slow, simmering groove.  The tambourines add a lot to the sound, but one must bow down to the bass work.  GC runs through the “Undisco Kidd/Call My Baby Pussy” routine before stepping aside for Bernie.

With the crowd hollerin’ for more, the moment of arrival is tantalizingly close as the “Mothership Connection” suite begins.  Before the chariot rides in, the purification of the mind must take place.  On “Children of Production,” the Clones of Dr. Funkenstein arrive to act as a q-tip and blow the cobwebs out your mind.  The beginning of “Mothership Connection” gives a friendly warning that if you hear any noise, it’s just George and the boys coming.  Soon, Glen  calls the Mothership down as trumpets herald the landing.  Communion is served.


When Gabriel’s horn blows, you’d better be ready to go

The ecstatic hum of the crowd lingers before GC gets the show going again.  “Dr. Funkenstein” philosophizes as the gorgeous guitars take the center.  Backed by a closed hi-hat, the guitars are locked in together, yet free to roam around.

With the main theatrical piece finished, the band is free to play.  “Coming Round the Mountain” is classic Funkadelic.  Dirty guitars over thumping, heavy drums, it is raw, pure unkut funk.  Who says a funk band can’t play rock?  The heavy guitar emphasis of the past two songs give way to the Horny Horns, one of the finest horn sections ever assembled, on “P-Funk.”  Demanding his funk unkut, GC goes zen:

Once upon a time called Now!
Somebody say, “Is there funk after death?”
I say, “Is Seven Up?”
Yeah, P.Funk!

Introducing “Tear the Roof Off the Sucker,” Ray Davis brings the bass.  GC, Glen, and Starchild dominate the vocals as all the funkateers, including Sly Stone, come onto the stage to say goodbye.  Bootsy plays some cowbell.  Saying goodbye to the crowd, the band busts into “Funkin’ for Fun.”  If you see my mother, tell her I’m alright, just funkin’ for fun!

Mothership Connection: Live from Houston is pure, unkut funk.  I can’t recommend watching the dvd of the performance for the visual presentation enough.  Witnessing it confirmed my decision that if I could travel back in time to only one event, it would be a vintage P-Funk performance.  Time to go to church with George and his merry band of funkateers.


If you got faults, defects or shortcomings,
You know, like arthritis, rheumatism or migraines,
Whatever part of your body it is,
I want you to lay it on your radio, let the vibes flow through.
Funk not only moves, it can re-move, dig?
The desired effect is what you get
When you improve your Interplanetary Funksmanship.

Track Listing:

01- Cosmic Slop
02- Do That Stuff (Intro)
03- Do That Stuff
04- Gammin’ On Ya
05- Standing On The Verge
06- Children Of Production
07- Mothership Connection
08- Dr. Funkenstein
09- Comin’ Round the Mountain
10- P. Funk
11 Tear The Roof Off The Sucker
12- Funkin’ For Fun

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Ice Cream Daydream

Posted in Funk, Music on May 8, 2009 by trapperKeeper


One day a revelatory sound hit me.  Struck dumb by the Funk like Saul on his way to Damascus, I almost burst into tongue on hearing Shuggie’s grooves.  Instantly, I was addicted to Shuggie Otis’ Inspiration Information (1974).  Hypnotized by the laid back, hazy West Coast groove, I listened to the record on repeat.  When I go back to it now, I still find myself hitting rewind like Ahmed.


Anyhow, I had already been bit hard by the funk bug by the time I discovered Shuggie’s work.  Considering how dynamite his work was, I was a bit shocked that I had never heard of the man before.  I was familiar the song “Strawberry Number 23,” which was made famous by the Brothers Johnson.  A master alchemist, Shuggie embraces the whole of the African-American music tradition to express his unique funk.  Allegedly, Shuggie wrote and played all the instruments on the album.  It took three years for Inspiration Information to come out as the follow up to Freedom Flight (1971).  Only twenty-one at the time of its’ release, Shuggie dropped off the face of the music world for a variety of reasons.

Shuggie’s album has a strange quality to it.  Unique, but not original, Shuggie’s sound mixed a lot of current music, including Funkadelic, Stevie Wonder, and Sly Stone.  Shuggie wasn’t ahead of his time, but his work still has a timeless quality to it.  Shuggie will take you away to another place if you’re willing to listen.


Clouds & Power Lines

Posted in Art, Photos on May 7, 2009 by trapperKeeper


Some nice clouds presented themselves the other day when we had a break from rain.  Yes, the clouds were green and trees purple.  And yes, I need to get a better camera still.  Fuzzy resolution annoys me greatly.

The Weather Outside Is Frightful

Posted in Brazil, Music on May 6, 2009 by trapperKeeper

Today is a one of the bleakest humpdays of my life.  Not really for any personal reasons, although the employment waiting game is getting very wearisome.  I thought a college degree and Americorp were supposed to help.  I wasn’t actually naive enough to believe that it would be the key to the door of opportunity like so many people say.  Often, I feel those experiences harm my chances when applying for many jobs, mainly food and administrative assistant positions.  The employer feels you will only stick around until something better comes along, so why waste resources bringing in person and training them.  Instead, the employer hires someone else instead.

No, most of the bleakness comes from the weather outside.  Here is what I’m dealing with today.  Come on May, this is bush league April weather.  Obama, I need a weather bailout.  I guess it is time to battle the rain drops and chilly air for a chicken walk to the store.


Today, I have more fine Brazilian music I found in some obscure corner of the internet.  Banda Black Rio’s Gafieira Universal is a collection of their material.


Banda Black Rio: “GAFIEIRA UNIVERSAL” 1978

1   Chega mais (Imaginei você dançando)  (Luiz Carlos Batera – Valdecir Nei)
2   Vidigal (Valdecir Nei – Oberdan)
3   Gafieira Universal (Barrosinho – Cláudio Steverson)
4   Tico-tico no fubá (Zequinha de Abreu)
5   Ibeijada  (Barrosinho – Cláudio Stevenson)
6   Rio de fevereiro  (Oberdan Magalhães – Hélio Matheus)
7   Dança do dia (Jorjão – Barrosinho)
8   Samboreando  (Luiz Carlos Batera – Oberdan Magalhães)
9   Cravo e canela  (Milton Nascimento – Ronaldo Bastos)
10  Expresso Madureira (Jorjão – Cláudio Stevenson)

Valdecir Nei: Baixo e cuica
Jorjao: Fender, mini-moog, clavinete, orgao Hammond, Oberheim e vocal
Oberdan Magalhaes: Sax Tenor e flauta
Barrosinho: Trumpet
Lucio: Trombone Baixo
Luiz Carlos Batera: Bateria, percusao e vocal
Claudia Stevenson: Guitarras
Bebeto: Percussao
Carlinhos “Pandeiro de Ouro”: Pandeiro e cuica em “Tico Tico no Furba”
e Pandeiro em “Gafieira Universal”
Cristina Berio: Xilofone em “Gafieira Universal”

The New Sex Education: The Koi & the Bees

Posted in Photos, Seattle on May 5, 2009 by trapperKeeper


The past few days in Seattle have been packed with activity, which involved a significant amount of NBA playoff watching.  Still, the other day I got up to the Arboretum to discover an entirely different place from the last time I was up there at the beginning of spring.   I didn’t have my camera yesterday, but will go up there on the next sunny day to capture the pleasing hues of mother earth.

Sunday also marked another significant event, a loud thunderclap was heard.  It was only the second time I have heard thunder in Seattle. While wandering towards the main grounds of the Arboretum, I learned the Japanese tea garden, which had been undergoing renovations during the winter, was reopening.  I hadn’t been inside of it because of the $5 entrance free.  Plus, I lived real close to Kubota Garden at the southern end of Seattle.  Kubota is free and bigger.


Still, I have been wanting to go inside the Japanese tea garden at the Arboretum.  Thanks to the grand reopening, the gate fee was waived today for a 5 hour period.  Taking advantage of the opportunity, Carley and I checked it out.  Inside, we discovered a lovely atmosphere.  Not all of the little streams were running yet, but there was abundant flora.  Even better, they had koi fish.  I haven’t seen koi fish since I was in Santa Cruz and that pond was very little.


The Japanese garden had some massive koi, including some that were by far the biggest I’ve ever seen.  I’d actually pay money to go in knowing that the garden has such an impressive koi population.  They are a beautiful fish capable of many colors and patterns.  My pictures did not turn out that great.  The water was brownish and the sky overcast, but you can at least get some idea of their beauty.


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Workin’ Up a Sweat

Posted in Funk, P-Funk on May 4, 2009 by trapperKeeper

340xHappy Parliafunkadelicment Thangday!  I have been wanting to write a Bernie post, but haven’t felt like listening to his solo stuff lately.  Looking for some energy and inspiration on a so-so day, the hard funk of Bootsy’s Rubber Band This Boot Is Made For Fonk-N (1979) acts as a shot in the arm.

Unlike his first three solo releases, which had some outstanding slower numbers, This Boot Is Made For Fonk-N is pure, in your face funk.  His fourth album in four years, This Boot…is an album of dance grooves.  The concepts and songwriting of the first three aren’t present because there wasn’t the time to create them.  The demand for Bootsy material was huge, so they threw together this record quickly to take advantage of the craving.  This is thought to be the reason for the lack of ballads.  So while This Boot… doesn’t have the sustained spectacular majesty of the first three funk bombs, it is still damn funky.  Completely uptempo albums get wearing due to the lack of pace diversity and the constant in your face intensity.  This is the flaw with This Boot Is Made For Fonk-N.  Nonetheless, it is a flaw you can overlook due to the quality of grooves.  Just don’t expect to find yourself washing in its’ waters the way Stretchin’ Out in Bootsy’s Rubber Band, Ahh…The Name is Bootsy, Baby! and Bootsy? Player of the Year.

Jumping out of the gate with energy “Under The Influence of A Groove,” Bootsy establishes the sweaty spirit of the record.  Dance heavy, Bootsy is going more for moving bodies than blowing minds.  Continuing the  “Bootsy Get Live” is a classic post-JB’s P-Funk and my favorite song on the album.  The horny horns blow, as Bootsy plays his space bass.  Catfish’s guitar work on this one is superb.  Bernie and Bootsy even have a moment together.  Near the end the horns hit the “Pop Goes the Weasel” riff.  There may be a Bill Cosby impersonation at the beginning.

Slowing it down, “Oh Boy Gorl” sounds incomplete, especially for a song of 7+ minutes.  It has the nice basis of a powerful ballad, but doesn’t build on the intro and piddles around.  “Jam Fan (Hot)” is a ferocious combination of sound effects, space bass, rhythm guitar and supporting horns.  “Burnin’ burnin’ burnin’ burnin’ burning down the house” was later used by the Talking Heads.

Another enjoyable number, guitar and bass dominate the pun filled “Chug-A-Lug (The Bun Patrol).”  Uptempo, but mellow “Shejam (Almost Bootsy Show)” is also the shortest song on the record besides the closing reprise.  The vocals and horns contribute significantly to the airy groove.

Everyone needs some space bass in their life. This Boot Is Made For Fonk-N might not be the funk opus Bootsy’s Rubber Band previous efforts were, but it blows most everything else out of the water.  


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Birdman x2 (#1 Stunnas)

Posted in Basketball, linguistics, Music, Rap on May 3, 2009 by trapperKeeper


Chris Anderson, aka the Birdman, is to jumping (blocks/dunks) as Eddie House is to 3’s.  Their specialized skill sets make effective, but limited, players if placed in the right situation.  How these two act on the court is just as important as their respective skills.  Exuding brash confidence, Birdman and House are electrifying players capable of whipping their team and crowd into a frenzy.  House brings break-dancing skills to add to the pregame antics.  Birdman brings crazy hair and a mysterious drug related two year NBA suspension.

Going to school in Detroit from 7th-12th grade, I was truly exposed to the world of hip hop.  2Pac, De La Soul, the Fugees, Outkast, Jay-Z, and Wu Tang were going strong.  Soon, the Fugees would be broken up, 2Pac and Biggie dead, and DMX and the Cash Money Millionaires dominating the airwaves.  Being young, I had a fun time listening to the Dirty South’s glamorized tales of indulgence.  Now, the music of Cash Money and No Limit, which I was never a big fan of anyways, sounds like trash celebrating hedonism and gross materialism and filled with vapid, vulgar lyricism.  Still, the collective had some hot beats, hilarious raps, and nice flows (Wayne had a magnetism even then and Juvenile’s voice was unique and hilarious).  Listening to the product of the Cash Money crew takes me back some years.

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