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

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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-unti 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 (Kool & 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.


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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-unti 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 (Kool & 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.

30 review for Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mickey Tompkins

    Excellently written book on the genre. I keep it for reference.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    I feel really disappointed in this book. I had been looking for a book like this and when I came across it, I was really excited and looking forward to it. Sadly, I've made it a third of the way and I'm giving up. It just really sucks. The author tries desperately to define or describe what "funk" is, but frankly it's one of those words or concepts that really defies adequate definition and the author's fumbling around displays that. Additionally, there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary redundan I feel really disappointed in this book. I had been looking for a book like this and when I came across it, I was really excited and looking forward to it. Sadly, I've made it a third of the way and I'm giving up. It just really sucks. The author tries desperately to define or describe what "funk" is, but frankly it's one of those words or concepts that really defies adequate definition and the author's fumbling around displays that. Additionally, there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary redundancy, and most annoying, I found it boring as hell! Now since I'm stopping a third of the way through, it's certainly possible the book improves and I hope so. But I'm not going to devote what little precious time I have to a book that bores me and I think sucks when I have hundreds of better books to read and that I am currently reading. Waste of time. Not recommended. If anyone knows of other books on funk, I'd appreciate any recommendations, so thanks.

  3. 4 out of 5

    John

    The Funk stretches beyond words and Rickey Vincent would be the first to admit this. This book gives a/the history of FUNK by examining the music, the people and the social/cultural impact. Indeed, much research went into the construction of this book, but one cannot dismiss the fact that this book was written by a fanatic of the Funk. At times the book is afrocentric and self-indulgent, however Vincent has a sincere adoration for the genre and has given the world a necessary reference. Funk is The Funk stretches beyond words and Rickey Vincent would be the first to admit this. This book gives a/the history of FUNK by examining the music, the people and the social/cultural impact. Indeed, much research went into the construction of this book, but one cannot dismiss the fact that this book was written by a fanatic of the Funk. At times the book is afrocentric and self-indulgent, however Vincent has a sincere adoration for the genre and has given the world a necessary reference. Funk is undefinable in how it effects the soul, still credit is due to the spirit and execution of this artform/way of life. *** PS Rickey Vincent goes in depth on behalf of the whole P Funk phenomena and its influence upon all sentient life. Only Johnny Terry's review on Debbie Reynolds could come close to what Vincent offers George Clinton & company in terms of appreciation and honesty.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ralphz

    "Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One" reads less like a celebration of great music and more like a political manifesto. The author spends an awful lot of time talking about the African American experience and "the struggle" before he even broaches the music. He also seemingly makes more references to Malcolm X than George Clinton. And fewer references to funk and more to The Funk, which is more concept than music. In fact, the term loses its meaning altogether when he says rap "Funk: The Music, The People, and The Rhythm of The One" reads less like a celebration of great music and more like a political manifesto. The author spends an awful lot of time talking about the African American experience and "the struggle" before he even broaches the music. He also seemingly makes more references to Malcolm X than George Clinton. And fewer references to funk and more to The Funk, which is more concept than music. In fact, the term loses its meaning altogether when he says rap music is "The Funk." He also obviously has a bone to pick with record companies, radio and disco music in particular, which he seems to be saying was invented in the late '70s only to undercut funk. One assertion: "Disco radio spread like a crippling disease in the heartbeat of a people." OK then. The author also "debunks" myths about funk that I've never heard before, like "Jazz is real music, while funk is not" and "There are no books about funk, so it must not be that important," which seems more than a little self-serving. When he finally gets to the artists, it's a nice survey. But the polemics keep coming, which is a lot to wade through.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Intortetor

    questo libro ti trasporta letteralmente dentro un'epoca, facendo capire come "funk" non sia solo un termine musicale ma uno stile di vita! e poi analizza il genere in tutti i suoi aspetti, da james brown all'hip hop passando per certa fusion e il crossover, con tanto di discografia dettagliata alla fine. che io sappia è l'unico libro in italiano reperibile sull'argomento, e questo ne fa un obbligo per gli appassionati di musica, e non solo di quella black. questo libro ti trasporta letteralmente dentro un'epoca, facendo capire come "funk" non sia solo un termine musicale ma uno stile di vita! e poi analizza il genere in tutti i suoi aspetti, da james brown all'hip hop passando per certa fusion e il crossover, con tanto di discografia dettagliata alla fine. che io sappia è l'unico libro in italiano reperibile sull'argomento, e questo ne fa un obbligo per gli appassionati di musica, e non solo di quella black.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen Mahtin

    A beautiful book. It's a great companion to Rickey Vincent's radio show The History of Funk on Fridays at 10pm on KPFA 94.1 in Berkeley (live streaming and recent archives on kpfa.org), although you don't have to listen to the show. I've been listening to the show off and on for almost 20 years, and so much of what he says make sense to me now. Funk history written by someone who's a huge and extremely knowledgable fan. Thank you, Rickey, for writing this book! A beautiful book. It's a great companion to Rickey Vincent's radio show The History of Funk on Fridays at 10pm on KPFA 94.1 in Berkeley (live streaming and recent archives on kpfa.org), although you don't have to listen to the show. I've been listening to the show off and on for almost 20 years, and so much of what he says make sense to me now. Funk history written by someone who's a huge and extremely knowledgable fan. Thank you, Rickey, for writing this book!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Stoeger

    It’s not an easy task to write about music, but it’s clear that Rickey Vincent is well practiced. Developed out of his thesis, this book is a definitive history of funk through the early 90s. I’d love to see an update edition covering Nu-Funk!!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Aaron

    I now have a very long list of music I want to listen to.

  9. 5 out of 5

    gekko100

    An interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of funk music and its major artists. Worth noting is the excellent discography which I found very useful as a guide to delving further into the funk universe. It's not an incredibly well-written book though: stylistically, it hovers uncomfortably between a serious piece of musical/cultural writing and a throwaway hype-driven magazine article. There's a lot of flowery waffle and in some parts it seems to lose a sense of direc An interesting read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of funk music and its major artists. Worth noting is the excellent discography which I found very useful as a guide to delving further into the funk universe. It's not an incredibly well-written book though: stylistically, it hovers uncomfortably between a serious piece of musical/cultural writing and a throwaway hype-driven magazine article. There's a lot of flowery waffle and in some parts it seems to lose a sense of direction. Content-wise, it's lacking in direct input from original practitioners, and doesn't go into as much depth as I would have liked on the actual music itself. Another mild peeve for me is the occasionally militant attitude of the author, an African American, towards race issues in the US and the contribution of white musicians to funk music. Quotes like "Unfortunately, any time white musicians get into a black thang, things can get messy" (here describing white scottish funksters Average White Band) seem to diminish, unfairly, the contribution of non-black musicians to funk music. And as a white boy confronted with this residual bitterness you can't help but echo Ben Folds' sentiment in Rockin' The Suburbs: "because my great-great-great grandaddy made someone's great-great-great grandaddy his slave.... it wasn't my idea!". Nevertheless, short-comings aside it is essential reading for noobs to the genre, like myself. A couple of interesting factoids that I learned in the discussion of rap and hip-hop music towards the end: 1. Part of the riff to Tone Loc's "Wild Thing" is actually a sample of Van Halen's "Jamie's Crying". 2. Rage Against The Machine's "Renegades of Funk" is actually a (brilliant) cover of a rap song by Afrika Bambaataa from 1983.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    a 1996 book detailing the history of funk music from the perspective of a guy who had been living with this stuff for a couple decades at least when he wrote the book. Do I go with flaws first or the praise parts? He desperately needed an editor to avoid repetition, he has a fannish enthusiasm that gets a little old over the course of a book, he only rarely does much to actually describe what's happening in the music (though his chapter on James Brown is very good in this regard), he skips over a 1996 book detailing the history of funk music from the perspective of a guy who had been living with this stuff for a couple decades at least when he wrote the book. Do I go with flaws first or the praise parts? He desperately needed an editor to avoid repetition, he has a fannish enthusiasm that gets a little old over the course of a book, he only rarely does much to actually describe what's happening in the music (though his chapter on James Brown is very good in this regard), he skips over the downward spiral of Sly Stone's life and other problems with musicians, and worst of all for me, he spends way too much time insulting disco music. But, my goodness, the scope of this book is terrific, he does a great job of placing funk in an ongoing story of African-American popular music from jazz and blues to hip hop, he covers virtually every funky record from the 70s and even the early 80s, he neatly divides the story into short eras which make perfect sense, and he makes me want to listen to a lot of music both long familiar and overlooked.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rog Harrison

    "This book was published in 1996 and deals with funk music and black consciousness in the USA up until 1995. I can't help wondering if the author had written this twenty years on would he have reached the same conclusions. A fascinating read though I am not sure the way the author arranged his chapters was entirely helpful." was what I wrote on 27 December 2015. Reading this book again six years later I don't have anything to add to my earlier review. "This book was published in 1996 and deals with funk music and black consciousness in the USA up until 1995. I can't help wondering if the author had written this twenty years on would he have reached the same conclusions. A fascinating read though I am not sure the way the author arranged his chapters was entirely helpful." was what I wrote on 27 December 2015. Reading this book again six years later I don't have anything to add to my earlier review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Schultz

    "People in the world's are acting ridiculous trying to be serious. What we need to do is get serious about getting ridiculous" Patrick "Sledhicket" Norwood That elusive All-American notion of unity amid diversity is embodied by The Funk "People in the world's are acting ridiculous trying to be serious. What we need to do is get serious about getting ridiculous" Patrick "Sledhicket" Norwood That elusive All-American notion of unity amid diversity is embodied by The Funk

  13. 4 out of 5

    drék

    in two words, the bomb...a good investigation of historical/socio-political concerns as they are interpreted and negotiated through art...in this case, The Funk.... "...There's nothing that the proper attitude won't render funkable..." in two words, the bomb...a good investigation of historical/socio-political concerns as they are interpreted and negotiated through art...in this case, The Funk.... "...There's nothing that the proper attitude won't render funkable..."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    The primary source for much of my undergraduate thesis...which Mr. Vincent was kind enough to review personally!

  15. 4 out of 5

    LonnL

    If your a Pfunk lover, Funk lover, or just curious about the genre, this is the book to read, pretty much one stop reading. Very informative.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Anth

    FUNKY

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    feel the funk! funk dynasties from the 1960s -1990s! the funk family tree! get it! get into it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    John-Christian

    you could replace the word "funk" with "the Force" and it could be a book about Star Wars. The Suggested Listening section is a crucial component of this book. you could replace the word "funk" with "the Force" and it could be a book about Star Wars. The Suggested Listening section is a crucial component of this book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Khalil

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jacob David

  21. 5 out of 5

    Connor Coyne

  22. 4 out of 5

    John

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jason Isaac

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jon Levine

  25. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Anderson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robert Reinold

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mark A Logan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rob Proost

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