Transcribed from issue #28 of Wax Poetics, California native Dâm-Funk runs down his favorite ’80s boogie records. Enjoy and be educated.
Wynd Chymes “Baby You’re The One” (Shakin’, 1980)
Dâm-Funk: Great boogie-funk joint that has a killer sliding synth bass line. The Rhodes chords are just the right volume, it’s laces with a nice synth string line, all topped off with one hell of a soulful vocal! This always gets the room poppin’ at “Funkmosphere.” A real winner!
The Verdict “That’s Where I Come In” (Nuance, 1984)
Dâm-Funk: This label is from Chicago, and this is one of the more hard-to-find releases. As far as I know, it was only issued as a 45. Nice modern-soul stepper with a slight hint of Cameo’s “She’s Strange” background atmosphere. Great vocals and a track that can pass my personal “rollin’ down Crenshaw Boulevard test” anytime. This joint has it, man! This is one that I like to end my night with often.
Pyramid Plus “Comin at Ya” (Lifeworld, circa 1982)
Dâm-Funk: A very obscure 45 that is a monster! One of my prized pieces. Not much info on this one. I would call it early G-funk. A more subdued vocoder vocal effect. More mysterious lo-fi kind of feel throughout. Begins with weird effects, then breaks off into one killer mid-tempo groove. Relatively new on the boogie-funk scene these days. Sounds like it was recorded in probably ’82 (no later) with a very low recording budget. Just the way I like it.
Rah Band “Message from the Stars” (TMT, 1983)
Dâm-Funk: One-man-band electric funk with a sweet female vocal to top it off. This one is out of the U.K. The Rah Rah Band actually ahs more good stuff they recorded throughout the late ’70s to mid-’80s, but this one is my favorite from them. This always gets the ladies up on the floor at any party. The fellas, especially the poplockers (yes, we’re still poppin’ on the West Coast!) dig this one a lot. Great 12-inch with some stellar mixes on the B-side as well.
Kapp Ivory Project “Shock the World” (DM Records, 1983)
Note: “It’s Over”is the on the flip side of “Shock the World”
Dâm-Funk: Nice 45 out of Detroit that is so unique. Its LinnDrum- and chugging-synth-based rhythm really does something to me. I really like what Kapp is singing about on this: “Welcome to the galaxey of music and love” and “I’m not crazy.. I love what I’m doing’… I’m never gonna stop.. (he pauses, then chuckles)… playin’ my music.” Brilliant! The homie James Pants digs this one a lot too. We gonna find you one, James, don’t trip!
Mazarati “Don’t Leave Me Baby” (Paisley Park, 1985)
Note: “100 MPH” is on the flip side of “Don’t Leave Me Baby”
Dâm-Funk: Dynamite B-side-only track from this Prince-protégé band out of Minneapolis. Released in ’85 on the flip of their minor game-funk hit “100 MPH.” This was produced by Brownmark (bass player for the Revolution) and has superior bass thumpin’ and melodic chords throughout. A great late-era funk song.
Impulse Self-Titled (Impulse Records, 1984)
Dâm-Funk: Superior private-press EP out of my hometown, Pasadena, California. On the lines of some of the best electrofunk/Prince style I’ve ever heard. Drum-machine-heavy and great screaming vocals. Four tracks that kill! “Can You Hear Me Calling You” is the highlight. Impulse was a three-man group that included a young Ron (Kat) Spearman, who went on to play with P-Funk years later.
Steve Washington Like a Shot (Rams Horn, 1984)
Dâm-Funk: One of the most obscure boogie-funk LPs in my collection. This was supposed to be released on Salsoul Records but ended up on the Rams Horn label. This great album was the brainchild of the former leader of Slave, Steve Washington. Steve, along with former Brides of Funkenstein vocalist Sheila Washington (aka Sheila Horn) worked together on this solo project that bangs all the way through! My fave on here, the stellar “We’re Not Ordinary People,” passes the Crenshaw Boulevard test.. most definitely.
Mr. Fingers “You’re Someone Special” (Jack Trax, 1989)
Dâm-Funk: One of my favorite artists, [who is also known as] Larry Heard, is known for his stellar mark in the house-music world. This is one of his finest moments on wax! I can’t even pigeonhole this joint in solely the house genre. It’s pure genius: beautiful chords, great drum-machine programming, changes, soulful – yet almost faint – falsetto vocals that floor me every time.
Starshine “All I Need Is You” (Prelude Records, 1983)
Dâm-Funk: Mixed by the great Francois Kevorkian. Heads have murmured that this is one of his best mixes ever! Produced by the mysterious M. Traxxx and penned (and sung) by the equally elusive Michael Bailey. This Prelude jam always brings me joy. Great bass-line action, melodic chords, and loud claps! (Very important in the kind of funk and boogie I lean toward.) Well produced and works well in any room I play. This intro synth line always wakes people up. Comes with one hell of an instrumental version on the B-side for good measure. Top-shelf melodic funk-size bizness! A diamond-cut groove for ya!