10 Best
13.06.2012, Words by Charlie Jones

The 10 best melodic funk songs, according to Dâm-FunK

LA funk musician Dâm-FunK makes music that sounds like the ghosts of the Sunset Strip, light, groovy and dirty. Hugely influenced by the humid but melodic Casio funk of the 80s, we asked him about his favourite tunes, ahead of his gig tonight at London’s XOYO.

Here’s what he had to say about the list:

Melodic-Funk = Beautiful tones & vibe, with nice chords and the street & funk still intact. Peace, happy diggin’ & thanx for peepin’ my tio 10 melodic-funk joints (in no particular order).
– D-F

  1. Kleeer – You Did It Again
    From their “Intimate Connection” album from 1984 and a really nice groove, with mellow chords, not too crazy, great lyrics.
  2. Roy Ayers – Programmed For Love
    From his “You Might be Surprised” album from 1985 & a nice mid-tempo joint, with a great 808 beat, beautiful chords, sophisticated, yet hood. It features production by James Mtume w/ contributing vocals by Tawatha and keys by Philip Fields (of Aurra & Mtume), David Frank (of the System) and others. Also, has forward thinking lyrics to go with it and an excellent ‘vibraphone’ solo by Mr. Roy Ayers.
  3. Prince – 17 Days
    My favorite B-Side by Prince from 1984 (flip-side of “When Doves Cry”) and is sooooo good from beginning to end. Had help from the Revolution on this one.
  4. Mtume – Prime Time
    One of my all time favorite groups gave us this album version and 12” single of pure Modern-Funk bliss in 1984. So fresh back then & even now.
  5. Mazarati – Don’t Leave Me Baby
    Paisley Park rare track, which is the B-Side of Mazarati’s minor hit: “100 MPH” which wa penned by Prince. But, this sleeper B-Side (produced by The Revolution bass player: BrownMark) absolutely destroys the A-Side. It’s beautiful, blissful and still bangin’ with heavy thumpin’ bass, coupled with great synths, drums & atmosphere. 45” only [ie no YouTube – Ed].
  6. Raymun – Do You Feel Like I Feel?
    Great east-coast boogie joint, but can share the melodic-funk tag in this Top 10 ten, due to the bass poppin’ & chords in it. Beautiful, though and through. From 1983.
  7. Legacy – Don’t Waste The Night
    Little known joint from 1985 that kinda came & went but, many in the boogie, modern-soul & modern-funk scenes know about it. Recorded in Los Angeles and produced by a former member of the Leon Sylvers III protege / pet group: Real To Reel.
  8. The Verdict – That Where I Come In
    A rare-Chicago based record that was discovered a few years back by ‘collectors’ on a label called Nuance. From 1984 and an excellent piece of melodic-funk creativity.
  9. Oliver – Make Up Your Mind
    Awesome joint by (singer of the better-known boogie track called Get Down Saturday Night) Oliver Cheatham and produced by members of ONEWAY (ADK) and penned by the great Kevin McCord in Detroit in 1982.
  10. Aurra – Are You Single?
    From another one of my all time favorite groups (who were a spin off of the funk band: SLAVE) this has all the right elements of a Melodic-Funk song & groove. Released in 1981, this joint has thick bass action, warm Rhodes chords, great vocals (on the funk tip though, not R&B crooning) and beautiful synth-string play throughout. It’s street, it’s sophisticated, it’s the sound & origins of what we now know as: modern-funk.

Dâm-FunK is playing XOYO, London tonight. Head to dollopdollop.com for more details

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