on November 21, 2000
How can I express the excitement? It's all here, finally, in one very exciting and beautiful boxed-set. 4-CDs full of Funk an soul. James Brown, Parliament-Funkadelic, Rick James, Curtis Mayfield, Gap Band, Kool & The Gang, Graham Central Station, WAR... the list goes one! ALso, the velvet box and supercool packaging is the bomb. A true collector's item. The is gonna be my #1 holiday gift to all my friends and family. This anthology goes through the decade (and a half) that is know in my house as the FUNKY seventies. There's some rare gems on here too (i.e. James Brown's "Give It Up Or TurnIt A Loose (Undubbed Version)," Roy Ayers 12" Mix of "Runnin' Away," and Cymande's classic Funk Groove "The Message," which shows up less than their "Bra" single these days. If you listen closely, you'll hear where Prince, Michael Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, D'Angelo, Maxwell, Erykah Badu, even George Michael got their sound from. It's all here brothers and sisters. So do yourself (and yours) a favor and pick this up now. It's really well priced, considering the very expensive packaging (Slammin' 50-page, full color book with all kinds of really cool photos and funky graphics (animal prints and all!). They've made this a LUXURY FUNK package. It's so beautiful, I already have on display in my office (everyone is funkin' to it too!). Everyone is on this. A true Funk Essential.
on January 16, 2001
From 1976 to 1985, as a freelance party DJ in Hawaii and then New York, I slipped cued and cross faded, reading grooves and label orientations like tea leaves. In this compilation, I found the shining stars, the diamonds, in my collection of vinyl. These are the selections that I would play up front, sending the message to all my partygoer's from the get-go: "we're playing PURE FUNK here. This is what you are going to hear until the sun comes up; if you can't get it on, take your dead ass home. Let the party begin". The party situation was blatantly exclusionary. Serious dancers with moves, sufficient stamina and prerequisite ability to recognize downbeat amidst complicated syncopation only need apply. To all of you SERIOUS floor dancers, who feel incredible sorrow for those who can't seem to find the downbeat, who are usually the first on the floor (alone if need be; after all, a thumb slapping bass is a terrible thing to waste) and the last to leave, who watched with dismay as disco and couples dancing came around, who appreciate the power of P- funk combined with G- forces that whipped you around on eight wheels, who are rejoicing at the return of the second and fourth beat definitive bass hit/ tss-tss hi- hat/ chika- chika guitar and return of < 116 BPM's ..... this compilation of PURE FUNK represents all that we hold dear, the reason why some people value the bass above the midrange. In this complication you will recognize the rhythmic elements which catalyze the irreversible conversion of the listener from inert bystander to kinetic headbobber/ popper/ breaker. You will once again hear instrumental syncopation impossible by present technological means, due to their spontaneity and musical appropriateness to fleeting riffs and even single notes. Also, these brothers and sisters possessed extraordinary vocal abilities rarely heard nowadays (when a person who can't actually sing is still given precious airtime), in concentrated numbers to which we have become unaccustomed. This is what dance music sounded like before we got lazy, before we started looping rhythms, letting the machines do the work for us. These are the unadulterated best beats that form the staple for our current sampling core, They created the subconscious standard against which all current "dance funk/ hip-hop/R & B" is compared: it represents the BLACK MUSIC/ NOT BLACK MUSIC line in the sand that was drawn long ago, which some have tried to blur, move, or redefine on their own terms. Fat chance, now with this compilation on the loose. The question is not whether this compilation is exceptional, but whether you have sufficient credentials to own it. Two particular icons, a clenched fist and an AFRO PICK (!!!!) of the cover of the sets says it all.
on August 31, 2001
They included the track ''The message'' which was a hit for Cymande in 1973. This is a great box set for the intermediate Funk lover. It offers some stuff that is unkwown to the non- DJ public. And one of these bands is CYMANDE. However the FUNKiest of their catalog are not included here. On a newly released album Cymande ''The Soul of Rasta'' all of their funk driven tracks are included.
''Brother's on the Slide'', ''Bra'', ''FUG'', ''Genevieve'' and the mesmorizing ''DOVE'' which flows over 10 minutes. This is an essential CD for any fan of Funk and soul. These original funky rastafarian brothers all hailing from the West Indies created the most amazing and invigorating fusion of funk and african reggae ever heard. Most famously sampled by the Fugees, De La Soul ,EPMD and many others. Cymande is one of the most sampled bands in Hip Hop ever. However, no longer is this band hip hop's little secret. This album allows new listeners to hear the great original tracks in a re mastered format. Featuring ''Brother's on the Slide'' and ''Listen''. This is an anthology of their most memorable material from the original 3 LPs recorded the between 1972-1974 in London, UK. Its unfortunate that their amazing musicianship was too unique for the period. Yet today people are rediscovering and grooving to these hidden jewels. Dive in and feel the Funk! Also
on February 25, 2001
Despite being incomplete even at 53 songs over 4CDs (each more than 75 minutes long), Hip-O Records' "The Funk Box" is a first-rate collection from one of music's most beloved, fertile eras. It celebrates exceptional bandleaders (James Brown, George Clinton), songwriter/poets (Gil Scott-Heron, Curtis Mayfield) and arranger/musicians (Hamilton Bohannon, Barry White, Roy Ayers). It's a musical thesaurus of rap, rock, and hip-hop samples used the last 20 years (the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Talking Heads used these recordings as textbooks). Mostly, it salutes some of the hardest-working, tightest, most organic self-contained bands one era enjoyed.
Wrapped in crushed maroon velvet, introduced by an informative Steven Ivory essay/personal recollection, "Funk Box" re-introduces a style minimalist and expansive, up-to-the-minute urban reporting next to supernatural cosmis debris. Depends which disc you play first: James Brown's musical family hits fast and hard on Discs One and Two with the JBs' "Pass The Peas," co-vocalist Bobby Byrd's explosive "I Know You Got Soul," Lyn Collins' Tammi Terrell-sounding "Think," (a hip-hop cornerstone quoted by everyone from Rob Base to John Mellencamp), and Brown himself on "Sex Machine," "Give It Up," and 1974's thrilling "Payback."
The slamming bass beats, scatting horns and deep Southern soul vocals cover the gamut lyrically, admonishing ("What Is Hip," "For The Love Of Money"), sexually teasing (lone entries from White and Rufus, Chakachas' forthright "Jungle Fever"), lamenting ("Slipping Into Darkness," "The Bottle," "Future Shock," with Curtis Mayfield's line, "The price of the meat/worth more than the dope on the street...") , or inspiring ("Express Yourself," Cymande's "The Message"). You also get intriguing funk instrumentals from unlikely sources: "Outa-Space" originally a Billy Preston B-side, Marvin Gaye and Jermaine Jackson's tracks originally from films, the satin-smooth mid-70s Temptations erupting with "Shaky Ground."
Discs three and four would see the funk torch pass from Brown to George Clinton's Parliament-Funkadelic mothership. This may stem from inability to license Clinton's early-70s Westbound Records LPs like "Maggot Brain" and "America Eats Its Young." (or for that matter, early Ohio Players hits like "Funky Worm.") Discs Three and Four suffer lyrically (Fatback's "I Like Girls" is plain sloppy and annoying) but remain astounding musically: R&B #1s from Parliament, Funkadelic, and Bootsy's Rubber Band, Brick's "Dazz," (with first-rate sax and flute solos), Walter Orange's witty, funky vocals on "Brick House," Steve Arrington's Hendrix-ish guitar soloing on "Slide," Rick James' staking his own claim to funk dominance with "You And I" and protoge' Teena Marie's "Behind The Groove."
You still want more. The paucity of Brown and P-Funk tracks here are understandable given that both artists' catalogues are still in print. But a "Funk Box 2" could include more Ohio Players, Isley Brothers, Kool & The Gang (represented here by one track each), plus less remembered artists like Dyke & The Blazers, Mandrill, King Floyd, Jean Knight and Betty Wright (whose "Clean Up Woman" featured one of the funkiest rhythm guitar leads ever waxed). Even Stevie Wonder could contribute the influential "Higher Ground." Those can wait for the sequel. For now, "Funk Box" guides, glides and slides you through the 70s earthier, more influential dance music which had neither disco's tragic romance nor rock's industrial strength, but better playing, singing and, at best, vision than either. Essential for the 70s party, but also check out K-Tel Records' occassionally available "Super Bad" and "Super Bad Is Back" compilations from the era.
on November 28, 2000
now this is what i call Music.Important,Influential&timeless.just like many of the Artists featured here this Material gets better&stronger with time.many of these songs have been sampled,Looped&Re-Packaged so many times it ain't even funny.but yet thru&Thru they remain fresh.why?because of Originality&Heart.what has happen to R&B Music?today it is Heartless&Gutless.but i can say that about Pretty Much of what's out now in General.when you hear these Jams with Guitar's Soloing&Grooving,Thumping Bass Lines,KeyBoards&Piano's Bumping,Drums on the 2&4,Horns with Signature SOunds you will be moved.the cool thing all Sample Free no DAT'S,or Loops or CLones.all about doing your own thing.if you want Real Music&Orginality check this out.it is History but TImeless.
on December 12, 2000
Get to the point, this box-set could've been tragically redundant, but the songs are so well chosen that it is a MUST HAVE. Really. Roy Ayers, Slave, The Jimmy Castor Bunch; where else can you find these funky ones, period? And yes, the set does inclde a lot of the funk cliches that are played out to death (think Atomic Dog, More Bounce to the Ounce, The Payback, etc.) but to have a box-set with the word "funk" in it almost legally HAS to have these songs. Others, sure, even the casual funk-fan will already own (One Nation Under A Groove, Hollywood Swingin') but they are perhaps the best representations of their respective artist's sound.
Imaginative, incredible, in my CD players.
Only thing is: Sly and the Family Stone? Anyone? Anyone?
on December 9, 2000
FUNKY. PHUNKY. THE BEST BOXED SET I'VE EVER OWNED. GIVE ME SOME MO' FUNK. OVER 50 CLASSIC TRACKS (AND SOME I DIDN'T KNOW) FROM DEEP IN THE FUNKLOSET. THIS IS THE ULTIMATE PARTY STARTER...THE ORIGINATOR...ONE NATION UNDER A GROOVE. EXTENDED AND FULL VERSIONS OF EVERY TRACK. THIS BOX AIN'T MESSIN' AROUND SO CATCH IT WHILE YOU CAN. THAT UNRELEASED VERSION OF JAMES BROWN'S "GIVE IT UP" IS AMAZING. THIS IS SO GREAT. AND THE VELVET BOX AND AFRO PICK LOGO IS SOOOOO COOL. BIG UPS ON THAT! YOU HAVE A WHOLE 50-SOME PAGE BOOK IN THERE TOO AND THE COOL THING IS: THERE ARE 2 PAGES OF OTHER FUNK TITLES AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET. SO I'D SUGGEST YOU RUN OUT (OR GET IT HERE LIKE I DID) AND GIT THIS SUCKA B4 CHRISTMAS. EVERYONE IS GONNA WANT THIS.
on February 11, 2002
You guys I wonder why you didn't mention Cameo as a funk legend and one of funkiest song that ever made by themselves
Oh yeah here is an extended version of 'I just want to be' which was never released , I suppose, perhaps you can hear it on their 12'' collection. The latter sounds still amazing to me and I'd like to know how they made the unbelievable, thumping bass line which can make you deaf!and of course 'Shake Your Pants' and 'Rigor Mortis' also deserve a place on this great box set.
Moreover all the funk masters are here with us. From Rick James to Bros. Johnson this cd shows how to rock the house.
on December 13, 2000
This is the DEFINITIVE set of Funk! All full-length and 12" mixes (if there were any). It's all here, from James Brown to Marvin Gaye and George Clinton (P-Funk) to Graham Central Station. From what I've heard the only reason Sly & The Family Stone is not on the set is due to a long-lasting legal suit that has Sony barred from licensing any Sly tracks. You know he'd have kicked off the set otherwise. That said, this is a one stop party joint. This set is heavy on the funk in every way including the velvet exterior, animal prints and tons of energetic photos.
on December 4, 2000
Finally a comprehensive Funk collection! This 4 CD box has all of the stanky hits you want, plus many of the obscure diggin'-in-the-crates classics you need! Props to Hip-O on compiling suck a perfect body of funky work. Also, check out the beautiful packaging, from the red velvet cover with a metallicly embossed "Funk Box" logo, to the exquisitely designed 48 page book.