July 16, 2008 Playlist


"Crown Prince of Dance" by Rufus Thomas (1973)
Rufus Thomas  "Crown Prince of Dance"  1973 (USA)
This week's CAOTW is the first "funk" album I ever encountered.  One of my best friends in high school's older brother had a few strange records, which he probably purchased just for the funny album covers (I remember he also had psychedelic B-listers Moby Grape and Rhinocerous.)  Years later I even had a close encounter with Rufus Thomas himself in Memphis shortly before he passed away!  So I have to admit my feelings for this record are somewhat personal.  But on purely musical grounds, Crown Prince of Dance is more killer than filler, and on the whole it's just downright fun.  Ya see, Rufus Thomas was the most senior member of the Memphis soul/funk scene of the Stax/Volt era -- in fact when he was recording at Sun studios way back in the mid-1950's (at the same time Elvis was debuting there), he already had a couple decades in showbiz under his belt.  Being an older dude in the hip 1960's and 70's, Rufus made novelty dance numbers his forte, beginning in 1963 with "Walking The Dog", a song covered by the Rolling Stones among others.  By the early 1970's he had another run of animal dance hits, including the smashes "Do The Funky Chicken" and "The Funky Penguin."  This LP from 1973 also includes "The Funky Robot" (waaaay ahead of the breakdancing trend!) and "The Funky Bird" (an answer to the Ohio Player's "Funky Worm") -- but best of all is the eight minute epic "The Funkiest Man Alive", in which ol' Rufus gives James Brown a run for his money!
Rufus was a funny dude -- the title of this album is a pun on his reputation as the "clown prince" of soul.  Check out his super-bad threads in these vintage clips for "Breakdown" and the riot-inducing "Do The Funky Chicken"!  For some more Memphis soul, dig Stax songwriter/producer Isaac Hayes gone solo as "Black Moses", performing his Oscar-winning tune "The Theme From Shaft" (and yes, that is Jesse Jackson introducing him.)  But the original Memphis funk combo was Booker T & the MG's -- here's the immortal "Green Onions".
(N) = New Release

Artist Song Album Year (label) Country
Ofo & The Black Company Allah Wakbarr World Psychedelic Classics 3:  Love's A Real Thing -
The Funky Fuzzy Sounds Of West Africa 
(various artists)
c. 1970 Nigeria
Jimmy Castor Bunch L.T.D. (Life, Truth & Death) It's Just Begun 1972 USA
Preacher Life Is A Gamble Chains & Black Exhaust (various artists) 1973 USA
Muddy Waters The Same Thing Electric Mud 1968 USA
Ohio Players Jive Turkey Skin Tight 1974 USA
The Isley Brothers Fight The Power (parts 1 & 2) The Heat Is On 1975 USA
The Chambers Brothers New Generation (single version) The Best of the Chambers Brothers 1970 USA
Rufus Thomas The Funkiest Man Alive Crown Prince Of Dance
1973 USA
Rufus Thomas Do The Funky Chicken Rufus & Carla Thomas Chronicle: Their Greatest Stax Hits 1970 USA
Ohio Players Funky Worm Pleasure 1973 USA
Rufus Thomas The Funky Bird Crown Prince Of Dance
1973 USA
Laser Beam Smile (N) 2008 (Southern Lord) Japan
White Hills Radiate Heads On Fire 2007 USA
Black Mountain Tyrant In The Future (N)
2008 (Jagjaguwar) Canada
Comets On Fire ESP Field Recordings From The Sun 2002 USA
Black Tempest Bone Yard Telepathy & Mutilation (N) 2007 (noiseweb.co.uk) UK
Heat From A DeadStar Her Warm Womb Room EP 1 2005 UK
Cluster & Eno Die Bunge Cluster & Eno 1977 Germany/UK
Black Dice Gore Load Blown 2007 USA
The Orb
Katskills The Dream (N) 2008 (Six Degrees) UK
It's Just An Expression last.fm site (N) 2008 (self release) UK
A.R. & Machines
(Achim Reichel)
Alles Geht Nach Goa AR 3 1972 Germany
Amon Duul II Top Of The Mud Made In Germany 1975 Germany
William B. Fischer Saigon Circles 1970 USA
Serge Gainsbourg L'Hotel Particulier Historie de Melody Nelson 1971 France
Can Spray Future Days 1973 Germany
NEU! E-Musik NEU! '75 1975 Germany
Rahsaan Roland Kirk Ebrauqs Slightly Latin 1965 USA
Kraftwerk Ananas Symphonie Ralf und Florian 1973 Germany
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