Sound Obsession

Brit-Funk Special Pt. 1

120 minsFirst aired 3 Dec 2016
Artwork by Nick Taylor

Kirk Degiorgio puts your musical heroes’ discographies to the acid test. Here’s the first part of his Brit-Funk Special.

Okay, clock comparison: It’s roughly 1977-1985, innit? Yeah? Good. More than just a UK version of the first rugged, hand-played dance music crafted after the James Brown template, Brit-Funk represented a genuine variant of jazz-funk, complete with its own set of rules and stylistic finesse. While breaks and instrumental virtuosity were still a big part of the composition, bands like Heatwave, Linx, Cymande, The Real Thing, Labi Siffre, Incognito, or Mark King’s Level 42 put the stress back on vocal harmonies, Caribbean overtones and Larry Graham’s slap bass technique. Heavily successful until the mid-’80s, Brit-Funk went from a working class favorite into the mainstream, when its trademarks osmoted into the sound of pop outfits like Haircut 100 or even Wham!. As usual, Kirk has selected the real McCoy for us.

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