When I first moved to North Carolina from Texas, I searched the radio stations to get a taste of the local music. Time and again, I’d tune in to WSHA, the college radio station of Shaw University in Raleigh. Their format was mostly jazz, but on Fridays they played funk all day. This was not the sweaty grunting of James Brown’s flavor of funk (although there is certainly nothing wrong with that style), but it was more like jazz funk. It was jazz funk. I loved it. They played some of the grooviest tracks I’d ever heard, but the DJ would never say what just played, or what was coming up. This was frustrating because I wanted to research the artists and ultimately order some CDs or something. I even sent an email to the station asking who some of the artists were, but I got no response. This was before apps like Shazam and SoundHound existed. Wait, this was before smartphones existed.
Now I have Spotify and mining the music world is much easier. However, I find that Spotify’s “related artists” link is not very accurate as far as staying within a given genre, at least not with the funk artists. Nevertheless, I somehow stumbled onto Black Market Audio and a whole new vista of music opened up for me. But it wasn’t Spotify that widened the vista; it was BMA’s website. Imagine that. BMA is a Dutch band that plays a hybrid of funk and a sort of retro mod culture vibe from the ’50s and ’60s. Throw in some breaks and a little big beat, too. Their links page led me to other similar artists: Ursula 1000, Skeewiff, Chris Joss, Kraak and Smaak, and a few others. Right now, these artists represent the pinnacle of good music for me. It’s like I can’t get enough.
I need to give my brother-in-law, Donald, some props though. He played a couple of Skeewiff tunes for me over the Christmas holiday, but it did not register with me at the time how cool their music is. My mind may have been elsewhere, not sure. Anyway, I now have a Spotify playlist for this music and I’m wearing it out. I think Laura may be getting sick of it, so I should probably expand it, but I can’t seem to find any more artists as good as the ones I mention above. I know they must exist. A little help?