Shirley Bassey – Jezahel


Shirley Bassey - Jezahel

Yes, I am indeed featuring Shirley Bassey on the blog. I know some people think of her as more of a cabaret star (which she kinda was) but she also had some great moments throughout her long and distinguished career and today’s selection is probably her finest in my humble opinion.

Those of you who have a fondness for hip-hop will probably recognize this as it provided the musical backdrop to Public Enemy’s 2007 single “Harder Than You Think” which marked something of a return to form for the legendary rap group. Anyone reading this from the UK may also be familiar with the aforementioned Public Enemy tune as it featured heavily during Channel 4’s coverage of the 2012 Paralympics.

So, not much more needs to be said other than to press that little play button and crank up the speakers. Enjoy!

The Chambers Brothers – Funky

Chambers Brothers - Funky

2016 has been an awful year so far for the passing of legends and last week was no exception with news of the untimely death at the age of 45 of A Tribe Called Quest’s Phife Dawg. A Tribe Called Quest are considered one of the most influential hip-hop acts ever with The Low End Theory and People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm widely recognised as two of the best albums ever made in the genre. As a young kid growing up in Belfast, the first “real” music I ever got into was “Golden Age” Hip-Hop and alongside De La Soul, Eric B & Rakim, Public Enemy, ATCQ were to provide the soundtrack to my youth.

So today we pay tribute to Phife Dawg with a track that provided the basis for one of ATCQ’s biggest hits – I Left My Wallet In El Segundo. We’ve featured The Chambers Brothers before here on Gazfunk, way back at the start of our exploration into the funky in 2010. Not much more needs to be said about them or indeed Phife Dawg other then the world has lost a true innovator and huge influence on modern day music. We salute you Dawg, thanks for the memories and rhymes! 

George McCrae – I Get Lifted

George McCrae - I Get Lifted

Before I start with this week’s selection I’d just like to say a big thanks to Shane Walsh for being our most recent guest contributor last week. I’m sure you’ll all agree with me that Shane picked a top track to feature. I hope to be able to add in more guest contributors over the next few months as it’s been somewhat “neglected” recently. Anyway, on to today’s pick and a cracking song it is too.

Many of you will doubtless be aware of George McCrae for his huge hit in 1974 “Rock Your Baby” which went on to top the charts in both the U.S. & U.K. and racked up almost 11 million sales in the process. Rock Your Baby was arguably the first hit record for the emerging disco scene and still remains one of the biggest selling singles of the 70s.

Today’s selection is from the same year and one of 5 singles released from the Rock Your Baby LP. This one is much more to my taste though as it has a funkier (albeit smoother) vibe to it and has been sampled heavily over the years by artists including Pete Rock, Snoop Dog & 50 Cent. Dig the groove!! 


The Incredible Bongo Band – Sharp Nine

So last weekend I travelled to the B.F.I. in London for the U.K. Premiere of “Sample This” – a film detailing the story of The Incredible Bongo Band. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the film and it pulled together very well the strange collection of events surrounding the coming together of the band as well as those which ultimately brought about the break-up.

Here’s a little taster of what you can expect from the film when it goes on general release:

Before the screening, we were able to catch up with Dan Forrer, the writer/director of “Sample This” to ask him a few questions about the film. Check out what he had to say below:

Dan Forrer

Gazfunk: How/when did you first become aware of The Incredible Bongo Band?

Dan Forrer: I heard “Bongo Rock” on the radio in 1973 and became curious about the “band”. The song was a Top 20 hit in Canada.

G: What was it that excited you about the story of the band that made you want to make a film about them?

DF: I read an article in the New York Times by Will Hermes that connected the story of “The Incredible Bongo Band” to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. I became fascinated by the unlikely chain of events that led to the creation of “The Incredible Bongo Band”.

G: There are many famous musicians in the film, was it hard for you to convince them to take part?

DF: The musicians were happy to tell their story and I was privileged to have many of them appear in the film. There are over 30 different musicians that played on the 19 original tracks!

G: The legendary Gene Simmons of “Kiss” fame is the narrator of the film, which may seem a strange choice to some, what was his connection to the story?

DF: Gene Simmons was a close friend of Michael Viner. He was very generous with his time and agreed to appear in the film to honor his friend.

G: Sadly Michael Viner passed away in 2009, but did you get an opportunity to speak with him about your plans for the movie before his death?

DF: I only had the opportunity to communicate with Michael via email but he was very supportive of the project. He passed away about a month after I started my research.

G: I know that the movie premiered back in October 2012 in Austin, Texas, what was the reaction from those who were lucky enough to see it?

DF: The people who watched the film were surprised by the fact that “The Incredible Bongo Band” would never have happened if it were not for the assassination of Bobby Kennedy.

G: With Gazfunk being primarily a music blog, I’m sure our readers will be interested to know a little bit about your own musical background, so what type of sounds do you dig?

DF: I’m a vinyl junkie with a 5,000+ album collection. I love mostly sixties/seventies soul and funky jazz grooves.

G: Where can our viewers go to find out more information about the film, release date, screenings etc?

DF: You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter at samplethismovie. There’s a trailer on youtube as well (Ed – see above)

G: Finally, we normally invite our interviewees to select a song for us to feature but given that the film is about “The Incredible Bongo Band”  (and we’ve yet to feature them on the blog), now seems as good a time as any to showcase their sound. So which track would you like us to play?

DF: Well, you could play “Apache” which is considered the national anthem of hip-hop. However, one of my personal favourites is “Sharp Nine”. The break shows just how incredible King Errison & Jim Gordon are.

G: Thanks for your time and good luck with the film.