Thursday, February 8, 2007


More bitching from the Funky Congregation, this time from those who, for some reason or another, exclusively choose either rap or country music above our usual preferences of oldies, soul, Motown, classic rock, metal, and, of course, the Funk.

As you all know, the Church of the Everlasting Groove does not discriminate against any particular kind of music per se, but we do reserve the right to judge some genres and styles of music as, inherently, more or less funky than another.

Having been a Southern Gentleman and Country Boy for his entire life, Your Humble Reverend is surprisingly averse to country music, especially any sort of modern country. In years bygone, country musicians were rough-and-tumble, melancholy (but not whiny), hard-drinking sorts playing modified blues/bluegrass licks and writing plaintive, honest lyrics that spoke of their working-class hardships. Folks like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard fit into this "Funky Country" category.

Now? We've got cookie-cutter personalities playing the same songs and singing the same trite lyrics in the same dreary (not appropriately melancholy, just dreary) voices. The only differences between any major country singers come down to, quite simply, the name on the marquee or the color of the cowboy hat. People like Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney are, in no sense of the word, Funky. We can allow Brad Paisley; that cat can play. And he's got a sweet-ass electrified git-fiddle.

And Trace Atkins? "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk?" Fuck me running...

By and large, rap fell into the same hole. Of course, rap has always hinged, in part, on image but, for a while there, the music was also present. Acts like the Wu Tang Clan treated their work as actual music; they tried to structure real songs (not just beats), write inventive lyrics (the GZA is insane), and, generally, do something different than your typical gangsta bravado and/or thugged-up dance track. Honestly, I can't think of a single rap act since Wu-Tang that hasn't become a full-on parody of a rap act. I mean, Jesus, the RZA throws the periodic table of elements into a verse while Little John yells "Yeah!" and "What?"

Anyway, there are exceptions (which we'll point out at various times) but don't expect a whole lot of (modern popular) rap; and count on very rare occurences of country music. Here are the first two of the infrequent examples...

Jerry Reed - "(Love Is) A Stranger To Me" (From "Ko-Ko-Joe")

Jerry Reed, best known as the immortal Cledus "Snowman" Snow from "Smokey and the Bandit," is also the Most Funky Country Musician in history. As his career progressed, Reed managed to incorporate all kinds of random musical styles into his sound while keeping his country roots completely intact.

In "(Love Is) A Stranger To Me," Reed throws down on a tasty Groove With a Twang, and practically croons (Funky Lord how we love the crooners) a song that, in today's country climes, would be uheard of.

Outkast - "ATLiens" (From "ATLiens")

The Outkast duo (Big Boi and Andre 3000) have gotten progressively weirder and better over the years (hear "Speakerboxxx/The Love Below") but their best track hails from their debut album and served as a harbinger of hip-hoppy goodness to come.

The beat isn't the best they've put forth, but the lyrics and delivery are simply legendary. Also contains one of Your Humble Reverend's favorite rap lines of all time (the delivery is perfect)...

"Daddy Fat Sacks, B-I-G, B-O-I/It's that same motherfucker that put them knuckles to your eye."

Well, now that that's out of the way, we can continue to pick bands or artists at random, without regard for genre or any other categorization, the way it should be. Though the Rev. Jenner J. Hull is the reigning authority in the Church (but should, in no way, be considered infallible), he is more than willing to entertain suggestions as to choices for the badly-named Daily Dose segment, official canonizations, and other aspects of the Church's online manifestation. Unless they blow...

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