Sunday, January 28, 2007

DAILY DOSE, 01.28.07

The Rev. Jenner J. Hull took a break from the "Fat Back Transcription" and had an exceptionally good Saturday. He watched some Winter X-Games, found a long-ass infomercial for a mid-50's to mid-60's rock/soul/doo-wop collection (and knew all but three songs), had some pizza, drank some Yuengling, and did some laundry. Though this afternoon/evening should have been a weekly Jam Session (our Sabbath is Saturday Night), the Church can and will delay or reschedule Jam Sessions due to sports events or other mitigating circumstances.

In this case, the aforementioned X-Games are on all weekend, the Cavs are playing the Suns at noon-ish on the morrow, and we want to be fresh and sober for all the action (especially the ball-playing). Though Your Humble Reverend is a proud disciple of King James, he also considers Steve Nash and the blazingly-fast Phoenix team to be the most finely-tuned basketball machine since an early-80's Celtic squad and, thus, a "Sure Thing." It's gonna be a good game, folks. It might even be, dare I say, funky...

The 50's/60's music commercial got me all nostalgic and such...

The Temps - "(I Know) I'm Losing You" (From "The Temptations with a Lot o' Soul")

It was a popular song back in '66 and, thankfully, still got sporadic airplay on what used to be "Oldies 93.1" out of North Carolina. Now it's a goddamn country station. If that doesn't tell you what state the world's in, I don't know what will.

Anyway, if Motown were like that whole Lovecraft/Cthulhu Mythos deal, the Temps would be the Great Old Ones. If Motown were an old western TV show, the Temps would be Marshall Dillon. If Motown were Street Fighter, the Temps would be either Ken or Ryu. Or Guile, if you "go that way" with Street Fighter.

"(I Know) I'm Losing You" is a classic example of the Temps utilizing their multi-soloist line-up in the best way possible. While other Temps (Eddie Kendrick, in particular) were great singers (check out "The Way You Do the Things You Do"), David Ruffin just had "That Voice." You hear it, you acknowledge it, and you can only say, "Damn! That cat can belt!"

As you can see, Your Humble Reverend considers David Ruffin to be the best and most underrated vocalist of all time. I may be biased, but I am 100% right in declaring "(I Know) I'm Losing You" an early funk/rock classic worthy of all possible praise...


Auspicious news from the Rev. Jenner J. Hull!

Since even the vaguest form of the Church began congregating regularly and realized our Funky Mission, we’ve known of the existence of someone who could, quite possibly, be considered the single Most Funky man to ever walk the Earth.

At first, there were only rumors. Old men in seedy bars (who would probably be half-senile even if they hadn’t drank themselves into a constant stupor), arguing about the best musicians they’d ever seen, would periodically mention a guy named "Fat Back" who they saw somewhere back in the seventies, maybe. "Course, it coulda been someone else."

The claims were sundry and tended to differ from teller to teller. Kinda like the chupacabra, if the chupacabra was a guitar prodigy and musical visionary.

Sometimes, he was a street performer in New York City in the late sixties (when he would have been but a teen). Sometimes, he was playing brief sets in between dancers at an illegal, all-male, all-nude revue outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. A close friend of the Church even swears he saw a young Fat Back jamming with Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin’s hotel room during their first American tour.

The Church has been moving along steadily despite the frustration of not being able to pin down a legend, a virtual Zeus of the music scene. We’ve been revering our Esteemed Funk Masters, canonizing those who have moved along, having Jam Sessions whenever we can, and, generally, doing our damndest to promote, popularize, and proliferate all forms of Funk.

Then, in the span of just a few months, we had several huge breaks.

A man named Gerald ("Call me Jerry") Walker contacted Your Humble Reverend after meeting one of our Deacons, Reginald P. Weatherford, at a Blues Festival and told an amazing story. He claims to have met and befriended the Funky Savior Himself when he was living in North Carolina in the late sixties. Mr. Walker, as it turns out, was close friends with some local musicians, notably the jazz/rock drummer "Turbo" Terry Walsh (St. Turbo), who jammed with Fat Back during his Carolina days.

Later, Mr. Walker sent me the first of the Holy Journals; a series of sporadic diary entries written by Fat Back during his travels across the U.S., left with Turbo Terry’s family at some point, and given to Mr. Walker several years ago. Within a few days, Turbo’s daughter, Linda, sent me Turbo’s own recently-found diaries, which detail many shows, practice sessions, and intimate conversations with the FSH.

These two diaries prove, beyond a doubt, that Fat Back Jackson was speaking of "the Groove" and "the Funk" years before that particularly amazing genre of music graced the American musical scene.

Several weeks after these momentous discoveries, three more individuals contacted us with verifiable first-hand accounts of Fat Back. Bassist Rufus Kennedy (St. Rufus) and guitarist Jake Coen (St. Jake) each contacted the Church independently; though they’ve grown apart over the years, both men played, briefly, in a band with Fat Back. Ellery (St. Jonesy) Jones, a multi-instrumentalist and still spry at 85, also wrote to the Church and told his story of his involvement with Fat Back in the seventies funk scene. Jonesy, unfortunately, was also witness to the events that forever forced Fat Back from the musical world.

Some snippets have been revealed (see the previous posts) but the mission of the Church of the Everlasting Groove’s Official Online Ministry is to disseminate the most important of these materials in their entirety so as to benefit the entire global community.

Your Humble Reverend and his minions are busy combing through these and other volumes to find the truth among the legends. We have constructed a fairly comprehensive time-line of Fat Back’s life and music; hopefully, within the next few weeks or so, we’ll be telling his story in installments and discussing the Funky Disciples who were lucky enough to Jam with him.

If you, Dear Reader, have not yet felt the Funk, check in from time to time and we’ll try to remedy that as best we can.

Monday, January 22, 2007

DAILY DOSE, 01.22.07

One of my many responsibilities as the Reverend of the Church of the Everlasting Groove is to set an example for the rest of the Funky Congregation. My favorite sacred duty is to go forth into the world and evangelize to the Funkless Masses. The best way to do this is to burn a mixed CD of some of the Sacred Cuts, throw it in the car stereo, roll down the windows, turn the Funk up to an acceptable volume (i.e., loud as you can stand), and drive around.

Though some of the Funkless Masses might shoot you the "stink eye," give you the finger, or yell at you to "Turn that jungle music down!" (remember, I live in the South, so that kind of thing still happens 'round these here parts), they will, one day, thank you. One day they will hear the Groove, the Funk will enter their heart (and booty), and that person will remember hearing the glorious strains of whatever it is you were, as the kids say, "straight bumpin'" at the time.

The other day, I actually got a couple of "thumbs up" from two older ladies in a minivan while I was cruising through a fast foot parking lot and listening to...

Parliament - "Do That Stuff" (From the Album "The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein")

As the Continental would say, "Wow! Wowie-Wow-Wow!" This song has always been tied for my "Best P-Funk/Clinton Cut," along with "Mothership Connection (Starchild)" and "Bop Gun (Endangered Species)." The horns are great (I'm a sucker for horns), the bass is, as always, Funktastic, and that plaintive, off-beat cymbal makes me play air-drums every time I hear it. And there's a repeated line that perfectly sums up everyone in the Church: "You wouldn't believe how they party!"

Friday, January 19, 2007


I modify this segment with the word "Daily" even though I truly doubt it will be so. More like, "Whenever the Hell I Feel Like It."

The Rev. Jenner J. Hull will, periodically, attempt to dispense a bit of his Funky wisdom and, hopefully, help to enlighten the Funkless Masses.

If some choices and recommendations seem to be, on the surface, completely sans Funk, this is intentional. The Church recognizes many different genres, bands, singers, and various musicians as "Funky," and will not hesitate to bestow Blessings upon a group like our first...

As Fat Back, the Funky Savior Himself, once said, "The best Funk is that which you must hunt" (Letters from St. Rufus, 2:20).

Elysian Fields - "Bend Your Mind" (From the Album "Queen of the Meadow")

Elysian Fields is worthy of Church recognition for several reasons; chief among those reasons is singer Jennifer Charles. If there was ever a female vocalist with a sexier voice, I've never heard her. Even various heterosexual women I know have developed crushes on Charles after hearing Elysian Fields and her side project with Mike Patton and Dan the Automator, Lovage. I just found this song on my computer and I'm very pissed that I've been overlooking it for so long...


The Rev. Jenner J. Hull here with a belated and very sad announcement.

James Brown, one of the original Esteemed Funk Masters, died on Christmas Day, 2006. Let's all observe a moment of Loud, Raucous Funkiness for our fallen brethren and yell, "Uh! Good God!"

The Church held an emergency Jam Session when we first heard the news and immediately began the proceedings to have James Brown canonized.

As one can imagine, it was the quickest canonization since Luther Vandross moved on to that Pristine Dimension of Interplanetary Funk.

St. James' musical qualifications were unparalleled and his miracles were readily apparent. For those not up on the Church doctrine, we operate our canonization in a method similar to the Catholic Church; the Saint must have performed several miracles (we settled on at least two). Unlike the Catholics, though, our Saints have performed miracles that any normal person can readily acknowledge and verify as miraculous.

MIRACLE #1: Made basic music terminology into popular song lyrics. A great example is found in his seminal Sacred Cut, "Sex Machine," when St. James asks Bobby Byrd, "Bobby? Can I take ‘em to the bridge?" There’s also the best example, found in "Super Bad," where St. James transfers into the bridge by simply yelling, "Bridge!"

MIRACLE #2: Made noises rarely heard from animals being eaten alive and made them sound good. There’s a particular screech in "Super Bad" (after the bridge, incidentally) that defies a truly accurate description. (I hear an angry pterodactyl, but I’m hung up on pterodactyls in general, so...)

There have been many Saints canonized by the Church over the years and, from time to time, I’ll officially announce them, offer the two requisite miracles, and give you my personal favorite example of exactly why they’re So Damn Funky.

So Damn Funky...

"The Big Payback"

St. James at the peak of his Groove game. When he says, "I’m mad!" at the beginning, you believe his ass. The bass/guitar combo is nasty as all Hell and St. James breaks off some of his best lyrics with the obligatory bombast. "I don’t know karate, but I know ka-razor!" And, of course, the immortal, "I... I... I!"


The Church of the Everlasting Groove has a very simple goal.

We are charged by the Funky Lord to go forth and spread our particular breed of insanity across the far expanses of the globe.

We do not recognize differences in race, nationality, or ethnicity. We do not discriminate against anyone based on matters of sexuality, wealth, or educational background. In fact, membership in our Church, becoming, as the kids say, a "Funky Monkey," does not require one to even know of the Church’s existence. The inherent Funk in any person gives them automatic membership; for this reason, we are, quite possibly, the largest Church in the world. We see everyone as citizens of humanity under the great, powerful, and indubitably Funky Lord.

For the Lord is Funky, brothers and sisters, and He asks very little of His flock. He asks only that "you gotta hear the Groove and shake some booty" (Funklesiastes 7:3).

In the past, critics of the Church (those who have closed their hearts and booties to the Glory of the Funk) have accused us of discriminating against the physically disabled, those who are unable, for various reasons, to engage in the sacred ritual of "The Shaking of the Booty." This is a lie, my Funky Congregation. You do not have to be able to dance to participate in the ceremonial booty shaking; a tap of the foot or a nod of the head will show the Funky Lord his due. Some of us, your humble Reverend included, don’t even enjoy dancing or do it so poorly as to embarrass the Funky Lord. "When it comes to the basics of Funk, a head-bang’s just as good as a bump and grind, y’all" (Letters from St. Jonesy 12:12). As far as critics of the Church go, Jonesy also had this to say, quoting a sermon from the Funky Savior Himself, "Fat Back" Jackson...

"The cat that tries to get down without the Funk ain’t doing nothing but selling you jive." (St. Jonesy 18:7)

We at the Church hope that you will let the Funk into your heart (and booty) and save yourself from the boring, inane, soul-crushing, and utterly damning influence of the Anti-Funk. Have no comfortable delusions, brothers and sisters, the Anti-Funk is alive on this world and flourishing. One need only turn on the radio or TV to be inundated with Darkness Merchants peddling artists, musicians, and vacuous personalities who wouldn’t know the Funk if it called and invited them over for cocktails.

Our media is run by Funkless Turkeys more interested in pleasing the Funkless Masses than giving life a good, swift kick in the ass.

The government is frighteningly bereft of Funkiness. Ever since the newly canonized St. James Brown wrote his brilliant political treatise "Funky President," we’ve only had one elected official to qualify as an Esteemed Funk Master. He played the sax, he played the field, and he was the only presidential candidate to receive the full support of the Church. Remember, Bill, the annual Catfish Fry, Barbeque, and Funk Festival is at your pad this year!

I’ll leave you now, my Funky Monkeys, with a bit of wisdom from one of the Sacred Cuts.

As Kool and the Gang said, "Feel the Funk, y’all. Let it flow." ("Jungle Boogie," ‘73)