Category Archives: Funk

Music Review: Amp Fiddler-Amp Dog Knights


Amp Fiddler’s Amp Dog Knights resumes his work as a funk-oriented master of cool. Amp Dog Knights is Fiddler’s second album after returning from an 11-year hiatus with Motor City Booty in 2016. Fiddler’s contemporary funk connects with Black pop from the ‘70s’ up to the present. “Return Of The Ghetto Fly” appeared on Motor City Booty and is reworked with a beat from J.Dilla and a rap from Slum Village’s T3 to accompany singer Neco Redd. The newer version is a harder head nodder with the fierce strut of a Detroit hustler in its rhythmic stride. The hip-hop elements coalesce into Fiddler’s soulful terrain fluently enough to make the different styles sound like one genre. Amp Dog Knights is a winter release but the music has the warmth and nonchalance associated with summer. “Good Vibe” is organic deep house enlivened by Fiddler’s gritty half-rasp in the middle of an upbeat arrangement ideal for the dancefloor or a ride in a convertible. Fiddler’s affection for house is no less than his penchant for other sounds like ‘70s’ soul. “Put Me In Your Pocket” belongs in a Blaxploitation film because Fiddler’s falsetto, the James Brown-influenced horns and the succession of lazy Wah-wah modified guitar riffs recall some of the best soundtracks of the era. Dames Brown, Will Sessions and Chris Bruce are featured on “Put Me In Your Pocket” among the plenty of company Fiddler has on Amp Dog Knights. His brother Bubz Fiddler is featured on the melancholic “Through Your Soul” that also has J.Dilla’s touch.

“No Politics” is a soothing needed escape from the world’s madness lead by Redd’s unrestrained request to forget about stressful concerns amidst light keys and understated percussion. The three renditions of “Alright” have two uptempo remixes from Waajeed that are ideal for club nights and the other one’s slower pace and lack of a more defined electronic sound will please the R&B traditionalists. Fiddler’s emphasis on dance music is visited again with the new Moodymann collaboration “I Get Moody” a soulful piece of ambient house given texture by Moodymann’s unscripted vocals. Amp Dog Knights is a continuance of the tone initiated on Fiddler’s 2003 Waltz Of A Ghetto Fly with equal parts funk, R&B and house. Fiddler’s admiration for the stylish city slicker produced an album that is a bit more carefree than WOAGF but no less appealing.



Betty Davis Documentary Betty – They Say I’m Different Has A Trailer

Betty – They Say I’m Different is a documentary about Betty Davis the funk singer who was briefly married to Miles Davis. Director Phil Cox had the rare chance to spend time with Davis over the past four years and direct this film about her life. Betty Mabry was a fixture on the music scene in the ’60s and made friends with Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone. She had style and attracted the attention of Miles Davis who she married and helped steer his music into the next phase of his career. Betty Davis released four albums as a solo artist and was boycotted by the NAACP because of her provocative music and image. She disappeared from the media in the ’80s’ and the film is the first time she has addressed the public since she chose to live a quiet life. Betty – They Say I’m Different will premiere at the IDFA film festival in Amsterdam this month. U.S. distribution of the film is scheduled to take place in 2018.


Flying Lotus Brings 3D Tour To Detroit

Flying Lotus’3D Tour landed in Detroit last night at the Royal Oak Music Theater and his show was a colorful trip through pieces of mostly his catalog and music from his influences. His stage set consisted of a podium that resembled a mini volcano or a root and the 3D display behind him close to the ceiling. The audience wore the provided 3D glasses and got to experience holograms of skulls, flowers and falling heads. There were moments when a shimmering sarcophagus moved in the direction of the crowd and opened itself to invite them to lay inside it. They were also invited into a tunnel that disappeared as quickly as it seemed to materialize. Flying Lotus moved through a set that included a smoky background for the eerie “Coronus, The Terminator” but changed into a dance-worthy club atmosphere when he played Kendrick Lamar’s “King Kunta.” He directed the crowd’s exuberant singalongs to Thundercat’s “Friend Zone” and his “Never Catch Me” collaboration with Lamar. Before the evening was over he shared a snippet of new music with anderson.paak but stopped playing it after receiving a text from paak to keep it a secret. When he wasn’t performing his songs or those of his colleagues he took the time to play a piece of Parliament’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep.” The contrast of the music with the dreamlike 3D images made the show feel like a fun excursion that happily combined the virtual with the irreplaceable pleasure of the live communal experience.



Throwback: The Soul Searchers-Ashley’s Roachclip

Chuck Brown formed his Soul Searchers band in the late ’60’s after  studying Latin rhythms as a member of the Los Latinos Band and James Brown’s premier funk.  Salt Of The Earth (1974) was the second album for The Soul Searchers. “Ashley’s Roachclip” reflects the James Brown influence coming from guitarist Jimmy Nolen and it shows what The Soul Searchers sounded like before they developed their Go-Go sound. The instrumental funk track could have been used for a blaxploitation film. The relentless groove of “Ashley’s Roachclip” continues to attract successive generations of hip-hop producers. Chuck Brown is known nationally for the success of his 1978 hit “Bustin’ Loose” but The Soul Searchers were an institution in the D.C. area for the Go-Go sound.


Thundercat On The Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Thundercat appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert dressed as Chiaotzu from Dragonball Z to perform “Them Changes” from his latest album Drunk.