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The Funk Show
Concerts of My Youth: Randalls Island 1973 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Monday, 01 August 2011 09:32

My memory of Randall's Island: The 1973 blanket FUNK festival 

Funkadelic circa 1973

Funkadelic circa 1973

It was advertised as New York City's first blanket festival. All of my heroes were to perform on stage and I knew that I had to be there. The event was to take place at Downing Stadium on Randall's Island. The date was Saturday July 23, 1973 and the show was to begin at 7:00 PM. I was 16 years old and my buddy Keith and I traveled on the train from Yonkers to eye witness Funkadelic and all of the rest of the black rock and psychedelic acts that day. The bill for the “Blanket Festival” featured Mandrill, Rare Earth, Osibisa, the Buddy Miles Express, and Funkadelic. This was my dream concert, my Woodstock.  I knew every recording that these groups had released plus their history. When we arrived inside Downing Stadium, the first thing that I noticed was the mass of people. Downing Stadium was a soccer stadium and the stands were partially full. The stage was set up on the field at one end with what looked like thousands of people laying on blankets waiting for the show to begin facing the stage. Everywhere you looked people were carrying wine pouches and you could smell the ethnic foods that they were eating on their picnic blankets. The other smell that hit you when you first entered the stadium was that of marijuana, it was everywhere. Everyone appeared to be having a good time and enjoying themselves. The audience was predominately African-American, Puerto Rican and a small amount of whites.The sun started to go down a little and the stage lights came on and it was announced that Funkadelic was about to come on. They came out wearing Indian head dresses and opened up with one of their early recordings like “Hit It and Quit” or “I’ll Bet Ya”. This was followed by “I Call My Baby Pussycat”. Keith and I moved down into the large mass of people that fronted the stage. The vocal group Parliament left the stage as the Funkadelic musicians began playing “Maggot Brain” under a red spotlight. Under the layers of sound by Funkadelic you could hear voices from within the crowd that were not cheers. Suddenly, the crowd began to push backwards and forwards. Someone in the crowd was in a fight. This ended within a few minutes and then a fight appeared elsewhere in the crowd again. This happened three times or more before Funkadelic finished their act.

Mandrill circa 1973

Mandrill circa 1973

Fights erupted in different sections of the stadium on the field and a portion of the mass of people began to run and stampeded over the people who were sitting and lying on their picnic blankets. It was like a riot scene. After-wards it looked like refugees in a war torn country walking in circles in a daze. The show continued with a long intermission.

During intermission it was announced that Mandrill would be next and the crowd erupted in applause. Mandrill had arrived! You could feel the excitement. It was a mass of people all around you. I didn’t notice the three white guys riding 10 speed bikes until they were attacked by a gang of black youth. It only lasted minutes, as they swarmed on them like ants, beating them savagely and taking away their bikes. Suddenly, a man jumped over the heads of everyone like Bruce Lee and began kicking and hitting the thugs with karate chops and the four of five of them were lying on the ground helpless. They quickly got up and ran away. The crowd began to cheer for the unknown superhero who returned to his girlfriend and disappeared into the mass of people. The bikes were returned to the three men. It was about that time that you could hear the trombones and trumpets of Mandrill as they took the stage. Everyone went crazy for Mandrill, the Puerto Rican fans were especially excited. They played “Ape Is High”, “Fencewalk”, “Mandrill”, “Git It All” plus other fantastic hits. I do not believe that Mandrill had a chance to finish their act, because more fights broke out during the performance. Mandrill left the stage and I felt a great disappointment. 

There was talk amongst the crowd that it was rumored that the rest of the show may be canceled. Everyone waited for a long time until the dreaded announcement came that the show was over. They asked everyone to exit the stadium. I never got a chance to see Rare Earth, the Buddy Miles Express, or  Osibisa that day. I felt cheated to have missed the opportunity to finally see the groups whose albums I owned and enjoyed so much.

NY's first blanket festival 7/23/73

NY's first blanket festival 7/23/73

I had a second and third chance, because there was a “blanket festival” in 1974 and 1975 as well. They all featured Funkadelic and Mandrill who managed to complete their shows and were billed with the Tower of Power (featuring Lenny Williams), Bloodstone, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, the Jimmy Castor Bunch and a few others that I cannot remember (possibly the Ohio Players, Billy Preston and Kool & the Gang). These are great memories of a young Chaka Khan in her prime, Jimmy Castor battling King Kong in chains on stage and Lenny Williams belting out “What is Hip” and of course more fights. Randall’s Island is a memory that I cannot forget.

Back then I never would have imagined that I would be in radio and have the opportunity to interview Lou Wilson and Rick Wilson from Mandrill, Buddy Miles, Jimmy Castor, George Clinton and Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic, Tony Maiden, Kevin Murphy and Bobby Watson of Rufus, Gil Bridges of Rare Earth, and Emillo Castillo of the Tower of Power. I have even communicated by e-mail with Teddy Osei of Osbisia about an interview. He is in London. In my prepared list of questions for each of these artists, I had one common question “Do you remember the Randalls Island Concerts?” The reaction that I received from most of the people was “Man do I ever! That was wild!”.  I asked Gil Bridges why Rare Earth did not come on stage and play. They apparently were to follow Mandrill. He said that they never got out of the limousine and when they pulled up to the stage everyone was fighting and people were on stage playing and grabbing their instruments so they left.

Even after all of this, the Randalls Island Concert of 1973 remains one of my fondest concert experiences of my lifetime.

For the Funk Show, I’m Howard Burchette.

Last Updated on Sunday, 07 August 2011 09:19
 
Keeping The Funk Alive! PDF Print E-mail

THIS IS The FUNK SHOW!

The Funk Show is a weekly musical three hour syndicated radio program hosted by Howard Burchette. The program features the Funk and Soul from the 1960’s through the 1980’s. The Funk was a style of R&B that developed between the 1960’s and the early 1970’s. The majority of the programs that you will hear on The Funk Show are of a variety format featuring different artists from Sly to James Brown to Hendrix to P-Funk and others. Even though the title of the show is called The Funk Show, the root of the program is Soul Music. The familiar hits that you know are played as well as unfamiliar recordings by these artists and acts. Interviews and highlights of individual artists has become a popular feature of the program. Current music by the artists is featured in interviews. Preserving the history of the music is our mission.

The Funk Show airs Saturdays 4-7 PM EST on 90.7 WNCU FM

http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/wncu/ppr/index.shtml

 

You can also hear programs that I produce on PRX (Public Radio Exchange). I have a variety of one hour programs that range from R&B, Jazz Blues, World music, holiday music, Classical and Country. The programs are divided up into a music series which includes Soul Roots, Jazz Time, Holiday Classics, My County Music Magic, De Natural Blues, the Classics and others.

Some archived FUNK SHOW programs can be listened to at PRX (Public Radio Exchange) as well.

The URL for PRX is:

http://www.prx.org/

Type Howard Burchette in the SEARCH Window and you will see all of my archived shows that I have posted.

 
Durham, North Carolina - The City of Soul! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Friday, 27 March 2009 08:02

Durham, North Carolina - The City of Soul!

Hayti was a historic African American section of Durham, North Carolina that existed before integration. Hayti had its own shopping, businesses, churches, and cultural attractions. It was the home of the North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company, Lincoln Hospital and North Carolina College for Negroes, latter renamed North Carolina Central University. Only the best of entertainment passed through Durham in those days. Two places where one could see acts like Clyde Mcphatter and Ike and Tina Turner was at the Biltmore Hotel and the Regal Theatre. The spirit of Hayti existed in its people and this is homage to few of them.

 

Here Comes The Judge! The Genius of Pigmeat Markham

   Dewey Pigmeat Markham was born in Durham on April 18, 1904. His family lived on Markham Street and it is believed that the city named it in his honor. History remembers him as a comedian. He was also a singer, actor and a dancer. He left Durham as a teenager to join a carnival and began his career traveling in musical shows. During the 1920's he traveled with the Bessie Smith Show around the country. Early in the heyday of black vaudeville, he wore black face and painted his lips white. He was one of the most popular entertainers at the world Famous Apollo Theatre early in his career until the 1960's. He appeared in 14 race films or all black cast movies from 1940 until 1947 and another film in 1954. Some of the titles were "Pigmeat Throws The Bull" (1945), "Pigmeat’s Laugh Hepcats" (1947), "Burlesque In Harlem" (1954) plus others. From 1953 until 1963 he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show 14 times. Most people will remember Pigmeat Markham as the Judge on Rowan & Martin's Laugh In 1968. He was brought to the show by Sammy Davis Jr.

    Pigmeat Markham recorded several classic comedy albums in the 1960's on Chess and Jewel Records. Some of the titles were "The Trial - Presided By The Judge Pigmeat Markham", "Here Comes The Judge", "The Crap-Shooting Rev", "Backstage", "If You Can't Be Good Be Careful", "This'ill Kill Ya!", "Anything Goes With Pigmeat", "Tune Me In', "At The Party", "Will The Real Pigmeat Please Sit Down", "Anything Goes With Pigmeat Markham", "The World's Greatest Clown", "Open The Door Richard", "Mr. Funnyman", "One More Time - Pigmeat Markham and Moms Mabley", "Mr. Vaudeville", "Save Your Soul Baby", "The Hustlers", "Pigment’s Bag", plus others. One of his greatest stand up comedy routines was "Have You Seen My Wife?"

    In 1968 Pigmeat Markham released "Here Comes The Judge / The Trial" as a 45 single on Chess. "The Trial" was a comedy routine and "Here Comes The Judge" was a funky rendition of "The Trial". The funky version was popular on black AM urban radio that year. Dewey Pigmeat Markham passed on December 13, 1981 in New York City and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx.

Pigmeat Markham (April 18, 1904 – December 13, 1981)

Pigmeat Markham (April 18, 1904 – December 13, 1981)

 

The Prince of Rhythm and Blues: The Clyde McPhatter Story   

The great Clyde Linsey McPhatter was born in Durham on November 15, 1932. His parents were George and Beulah McPhatter. George McPhatter was a minster at The Mount Calvary Baptist Church and his mother was the organist. Young Clyde and his siblings received their musical lineage in their parent’s church. The McPhatter family moved from Durham, North Carolina to New York City when Clyde was 13. By 1945 Clyde McPhatter was a member of a gospel group called The Mount Lebanon Singers. Two members of the sextet were Wilmer and David Baldwin, who were brothers of author James Baldwin. He became a winner at Amateur Night of the world famous Apollo Theatre. By 1950 he was lead tenor of a group called The Ques which included pianist Billy Ward. That same year the group began calling them selves The Dominos or Billy Ward and His Dominos. The group recorded for Federal Records and one of their more popular hits was Sixty Minute Man”. The Dominos also recorded a few sides with Little Esther Phillips during this period. This lasted for three years. In 1953 he left Billy Ward and His Dominos to form a new group in which he was lead singer. They called themselves The Drifters. The Drifters featuring Clyde McPhatter recording hits like Money Honey”, “Lucille”, “White Christmas” and others. The Drifters recorded for Atlantic Records. His career with The Drifters only lasted one year because by 1954 he was drafted into the US Army. In 1955 he was able to record a duet with Ruth Brown on Atlantic entitled “Love Has Joined Us Together / I Gotta Have You”.  

            Atlantic recorded the first solo music by Clyde McPhatter in 1956. His big hit record was “A Lover's Question” released in 1958 on Atlantic. From 1959 through 1960 he began to record for MGM Records. Atlantic released five records credited to Clyde McPhatter, but they actually only included The Drifters.  From 1960 until 1965 he recorded for Mercury Records. While at Mercury he released a classic live album recorded at the Apollo Theater. His drummer this time was a young Bill Curtis who would form The Fatback Band in the 1970’s. In-between 1965 and 1970 Clyde McPhatter recorded and released ten singles for the AMY, Deram, B&C, and Decca record companies.

Clyde McPhatter (November 15, 1932 – June 13, 1972)

Clyde McPhatter (November 15, 1932 – June 13, 1972)


             Clyde McPhatter's competition was probably Sam Cook who was popular in the music charts as well as Jackie Wilson plus the new configuration of  The Drifters. He never acclaimed the historical achievements as Sam Cook, but his place cannot be denied. Clyde McPhatter died on June 13, 1972 in New York.  He was posthumously admitted into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame in 1987. The Original Drifters in which he was the lead singer of were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. The United States Postal Service (USPS) issued a stamp with the image of Clyde McPhatter honoring him in 1993. His memorable song “Money Honey” with The Drifters was inducted into The Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999.

Clyde McPhatter the Prince of Rhythm and Blues (R&B)         

 

 

I Can't Fight Your Love: The SOUL of The Modulations

The Modulations were formed in Durham in the mid 1970’s. It was a vocal quartet who released a classic album on Buddah Records in 1975.  The name of the album was entitled “Its Rough Out Here”. The first single that was released was “I'm Hopelessly In Love / What Good Am I” and became a hit on urban FM radio in 1973.  Their second single was also a hit entitled “I Can't Fight Your Love / Your Love Has Me Locked Up” in 1974.  The song “I Can't Fight Your Love” was arranged by Vince Montana of MFSB and The Salsoul Orchestra.

Other popular recordings from the album were “Rough Out Here”, “Worth Your Weight In Gold”, and “Those Were The Best Days Of My Life”. Norman Harris was one of the main producers on the album with MFSB as the recording band. The Modulations were Larry Duncan, Henry O. Channell, Hoyal Saunders, and Larry "Little Nick" Allen. The Modulations actually recorded a second album, but was never released. The album was finally available on CD as a Japanese import from the P-Vine Label with limited availability. The Modulations also appeared on Soul Train! in 1976. Also appearing on the show with them was Wilson Pickett and Betty Wright. One historic concert in which The Modulations appeared in Durham was at the County Stadium where The Modulations shared the stage with The O’Jays and The Newbirth. Local Durham musician Willie Hill began his career as a bassist in The Modulations touring band.

The Modulations - It's Rough Out Here (1975: Buddah)

The Modulations - It's Rough Out Here (1975: Buddah)

 

 

NCCU (aka New Central Connection Unlimited): Durham Contributes To The FUNK!    

N.C.C.U. was formed at North Carolina Central University in the 1970’s. The group was comprised up of students who were attending the university. They were Stanley Baird (Saxophone), Thomas 'Bonnie' Clyde (alto sax, synthesizer and electric piano), Marion 'Mouse' Wiggins (trumpet, flugelhorn and synthesizer), Charlie Brown (drums)’ Norris 'Country' Duckett (guitar), Aaron 'Electric Man ' Mills (bass) and Clifton Cotton (organ). Jazz musician Donald Byrd had taught music at Howard University and helped develop a group of students called The Blackbyrds. The group had taken their name from a classic Donald Byrd album called Blackbyrd. The Blackbyrds are known for classic hits like “Walking In Rhythm”, “Rock Creek Park” and others. After his tenure at Howard University Doctor Donald Byrd came to North Carolina Central University as an instructor and helped to develop N.C.C.U.  Their only album was released in 1976 on United Artists Records under the name of “Super Trick”. The title track was co written by Aaron Mills and T. Clyde. Their one charted hit was “Bull City Party” co written by Stanley Baird and Donald Byrd. The album was produced by Donald Byrd and N.C.C.U. toured with The Blackbyrds.

Stanley Baird continues to work with his own band today called The Stanley Baird Group, Aaron Mills became the bassist for Cameo and currently works in the Durham area with his band called The Aaron Mills Project. He first apears in 1979 on the Cameo album "Secret Omen", then "Cameosis", "Feel Me", "Knights Of The Sound Table", "Word Up!", "Machismo", "Real Men Wear Black" and "Nasty". Aaron Mills also appeared with Cameo on the Charles Earland album "Earland's Jam".  Many of his fans will want to know that he is the bassist on the OutKast hit record "Miss Jackson". Norris Duckett and Stanley Baird had also been in a North Carolina band called Innersouls.

N.C.C.U. - Super Trick (United Artists 1977)

N.C.C.U. - Super Trick (United Artists 1977)

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 March 2013 20:04
 
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The Funk Show's Tribute to Michael Jackson

The Jackson Five - Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 (Motown: 1969)

The Jackson Five - Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5 (Motown: 1969)

  Michael Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009) One of the world's greatest entertainers passed away at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009. He has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice. In 2002 Jackson was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was awarded 13 Grammy awards and recorded 13 number one hits as a solo artist. He was a genius as an entertainer, singer, dancer, and record producer. Many entertainers over the years have mimicked him in every way to achieve success for themselves. At his death, the media compared him to Elvis Presley and The Beetles, however he was bigger than that. Michael Jackson appealed to all audiences white, black and all people around the world. No other entertainer including Elvis and the Beetles have achieved this. The media crowned him The King of Pop. Actually, he was much bigger than that.

Jackson 5 Publicity Photo circa 1970

Jackson 5 Publicity Photo circa 1970

    The Jackson family comes from Gary Indiana. The family act included Michael, Marlon, Jackie, Tito and Jermaine. The Jackson Five first began recording in 1967 with a local record company called Steeltown Records. The first recording was "Big Boy" followed by "You Don't Have to Be Over 21". The recordings at Steel Town were regional hits. The story of The Jackson Five changed after Motown star Bobby Taylor introduced them to Susan DePasse. She then set up an audition with Berry Gordy who did not want another kid act. He already had young Stevie Wonder in his stable. The story goes that after seeing The Jackson Five perform, it reminded him of Frankie Lymon. The first album in 1969 was released as "Diana Ross Presents the Jackson Five". It was a marketing gimmick to monopolize on the popular Diana Ross to push record sales. The first release was "I Want You Back" which went up to #1 and the flip side of the 45 "Who's Loving You" also went to #1. The album also included "Can You Remember" a Delfonics tune which supposedly was going to be their first release. The group would include the tune in one of their first television appearances; "Motown At The Hollywood Palace". They also appeared on The Ed Sullivan show that same year in 1969. In 1970 the J5 & Motown released three albums. They were "ABC", "Third Album" and "The Jackson Five Christmas Album". These albums gave us "The Love You Save", "ABC", "I Found That Girl", "I'll Be There", "Mamma's Pearl', "Going Back To Indiana", "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "I Saw Mommie Kissing Santa Claus". The 1971 album "Maybe Tomorrow" contained the hit "Never Can Say Good-bye". Motown began releasing solo albums by Michael Jackson in 1972 totaling four. They produced hits like "Got To Be There", "Ben", "I Wanna Be Where You Are" and "Rockin Robin"

Michael Jackson - Got to Be There (Motown 1972)

Michael Jackson - Got to Be There (Motown 1972)

     The Jackson Five created a craze in-between 1969 and 1974. Jacksonmania began in 1969 with Jackson Five merchandise like lunch boxes, posters, and just about anything with the J5 image. A new teen magazine entitled Right On! was dedicated to The Jackson Five. They had three television shows, two TV specials, a variety show and also a Saturday morning cartoon show. Also all record companies and talent scouts were trying to ride the success of The Jackson Five by creating their own J5 type of act. The Five Stairsteps, The Sylvers (formally The Little Angels) and The Osmond Brothers all family acts were already active in the business before the J5. However, acts like The Ponderosa Twins #1, Black Ivory, The 8 Minutes, Chee Chee & Peppy, The Brighter Side of Darkness, Foster Sylvers, The Young Gents, Sister Sledge, Sunday's Child, Spoonbread, Shuggie Otis, Loves Children, Jimmy Briscoe & The Little Beavers, Bongi & Judy, Dexter Redding, Lucky Peterson, Brotherly Love, The Newcomers and others began to appear. None of these acts achieved the success of The Jackson Five. All of these groups were super talented, but the J5 had one element that no one else had; it was Michael Jackson.

    In 1975 The Jackson Five left Motown for CBS changing the name to The Jacksons leaving Jermaine as a solo artist with Motown. The Jacksons had success with hits like "Enjoy Yourself" and "Shake Your Body" with the new label. In 1978 Michael Jackson starred in the movie adaptation of the Broadway play The Wiz with Diana Ross. A year latter his "Off The Wall" album was released selling 20 million copies. The album featured "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough" and "Rock With You". The year 1982 was the year of "Thriller", which was the greatest selling album in history. A historic video or short film accompanied "Thiller" which was based on the movies "I Was A Teenage Werewolf " and Night Of The Living Dead". In the year 1987, he released "Bad" which also broke records selling 30 million copies. It also contained five #1 hit singles. The "Dangerous" album was released in 1991 selling 32 million copies.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

    Michael Jackson will live forever through his music. The world will never see another person quite like him. Individuals like this only come once in a lifetime. The media hounded him and a negative picture was painted by them of him. What people could never take away from Michael Jackson was that he was pure GENIUS!

The Funk Show

 
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