Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Language Changes

In the 60s and 70s, Black Music was one of the biggest creative forces around.  Whether it was Motown or some of the other more obscure labels, it was easy for a person in or near a big city to hear the beauty of RnB floating out of the inner cities.   Parliament Funkadelic called it the Chocolate Cities and the Vanilla Suburbs.

I guess I was in a very vanilla suburb that had a taste for chocolate music.  

I've always liked bouncy dance music, and back then it was Funk and Disco.  Both came from the tradition of Black Music, and they morphed into many of the forms of music that we listen to even today.  Disco didn't die, it became Rap and Trance and all that bar music you hear when you're out on a Saturday Night.  Tony Manero couldn't have danced without it back then and his kids couldn't do it today without the valuable contribution of the Black Communities in this country and the world.   We owe an artistic debt to those people that may never be repaid.

Listening to a retro dance station today still has that division between funk and disco.  Disco stations tend to have calcified into the same 50 or so tracks, but luckily I've found a good one at Diva Disco that plays the obscure tracks that I listened and enjoyed much more than the standards.  This is typical of any given "oldies" format.  Tune into a 50s station and you'll soon hear Elvis and some of those old doo-wop songs that were derivative of the Black Music of the day.

Being a music of sub-culture that influenced the greater culture from within, you would have some interesting bits of that culture pop out and become common for a while.  Even the word Funk itself had a much different connotation back then.  You still hear people say that something is funky, but rarely is it because it moves you.  If it does move you, and it is Funky, it is to drop it in the washing machine and run it through a hot wash.

That was the point.  Pop culture having the life span of a Mayfly will make things prominent that in 10 or 20 years sound funny.

Listening to a particular song, We Got The Funk by Positive Force this morning wasn't anything new.  Its a cute piece of pop that always has me smiling.  Today I found myself quoting it.

Bernard's got the funk, he's got the funk, yeah!
Kitchee's got the funk, she's got the funk, yeah!
We all got the funk, We got the funk, Yeah!

And as I'm quoting it in a deadpan baritone, I hear from the other room "Maybe they ought to clean it, it sounds like that funk is spreading!".

Laughing about it, I thought today I'll get some cleaning done to get rid of some of the funk while listening to the funk!

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