Friday, May 4, 2012

"Disco To Go" By The Brides of Funkenstein: Jumbo-Sized Funk

P-Funk disciples the Brides of Funkenstein scored their biggest hit with the hugely funky single "Disco To Go" in 1978. It's a colossal groove that hits on all cylinders. I'd say it's up there with some of the funkiest tracks in the P-Funk canon. Bootsy Collins' Space Bass is on full funk mode here. His bass line is similar to the one on Funkadelic's "Stuffs and Things" but slowed down a bit to ensure maximum funkatude. "Disco To Go" was originally slated to be the title track for Bootsy's Rubber Band's second album, which is not surprising considering the groove sounds so much like a Bootsy joint.

The track is like a funk battle cry with the Brides leading the charge. They sound like two badass amazonian soul sisters heading a funk brigade. The great horn work on the track was arranged by keyboard maven Bernie Worrell and trombonist Fred Wesley, who was the musical director of James Brown's legendary band the J.B.'s.  It's funny that the word "Disco" is in the title of the song, as there's nothing disco about it. The groove is full-on stank, gutbucket funk, not disco by any stretch. The track kicks off with a James Brown-style intro, which also closes out the song. The groove is just a funk wrecking ball, destroying all that's in its path.

"Disco To Go" is from the Brides of Funkenstein's debut album Funk Or Walk. The song was co-written by Bootsy and George Clinton and did quite well on the charts. It went to number seven on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles charts and was certified Gold with more than 500,000 units sold.

The Brides of Funkenstein were formed in 1978 and consisted of Lynn Mabry and Dawn Silva, who were previously backup singers with Sly & the Family Stone. The two joined the P-Funk army in the mid '70s. They toured and recorded with the monster funk/rock collective, providing background vocals on a slew of hit tracks, including classics "Flash Light," "One Nation Under a Groove" "Bop Gun (Endangered Species)" and "Aqua Boogie."

Mabry left P-Funk in '79 and later resurfaced as a backup singer for Talking Heads during their highly successful Stop Making Sense tour in 1983. She also appears in the award-winning documentary Stop Making Sense (1984). At this time, Mabry was a highly respected and much-sought-after background vocalist, touring with top music acts such as George Michael, Stevie Nicks, Bette Midler and Rita Coolidge. She's currently a business partner with Sheila E. In 2001, the two established Elevate Hope Foundation to help abused and abandoned children.

Following Mabry's departure, the Brides of Funkenstein morphed into a trio. P-Funk backup singers  the Bridesmaids--Sheila Horne and Jeanette McGruder--joined Silva as the reformed Brides of Funkenstein.  In 1979, the newly formed Brides of Funkenstein released the album Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy. The album earned the Brides a Cashbox Rhythm & Blues Award in 1981 for "Best Female Group." The album's title track, "Never Buy Texas From A Cowboy," became a hit in Europe, Asia and the Midwest.  The album resurfaced in 2001 when Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the "top 50 coolest albums of all time."

Silva left P-Funk in 1981 and recorded and toured with the Gap Band the following year. She signed a solo recording deal with Polygram Records in 1988, but her debut album on the label was never released. Her first solo album, All My Funky Friends, was released in Europe on Musisoft (Paris France) in December of 2000 and sold thousands of units. The collection was lauded by Tower Records as the only authentic funk album to be released in more than 20 years. In addition to P-Funk, the Gap Band and the Brides of Funkenstein, some of Silva's other recording and touring credits include Ice Cube, Roy Ayers, Coolio, B.B. King and Snoop Dogg.

Related blog entry: The Brides of Funkenstein Perform "Birdie" Live

Purchase Funk Or Walk CD at Amazon

No comments: