- Funky Drummer
Name = Funky Drummer
from Album =
In the Jungle Groove
A-side = "Funky Drummer - Pt. 1"
B-side = "Funky Drummer - Pt. 2"
Released = March 1970
Format = 7"
November 20 1969
Length = Varies by release
Label = King
Writer = James Brown
Producer = James Brown
Last single =
This single =
Next single =
Misc = Extra musicsample
Type = single
filename = Funky_Drummer_sample.ogg
title = Funky Drummer
artist = James Brown
description = A sample from the beginning of the song.
"Funky Drummer" (also known as "The Funky Drummer") is a
funksong recorded by James Brown and his band. The recording's drum solo, performed by drummer Clyde Stubblefield, is one of the most frequently sampled rhythmic breaks in hip hop and drum and bassmusic. By some accounts "Funky Drummer" is the single most sampled recording ever. WW [ [http://www.webwire.com/ViewPressRel.asp?aId=16717 James Brown - the world’s most sampled recording artist is back!] . (2006, July 14). "WebWire". Retrieved February 13, 2007] who
"Funky Drummer" was recorded on
November 20, 1969in Cincinnati, Ohioand originally released by King Records as a two-part 45 rpm single in March 1970. Despite rising to #20 on the R&B chart and #51 on the pop chart, it did not receive an albumrelease until the 1986 compilation " In the Jungle Groove".
The piece takes the form of an extended vamp, with individual instruments (mostly the
tenor saxophones and organ) improvising brief licks on top. Brown's ad-libbed vocals on "Funky Drummer" are sporadic and declamatory, and are mostly concerned with encouraging the other band members.
As in the full-length version of "
Cold Sweat" he announces the upcoming drum break, which comes late in the recording, with a request to "give the drummer some." He tells Stubblefield "You don't have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got... Don't turn it loose, 'cause it's a mother." And indeed Stubblefield's eight-bar unaccompanied "solo" is a slightly modified version of the same riffhe plays through most of the piece.
After the drum break, the band returns to the original vamp. Brown, apparently impressed with what Stubblefield has produced, seems to name the song on the spot as it continues, and repeats it: "The name of this tune is 'The Funky Drummer', 'The Funky Drummer', 'The Funky Drummer'." The recording ends with a
repriseof Stubblefield's solo and a fade-out.
More than one mix of "Funky Drummer" was made around the time it was recorded, including one with
tambourineand another with vocal percussionby Brown and trombonist Fred Wesley; the most commonly-heard version of the track lacks these elements, which were apparently overdubbed. Releases of the track on CDrange in length from 5:34 to 9:13.
In addition to the original version of "Funky Drummer", the album "In the Jungle Groove" includes a "bonus beat reprise" of the piece. This track, edited by Danny Krivit, consists of a 3-minute loop of the drum break, punctuated only by Brown's sampled vocal interjections and an occasional guitar chord and tambourine hit.
James Brown- vocals, organ
"with the James Brown Orchestra:"
*Richard "Kush" Griffith -
*Joe Davis - trumpet
Fred Wesley- trombone
Maceo Parker- tenor saxophone
*Eldee Williams - tenor saxophone
Jimmy Nolen- guitar
*Alphonso "Country" Kellum - guitar
*Charles Sherrell - bass
Clyde Stubblefield- drums
Produced by James Brown
Uses of the drum break
The "Funky Drummer" break has been used in literally hundreds of hip hop recordings, including famous tracks by Public Enemy,
Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, A Tribe Called Questand Big Daddy Kane. Its use was especially prolific during the 1980s before unlicensed sampling became illegal. Rapper and producer Edan's mixtape"Sound of the Funky Drummer" features only tracks which use the "Funky Drummer" beat. Public Enemy, X-Clan, and the Beastie Boyshave all merged "Funky Drummer" with the descending guitar riff of the Black Flag song "Rise Above" (from the "Damaged" album).Fact|date=March 2008
Many pop recordings outside the hip-hop genre have also sampled the "Funky Drummer" break, including
Sinéad O'Connor's song "I Am Stretched On Your Grave", Amon Tobin's "The Sighting" from the album " Adventures in Foam", George Michael's "Waiting For That Day (You Can't Always Get What You Want)", Pizzicato Five's "Baby Love Child", and Sublime's cover of the Grateful Dead's "Scarlet Begonias". A variation of the "Funky Drummer" rhythm was used in "Burning Bridges" (the theme song from the film " Kelly's Heroes") by The Mike Curb Congregation, and in Shep Pettibone's mix of Madonna's " Justify My Love". More recently, Dido has used the sample for her hit single " Here with Me".
In some recordings the "Funky Drummer" beat is mechanically slowed down or sped up. Other recordings do not sample the original recording of the "Funky Drummer" break, but a re-recording of the same beat by a studio drummer.
Rappers who sample James Brown's recordings have included references to him, Stubblefield, and the song's title in their lyrics, two examples being
LL Cool Jin "Boomin' System" ("The girlies, they smile, they see me comin, I'm steady hummin, I got the Funky Drummer drummin") and Public Enemy in " Fight the Power" ("1989 - the number, another summer / Sound of the Funky Drummer...").
The "Funky Drummer" beat was so widely used that it eventually became something of a musical
cliché, and performers began referring to it sarcastically. MC Frontalot's song "Good Old Clyde" comments on the widespread appropriation of the "Funky Drummer" beat (while exploiting the beat itself). [ [http://frontalot.com/index.php/content.php?page=lyrics&lyricid=13 MC Frontalot :: Lyric :: Good Old Clyde ] ] Masta Ace's song "Boom Bashin'" includes the line "So what, I use Funky Drummer, suck my dick." [http://www.ohhla.com/anonymous/mastaase/slaughta/bashin.ase.txt] Pop Will Eat Itself's song "Not Now, James, We're Busy" samples Brown's vocal asides from "Funky Drummer" as well as the drum break, weaving them into a commentary on Brown's legal troubles.
"The Funky Drummer" is also sometimes used as a
nicknamefor Clyde Stubblefield, who capitalized on the name with his 1997 album "Revenge of the Funky Drummer". As a session drummer, Stubblefield received no further compensation for the many samples that were taken from the recording. [ [http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=5231 James Brown, Clyde Stubblefield and the Madison Area Music Awards] . (2007, January 4). "Isthmus". Retrieved February 13, 2007.] He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin.
* Leeds, Alan M., and Harry Weinger (1991). Star Time: Song by Song. In "Star Time" (pp. 46-53) [CD liner notes] . London: Polydor Records.
* White, Cliff (1991). Discography. In "Star Time" (pp. 54-59) [CD liner notes] . London: Polydor Records.
Think (About It)
* [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=33:uh9ss335a3mg All Music Guide song review of "Funky Drummer"]
* [http://www.the-breaks.com/search.php?term=Funky+Drummer&type=4 List Of Songs That Sample "Funky Drummer"]
* [http://www.joejahnigen.com/grooves.htm Website of local Cincinnati Drummer Joe Jahnigen featuring the original recording of "Funky Drummer", a transcription, and his own version of the beat]
* [http://new.music.yahoo.com/playlist/4582F578-674B-4C19-9C79-B6EEBB0C6622 xspf playlist of the original Funky Drummer track as well as other popular tracks that are based on the break]
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