Aug 24, 2018

RhoDeo 1833 Grooves


Today's artists are an American R&B and funk band whose popularity began in the mid-1970s and ran through the 1980s. Influences included Earth, Wind & Fire; Commodores; Chaka Khan; and Sly and the Family Stone. Signed to Mercury Records in 1976, Con Funk Shun enjoyed a decade of successful national and overseas tours, eleven chart-topping albums, and numerous hit singles on the Top R&B Singles chart....N'Joy

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Con Funk Shun was formed by high-school classmates Michael Cooper and Louis "Tony" McCall, along with Karl Fuller, Paul "Maceo" Harrell, Dennis Johnson, Cedric Martin, and Danny "Sweet Man" Thomas. All of them had been playing together since their high-school days in Vallejo, CA. Felton Pilate, also from Vallejo, joined the group after his band, a local rival, disbanded.

In the early '70s, the group was a backup band for the Soul Children with the name Project Soul. And when they weren't on the road with the Soul Children, they were creatively working with various Stax staff writers. In the mid-'70s, Project Soul made an effort to become a headliner, but they met dead-ends and little success. However, they found good fortune at Audio Dimensions, a Memphis recording studio owned by producer Ted Sturges. Around this time, he group named itself after the title of one of their instrumentals, "Con Funk Shun." During their three-year stint at Audio Dimensions, Sturges, besides owning the studio, was also Con Funk Shun's producer. Their association resulted in the group's first album, Organized Con Funk Shun.

As their sound developed, Pilate and Cooper emerged as the primary lead vocalists. Around the time their first album for Crankshaft Productions, Inc. was being recorded, the eighth member, MC and technician Dennis Johnson, left the group to attend seminary in California. By 1976, the group signed to Mercury, where they remained for ten years. Their first hit for Mercury was "Ffun," written by Michael Cooper as a tribute to the R&B/funk band Brick. One of the premiere party funk bands of its time, they also began recording ballads and instrumental tracks by the early '80s. Aside from being the primary musicians on all their albums, Con Funk Shun also contributed to each of their albums as writers, arrangers, and/or producers.

Burnin' Love, the septet's last album with Mercury, was recorded without their longtime musical center, Felton Pilate, who left the group in 1986 to become a successful producer. (Pilate eventually became the musical force behind MC Hammer.) Melvin Carter, a frequent collaborator of Con Funk Shun, joined the group upon Pilate's exit, and that same year Michael Cooper left for a solo career. Con Funk Shun disbanded after their last album with Mercury, but reunited in the '90s, and began performing at festivals and concerts around the world.

Pilate became the in-house record producer and songwriter for M.C. Hammer and his record label Bust-It Records. He worked on several albums for the company, including Hammer's Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em album, as well as the bulk of Special Generation's 1990 début album, Take It to the Floor. Lead singer Michael Cooper embarked on a successful career as a solo artist, releasing his solo début album Love Is Such A Funny Game on Warner Bros. Records in 1987, and releasing the 1989 album Just What I Like and the 1992 album Get Closer on Warner Bros.' sister label Reprise Records.

As recently as 2013, their eleven Mercury Records albums, along with their Greatest Hits and Best Of Con Funk Shun albums, continue to be remastered and released digitally. In 2015, the More Than Love album was released. Three of the original band members, Michael Cooper, Felton Pilate and Karl Fuller, currently tour as Con Funk Shun. In March 2017, they celebrated their 45th anniversary as a band with four sold-out shows at Yoshi's in Oakland, California

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This self-titled 1976 release was Con Funk Shun's first album for Mercury/Polygram, and it came at a time when the northern California funk/soul outfit was still obscure -- not until 1977's Secrets did Con Funk Shun become well-known in the R&B world. Although mildly uneven and not in a class with subsequent gems like Secrets and Candy, Con-Funk-Shun isn't a bad album. In 1976, the band still had some growing and developing to do. But it did have a recognizable sound -- which is certainly a plus -- and one hears some potential on tracks that range from the snappy "Sure Feels Good to Me" and the Gamble & Huff-influenced "Nothing to Lose By Trying" to the glossy disco instrumental, "Foley Park." As a rule, Con Funk Shun wasn't a disco band -- it was a funk/soul band that branched out into urban contemporary in the 1980s. But "Foley Park" is the type of disco number that would have worked for the Crown Heights Affair or T-Connection. Overall, this LP's up-tempo funk and dance offerings are decent (if less than remarkable), and so are Northern soul-style ballads like "Never Be the Same" and "Another World." But here's the thing: Con Funk Shun's members had way too much talent to settle for merely decent. Felton Pilate and his colleagues needed to take it to the next level -- both creatively and commercially -- and they did exactly that the following year. With 1977's Secrets, Con Funk Shun enjoyed its big commercial breakthrough and made the transition from decent to excellent. You might say that this out of print LP was the calm before the storm. Although not among Con Funk Shun's essential releases and not recommended to casual listeners, this record is interesting if you're among the funksters' hardcore fans.

 Con Funk Shun - Con Funk Shun   (flac  247mb)

01 Music Is The Way 2:37
02 Tell Me That You Like It 2:58
03 Never Be The Same 4:25
04 Owe It To Myself 3:37
05 Foley Park 3:55
06 Nothing To Lose By Trying 3:41
07 Forever Just Ain't Long Enough 3:18
08 Another World 4:25
09 Sure Feels Good To Me 6:13

  Con Funk Shun - Con Funk Shun (ogg   99mb)

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Con Funk Shun's second album for Phonogram/Mercury, Secrets catapulted the group to national acclaim. The Vallejo, CA, natives presented a balance of songs featuring the smash single "Ffun," which hit the top of the R&B charts and also made the pop Top 40. That single was followed by "ConFunkShunizeYa"; with a catchy hook and swinging horns, it peaked at number 31. With the success of these two singles, the septet's name became popular among R&B lovers. Even though there were just two singles that charted from this album, any one of the tracks from this diverse collection could have easily made it to the charts. The title track is a laid-back, midtempo composition; "Indian Summer Love" is an uptempo instrumental utilizing the synthesizer technology of its day. Also, there are a few mellow compositions on this album, the first being "Who Has the Time," a social indictment of the public at large featuring Felton Pilate's resonating tenor. "Tears in My Eyes" showcases Pilate and Michael Cooper in an emotionally charged lyric, and "I'll Set You Out O.K." highlights Cooper's tenor and Pilate's falsetto in unison, rounded out by Paul Harrell's jazzy saxophone.

 Con Funk Shun - Secrets   (flac  254mb)

01 DooWhaChaWannaDoo 3:24
02 Who Has The Time 4:42
03 Indian Summer Love (Interlude) 0:40
04 Tears In My Eyes 4:01
05 Ffun 4:08
06 Secrets 4:15
07 ConFunkShunizeYa 4:24
08 I'll Set You Out O.K. 4:10
09 Indian Summer Love (Instrumental) 4:52

Con Funk Shun - Secrets (ogg  100mb)

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With some endearingly mellow grooves, California's Con Funk Shun continued to capitalize on their easy blend of soulful funk and disco across 1978's Loveshine. The band was enjoying their ascendancy to the spotlight on the back of their number one hit "Ffun," and used that momentum to power this new LP into the Top 40. Leaning more toward disco-inflected soul than the more classic jazzed funk of their earlier material, yet retaining the funky backbeat, Con Funk Shun swaggered through a slick set punctuated by the hits "So Easy" and "Shake and Dance With Me." Elsewhere, the catchy horn-heavy strains of "When the Feeling's Right" were proof that the band was not going to be any flash in the pan -- their quiet storm was here to stay. The contrasting style of the traditional ballad "I Think I Found the Answer," meanwhile, is a fine highlight of the band's overall range, although they slip with the middle of the road "Wanna Be There." With a plethora of instrumentation to complete the picture, including guest percussion from Sheila Escovedo, who would later emerge as the Prince protégée Sheila E, Loveshine is a gem of its era. And while purists may best love their early-'70s Soul Children Wattstax-era material, Loveshine kicked off their next incarnation in style, and gave the band the momentum that kept them firmly in the charts for nearly a decade.

Con Funk Shun - Loveshine (flac  253mb)

01 So Easy 4:30
02 Magic Woman 4:14
03 Shake And Dance With Me 3:49
04 Make It Last 5:02
05 Loveshine 4:45
06 When The Feeling's Right 5:35
07 I Think I Found The Answer 4:30
08 Wanna Be There 4:21
09 Can't Go Away 3:57

Con Funk Shun - Loveshine (ogg  98mb)

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Continuing their association with veteran producer Skip Scarborough and riding high on the success of their prior albums, Con Funk Shun maintain that stride on this album with the funk-dance track "Got to Be Enough." With an energized introduction incorporating their trademark horns, Michael Cooper storms through the verses, while Felton Pilate accentuates the chorus with his high-flying falsetto. Penned by Cooper and Pilate, the single peaked on the Billboard R&B charts at number eight after an 18-week run. The credible yet less popular dance track "Happy Face" slipped into the Billboard R&B Top 100 Singles chart at number 87. On a more serene note, they followed that single up with "By Your Side," a dulcet, easy-flowing composition led by Pilate's consoling vocals, peaking at number 27 on the Billboard R&B charts. "All Up to You," a momentum-building song, and "Honey Wild" did not grace the charts, although they are two splendid ballads. Both songs are complemented by Pilate's vocal creativity. This album exceeded sales of 500,000.

Con Funk Shun - Spirit Of Love (flac  250mb)

01 Got To Be Enough 5:42
02 By Your Side 4:06
03 Curtain Call 3:58
04 Early Morning Sunshine 3:08
05 Spirit Of Love 4:20
06 Happy Face 3:51
07 All Up To You 5:31
08 Juicy 2:53
09 Honey Wild 4:11
10 Lovestruck 1980 3:58

Con Funk Shun - Spirit Of Love (ogg  161mb)

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