For a couple of years, some of my friends and I have been sharing music with one another. We’re supposed to review/rate whatever’s shared with us, but that doesn’t always happen.
The Sound Stylistics – Play Deep Funk (2002)
This instrumental album was recorded and released in 2002, but didn’t have widespread distribution on a major label until years later. Even then, unless you’re into funk (like Spencer), you probably never heard of it. Although if you’re really into funk, you probably heard about it back in 2002. The point is that while this sounds (and looks) like it’s almost 50 years old, it isn’t.
Here’s how I judge if something is good funk or not. Does it make me want to move my body? Then it’s good funk. These white Brit boys know how to make a groove. The Player’s Theme reminded me of something that would have been in the new Ocean’s 11 (or 12 or 13) film, although some of the aux. percussion was a bit loud in the mix.
Spencer said he has a hard time playing “name that tune” with this album, and he’s right. Instrumental albums tend to blend together, and this was no exception. It was a like an hour long party. And I don’t know if I was actually more impressed by the first part of the album, or if it just started to be not so new and impressed me less as the album went on. The last third of the album especially flew by. 3.24/5
My Man Friday – Monkey Business (1997)
Spencer probably could have seen this coming.
Last Friday (after going to an Orson Scott Card book signing), I went to a free concert in Provo featuring The Aquabats! and My Man Friday and another band that I missed because I was talking to Scott Card. I’ve already shared The Aquabats!, but not My Man Friday.
So now I am. They are local ska legends and are one of a couple of bands who put Utah on the international ska scene map. But when I say local, I don’t mean in the way I’ve played in local bands. I mean in the way The Used, Neon Trees and Imagine Dragons are local bands. Probably more like The Used as the other two are more contemporary and released their music in different environments (i.e. the interwebs). They’re probably my second favorite local ska band (which now means I have to share my favorite, but I’ll give you a few weeks).
My Man Friday were somewhere between swing jazz and ska, with less punk influences than Catch 22, The Hippos, Less Than Jake, or Streetlight Manifesto. They are more like The Skatalites (with whom they’ve played), but with vocals and less repetition. Maybe like Hepcat but more high energy, or The Planet Smashers but … actually, that’s probably their more recent stuff is about as close to My Man Friday as anything else I’ve shared in this game.
Good luck finding this album anywhere on the internet. I shared it with my friends via dropbox. I’m missing one song (although it’s only 0:33 long, I think) from the album, but also have No Excuses, which is a b-side to Sassy Girl (the only single released from the album as far as I know) which hopefully makes up for that.
The only song I don’t really care for is Devil at the Top of the Stairs, which is just okay. And part of that is because there’s a hidden track tacked on (which I don’t know the name of) after many minutes of silence (it was the late ’90s remember?), so I don’t listen to that track very often.
I hope My Man Friday gets back together (they broke up around 2002) and and plays more shows (they’ve only played one show between 2002 and last Friday night) and comes out with more music (and put their old stuff online), but I doubt they will anytime soon.
Here’s what my friends had to say:
“This album started out really enjoyable, but kind of lost steam on me. I think part of it was because I can’t just play the whole thing from dropbox so I keep having to go start the next song which was a bit irritating. So maybe that put a damper on the music. Still, some quality ska. Honestly the swing stuff is just ok. It kinda comes off as hokey to me.” 4.0/5 – Spencer
Share your thoughts about The Sound Stylistics or My Man Friday down in the comments below.