Charlie Funk AKA James Maynard is a songwriter for Brooklyn’s True Groove Records who has recently released his debut solo EP. The release is entitled “Give Me A Groove” and was released on the 26th of February.
The first track is Give Me A Groove and it begins with the chorus. The main thing that stands out right away is the horn arrangements on this track, which were done by Mac Gollehon who has worked with Nile Rodgers, David Bowie, and Simply Red. It’s interesting to hear classic funk songwriting with more modern sounds.
“Sexy Cutie” is the next track, taking things down a notch or two. The song reminds me of some of Funkadelic’s more laid back moments. It’s a cool song, the backing vocals as funky guitar parts really make this song shine.
“It’s Not A Joke” features Funkadelic collaborator Amp Fiddler. This song is held together by a busy bass line that never seems to be too busy. Once again the horn section really adds an extra dimension to the music, especially with the trumpet solo.
The fourth song, “Lunch In Babylon” is a very different vibe to the first couple of tracks. Opening with a rock style guitar before there’s a call and response vocal line. The whole thing has a very heavy atmosphere to it. While I appreciate that they tried to push the boat out a little bit with this one it feels a bit unnatural and contrived, though I will say that the guitar work here is really good.
The second last track is a take on “It’s Not Unusual”, a Tom Jones classic, and it’s definitely one of the best moments on the release. This version is slightly less energetic, with a guitar groove keeping things moving. The horn arrangement is different to the original but it works really well with this version.
The final number is a remix of the second track, giving it a more electronic and slightly more aggressive feel but I really don’t feel it works. I think the release would’ve been better off without the remix on it.
Overall, I think this is a commendable release. Charlie Funk has managed to create something that at times feels like it’s paying homage to the greats of funk music while at the same time managing to try new things. It’s 20 minutes of fun music and that’s far from a bad thing.