Part III: The Mothership
Older brothers give you style, they are the advance team scouting out adolescent hazards, and mid-twenties cliff-dives that if you are lucky enough to witness and eventually understand, impact your life for the good. Of the myriad ways I was automatic cool: digesting and loving James Brown and Parliament Funkadelic before high-school. There might as well have been a Parental Advisory Sticker: In lieu of losing your virginity, you will strut like you lost it 10 years ago…
I made my name in the eyes of my brothers one night in 1996. I was about to turn 15, a basketball benchwarming, greasy faced frosh at BC High. Saturday nights my friends and I religiously listened to back to back shows on WERS: 8–10pm The Soul Bucket with Matt the Swingin’ Cat and 10PM-12AM The Mothership. When one show changed to the other sometimes seemed unidentifiable, but first was soul, and the latter all things deep funk. My oldest brother left work, started driving and when he turned to 88.9, he heard a request, “This one goes out to JP in Needham, Curtis Mayfield ‘Freddie’s Dead’”. The oldest called the second brother, “JP just made his bones”.
I recorded it on a cassette because requesting a song was not just to hear your name on air, but because locating something from the radio was really difficult. The dramatic falsetto and excellent production of Mayfeild’s soulful funk caughtmy ear early on, as I got older, the spectrum of funk kept me interested more than the classics. For example, on this playlist I chose not to highlight the big names as lots of those songs found their way to pop and oldies stations (Rick James, Commodores etc) and as any DJ will tell you, the key to bringing dancers into the often slowed down groove of heavy funk is to make it new. That is, place the tempos in an order that will raise and lower the heatbeat and hips of the average listener. Take your symphonic funk of Love Unlimited Orchestra with your hop-scotch, finger picking funk of The Meters, all will lead you to the Mothership. Always remember, musicians refer to The Mothership because funk “not only moves it removes,” quite literally, every funk song is designed to take off.
With all of these playlists, it is best enjoyed in SHUFFLE mode. See all the Bass Mints Stations at my profile on Spotify