Funky Dory
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Funky Dory

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"Funkadelic Wickedness"

Funky Dory CD a grand helping of soul food

HEIDI WICKS
Special to The Telegram

Listening to Funky Dory’s debut album “Fists of Funk” evokes images of Harlem basketball players jostling, cavorting, pushing each other as they stride past Sylvia’s Soul Food restaurant, high-fiving Miles Davis or James Brown along the way.

The seven-piece band of talented MUN music school grads has been jiving the streets of St. John’s since 2001, whipping “Dancin’ Pants” (also a track title) onto many a local live music-goer. Now, the funk can be Fed-Ex-ed worldwide faster than a speeding bullet, thanks to the new disc, which includes the cover-art comic-book stylings of graphic novelist/artist Paul Tucker. The booklet includes an actual mini comic book with a scene for each band member that shows how they got their “musical super powers.”

The album’s tracks are groovy, slightly psychedelic, and largely danceable, with a few exceptions. “Beckoning” and “Making the Means” feature a slower tempo, beautifully melodic whispers of Spanish guitar and a Latin vibe — an alluring alternative to the rest of the disc.

Mostly though, the fully funkadelic vibe won’t quit. A catchy opening track (“Manic”) bursts with a cacophony of epic jazz horns, and the always-enjoyable wa-wa peddle that melts into solid percussion and a strong (if not entirely unique) guitar solo. This kicks the funk-factor into high gear. A highlight track is “The Ladder,” which opens with a quick, frenzied guitar solo, blaring horns, and two vocal tracks, one of which crackles like it’s coming from your grandfather’s old CB radio. Cool.

The previously mentioned “Dancin’ Pants” (Track 7) is worth adding to your latest party mixed CD. “Das ist Nine” (Track 8) makes you want to audaciously pick that gold tooth and afro, simultaneously, as you’re strutting down the street bopping your head. The track opens enticingly, flirting shamelessly to get you to enter its world. Once you’re there, it works you into an easy chair, caressing you into a comfort-jive zone, only to work you into a frenzy to send you to the next dance party right at the end.

Although the band’s influences officially include Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, Jamiroquai, Kool and the Gang and others, there are also slight echoes of early Red Hot Chili Peppers, and perhaps a less-rock, more R&B/jazz version of Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats. If there is a low point to the disc, it’s “I Got Soul” (Track 12), which threatens to cross the Loveboat/elevator music border. However, the superheroes in this get-up are undoubtedly governed by, or at least share an allegiance with, John watch-your-mouth Shaft, the 1971 badass private detective, who is highly capable of blasting any whispers of Loveboat well out of the elevator. Technically not a superhero, but still, the group shares the same vibe.

“Fists of Funk” was produced by Adam Foran (guitar, lead vocals) and recorded at Artist Development Recording Studio, and, as it says in the album credits, was “made funkier by MusicNL and the Canada Council for the Arts.” The official launch is Friday at CBTG’s on George Street.



heidirwicks@gmail.com - The Telegram (St. John's, Newfoundland)


Discography

Fists of Funk (2007)

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Bio

Funky Dory is fast, fresh, fun and funky. The band's furious live show has been filling bars with sweaty dancing folks since 2001. The music is inspired by the big funk bands of the 70's from James Brown and Stevie Wonder to Tower of Power and Parliament Funkadelic, along with modern funk, rock and jazz. Most of the band met at music school here in Newfoundland and has played in funk and raggae bands, rock bands, jazz bands, orchestras, choirs, etc. Our original tunes have a common theme of funkiness and dancing grooves running through them, but we like to go in a lot of different directions within that. In "Manic" we're grooving full force with a saucy rock-out guitar solo.. in "Philthy" we're holding the groove back and using the spaces between to make you move! In "The Ladder" we're sticking it to the man with a vengeance! Pick up our album "Fists of Funk" and you might just have to close the blinds so the neighbours don't see the FunkySoulGrooveDanceMachine party you're having in your living room!

The band has gotten crowds moving at countless bar shows, two MusicNL (Music Newfoundland and Labrador) awards conferences, St. Pierre's (a small island owned by France) Bastille Day celebrations, St. John's Peace-A-Chord festivals, The St. John's Jazz Festival (now called the "Wreckhouse Jazz and Blues Festival,") a number of charitable events, and several appearances on Roger's television's "Out of the Fog" and "Summer Breeze". The media have been taking notice of the album, too. We just had a great review in The Telegram (the province's main newspaper) and we've recently done radio interviews on CBC, Newfoundland's K-Rock and St. John's campus station CHMR. In November 2007 we played at the MusicNL awards show, and were nominated for three MusicNL awards: Group of the Year, Jazz Group of the Year and Entertainer of the Year. In the summer of 2009 Funky Dory will be traveling to Rochester, New York for the Rochester Jazz Festival, and we are in the process of booking a Canadian tour.

Contact:
Adam Foran
drfunkeys@hotmail.com
(709) 753-2399
www.funkydory.ca