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VA - G.I. Funk 14 - Vietnam Wartime Funky Club Hits (2004)




This is a compilation of funky-ass tunes recorded in South East Asia by US bands formed to entertain the troops during the Vietnam war.Instrumentation includes organ, flute, wah wah guitar, koto and lots of drum breaks on this now out of print album -

If Tarrantino had directed Platoon this would be the soundtrack.Today's tracks are taken from a compilation called G.I. Funk I picked up on Camden Market in the summer. The c.d. purports to be a collection of Vietnam War era funk tunes, played for the entertainment of US Troops on R 'n' R leave from the war. The premise is that after a hard time evading Charlie your average African-American G.I. would take his dollars to a whore-house in Saigon, Tokyo or Manilla, where with his chosen lady of the nighthe would enjoy a show. The music for the evening came from a house band of local musicians playing the favourite hits of the day. And for your average 19 year old black lad in 1970 the top tunes would be by Stevie Wonder or James Brown. Of course this all sounds a little unlikely. And the c.d. is a little dubious - I can't find a web site and the c.d. isn't on a recognised label, but who would go to the trouble of faking the recordings just to sell on a market stall?Whatever the provenience though, nothing can alther the skewed infectiousness of the music. This is good time dance music, given an Oriental twist. I defy anyone not to tap a toe as the rhythms and hammond tunes of Madamme Laos' In-House Show Girl Band kicks in. Saigon's Funkgus's give a crazily funky rendition of the King Curtis Classic. All girl band The Happy Dolls tackle Kool and the Gang .The liner notes put it like this "It's funk rock time, kicking off with a mighty fat drum break then slips into one of the best ever covers of this Stevie Wonder tune done in a true G.I. Funk style." They're right.

It wasn't all psychedelic rock n roll during the Vietnam War, it took place during a period where some of the funkiest music in history was made. Here is a selection of tracks that either reference the war or are symbolic of the type of grooves happening in the early 1970's. Highlights include the whacked out eastern funk of "Koto Mata", the fuzz guitar infused cover version of "Superstition" and the slinky "Coming Home Baby" which is almost unrecognizable compared to the original song. As a bonus there are some random hip hop beats to finish off the compilation. Make funk not war!!!

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