Chaka Khan

70’S FUNK PARTY:  Stevie Wonder, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Tom Browne

70’S FUNK PARTY: Stevie Wonder, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Tom Browne

Mike Pease

March 13th, 2013

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“SWEET THING” RUFUS & CHAKA KHAN

Chaka-Khan-RufusChicago’s queen of funk, Chaka Khan, and Rufus’ signature love song hit #1 in 1975.   By their second album, Chaka’s powerhouse vocals and her sexy, larger than life persona was dominating the media that the band decided to change their name to Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan.    The vibe on Sweet Thing is so delicious, smooth yet funky, and exquisitely soulful.  Mary J Blige covered it in the 90’s much to Chaka’s dismay but they’ve since made up and even recorded together in recent years.

“YOU HAVEN’T DONE NOTHIN” STEVIE WONDER

stevie wonderFor Stevie’s tenth #1 single, he went political and took a shot at President Richard Nixon,

“But we are sick and tired of hearing your song
Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong
‘Cause if you really want to hear our views
“You haven’t done nothing”!

Yet despite the deep message, Stevie’s funky performance holds center stage here.   On the album version, Stevie is joined by the Jackson 5 on the memorable chorus.  In this rare life version of the song from a 70’s award show, check out the audience reaction.  Priceless footage of old white guys getting funky.

“FUNKIN’ FOR JAMAICA (N.Y.)”    TOM BROWNE

tombrownefunkinIf you’re not a big fan of jazz, you’ve likely never heard of trumpeter Tom Browne.   But his 1980 jam has been sampled so many times, you’re probably familiar with the beat.  Mariah Carey, N.W.A., Chaka Khan, and even the Black Eyed Peas used the horns and bass on their records.   The song is dedicated to Tom’s hometown, the Jamaica section of  Queens in NYC.     Funny when the original came out, Toni Smith’s vocals were mistaken as Chaka Khan’s, who later made it her own and a concert favorite.

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