In these neck of the woods, Dam-Funk isn’t merely known as the boogie revivalist. He is also, perhaps the foremost scholar in all things funk this side of 1970, having realized many of his musical dreams by actually collaborating with legends like Steve Arrington, Leon Ware, Junie Morrison and many of the greatest to ever do it. He’s pledged his allegiance to the gawds of groove with countless glimpses into his vault (an archive of thousands) and prominently featured those hands and voices on his own material in years of late.
But today we have the pleasure of bringing you a very personal look at one of Dam’s most foundational favorites through his very own funky encyclopedic lens.
Back in ’84 Dam was but a wee funkateer, still spry, but ambitious in his pursuit of buzzing boogie brilliance, just getting hip to some of the cuts that would influence his own golden touch years down the line. One such record was from the Steve Washington-led ensemble Aurra (who Dam has previously “re-freaked”,) the 1984 cap to their short-but-potent stint as not-so-quiet giants of the funk, Body Rock, which has certainly left its mark on the Pasadena pioneer. So much so, that he’s graced us with an intimate annotation to the album’s title-track (a relentless jam with blazing drum-machine-freaking and an anvil for a hook, phased and hazed for days) taking us into the very moment that he caught wind of Washington’s synthesized wizardry, almost never heard by the common ear.
You can read through Dam-Funk’s liner note treatment below, but if you’re looking to the cut home with you, fear not, as the official release of this nearly-shelved project from Aurra will soon make its way to stands, both digital and physical, on December 11th via Family Groove Records, the preorders for which are already underway on Bandcamp.
Press play and feel the generations of funk.
The melodic Funk of AURRA was the soundtrack to my second decade of life on Earth. I remember waiting up on late nights in the year of 1981 with my Mom staring at the old 8-Track component set w/ built in radio located in the Den, tuned to 1580 KDAY for “Are You Single” to come rumbling on the AM dial. It was a magical moment every time for a few weeks. I also remember an old girlfriend I had a crush on the following year (1982) having AURRA’s second album in her house. Must’ve been her parents or an older sibling because she was too young to have bought it on her own. I looked at the cover, pulled the record out, and put the needle down on song 1 on side 1: “Make Up Your Mind”. I was blown away. Years later in high school I found that record along with every other AURRA album released. I immersed myself into Steve Washington’s productions finally realizing it was the same Steve Washington that was the ‘fearless leader’ of SLAVE. It began to all make sense. Steve’s Funk was different. It was sophisticated. It was melodic. It was beautiful. It was how I felt inside. Songs like “Still Free” took me back to 1982 even though I had backtracked in high school via collecting all of their output over time. SLAVE was 3G. AURRA was LTE. That simple. Perfected sophisticated Funk. What I was always after. -DF