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Funk on film
Part 4

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Funk on film 4: End of an era

By The Man

4. End of an era - late funk scores

By 1975 the black action movie genre was waning as the movies became increasingly jaded. Despite this, their soundtracks tended to retain their quality. Isaac Hayes wrote two further scores, double LP Truck Turner (Pursuit Of The Pimpmobile) and Tough Guys, starring in both movies. Sammy Davis Jr. got the funk with his TV soundtrack LP Sammy. The Blackbyrds issued Cornbread, Earl And Me (Theme). Howard Roberts produced Lord Shango on the tiny Bryan label. Weldon Irvine features on the obscure soundtrack LP Honey Baby, Honey Baby. Rudy Ray Moore was responsible for three classic funk soundtracks, Dolemite, The Human Tornado and Petey Wheatstraw, all issued on rare LPs. The Rimshots appeared on the soundtrack LP to Patty. Curtis Mayfield produced a number of LPs for other artists for mainstream black movies: Let's Do It Again with the Staples Singers, Piece Of The Action with Mavis Staples, his own Short Eyes, and Sparkle with Aretha Franklin, but none of these albums compared with Superfly. Johnnie Taylor's Disco 9000 and Gladys Knight And The Pips' soundtracks to Claudine and Pipe Dreams were all sub-standard albums. Of later soundtracks, The Hitter by Garfeel Ruff, Black Fist by Al And Ron, Fast Break by Billy Preston and Syreeta, Car Wash by Norman Whitfield, Alan Silvestri and Eugene McDaniels' excellent The Mack And His Pack, and the superb Bare Knuckles by Vic Caesar are all worthy of a place in a funk collection.

By 1976 white movies and TV series had picked up on the funk. The best funk LPs from mainstream white films include Dave Grusin's excellent Three Days Of The Condor, Cinderella Liberty by John Williams, Diamonds (aka Diamond Shaft) by Roy Budd, ElectraGlide In Blue by James Guercio, UK TV series soundtrack The Hanged Man by Bullet and Murph The Surf by Phillip Lambro. Of the developing adult movie scene, the outstanding scores include Bernard Purdie's Lialeh, Tongue on Chocolate Cities Records, the two Deep Throat LPs, Alden Shuman's Devil In Miss Jones score and The Last Porno Flick by Tony Bruno. Due to the nature of the movies these porn soundtracks are extremely rare and were often issued as promo copies only. Almost every movie with a chase scene from the period 1970-1976 contained a funk track. It should be noted that despite what the end titles of a film may state, many movies did not see a full soundtrack LP, or even a single, release.

Disco began to take over as the black action genre died out and funk was relegated to the sidelines of film music. Many of the soundtracks to these movies, like the films themselves, disappeared into obscurity during the 1980s. The recent revival of interest in cinema and 1970s culture has lead to a corresponding desire to explore the music of the blaxploitation genre, and with it the long-overdue acknowledgement of the huge influence of its artists on modern music.

All site contents ©2001 blaxploitation.com. The author has asserted his moral rights. Cover scans, album reviews, all other text content and/or pictures may only be used by prior permission of the.man@blaxploitation.com. But what the hell, I'm a nice guy, so drop me a line!