(Photo by Neil365)
White Men Can't Funk. Have you heard the theory? It's got a lot of credibility, as you'd be hard pressed to find one that's got as much soul or funk as, say, James Brown or Bootsy Collins or whoever. And yet, making a sweeping statement like that isn't entirely accurate - I've known black guys who couldn't funk if they were shown exactly how, and for proof that white guys can do it too, I present: Jamie Lidell.
Jamie Lidell released his debut, Multiply, in 2005 to pretty much universal acclaim. It's a record that mixes funk with really soulful vocals, almost Al Green-ish in his feline improvisations, and throws some cutting edge electro sounds into the mix as well - more than one track breaks down in a hail of electro, synth madness, and pulls it back from the brink to a rhythmic, groovy beat.
He recently released Multiply Additions, an album of remixes and reworkings from Multiply, featuring a whole host of great names, as follows...
You Got Me Up - live at the Scala (Kings Cross), this shows Lidell at his soul hero finest, in the live arena, taking the rarified Sly Stone grooves of the original and extending them and drawing them out.
Multiply (In A Minor Key) - the original title track being almost an epitome of Multiply, this reworking is maybe the most radically remixed, and possibly the most interesting on the album. The original vocals are set to new harmonies and new genres, with jazz club piano by one Gonzales making it more like something you'd find in a New York cocktail club, while you're sipping on your martini.
The second version is by the reliably wacky Matthew Herbert, entitled the Hoedown Bump Instrumental, and you can take that to mean it's literally that - a pant-swingingly yokely barn dance of a tune.
When I Come Back Around was one of the highlights of Multiply, with Lidell getting all aggressive with his vocals over an electro-disco backing. The remix is one of the straighter ones here, a Freeform Reform.
A Little Bit More is chopped up with Luke Vibert's usual mixture of 50's jingles and talky bits, and is complemented by another Herbert version, an unusual spacier version.
What's The Use is treated pretty straight by Mocky, adding more of hip hop tone and some rapping.
The City, in it's original state, is a slightly creepy, echo-y and insistent funk number, and in it's Four Tet remix, the aggression is heightened with a forceful, housey beat and the creeping paranoia is also boosted by Hebden's digital mentalness. As expected, one of the highlights.
Original closing track Game For Fools is another of the Al Green deep soul numbers, organ-heavy and showing of Lidell's impressive vocals. There's a live version here, and a bizarre but wonderful ukelele cover by Mara Carlyle.
Jamie Lidell - Multiply
Jamie Lidell - Multiply (In A Minor Key) Piano by Gonzales
Jamie Lidell - Game For Fools (live in Paris)
Artist: Jamie Lidell
Website: jamielidell.com, MySpace
Recommended: Multiply (2005)
Buy: Amazon; Warpmart
More: Hype Machine
Tags: Jamie Lidell; Multiply; soul; funk; remix; cover