* Prices may differ from that shown
Formed in 1969, the R&B and Funk band Con Funk Shun was a Northern California-based band popular through the seventies and eighties. The group, consisting of Michael Cooper (on lead vocals), Karl Fuller (trumpeter), Maceo Harrell (saxophonist), Cedric Martin (bassist), Felton Pilate (guitarist), Louis A. McCall (drummer), and Danny "Sweet Man" Thomas (on keyboard), brought out albums from as early as 1973 and didn't stop until the late eighties.
"The Best Of Con Funk Shun" originally dropped in 1993 and it finds a compilation of all the biggest hits from the R&B, Soul and Funk collective spanning from 1977, up to as far as 1985 (and so features only the work during their peak years) and none of the experimental years or when they had seen all that they had to offer. The tracks don't come out chronologically here, but do include all the most well-known singles.
1. "Shake And Dance With Me"
They kick everything off with a pretty decent one (though nowhere near the top end of what they are capable of) as you find that here they bring through some of their heavy Funk, but are seen to use this fly backing to support the light melodies that the lead singer provides and leads the song with. It isn't a very impactful starter, but isn't really a weak tune at all and so is a fairly good one here.
Here the band lay down the Funk in a heavy way to come out with nothing but what you are likely to find that good stuff out of as they drop some fly material that forces you in to get you right in the mood to get down with them as Michael Cooper leads the Vallejo pack in with material that has him expressing how h wishes to have "Ffun" with his girl and what they will get down to as a lively jam from them.
3. "Straight From The Heart"
This was one of the weak tracks from the album and one that may have seen success in its day, but when you look at it here it just doesn't compare as you find that here the vocals are all the track has to offer and the rest of it stays on a rather low level as it never really lifts and they do some fairly plain R&B from the time without anything really happening within it. Its good to see variety, but this isn't saying a lot.
4. "Love's Train"
Album: "To The Max
Here they drop a nice and calming love song here as you see how well they are able to take you in when they aren't forcing you to dance with them and instead it is all about the gentle, two-stepping material where they just show the love that they have. It is a soft tune, for its overall composition, but you get a hugely impressive display from the soulful vocals of the lead singer to get the most out of it.
5. "So Easy"
The way that you see them playing around with this synth and bass is just too much at the start of this one and it let's you know from the get-go of the track that you are about to hear something great, and this is exactly what you get from the band as they come in hard with a tune that brings back the pace to the music and gets them adapting the soft vocals of the last one to this dance tune effectively.
6. "Too Tight"
They throw down hard as they get into this one and you see that here they were attempting to squeeze as much as they could from the Disco phase to come out with a tune that uses the essential elements to the best Funk tracks and waters it down to the perfect place to bring out the most of its potential. It hits hard here and stands as one of the freakiest dance cuts from them on this album.
7. "By Your Side"
Album: "Spirit Of Love"
They are seen to change the pace as they move on into this one and go from the hyped material, down into something much more manageable here as you get them doing one of the more soothing sides of their R&B tunes here. I felt that it was a pretty effective one for coming out with the kind of results that are bound to take you in through the emotiveness of the song and the effect it can have upon the listener.
Album: "Spirit Of Love"
Here they come out with one of the dance tunes and I felt that in this case the results really weren't as impressive as a lot of the other ones you get from them as you see that all of the sorts of instrumental elements which make for a heavy Fun tune are lost as they try out something different here and do a tune that really wasn't saying much (other than the saxophone solo piece midway through.
9. "Got To Be Enough"
Album: "Spirit Of Love"
It appears that they recover as they lay this one down and go hard as they bring in the freaky things that make for the best jams from them and the ones that are bound to get you dancing along as they hope the results of their music should. It is constructed well as you get similarities to "Ffun" in its overall style and the sorts of themes you get into the lyrics and how they translate into a great love song with some bounce to it.
10. "Ms. Got-The-Body"
Album: "To The Max"
They keep it all rolling here as they get into a tune that sees some progression from them, when compared to early material, as this one clearly has much more of a Naked Funk feel to it, but it still sounds full in the way that hey stick to some of the early conventions of Funk music from the seventies in particular to some out with a tune which has them showing love to a girl with 'The Body'.
11. "Chase Me"
Here they do a track that is 'very 1979' as you find that here they drop a fly cut that is seen to take on the Disco-styled Funk material that came out with the most impressive results. It is a fresh jam one that is bound to get you hyped up through the way they get down to things here and are able to capitalise on the momentum that they have going for them here and how it leads to some killer stuff coming out of them.
12. "Sho' Feels Good To Me"
Album: "Con Funk Shun"
This is a big one from the band and one that I felt stood out on the release Although you see them recycling ideas for main subject matters to drive the song from, in this case they mask it in so much funkiness that you really can't complain about this a all as it takes you right in and makes you feel it as if it was the first song that they had done in this style (as it feels so refreshing) when placed here.
13. "California 1"
I personally saw this as a rather disappointing one from the band as really nothing happens in it at all and it brings thing down massively as a result as it is just so dull and when you compare it to the other up-tempo tracks on the album it just doesn't have anything to it at all as the band do a tune which reflects their West Coast surroundings, but the laid-back setting and main basis to the track doesn't seem to have made for a tune that actually does anything at all.
14. "Love On Your Mind"
I must admit that I felt that I saw this one as only slightly more appealing than the last one and much of this is down to the fact that I could hear where N*E*RD had found influence for "Maybe" as other than picking this out within it, the song just sits there lifelessly with nothing going on. It is far too passive as you see that they perform a very predictable song and do it all to a fairly plain way too.
15. "All Up To You"
Album: "Spirit Of Love"
I couldn't say that I felt very much for this one as really it doesn't do a lot at all and I felt that as a result it meant that it wasn't at all engaging to the listen where its all about building it up slowly through (primarily) the lyrics, in which you here of how Michael Cooper feels its time to end the affair that he's been engaging in as he knows that he won't get what he wants if she's already in a relationship if it persists as it is.
16. "I'm Leaving Baby"
Album: "Electric Lady"
Here as they move into a ballad you find that you get a track that, when compared to others within the album, seems like an average one as you find that with it you get a clear improvement over a lot of the softer tunes on the record, but it isn't close to comparing to all the Funk tracks that they presented as it just doesn't have enough energy within it and so all you can do is push for something good to come out of what is basically a plain one.
17. "Baby I'm Hooked"
They don't end the album in the best way as you see that here the band come out with a track that was really just a standard type of thing (for the early eighties) and it goes nowhere as they sing a straight-forward love song and do it with the genera synth-based backing that was seen in all of those tracks. I was never into that kind of thing, and I don't think these did it any better, and so they end it poorly.
As this is so inconsistent, with it frequently switching from some heavy Funk material to a plain ballad, you find that it doesn't really pick up all that much and it goes from something fresh to wack material. I think that it was able to represent the range of their work well even though it isn't always that impressive.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Shake And Dance With Me
3 Straight From The Heart
4 Love's Train
5 So Easy
6 Too Tight
7 By Your Side
9 Got To Be Enough
10 Ms. Got-The-Body
11 Chase Me
12 Sho' Feels Good To Me
13 California 1
14 Love On Your Mind (Let Me Put)
15 All Up To You
16 I'm Leaving Baby
17 Baby I'm Hooked (Right Into Your Love)