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Deep funk

Related: pre-disco - seven inch - Northern Soul - Keb Darge - deep - funk

Deep Funk Begot Disco

The term 'Deep Funk' undoubtedly came into being via Keb Darge, a long term 'inmate' of the Northern Soul scene and renowned rare funk 45 jock. There were of course many other people who had looked for and enjoyed similar sounds - even before the legendary out-spoken Scotsman took up the torch - but the first definition of Deep Funk came in 1996 when Darge, joined by all round good guy Mark Cotgrove (aka Snowboy), ran their rare funk nights in Central London. At a time when the 'Rare Groove' scene had run its course and the biggest funk nights in London were to be found in the retro-heavy cliches of clubs like 'Carwash' and 'Starsky & Hutch', Deep Funk was a breath of fresh air. J. Stirland


The image of the Northern Soul scene - from the point of view of somebody who hasn't witnessed the phenomenon first hand over the last twenty-five years - is one of a devoted and resilient 'club' loyally and wholeheartedly subscribed to by thousands of fanatics. Sustained by a rich diet of rare Black American R&B and Soul music these 'disciples' would pack into venues to hear the sound of Motown, Ric-Tic, Revilot, Okeh, Goldenworld and a wealth of obscure labels that attempted, but most likely failed, to become the next Soul Empires.


The scene's origins lay in the Mod clubs of London along with the groundbreaking Twisted Wheel in Manchester, Leeds' Spinning Disc, The Tin Chicken in Castleford and scores of other venues throughout the Midlands and North of England. As time passed larger venues came into being, the attendance's grew, and the playlists became ever more obscure with new discoveries superseding many of the once big sounds. Importing the rarities to the UK was hindered initially by the cost of airfares to the US and the fabled warehouses and one-stops were the preserve of a dedicated few. To make things even more confusing for the outsider (and perhaps for the stalwart, too) the scene was subsequently broken down into sub-categories: 60's Oldies, 60's Newies, and later 70's Northern and such like. Venues became synonymous with particular sounds and the trend was to be the first to 'break' the new 'monsters'. Tempos may have varied across certain sets of records but if they contained all the right elements then they were attributed with the big 'N'.

[...] --witchsbrew, 2001 via http://www.witchsbrew.co.uk/howdeepisyourfunk.htm [Mar 2006]


  1. Sister Funk - Various Artists [Amazon US]
    Compiled by Ian Wright who co-founded the Deep Funk Club. As the popularity of the now legendary night soared Ian concentrated on the remixing and re-editing of his 45's for 'Keb's Deep Funk' and 'Funk Spectrum' compilations. He is now one of the most influential collectors on the funk scene. This 20 track collection features mostly 60's funky soul divas including, Monica, Inell Young, Joyce Dunn, Barbara Lynn, Ruth Brown and more. Standard jewel case.

    Ian Wright started collecting 45's in the late 80's. The next few years were spent feverishly buying funk 45's before teaming up with Keb Darge for the launch of his deep funk club in 1995. As the popularity of the bald one's now legendary night soared, Ian concentrated on remixing & re-editing his 45's for Keb's deep funk & funk spectrum compilations. Last year saw the release of his own 'Natural Funk Killa's' compilation which is already the biggest seller on the Soul Patrol label.

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