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Testify – Isley Bros and Jimi Hendrix

Testify – Isley Bros and Jimi Hendrix


Subject: What was the 1st FUNK record ?

Once again this eternal question rears it’s ugly head…..:)
This time around we have a 2 part answer to the question:

  • In his book “Funk: The music The People and The one”, author Rickey Vincent makes the case for “Outta Sight” – James Brown as the very first FUNK record.
    Here presented for your consideration is the song “Testify parts 1&2” – Isley Brothers. Hopefully you have Windows 95/NT so that you can hear the “afropolyrythmic stone cold soul shouting” of the Isley’s lead singer Ronald Isley as he describes “something deep within his SOUL“. Along with Ronald we hear in the “call and response” tradition of Black music, the response back from the acid fire guitar of Jimi Hendrix
    Read the words…….listen to the music & see what you think ?
  • The second part of the answer comes from the Urban Sounds BB as a few of the “Funkateers” take a crack at the question:
    “What is FUNK ?

Got any thoughts ?
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“Testify Parts 1 & 2” – Isley Bros. w/Jimi Hendrix (1966)

I’m a FREAK for music it’s in my SOUL
I can’t help it if it mooooooves me down to my TOES
I said I’m a witness I’m here to testify
I wanna to tell yall about it…I’m here to testify !!
I ain’t gonna tell no lie
I feel a RIPPLE travel down in to feet
I can’t keep still baby….I FEEL THE BEAT

Awwwww if it’s in my soul
Awwwww if it’s in my soul, yall
Awwwww if it’s in my soul

I wanna TESTIFY !!!

You can’t knock it if you haven’t tried it..


Everybody throw your hands up
I’ll bet cha wanna SHOUT
Don’t be ashamed baby to let it ALL hang out
Awwwww if it’s in your soul…

if it’s in your soul
if it’s in your soul
if it’s in your soul

come on

(Nasty/Wack/Funky Hendrix guitar solo)

Music is blowin my mind_MUUUUUSSSSSSSSSIC
Don’t cha know I’m so GLAAAAAAAAAAAD, I’m SO GLAAAAAAD that it’s down in my SOUL

I’m Soooo glad that it’s in my soul
I’m Soooo glad that it’s in my soul
I’m Soooo glad that it’s in my soul

I don’t know what it is_.aww but I like it

I don’t know what it is…I can’t explain but I know that it’s real
Don’t cha know that I’m so glad…so glad that it’s in my soul
But you like plastic_.plastic is your thang..
But you can’t touch what it feels
All I know is what I feel in my soul
down in my soul….down in my soul

Don’t cha know I’m so glaaaaaaaaaaad
soooooo glaaaaaad
SOOOOOO GLAAAAAAD that it’s in my SOUL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m so glad that it’s in my soul
I’m so glad that it’s in my soul
I’m so glad that it’s in my soul
I’m so glad that it’s in my soul

(so glad)
(so glad)
(so glad)
(so glad)

I wanna testify……….

—“Testify pt’s 1 & 2” – Isley Bros. w/Jimi Hendrix (1966)

Musings from the Urban Sounds BB
+++ Well.. from what I know, SINBAD’S SUMMER JAM was billed as a CLASSIC SOUL Event, not really as a FUNK Event.++++

  • This statement you made reminded me of one of the very first topics that we discussed here on the board when we first opened up shop over a year ago.

I certainly don’t make the claim that I can accurately define what FUNK is. I have seen many definitions for it over the course of the past 30 years or so…………………..
Here is what the dictionary says:

+++funk2 (fngk) n. 1. Music. a. An earthy quality appreciated in music such as jazz or soul. b. A type of popular music combining elements of jazz, blues, and soul and characterized by syncopated rhythm and a heavy, repetitive bass line.++++

What do you all think of this definition ???

It seems to beg the question of whether FUNK is a “type of music” or a “feeling”. It also seems to discount the………..influence that “rock n’ roll” has had on many of the artists that I would say are FUNK.

During the late 1960’s thru the early 1980’s the music industry attempted to label most (not all) of the music being produced by Black artists of that time frame as “funk”. In the eyes of much of the “pop music industry” that music is best represented by the music of George Clinton.

George has been asked the question “What Is Funk” ? many times and to the best of my knowledge he has never answered it or has avoided the question. During the 70’s I remember……it being used primarily as a “marketing term” in an attempt to restrict it’s usage, almost as another “code word” for “Black”.

That doesn’t explain some of the GREAT white FUNK artists like AWB, Brecker Brothers, etc. and the GREAT interracial bands such as Tower Of Power, Sly & the Family Stone, etc or many of the Black bands of that time frame who were big selling artists across ALL demographics.

During the 1970’s most of the people I hung out with referred to themselves as “funkateers“. Most of those people were……..Black, some of them were white. We all carried ourselves in a certain way, had similar political beliefs
and had similar lifestyles. The music that we listened to was at the core of the way we lived. Despite the overwhelming societal pressures against it…….some of us still continue to think of ourselves as “funkateers”.

For me the term FUNK carries with it a connotation of something that is both “deep & wide”.
These days within the music industry the term seems to be making a comeback of sorts so it seems appropriate for us to once again ask the question “What Is Funk” ??……………

Do any of you have any thoughts on this ?
Is this an important term for us to try & define……I mean I see it used quite a bit….do we even know what it is ??

  • I had to go way back to think about the trends in music, so that I might find a reasonable answer to What Is Funk. I remember growing up in Cleveland where we had only one black radio station and everyone tuned in to the same WJMO A.M. I remember it being that way for many years until this revolution occurred, and I believe it came with the Isleys.
    They appeared to begin doing things just a little different than the standard R&B. Their sound was different, sort of unique, and I believe that they may have led the way into Funk! In the late 60s we had this music revolution, and many of the Funk artists arrived on the front, and from what I can remember, they may have not been accepted by the blacks (older blacks) at that time. I don’t think that mainstream black America wanted to be associated with this new sound, so they separated themselves from that particular movement.
  • My people, My people, STOP THE MADNESS, u cain’t define what is….. FUNK IS FUNK! Two many folk have tried an they still an explain it. But see i’mma brang it home fo’ ya …..

EWF….Ohio Playas….SKINN TIGHT…..rICK jAMES…cOLD bLOODED….Rufas,with Chaka….Tell me somethin Good…War…..The World is a GhettoIsaac Hayes…SHAFT…tHE iSLEY bROTHERS…It’s YO THANG…Sly an the Family…If u want me to stay….James Brown…The Big Payback…. Curtis Mayfield…If There’s A hell Below…..Harold Melvin an The Bluenotes….I Miss You….aww ya’ll don’ no what i’m talkin about!! You got to fell FUNK…..U cain’ explain it!!!

  • Funk is raw as hell. It’s a feeling in the music that you hear. We know who funky and who ain’t. You can’t TRY to be funky. It’s a talent that’s heaven sent, only a chosen few got the funk. Funk is not held by any kind of boundaries.
    You can do WHATEVER you want! In a way, that’s kind of what makes it good. In other kind of music there is a certain procedure or guidelines you have to follow. Funk says “F*** hat! I’m gonna do it like this. This is how I feel it should be done,
  • Funk be speakin to us like that. It grab our attention cause funk is a representation of the whole
    human. The good, the bad, the ugly, the cute, the clean, the irty, the smooth, the rough, the wild, the calm, the real sh**. What we sometimes wanna say and are afraid to to. Or just the sounds that we hear that is so tight it’s kind of like an extension of us. Hell, we get funky when we dance to it! We get down. Funk is feelings. Nothing more than feelings.
  • oh that is going WAAAAYYYY back!..i also remember as i got older being p*ssed as h*ll that you could only listen to the jams in mono cuz WJMO was an AM station..
    rock was on FM..(WMMS-home of the buzzard!)..when “disco” came out THEN you got SOME jams on FM, and WJMO began to decline even tho they still played the ‘true’ jams..(another example of ‘mainstreaming’ at it’s best)..fortunately here in orlando we have star 94.5 which plays nothing BUT the
    best from “then” and “now”..funk included..fortunately i have an extensive FUNK collection thanx to a certain person who will remain nameless {s kissy}..
    HALF..funk-da-fying the next generation…{s schoolboycrush}
  • Hmmmm…… What is Funk? I think that funk is a feeling. It don’t matter if you’re black or white. It’s something that you can feel down in the inside of you, that makes you come alive, that makes you think. Whether you’re listening to slow music, moderate music, or fast music. I look at funk as Jazz, the blues, even Gospel. All this music moves your soul, your inner soul. Funk is emotional and has no respect
    of person, all it needs is a listener.
  • hmmm funk….
    Funk enters my soul…. I can be cruising in my ride and suddenly a jam comes on and you go MAN that’s funky.. u just feel it….it takes over’s a groove like no other….. you got those slow jams that make u think back to the goood times u had…. mmmmm.. u gots those slammin jams that make u finger pop.. head bob’n… then u got funk.. it makes u twist your mouth a lil… make funny faces and u become an human instrument….u be jammin so hard u become a part of the groove… now that’s FUNK !!!!
    u becomea part of the groove..its take control of your soul for that short time spand …. u are one with the FUNK !!!!

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