Any good piano-based funk ballads?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by troiontru, Aug 12, 2013.

  1. troiontru


    May 4, 2013
    Dear all,

    I'm learning to appreciate the funk genre and am looking for good piano-based funk ballads.

    Could you pls recommend some titles?

    My sincere thanks,
  2. Not sure about the *ballads* part, but check out Billy Preston. FONKAY

    Edit:Titles- Outta Space, Will it go round in circles, Nothin from nothin

    More: I believe he played on The Beatles' *Get back*
  3. troiontru


    May 4, 2013
    Thank you. I am checking them on Youtube.
  4. dougjwray


    Jul 20, 2005
    Also, look into New Orleans stuff like Professor Longhair and his disciple, Dr. John.
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  6. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Yeah, I don't think I can get my mind entirely wrapped around the concept of a "funk ballad" ...but for piano-based funk check out "Shake A Leg" from the eponymous debut album by Chuck Leavell's Sea Level.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    Plenty of that from the '80s. Stuff I recall trying to play-

    Anita Baker- "Sweet Love" from Rapture

    Manhatten Transfer- "Mystery" from Bodies & Souls

    Chaka Khan- "Through The Fire" from I Feel For You

    ...IIRC, Nathan East plays on all 3 of the above.

    Debra Laws- "Very Special"

    Heatwave- "Mind Blowing Decisions", "Happiness Togetherness", etc

    EW&F- "After The Love Is Gone", "Can't Hide Love", etc

    Mother's Finest- "Love Changes"

    AWB- "A Love Of Your Own" from Soul Searching

    Rufus- "Hollywood", "At Midnight", etc

    Rose Royce- "Wishing On A Star" from In Full Bloom

    George Benson- "Midnight Love Affair" from Give Me The Night

    Check out stuff from-

    Jeffrey Osbourne- "On The Wings Of Love"

    Jackson Five
    Michael Jackson- "I Can't Help It"

    Stevie Wonder- "Creepin'"

    Ohio Players- "Sweet Sticky Thing" from Honey

    A Taste Of Honey...they gotta have something!

    I would say all the above are well-played, well-composed, well-mixed...good production...all that.
  8. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Those^^^ are the only tunes from your list that I'm familiar with...but I don't know what about them you consider "funk"

    They're "R&B" ballads for sure. They probably made the same Top 100 charts as bona fide "funk" tunes from that same era.

    But I don't hear any "funk" in them.

    (Much as I am loathe to cite Wikipedia as the definitive authority on any issue, their opening paragraph under the entry for "Funk" pretty much sums it up:

    "Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground. Funk songs are often based on an extended vamp on a single chord, distinguishing it from R&B and soul songs, which are built on chord progressions."

    All the tunes I know from your list seem to fit their definition of "R&B and soul songs")

    No argument there!
  9. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    Larry Graham, "One in A Million"
    George Duke, "Sweet Baby"
    Bootsy, "I'd Rather Be With You"
    Bros Johnson "Tomorrow"
    Confunksion "Lovetrain"
    Cameo "Sparkle"
  10. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    Oh hell yeah, now we're talkin'.

    I'd also add a couple of my absolute favorites:
    Bros. Johnson - Land of Ladies
    Tower of Power - You're still a young man

    The trick with a funk ballad is to carefully manage the cheese factor so it doesn't go into full cheese, but still has some of that "I'm so cool I don't care what you think" vibe.

  11. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005
    I was going to add Funkadelic's "Promental **** backwash............"
    it's a ballad but you know George :bag:
  12. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I do not disagree with you...that said, they are tunes (ballads) played by "Funk" bands. "Soul" may not have been used during this timeframe..."Quiet Storm", maybe? Or "Slow Jams"?
    I do recall Anthony Jackson bemoaning the fact that some "Funk" bassists slapped their asses off when playing ballads...and they played Dominant 7ths over Maj 7 chords. :)
  13. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...last time I try to respond on a Pad!
  14. bass12

    bass12 Fueled by chocolate Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Montreal, Canada
    I don't know if I'd call these piano based but...

    Don Blackman - "Holding You, Loving You":
  15. Shakin-Slim


    Jul 23, 2009
    Tokyo, Japan
    Herbie Hancock - Butterfly?
  16. macrocheesium


    Sep 12, 2012
    "World That He Wants" - Jamiroquai
  17. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    Check out some George Duke
  18. The Owl

    The Owl

    Aug 14, 2005
    Atlanta GA
    And the winner is, THAT!!! :bassist: :hyper:
  19. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    A lot of what you guys call funk ballads are just R&B. IMO, funk ballads should have no or very little harmonic movement, and are often built around riffs. Yearning for Your Love by the GAP
    Band is a great example if a funk ballad. Can't Hide Love by EWF is fairly busy in terms of chord changes, but it certainly has a funk feel in terms of its rhythm.
  20. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    A little outside the strict definition of funk, but he laid the groundwork, and nobody can do a ballad like him: Ray Charles
  21. Mysterion


    Jan 10, 2012
    Funk/Ballad/Piano-based is sort of a tough combination. If that expands to electric piano and/or keyboards, well...

    How about Roberta Flack's God Don't Like Ugly? Strong piano line, funky-disco-y production...slow it down a bit and you have piano-based funk ballad. But do see if you can find an Arp String Ensemble!;)

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