1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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"
  9. 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.

  10. 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:
  11. 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. :)
  12. JimK


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

    bass12 And Grace, too 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":
  14. Shakin-Slim


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


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


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

    The Owl

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

    Dr. Cheese Gold 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.
  19. 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
  20. 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!;)