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Baker's Dozen

Getting Hypnotised: John Robb Finds The Funk In Unusual Places
Julian Marszalek , July 12th, 2017 08:35

How did it take us nearly a decade to ask Brother John Robb for his Baker's Dozen choices? The Membranes frontman sits down with Julian Marszalek to discuss 13 favourite records where over the years he's dug out the most funk


Sly And The Family Stone – There's A Riot Goin' On
How can you pull just a single track from this? It's such a masterpiece. This is such a heavy record and it's amazing that it was made by a pop star. And it's one of the great psychedelic records, as well. It's quite futuristic because it's one of the first records to have drum machines on it.

You look at some black music from the period of 1968 to about 1973 and you get bands like The Temptations who are part-psychedelic, part-funky, but There's A Riot Goin' On is a total trip. And the sounds that Sly Stone gets on here are totally groundbreaking but it also works as pop. 'Family Affair' is a really sweet pop record, and it's off-kilter as well and it takes you to a totally different place, just like perfect pop music always does. It removes you from reality.

It catches the vibe of the time. Those were quite revolutionary times that were quite optimistic in a way and some of those song titles say it all: 'Africa Talk To You 'The Asphalt Jungle'' conjures up some great mental pictures. And also real ones – it reminds me of going to New York in the 80s when the summers were really sticky and you had steam coming out of the roads. Some people say they really hate that, and that it feels claustrophobic, but I love all that. You can feel the funk in the air. And I'm not saying that in a "cheap holidays in other people's misery" kind of way because there are bits of Manchester that are like that!