Thursday, August 8, 2013

Track of the Week: Bunny Sigler, "Theme for Five Fingers of Death"

I was listening to a great show on WFMU yesterday while driving the car around New Jersey doing my pre-trip errands.  The DJ was spinning some seriously nasty 70s funk deep cuts, which I recalled later in the day seeing Robin Thicke perform on Colbert.  Thicke is alright, but he is doing a decent version of 70s Philly soul, when I'd rather listen to the real thing.

A few years back I picked up a great compilation of lesser known songs put out by the Philadelphia International label, best known for a smooth, sophisticated and polished sound exemplified by McFadden and Whitehead's "Ain't No Stopping Us Now," The O'Jays' "Love Train" and Lou Rawls' "You'll Never Find a Love Like Mine."  When I started spinning the compilation, called Conquer the World, I was taken aback by the hard-edged funk mixed in with the string-laden ballads.

My favorite funky cut would have to be Bunny Sigler's "Theme For Five Fingers of Death," which shows us that Carl Douglas' over-played "Kung Fu Fighting" was not the only martial arts-themed 70s funk song, and hardly the best.  It just comes bursting out of the speakers like a flying side-kick, and never lets up.  A gravelly voice challenges Shaft and Superfly to a fight, before admonishing his apprentice not use his powers for personal glory, which his student affirms at the end.  There's not much here in terms of lyrics, apart from keyups, but I'd rather hear the liquid electro-funking organ do the talking instead.  Hearing this song makes me want to put my old tae kwon do uniform on and break some boards, too bad I last wore it at age 12.

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