Funky Friday: The Jam

If you were to write an outline of the musical career of bassist extraordinaire Larry Graham, it would be in three acts. The first act would be the time he spent in Sly & The Family Stone, perhaps one of the greatest R&B, if not bands ever. Graham handled bass and bass vocals in the multi-racial, multi-gender group, until he left in the early seventies. His third act would be as a solo act, which allowed him to transition from funky fun music that he began with in the Family Stone, and grew in his second act as leader of the funk/soul band Graham Central Station, to a soulful balladeer with occasional dabbles in the funk.

When Graham left Sly & The Family Stone, he set out to form his own band. That band, Graham Central Station, released its first album in 1973, and carried on throughout the 70s as one of the torch-bearers for the music that Sly Stone pioneered. One of the things Graham took from his first band was to make them multi-racial and multi-gender as well. Another thing he took from that experience was to make different versions of “Dance To The Music” with his band members.

For at least the first four albums, he made sure to introduce the band in song. The best of these, and by far the funkiest, was “The Jam,” released in 1975 as part of the Ain’t No ‘Bout A Doubt It album. Basically, if you’ve ever heard “Dance To The Music”, you’ve got the idea of how this goes. Except that Graham provides the nastiest bottom any band intro record ever had, and his band members ride along, introducing themselves and their instruments.

By the time Graham introduces himself towards the end of the song, you’ve been thumped, plucked and plain funked out, much like what Graham does to the bass for eight good minutes. Please enjoy “The Jam” and have a great Friday! Thanks once again for reading and listening.


9 Replies to “Funky Friday: The Jam”

  1. I was wondering if anybody else picked up on that, lol. The fact that on every Larry Graham album he has a song where the instrumentalists introduce themselves by playing a few bars, in the style of “Dance to the Music.” “Entrow” was another one. But “The Jam” may have been the most original.

    Bootsy used to do something similar, on his albums he’d always have a fanfare type song where Maceo would play the MC role that Danny Ray would do for J.B. “Ahh…the name is Bootsy”, and “What’s the name of this town” are two examples.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I remember “Entrow” also; it was good, but I liked “The Jam” better.

      I had forgotten that Bootsy did the same type of thing on his second and third albums. Thanks for sharing that information and your comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. You were right, T.Wayne. That bass was killing it. Talk about driving the beat! Mr. Graham happens to be the cat who provided me with one of the best slow jams of the 80s. One in a Million You is still one of my favs to this day. Hope you have a funkadelic weekend!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aha! “One In A Million You” could be looked at as the song that jump started Act three of Graham’s musical life. It was such a huge hit that he altered his style a bit from the funky stuff he was doing with Graham Central Station.

      Hope your weekend is going great as well!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Yay! Joan, thanks! Glad you liked Graham Central Station’s funky version of Sly’s “Dance To The Music.” They are basically the same type of song, just one was made in the funky 70s.

      Glad to hear there was chair dancing too!

      Liked by 1 person

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