It’s a 70s funk theme, set in outer space. So put on your best pair of corduroy bell bottoms and platform shoes, dip your head in a bucket of glitter and step out onto the launch pad. We’re about to take the funk to a whole new level.
Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Funkalyze.
Here is my cover of “Hoochie Coochie Man”. This tune was written by the preeminent Godfather of the Blues, Muddy Waters.
The lyrics are heavily laced with references to the Hoodoo conjure tradition of the American South. One commonly misunderstood line is:
I got the John the Conqueror Root
I’m gonna mess with you
To mess with someone was to put roots on them, meaning to cast spells on that person.
The root known as John the Conqueror (Ipomoea jalapa) is widely regarded as one of the most powerful roots or Plant Spirits; if not the most powerful.
The root, all by itself, was potent and to possess it was to hold power to exert one’s will. However, to possess a mojo hand (aka, mojo bag), made and empowered by a knowledgeable rootworker, was an awe-inspiring thing.
It was not a simple matter to travel to Louisiana and get a mojo, especially for a Black person, who had less opportunities and greater obstacles. If you wanted the magick, the only way to get it was to find a skilled doctor.
This was a man or woman who knew how to coerce the Spirits to work on their behalf. First, you had to find a rootworker and then you had to convince them to make a hand for you and pay them whatever their fee was, no questions asked.
Any rituals they prescribed you or tasks assigned must be followed scrupulously. But once you had a mojo hand, especially one containing John the Conqueror, it meant that you were a force to be reckoned with.
I’m doing all the guitar, bass and vocal parts on this track. I added Slight Return to the title as a little tip of the hat to another major influence of mine, the immortal Jimi Hendrix. Hendrix was well aware of the lore mentioned here and his song “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” references similar themes.
During the last verse, you’ll see a quote, placed over a pic of Muddy Waters. It comes from the movie Crossroads, starring Ralph Machio; not to be confused with the movie Crossroads, starring Britney Spears.
It’s the story of a young, classical guitarist who dreams of nothing but playing the Mississippi Delta Blues. He’s a classical music major at The Juilliard School of Music but is mostly obsessed with Robert Johnson, arguably the greatest blues man ever.
This is the video for Unchanged. The .mp3 song download is available for patrons, over at Patreon.
It’s an original, definitely in the vein of my signature brand, a type of madness so strange that I had to give it a new name. I call it Purple Mind Licorice Music®️.
It combines alternative rock, funk, jazz, folk, blues, heavy metal and psychedelia. It’s a long name but Parliament already has Funkadelic and well, let’s face it, Alterna-Funk-N-Roll isn’t nearly as sexy as Purple Mind Licorice Music. Why yes, I do tend to talk about my music like James Brown talked about his. Thank you for noticing.
Side note, if you haven’t seen the filmGet On Up, it’s surprisingly good. I’m a big fan of The Godfather of Soul, The Minister Of New New Super Heavy Funk (even if he was a total wacko, in real life). But for whatever reason, I didn’t think the movie would be all that great. I was delightfully wrong.
Besides, alternative is a lousy category. Any genre that contains Nirvana, REM, Alice In Chains, Weezer, Coldplay and Bush isn’t particularly helpful in guiding listeners’ decisions. They seriously need to scrap that garbage and revisit the drawing board.Back to the business at hand. I’ve played this song live in my band but we just never managed to get a decent recording of it.
I’m doing the vocal and all the bass and guitar parts. Here, I abandoned my memories of how we played it in the band and just started from scratch, all by myself, just me and my computer drummer, Stinky the Robot.
Fake It ‘Til You Break It
I’ve got a habit of improvising my lead guitar parts, as opposed to writing out a solo in advance. There are songs that I write solos for but those are special cases. Usually, I just improvise and keep the bits that I like.
If anyone takes issue with that, many years ago I read an interview with David Gilmour (Pink Floyd) in a guitar magazine. He said that’s the same process he uses in the studio.
He would take several, improv passes at a song, then cut and paste the bits he liked. Later, he’d go back and learn those parts for the live shows.
Comfortably Numb was done that way and I think that song did alright. It sold like over a thousand copies or something. Trust me… in my head, that joke was hysterical.
Of course, I also have a habit of keeping what I regard as being some of “the more charming mistakes“, for better or for worse. There’s one or two of those in the jam section at the end of this tune. I was tempted to re-record those bits but if they make me giggle, then they stay. Giggles are a precious commodity, not to be wasted.
These wounds, open and tender Reveal your face to me Into the chalice of my arms The blood of your suffering flows free
It’s a mild mannered possession, This waiting for the rain Encumbered by the spell and Groggy in the slumbering delay
A scrap of ribbon, fallen From a lover’s hair Found by the boots of boredom Lament for things not yet dead
A piece of my soul floats there Down in the puddle below Somewhere in a watch pocket An insane notion explodes
Author’s Note: This piece is brand new. This piece is ancient. It speaks of things which happen daily. It shares memories of the long, long ago. It is deeply rooted in yesterday. It is severed from everything except tomorrow.
No more crawling, borrowed knees To beg or steal a parched penance Privilege of chewing Tiny, tinfoil excuses
Receipts, all signed Cuneiform zero There, in the register Where it speaks of the balance Which is long overdue A large and loud emptiness
The slaying of pragmatism And the prodigal son The wisest of investments Healthy, constant dividends Since there are no returns
Assets freely traded On the scales in the marketplace Sacrifices, invisible, smoking On strange altars of doubt
Multiplication of manna eaten in secret Loaves baked, foreign recipes Nets tossed into distant waters Plucking up fishes, filling the nets Pouring floods out of the wide mouth Fleeing the estate, belly of greater fish Absconding from duty Tariffs of masticating consummation
Cutting off the heads of what was, Peeling away, shedding foul-smelling skin, Pulling off all those silvery flakes of armor Toss carcasses in frying pan, Serve with herbs grown in new earth Feast, fructifying small kingdom And a table for one
No more buried talents All now upon display A day of rest is earned In the refusing of yesterday’s complacency Tossing out its tired labors
Cutting down the vines Which brought decades of wine Wine that choked those throats which drank In the seeking of blindness Attempting to drown out All hearing of familiar, droning complaints
A fatted calf not missed, From the cool, shaded hammock That swings peacefully in a calm, quiet Where the only shadow cast Is that of the grand, old oak tree Whose face is always welcome Who speaks only and ever Kindly of its kin Or not at all
Wait now, at the oasis, For the promised bride’s coming Who brings the cool water from the well, For a desert weary camel
All is soon to be right, For the steadfast resistance Against worldly temptations
Sovereignty steps out Dropping the broken, black irons Of miserable bondage Lead, flowing through the river veins Of miserly brothers Cruel rage of bad blood
New, mazel tov celebrations Of kaphar, divine grace Selah and hallelujah In a day of jubilee
The god of forgetfulness, Is ever gracious and joyful Drunk on the charms Of plentiful, good company
Regaled today, by delightful tales, Told by they who arrive on the morrow During a banquet, yet to bloom Banking on its promise Of them and their warm presence
A toast is drunk daily To what is seen Which is nothing For what is In the eyes Most of which Is good
A steward, in secret Stealing everything that was sacred Receives all, in due course New master’s blessings Of themselves, a fine reward
And spared a death, daily The stoning of harsh, marble law Seven generations Removed from the sight And all senses
Tools of old bone Hand me down worries Covet, instead, that wild courage Which rails against the unknown
Naked, cast out No starved, gulag wages Demanding the whole The lion’s share of nary A single thing
Punished sin of necromancy Crime of insisting upon the rubric Of a heritage of heresy Brooding there, in the long lines Where impatient fools bicker and stew Wrestling with the dogs over scraps
A hindsight, an insight A bird advances, eagerly Plopping itself into the hand
The exiling of perdition Raises up its secret children High above the floods Where the true blessings of heaven May kiss them upon their heads Sealing in immunity against sorrow
That these should never dwell In that place of woeful wandering Stone gardens of Golgotha Where is never and nothingness Only long, dusky shades Commiserating with the dead
If you like bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Jane’s Addiction, Jimi Hendrix or The Mars Volta, then you’ll probably dig this.
This is a brand new recording of the song that I wrote many years ago but never had a chance to record it until now. I’ve played it live with my band quite a few times but unfortunately, we never caught it on tape.
I’m playing the bass and guitar parts and singing. Everything that you hear on this track is me, except for the drums. That’s because I don’t have access to a live drummer right now. Besides, feeding and caring for a wild animal like that is expensive.
Here’s the full video on YouTube. Don’t forget to hit the thumbs up 👍 subscribe ✅ and the notifications bell 🔔
The song is called blind in the sun and the lyrics are below. Originally, it was a poem and I set it to music (hence the Roman numerals in the lyrics).
The .mp3 file is attached to my Patreon page, so you can go there, download it (for free) and play it whenever you want.
I forget sometimes that people don’t always follow my rather eccentric, artistic choices, so I will explain something about this track. I purposefully chose not to clean up the sloppier guitar licks on this track, because it’s the feel that I was going for… teetering on the edge of the abyss.
Going back and punching in smoother, cleaner guitar parts is easy enough. I just didn’t want ’em, not for this. I’ll mention two songs that inspired my playing on this. One is “God”, by Tori Amos. Her guitar player is way better than he sounds on that track. It’s dirty, gritty and foul, for a reason. The song is about existential angst and the loss of faith, so it’s gotta be grimy.
The other is “Come On (Let The Good Times Roll)” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience. On that song, he does what jazz musicians refer to as “going outside”, meaning that he lets his solos wander just a little bit out of time and out of key, on purpose. Of course, he brings it back in or it wouldn’t be interesting. I chose to step outside on this track but hopefully not too much.
Feel free to share the link to this page or the Patreon page, or the YouTube link on your social media, that’s the best form of advertising there is for underground artists. I thank you in advance. Enjoy!
Just click that big, unwieldy link, below, to listen to the track. Or go to the Patreon page. You can download the song from the Patreon page and have it for your very own. Just don’t forget to water it every few days and never feed it after midnight.
Blind in the Sun⠀ Can you cringe beneath The shadow of a fly? You’d better try Running ‘cross the sand Fire in the hearts of your band In the joy of being alive Stripped of delusion And so forwardly stride
Lost in the garden with canonized illusions There are the keepers Of the tower But I am not a member Of the dark December The light of the sun refracts In my eye
Everything is water Electric fluid matter In a paper cup Called Time
Somewhere in the North There are real vampires I know you go to visit From time to time To roll in the stench The decadence of Thirst for blood To dine with a pack Of wild gods
I have no intent Of adopting your bent; Partying down with the devil On your shoulder
I have no intent Of going where you went Beating on a skull In a hellish midnight circle
But who am I to say? That you are not ok? I will simply stay Behind