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Friday, January 11, 2008

The Funky Worm - Hustle! (To The Music…)

posted by on January 11 at 13:27 PM


In 1989 I spent a summer traipsing around Europe buying tunes in every port to bring home to impress my friends with. At the time Acid House was just coming into vogue. It was light airy dance music that took repetitive piano lines and slightly squelchy synths sounds and layered them over some heavy four on the floor bass beats. Often sung over by people who really shouldn’t have had any right to be singing on a track (like Baby Ford). But this lent a diy attitude, a sort of pre-indie independence to this style of music.

In England at the time, the big names were Baby Ford (“Children Of The Revolution”), S-Express (“Theme From…”, “Superfly Guy”), Guru Josh (“Infinity”), Lisa Stansfield (“People Hold On”), Coldcut (“Stop This Crazy Thing”) and Yazz And The Plastic Population (“Docterin’ The House” and “The Only Way Is Up”).


Out of left field (and out of Sheffield) came the group The Funky Worm. Made up of producer Mark Brydon, Carl Munson, DJ Parrot and Julie Stewart on vocals, this band was coming from a different place, but arriving with force at the same destination.

There sound was a mix of northern soul, with shuffling disco beat. The piano, heavy bass and electronic sounds were icing on the cake. This truly was what disco would have sounded like by the 1980’s had early electro not gotten in the way. It was sexy, loose and kept the feel good vibe that seemed to be disposed of my so much early electronic and new wave. The Funky Worm were out to have fun and wanted you in on the party.

I found them to be totally refreshing and bought all the singles I could find from the group. The one that sticks best today is their first, “Hustle! (To The Music…)”. It doesn’t shy away from early house trappings, but brings in this groovy disco vibe that really set it apart from people like Baby Ford and S’Express. Julie Stewart’s vocals, while definitely week and a bit labored just lend it the feeling that these guys had the idea, and just got it out the best way they could.

“Hustle!” still holds up, and I can even imagine it being thrown into some of the Nouveau sets your hearing today.


One of my favorite mixes of this track is the Manchester Shuffle version by T-Coy. T-Coy was Hacienda DJ Mike Pickering and Simon Topping of A Certain Ration (how weird is that?!?). They tended towards latin sounds on some of their mixes and this mix is one of their best. T-Coy stood for “Take Care Of Yourself”, a classic line during these early ecstasy crazed party days.

So check it out, and go back to the future when House truly met Disco for the first time.

Samples here!

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More classic cover art!

Posted by trent moorman | January 11, 2008 1:41 PM

very cool post - i'll take a listen to these soon. the pickering / topping connection is not so weird given tony wilson's ownership of the hacienda and management of acr.

also, thank you for blogging about the jonzun crew - i haven't been able to find my copy of 'pack jam' after my most recent move, and it's nice to hear it again.

Posted by cosby | January 11, 2008 1:50 PM

what the hell is electro anyway nowaday? so many things call themselves electro that the title has no meaning.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 11, 2008 4:39 PM

That's A Certain Ratio. Named after a lyric by Brian Eno from "The True Wheel."

Posted by oye como va | January 11, 2008 8:04 PM

sorry! typo! it's a fricking blog....

Posted by terry miller | January 11, 2008 10:31 PM


Not all typos are equal--some are more heinous than others. Just sayin'.

Posted by oye como va | January 12, 2008 12:20 PM

And Doctorin' The House was Coldcut, not Yazz.

Posted by NaFun | January 15, 2008 9:41 AM

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