Bobby Williams
Funky Super Fly

In a time long before tribute bands were common, the late, great Bobby Williams was something odd. Hailing from Orlando, Florida, he was not so much a James Brown copyist but a guy who really seemed to think he was James Brown.

"Funky Super Fly" was released out of Chicago in 1974 and was featured on Williams' same-titled album of that year. Plagiaristic as heck, but "Funky Super Fly" showcases Williams and his back-up band "The Mar-Kings" at their best and is a darn fine tune. Maybe for rare funk appreciaters, '74 might be uncomfortably close to the over-polished disco era. But Williams clearly still held true to the 1960s R&B production values that make this track sound much rawer and funkier than you'd expect for its time. Says Jazzman:

"Thousands of bands recorded funk music bearing more than a resemblance to not only his music, but his vocal style too, though none came so close as being a James Brown clone as did Bobby Williams. That’s not to say Bobby Williams spent his time perfecting cover versions of ‘Cold Sweat’ and ‘Sex Machine’. What Bobby did was pay homage to the Godfather by creating ‘Funky Superfly’ and ‘Soul Brother Party’. It wasn’t exactly a ‘Brand New Bag’, but it was certainly ‘A Bag of his Own’ – and he did it so well even James Brown himself gave his respect."

I much prefer Funky Super Fly Pt. 2 as the band seems to get more into its stride in the second half and I like the way that the call-and-response backing vocals come in to give the groove an added dimension.

Artist: Bobby Williams
A: Funky Super Fly Pt. 1
B: Funky Super Fly Pt. 2
Label: MTVH
Cat#: 3737


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