SotD80 - Tom Browne


Inspired by our series of articles looking back at music released 30 years ago, Jimmy Hunter takes a step further back in time to give us a Song of the Day 1980. This week, he's Funkin' all over the place...

Ooooo – easy summer groooovin’, yeah! [Are you well?? – Ed]

Sliding into summer (when it arrives!!) with Funkin’ For Jamaica by Tom Browne is what it’s all about this week. You know what I’ve always said? [Oh DO tell – Ed] I’ve always said this was what the Gap Band had in mind (Google it).

I just love this record – what’s not to like? Well, just ask the plethora of “artistes” who have borrowed, copied, morphed just about every aspect of this record for their own purposes, many not even citing the influence.

The “Jamaica” in question is the district of Queens, NYC, where Tom grew up. An area that housed/gave us Count Basie and James Brown. In fact, Browne himself said “It was the merger of so many musical influences and styles that created the Jamaica scene, and certainly my approach”. A talented trumpeter and pianist ... wait. This is where I’d give you a brief bio of Tom, but here’s a treat, listen to the man himself in an interview from 6 years ago.

I will bang on about the bassline of the record, it’s sublime: lazy, lively, playful and flirty all at once. The rhythm comes from the synths and the percussion handclaps that weren’t machine generated. Cowritten by Toni Smith who also gives sensational vocals on the record, the hook here is clearly …

“Jamaica funk, 
that's what it is
Let it get into you”

Another treat – and a rare one at that. Here’s a video performance of the full length version of the track. You’re welcome.



Image - Amazon