Having listened to (and loved) the new Childish Gambino album Awaken, My Love! we have recently been rediscovering psychedelic soul music. So we decided that, for our first 'TLG's Finest' playlist of fifteen essential tracks, we would present you with some classic tracks from the world of psychedelia along with some undiscovered gems. Checkout our spotify playlist below or the youtube videos further down.
Update 27/09/17: Now available on Apple Music too.
Boogieman - Childish Gambino
From his new album Awaken, My Love!. The whole album, but particularly this song, harks back to old school psychedelic funk, such as Funkadelic and Parliament. Childish Gambino discusses racial fear and the police in the US. Written and produced by Childish Gambino and Ludwig Göransson.
Hit It and Quit It - Funkadelic
From the Maggot Brain album, the song makes it clear why psychedelic funk was nicknamed ‘Black Rock’, with its blend of funky basslines and psychedelic rock guitars. The song also has a naughty solo from Eddie Hazel.
Brother Louie - Hot Chocolate
Blaxploitation score vibes from this one, they may only be known for their cheesy hit ‘You Sexy Thing’ but Hot Chocolate have an interesting back catalogue that deserves to be explored and appreciated.
Izabella - Jimi Hendrix
Hendrix explores psychedelia in a less rock-centric track here. This was not just picked because one of our writers is called Isabel, it's a bluesier number than you would expect from Jimi Hendrix but with his notable psychedelic twist throughout.
Tales of Brave Ulysses - Rotary Connection
A cover of Cream's original track, the band included well-known singer Minnie Ripperton on vocals before she had a solo career, and they were the backing band on Muddy Waters album Electric Mud. Originally written by Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp, which uses ideas from the greek tragedy Ulysses.
Could Heaven Ever Be Like This - Idris Muhammad
Psychedelic disco at its finest, Idris Muhammad was a jazz drummer known for his experimental approach and fusion style. Featured on the album Turn This Mutha Out, and was also famously sampled on 'Loud Places' by Jamie XX.
Dance to the Medley - Sly & The Family Stone
Featured on the Dance to the Music album, it is more like a theme and variation than a conventional medley, which uses elements of the title track throughout. There are three different sections - 'Music is Alive', 'Dance In' and 'Music Lover'. All of the original members have a moment on vocals, including Sly Stone, Larry Graham, and Rose Stone.
Dance or Die - Janelle Monáe feat. Saul Williams
Contemporary psychedelic soul which incorporates quick-fire rap and contains science fiction concepts, which form a commentary on the liberation of the marginalised and the oppressed.
Cloud Nine - The Temptations
The Temptations veering from their original northern soul style, exploring the genre of psychedelia. Following the success of artists like Sly & the Family Stone, they began to venture into this new sound.
Chameleon - Herbie Hancock
A Jazz standard from the album Headhunters, a fusion classic. This was a 15 minute collaboration with Bennie Maupin, Harvey Mason, and Paul Jackson featuring a number of psychedelic solos from Herbie Hancock himself.
Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) - Grover Washington, Jr.
A cover of Marvin Gaye’s original hit, which discussed the poor economic situation and life in American ghettos at the time. Written by Gaye and James Nyx, Jr. this later version incorporates more tropes from the psychedelic genre and is completely instrumental.
Supernatural Thing, Pt. 1 - Ben E. King
'Stand By Me' is not his only song, this is a sometimes forgotten psychedelic classic that distances Ben E. King from the style used in his most famous singalong number. Written by Haras Fyre and Gwen Guthrie.
Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples - Parliament
Funky science fiction from some of the originators of psychedelic soul, led by the funkmaster George Clinton, from the album Mothership Connection. The track may sound familiar to some as it was quoted on The Black Crowes track 'Remedy'.
Keep on Running - Stevie Wonder
Features on his more obscure album Music of My Mind released in 1972, with Wonder playing all instruments throughout, apart from trombone and guitar. This is pre-Superstition days and exhibits Stevie Wonder's first exploration of psychedelic funk.
That Lady, Pts. 1 & 2 - The Isley Brothers
An absolute banger from The Isley Brothers, hip-hop fans might recognise it from Kendrick Lamar's album To Pimp A Butterfly on the track 'I'. It features some almighty riffs and sexy falsetto.