Funk,  Old School

Zapp

It’s been a while since I brought out a blast from my past – the funky years. From 1984 thru, oh, 1986, I immersed myself completely in R&B, funk, soul, and rap of the day. It got so intense that I remember smashing the Scorpions ‘Blackout’ album with a drumstick. Of course I regretted it a couple years later when I re-opened my mind to all music and I wanted to crank “The Zoo” on my turntable. Ah well, live and learn.

So Zapp was one of my favorites of this era. Comprised of Roger Troutman and several of his brothers, they rose from the Dayton, Ohio music scene in the late 70’s. Zapp’s defining sound is Roger’s mastery of the vocoder talk box, a tube he would plug into his synthesizer to alter / synthesize his voice. You also heard Roger years later on Tupac’s “California Love”. Tragically, Roger was shot to death by his brother Larry in a 1999 murder-suicide. But his music lives on.

The first tune, “Computer Love”, was probably Zapp’s biggest commercial hit. From their 1985 album, ‘More Zapp IV U’, it features the Gap Band’s Charlie Wilson and Shirley Murdock on vocals.

“Itchin’ for Your Twitchin” is a direct nod to Prince: from the synth riffs to the guitar solo, to the “Irresistible Itch” chant (referring to Prince’s “Irresistible Bitch”).

Zapp: Computer Love (mp3)
Zapp: Itchin’ for Your Twitchin’ (mp3)

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