A new album of funk-inspired instrumental recordings tracked during the summer of 1971 showcases a nearly-forgotten series of superb studio session jams led by late soul singer Marvin Gaye.
Entitled, Funky Nation: The Detroit Instrumentals, the 14-track album released this past Friday (1/22) via UMG/Motown Records accompanies the 50th-anniversary deluxe reissue of Gaye’s seminal What’s Going On–also released last week.
As OkayPlayer points out, the band for Gaye’s post-What’s Going On sessions comprised of drummer Hamilton Bohannon, guitarists Ray Parker Jr, Wah Wah Watson, and Leroy Emmanuel, and bassist Michael Henderson. From the first notes of the opening track where Gaye makes a brief appearance to inform listeners “These cats, sure are funky,” the 41-minute album drips with utter funk-inspired coolness all the way through. Other than his quick cameo during “Checking Out (Double Clutch)”, Gaye’s presence is absent on the recordings until he reappears to add some subtle scatting lines on the second-to-last track “Struttin’ The Blues”.
Funky Nation marks the first time these series of archival session recordings have been shared as a stand-alone release, although some tracks have previously appeared on prior special edition albums and reissues.
Listen to the album of session recordings via the Spotify player below.
Marvin Gaye – Funky Nation: The Detroit Instrumentals,