Kirk’s Corner 006: ‘Funky Kings’ Album Review

The Funky Kings did one and only album in 1976. Well, ok, they did two, but the second one has never been released. This one is a true “lost classic” — at least if you can say that about an album that had a hit. That hit was “Slow Dancing,” written and sung by Jack Tempchin (and later turned into a bigger hit by Johnny Rivers, and another hit by Olivia Newton-John and then again by Johnny Duncan)

The Funky Kings’ other members included noted songwriters Jules Shear and Richard Stekol. Each of these three may be better known for versions of their songs by others (including Jack’s “Already Gone” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling” by The Eagles’, Jules’ “All Through the Night by Cindy Lauper” and “If She Knew What She Wants” by The Bangles, and Richard’s various tunes with his band, Honk). But, the Funky Kings were more, with Greg Leisz (who would be heard over the years with a cavalcade of great artists, including Jackson Browne, Eric Clapton, and k.d. lang), Bill Bodine (who toured or recorded with artists as varied as Van Morrison, Melissa Manchester, and Leo Sayer), and Frank Cotinola (who recorded with Jesse Colin Young and Katy Moffatt, among others). So much talent, and so many good songs. Who knows what happened. Maybe the timing wasn’t right (Disco!). But, if you want to hear an album by folks who have contributed so much to music over the decades, well, this is a good one. Give it a listen or three, and maybe you’ll find yourself (to borrow the title of the first track) singing in the streets.