Why was it sooo important my sis and her friends shared the same tastes in music? Because just as soon as my sister started her freshman year, she bought just about every frickin’ album her new-found friends had: Ohio Players, Kool and the Gang, Stevie Wonder, Average White Band, and of course, Rufus featuring the OG funk diva herself, Chaka Khan. So while I out in the living room trying to discern the subtleties buried in The Spinners‘ Rubberband Man during their guest appearances on The Mike Douglas Show, my sister was seriously making out with her boyfriend in mom’s sewing room while Chaka was moaning for someone to tell her something good. And this was every day after school.
On weekends my sister and her cohorts-in-crime would play Love Rollercoaster by the Ohio Players over and over, trying to find the exact point where the model on the cover screamed because she was being offed while the song was being recorded–at least that was the rumor going around at the quad at school. When I made timid forays into rock by buying Cat Stevens and Neil Diamond records, my sister was pickin’ up the pieces after football games by dressing up and buying liquor for her friends.
By the time I left for college, I was all-too-familiar with the Jungle Boogie and Living in the City. I was happy that now I would be with my tribe: the overeducated and undersocialized. I didn’t have to listen to the wailing and heavy breathing that wound from my sister’s stereo into my room. I thought I was free.
Until I tacked a poster of The Commodores (from their eponymous album) on my dorm room wall the day I moved in (and after my sister left). Maybe it was the opening riff to Brickhouse, or the fact that I landed a roommate with a passion for Charlie and chocolate chip cookie dough (two bowls in one sitting, in fact). Or that after four solid years of funk/soul/rubber, my synapses had finally capitulated.
Hey–somone’s gotta keep the funk alive….