Instant Funk album cover
Instant Funk

Instant Funk

Salsoul Records

For a group with a name that sort of sounds like a punchline at disco’s expense (“it’s powdered dance music, the kind that goes up your nose”), Instant Funk were actually a pretty legit powerhouse of an R&B group — and, for a while, a more low-key and underheralded Philly equivalent of the Funk Brothers. The Trenton-based group made some initial waves bolstering some Philly greats in the mid ’70s — Bunny Sigler got them a few studio sessions backing the O’Jays, as well as recruiting them for his own solo LPs — and then followed Sigler to Salsoul subsidiary Gold Mind in ’77 to back him up for his label debut Let Me Party With You. But when a jam they worked out with Sigler coalesced into the massive smash “I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl),” they became hitmakers in their own right. That legendary 12"’s perfect-hook catchiness and canyon-deep groove earned the dual reward of a #1 R&B chart position in spring ’79 and, just as crucially, a stunning Larry Levan remix. (If that wasn’t enough to immortalize it for future generations, De La Soul masterfully flipping a sample of it for “A Roller Skating Jam Named ‘Saturdays’” in ’91 sure was.) But their self-titled sophomore LP shows there’s a lot more where that came from: as a vocal ensemble led by the from-the-gut passion of James Carmichael, they not only kept up with but drove the momentum of a slate of club classics and underrated oddities gathered here. That goes for the boomshakalaka-laced entreaties of Brothers Johnson-rivalling jam “You Say You Want Me to Stay,” the relentlessly heightened disco pathos of “Crying,” and the amazingly weird Star Wars-goes-Blaxploitation novelty of “Dark Vader."

Nate Patrin

Who also suggested

If you select your preferred streamer here, we will save your preference and link to that platform if possible. This can always be changed in the Settings menu.

Apple Music

If you’d like to prioritize Bandcamp if available, tap the Bandcamp logo.

Since some albums are only available on one service, you’ll still see logos for other services if the album is only available on that service.