Entertainment » Jim Harris

Classic funk comes to the North Shore

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BRINGING THE FUNK:
  • BRINGING THE FUNK:

If there is a positive about Saturday’s Al Green show at Riverfest Amphitheatre being postponed (see story on this page), it’s that now we don’t have clashing shows on opposite sides of the river that were certain to make some R&B lovers have to choose like it was Riverfest.

At the North Shore Riverwalk in North Little Rock, some big names in classic funk, led by Con Funk Shun, will be playing Satur-day starting at 7 p.m. The Pioneers of Funk Tour also includes Zapp, Midnight Star and Kurtis Blow. Tickets are $25 at the gate, and $20 advance tickets are for sale at Been Around Records, Arkansas Record/CD Exchange amdLindsey’s BBQ.

That show has been in the works since February, while Green’s appearance was booked just a few weeks ago. With the heat already making people leery of buying tickets to outside events, to also have two big outdoor shows on the same night – in a summer that we’ve had barely anything outside up to now – seemed unfair. Granted, Little Rock wanted to schedule the Al Green show in conjunc-tion with celebrating President Clinton’s 60th birthday party on Saturday. Now the point is moot.

Anyway, there will be good music at least in North Little Rock, and it should be “fun, fun, fun,” as the Con Funk Shun song says. We remember them before their hit days, plaing our senior prom back in Pine Bluff way back when. Has it been that long?

Guitarist, percussionist and singer Michael Cooper and vocalist Felton Pilate, who started the group, are still with the band, which mixes high-energy funk with R&B love ballads. They were good enough for one platinum and four gold albums.

Cooper and Pilate were both from Vallejo, Calif., and migrated to Memphis and Stax Records at the same time Al Green was hitting it big at Stax as well. Funny now, thinking about the symmetry of the planned shows for both sides of the river at the same time. One would bet Green would like to be enjoying some of the funk in North Little Rock, now that he has the night off.

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