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Dance Time

Soul Fire Revue takes us to FunkyTown

By Jeff Listerman

Hey, remember that disco song, kinda good/kinda bad, called “Funkytown”? Of course you do, we all do. Well, it’s not a great tune, but kinda fun. Actually, that brief description would probably suffice for maybe 90% or more of Disco music in general. Disco being the sorta popsified, dancey, whitebread sister of Soul and Funk music. BUT, it is definitely fun to dance to.

And actually some of it is good music. Certain songs I consider good disco songs are Jonnie Taylor’s “Disco Lady” or Grace Jones’ “Pull up to the Bumper”(which actually raises some semi-interesting questions: Just what iz Disco?? Is Grace Jones disco? I mean she was huge with the gay disco scene in the day, but if a 70’s discoteque dance-hit has unique hooks and something other than the formulaic drum and synth throb, is it ‘really good disco’ or, almost  by virtue of it’s quality,  is it something else? Maybe just simply a great funky dance song with or without some of the trappings of the disco-era?)

Well, anyway, that brings us right back to the 1980 Disco smash by Lipps, Inc., the song “Funkytown”. While no one would champion the tune as really good music, like a lot of Disco, it’s great fun to dance to.  And there is a lot of disco that is much better than this, while still probably not necessarily qualifying as really good music.

The important point of this blog is to finally shut up and dance, and potentially at “Funky Town”, a super-fun disco in Raytown off 350 Hwy around Kansas City. I just wanted to tell y’all that I have been there half a dozen times on a Friday or Saturday night and had a blast every time. It’s usually really crowded with folks of all ages –usually one or two in some silly disco costume – and most everybody there just wants to dance their disco-booties off and have fun.  They have some lighted-dancefloor areas, a big-screen projection of hilarious/nostalgic disco videos and the whole dancefloor area is made-up to look like a carwash with big lighted signs from a carwash and those huge whirling rag-barrels (and when they play Rose Royce’s “Carwash” big clouds of suds come down outta the ceiling onto the dancers on the dancefloor!)

I’m tellin’ ya, the whole place is a lot of fun. The rest of the decor looks like Puf-n-stuf Island or Pee Wee’s Playhouse, with a lot of fun seventies memorabilia in glass cases. In fact, I wouldn’t like the place as much if they hadn’t gone all-out on the décor. Anyway, I think all around it’s a lot of fun and they do play some decent funk amidst all the disco hits.

The décor at FunkyTown in Kansas City, Mo.










Soul Fire airs every Saturday from 8-10 p.m.